Universal Orlando Resort is planning on almost doubling their realm in the Orlando area – an epic feat, no?
Details about the new Epic Universe were released last week, but honestly not much more is known about the fourth theme park than the rumors that have already been circulating since the first plans were discovered months ago.
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Universal has been working for more than a decade to acquire all the land required for its fourth park. Located just four miles south of the current Universal Orlando Resort, Epic Universe looks to incorporate all the well-loved aspects of the resort, including an on-site hotel, miniature ‘CityWalk-esq’ feature filled with restaurants and shops and four distinct lands in the actual theme park.
Now here’s where the guesswork starts to come in. Universal has been pretty scarce in the details they’ve released about the new park – after all, we don’t even have an expected opening year yet. It will take a few years or more to build, just as all their parks have, so we might be waiting until 2023, 2024 or even 2025 before everything is open.
But looking at the rendering released by Universal Orlando Resorts, the deals Universal has made with partners recently, the wildly popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios (and of course all the rumors populating the internet), one can start to hope this new park includes certain features.
In 2015 Universal announced their partnership with Nintendo and are currently in the process of building a Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan. But could the partnership also mean that fans of the video game giant won’t have to cross an ocean to enjoy perks of this deal?
Although the rendering does a great job of muddling the specifics of each land, there is a small area that could serve nicely as an ode to the classic video games. If this is true, our hopes for a Mario Kart go-kart racing ride might just come true. A Legend of Zelda and Pokemon attraction would also be high on our wish lists.
There is also an area from the rendering that is reminiscent of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The current two lands at Universal Orlando Resorts have been drawing in the crowds and a recent relaunch of special ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ Vacation Packages makes me think there has to be some element included in this new park as well.
With the new Fantastic Beasts franchise well underway with the movies, it would only make sense to bring this new element into the new park. Maybe even incorporating some type of menagerie of Newt Scamander’s magical creatures or at the very least a bakery featuring Jacob Kowalski’s unique creations.
Now comes the real hypothesizing – what could be the themes of the other two lands?
Universal has always loved catering to the adult crowd and honoring the Hollywood iconic monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein – think Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-Up Show and their annual Halloween Horror Nights.
But there’s also the potential for an area for fans of the ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ series. In the original rendering, there are two epic rollercoaster cut off on the right-hand side. Just imagine if one of these had you flying on the back of your very own dragon.
Universal Orlando Resort has also been putting forth a lot of effort into their on-site hotels lately, making them themed and predominately in the value range. Having another affordable hotel within walking distance of this new theme park will really entice travelers from all over the country.
The restaurants, especially in the City Walk area, have always drawn in a large crowd like Voodoo Donuts or the newest restaurant, Big Fire. The drawing doesn’t show enough room for the same size collection of restaurants and nightlife entertainment, but a smaller scale option could be equally enjoyable – especially if Universal Orlando Resorts is able to pull in the same high-caliber options as they have at their current venue.
One thing I’d really like to see is an improvement in their Instagram-worthy food and beverage options. They’ve certainly been amping this up in past years in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas and at their exclusive Halloween Horror Nights, but their competitor still has the edge in this arena. But a brand new park opens up a whole new array of menu options themed around the specific lands.
Nintendo-themed food? Yes, please! A Dracula-inspired cocktail? We’d hope it’s to die for.
Whatever happens, we know it’s going to be epic and further boost tourism to Orlando, Florida.
The battle of Universal vs. Disney trying to one-up each other rages on, and theme park aficionados all get to benefit.
If you don’t think there’s a duel going on, just check out the subtle shade Universal Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Williams threw out at the press conference when announcing the new theme park when he said, “I can guarantee you that it is going to be epic. And the last that I heard, a universe is a little bit bigger than a world.”