Announced back in 2019, Universal’s Epic Universe is a brand new theme park that will be located just south of the current Universal Orlando Resort property. The arrival of this new experience will expand the current resort to four total parks (Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay are the three current parks).
Universal’s Epic Universe will feature several themed lands, a host of new attractions, dining, retail, and more. This park is expected to open in 2025 and will dramatically change the theme park landscape forever.
While all the attention is on this massive project, the current resort is expected to receive a few changes and upgrades of its own. What are the changes in question? Follow us as we explain the future of Universal Orlando Resort, pre-Epic Universe.
Universal Studios Florida
In the last few months, Universal Studios Florida has seen plenty of changes. Starting with what has been confirmed, the ever-popular Revenge of the Mummy indoor roller coaster closed its doors on January 7th of this year for a lengthy refurbishment. It is unknown exactly what changes have been made, but speculation from sources online points to an upgrade of the ride’s computer system. The park has said the coaster will reopen “late summer”.
Just down the road from Revenge of the Mummy, the long-time theater simulator, Shrek 4D, also closed in January. This attraction, however, has been shut down permanently. Construction walls have been placed around the ride building and all Shrek signage has been removed from the outside. Based on rumors in the community, the replacement for Shrek 4D will be a shooter-based attraction, set in the world of the popular Minions animated franchise. No timetable has been set for this new offering, but it is believed to be slated for a 2023 opening.
The Universal Studios’ Monsters Cafe, located across from Shrek 4D, has also closed for good. This announcement was made suddenly by the resort. No official replacement has been named, but Alicia Stella of Orlando Park Stop points to the possibility of the Minions Cafe concept from Universal Studios Hollywood making its way here. The inclusion of this would make the whole front of the park into a Despicable Me mini-land of sorts. Time will tell if this comes to fruition.
Lastly, the long-running Superstar Parade, a daytime parade featuring characters from Despicable Me, Dora the Explorer, Spongebob Squarepants, The Secret Life of Pets, and others, will end its run on June 4th. A new entertainment offering will most likely take the place of this parade in the near future.
Switching gears to Universal CityWalk, a few venues have seen closures, with signs of imminent replacements coming. Starting on the upper level, The Groove nightclub closed permanently back in late 2021. Permits for construction were filed by the resort as well as trademarks for Universal’s Great Movie Escape. The trademarks were made under the use of an escape room attraction, so it seems that we may be getting a new highly themed escape room on property. No official announcement regarding the replacement or opening date has yet been made by Universal.
A few doors down from that construction area, the Red Coconut Club has also been shuttered. Rumors online have floated the idea of a possible comedy club coming into this venue. No progress appears to have begun on any kind of transformation.
Two other locations in CityWalk seem primed for a new offering. The Universal Legacy Store (the old location for the main resort gift shop), a retail space featuring props and merchandise from defunct Universal attractions, always seemed like a temporary installation. Replacements have been speculated as anything from a new restaurant, bar, Nintendo store, or even a preview center for Epic Universe. Its centralized location in Citywalk makes it prime real estate.
Across the waterway, the old Blue Man Group theater has laid dormant for quite some time. A new live-action stage show could easily find a home here in the coming years.
While none of these projects are on the scale of an E-ticket attraction, they are welcome additions to a resort that seems to be growing by the months and years. There are several locations around the current parks that seem primed for a major addition. Fear Factor Live, which permanently closed; Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone; and Lost Continent come to mind, but some of these, should they come about, will likely be well past the 2025 opening of Epic Universe. A refurbished coaster, a unique shooter attraction, new retail/entertainment spaces, and a new dining location will go a long way toward making Universal Orlando Resort top of mind even before their masterclass park opens.
Thank you for reading. We here at WOU will be sure to keep you updated on any of these projects and more out there in the universe.