After years of speculation, Universal Orlando has officially revealed its latest addition: Universal’s Epic Universe, an all-new theme park that is being developed on Universal’s recently acquired property south of the existing resort.
Mark Woodbury, Vice Chairman of Universal Parks & Resorts and President of Universal Creative, promises that the new park “will offer an entirely new level of experiences that will forever redefine theme park entertainment,” allowing guests to “venture beyond their wildest imagination [and travel] into beloved stories and through vibrant lands.”
As evident in the concept rendering of Universal’s Epic Universe, the park’s layout differs greatly from Universal’s existing parks. Universal opted to utilize a hub and spoke model rather than their traditional design which incorporates a lagoon at the center. The hub and spoke model essentially welcomes guests to a large hub, which serves as a connection to the park’s various themed areas.
Universal Orlando has not announced what themed areas will arrive at the new park due to “competitive” reasons; however, rumors have circulated about possible intellectual properties coming to the park, and concept art released by Universal may help validate the buzz.
As highlighted in the above image, arches will serve as the entrance to Universal’s Epic Universe. Upon entering the park, guests will set foot in the hub, surrounded by lush greenery, water, fountains, and a towering hotel. From the hub, guests can venture to the numerous themed areas, supposedly based on Nintendo, the Universal Monsters, Fantastic Beasts, and How to Train Your Dragon, according to speculation (we’ve highlighted which locations may be based on these properties in the above rendering). Close attention to the rendering’s details may solidify this.
Universal has not yet stated when the new park will open because of the “competitive nature of [the] Orlando marketplace”; however, the company has revealed that the development will also include new stores, restaurants, and hotels. Additionally, Universal plans to further expand the recently acquired property in the future.
ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug 1, 2019) – Universal Orlando Resort is building a new, fourth, theme park to be called Universal’s Epic Universe. The vision: create an entirely new level of experience that forever changes theme park entertainment.
Universal’s Epic Universe will take guests on a journey where beloved stories expand into vibrant lands – and where that journey is as much a part of their adventure as the ultimate destination.
“Our new park represents the single-largest investment Comcast NBCUniversal has made in its theme park business and in Florida overall,” said Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Corporation. “It reflects the tremendous excitement we have for the future of our theme park business and for our entire company’s future in Florida.”
The new theme park will also feature an entertainment center, hotels, shops, restaurants and more. It will be located within a larger 750-acre site that nearly doubles Universal’s total available acreage in Central Florida. Universal’s Epic Universe is just a few miles from the existing resort in Southwest Orange County. Specifically, it will be south of Sand Lake Road and east of Universal Boulevard.
“Our vision for Epic Universe is historic,” said Tom Williams, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Universal Parks & Resorts. “It will build on everything we have done and become the most immersive and innovative theme park we have ever created. It is an investment in our business, our industry, our team members and our community.”
The new park was announced Thursday in an event attended by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, Tom Williams and Brian Roberts.
“We look forward to the new level of entertainment and innovation Universal’s Epic Universe will bring to one of our state’s most important industries,” said Governor DeSantis. “We look forward to Universal’s continued contribution to our state’s economic growth and development. And we are especially grateful for Universal’s partnership in improving Shingle Creek, which plays a critical role in serving the Everglades.”
“The investment Universal is making in our community and the benefit all of us will see is substantial,” said Mayor Demings. “This will benefit nearly every segment of our economy – from tourism to high-tech.”
Mayor Demings also spotlighted Universal’s role in the Kirkman Road extension. This is a 50/50 public-private partnership in which Universal is investing $160 million to extend Kirkman into the area where the new park will be located.
“The Kirkman extension will improve transportation through a busy and growing portion of our county and open up the entire area for additional development – including an important expansion of our Convention Center,” he said.
During the announcement, Governor DeSantis, Mayor Demings and Tom Williams released information about Universal’s economic contribution to the state and local economy.
Universal Orlando currently employees 25,000 people and will hire an additional 14,000 team members as part of Epic Universe, including professional, technical, culinary and other specialized positions. The company currently contributes more than $302 million in annual state and local taxes – a number that will nearly double when the new theme park opens.
The majority of the businesses Universal relies on are either regional firms or national firms with a large regional presence. An economic impact study for Universal conducted by UCF Economic Professor Sean Snaith found that Universal Orlando’s combined direct and indirect economic benefit to the Florida economy since Universal Studios opened in 1990 is $73 billion. He also found that construction of the new park alone will contribute a total of $11.5 billion in direct and indirect economic benefit into the Florida economy.
More details about Universal’s Epic Universe will be revealed over time. For more information, visit www.universalorlando.com.