Universal’s “Disney Killer” Even Bigger Than We Thought

in Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure

Credit: Universal

Universal Orlando Resort is heating up the competition with Walt Disney World Resort.

Universal Orlando is already home to two world-class theme parks in Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, as well as Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Park.

The Harry Potter Castle at Universal Orlando lit up at night.
Credit: Universal

In addition to the Universal Parks, Universal Orlando also currently has eight hotels for Guests to enjoy, which include Universal’s Endless Summer Resort– Dockside Inn and Suites, Universal’s Endless Summer Resort– Surfside Inn and Suites, Universal’s Aventura Hotel, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel, and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.

But, Universal Orlando Resort is about to get a lot bigger.

The largest Universal theme park in the world, known as Epic Universe, is set to open soon and here’s everything we know about the theme park that has been dubbed a potential “Disney killer” by many theme park insiders.

Universal Orlando Resort
Credit: Universal Orlando

When will Epic Universe open?

Epic Universe is set to open in the summer of 2025. The theme park was originally expected to open in 2023, but COVID put construction behind slightly. Still, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said that construction was “right on schedule” and that the new theme park is now on schedule to meet its 2025 expectations.

So, what are the lands and areas that Guests can expect in the new theme park?

universals epic universe
Credit: Universal

The Central Hub

Please keep in mind that much of these lands are based on strong rumors, and there is only one area that has been officially confirmed by Universal Orlando at this point.

The first area that you’ll walk into when visiting the theme park is The Central Hub. From permits and concept art, we can glean that Epic Universe is set to have a “space theme.” That means that this area will be themed as if you are in space and it will feature one attraction, which we’ve seen in recent construction photos.

Twitter account @bioreconstruct shared a photo where we can see a lot of the new attractions being placed in the theme park, including the dual-racing roller coaster that will be placed in the Central Hub.

In this aerial of Epic Universe 1 Recent excavation for the roller coaster in How To Train Your Dragon land 2 Water feature of the dragon coaster 3 The Great Hall 4 Separate dual-racing roller coaster at the park.

You can see the dual-racing coaster– which is set to be a coaster with two separate tracks where Guests race against one another– to the right in the photo. It has a yellow track and the two tracks will likely come close to mirroring one another when completed.

In addition, the expectation is that another attraction could be added to the area, but it hasn’t been confirmed and a large fountain will be in The Central Hub, as well.

As you can see in the concept art– with a photo of potential rumblings from Orlando Parkstop– the hub will actually extend from the front of the theme park to to the back of the theme park with lands being built around it.

Epic Universe Rumor Map
Credit: Alicia Stella (@AliciaStella) Orlando Park Stop

Super Nintendo World

There has only been one land that has been completely confirmed by Universal Orlando, and that’s Super Nintendo World.

Super Nintendo World is slated to open in 2023 at Universal Studios Hollywood, but fans on the east coast will have to wait just a little longer.

The world will feature three attractions, as well as many experiences for Guests to enjoy outside of rides. The Mario Kart ride (Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge) will be the anchor attraction of the land. You’ll put on the special goggles and battle Team Bowser on iconic Mario Kart courses alongside Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach. Collect coins and throw shells to win the Golden Cup on the groundbreaking Mario Kart ride with cutting-edge technology.

In addition, Donkey Kong Mine Cart and a Yoshi ride are expected to be located in the area.

Aerial look at the front of Super Nintendo World in EPic Unvierse. Yoshi’s Adventure is the yellow track.

You’ll also be able to go on your own adventures with your loved ones with your own Power-Up Band. Use your band to keep score throughout the land as you take on key challenges, collect digital coins, and more. With your Power-Up Band, you’ll experience a new way to play.

Super Nintendo World
Credit: Universal Studios Hollywood

Classic Monsters Land

The next rumored land in the area is a Classic Monsters land, which will house a total of two rides. One of those attractions is a dark ride and another is a coaster.

Screamscape recently reported a leak surrounding what we can expect in the Classic Universal Monsters land.

‘The European themed village itself will be named “Village of Darkmoor”. As for the rides, look for the big E-ticket dark ride to be called “Monsters Unchained: The Frankenstein Experiment” and the new spinning coaster is expected to be named “The Curse of the Werewolf”.

If these names are correct and “Monsters Unchained: The Frankenstein Experiment” is the name of the dark ride, we can expect that Frankenstein will be a big part of the attraction. In addition, there have been rumors that others like Dracula, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, and others could be involved in the ride, as well.

Aerial overview of the roller coaster site in Classic Monsters land at Epic Universe.

There is speculation that this ride will be similar to what we see in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, switching between screens and animatronics, and there was even a patent that shows a ride vehicle that looks similar to the vehicle at Forbidden Journey, but with a cap that looks like what Frankenstein would wear, but nothing has been confirmed.

How To Train Your Dragon at Universal Orlando
Credit: DreamWorks Animation (left), Universal Orlando (right)

How to Train Your Dragon Land

Perhaps one of the most surprising lands in the theme park is none other than a How to Train Your Dragon land.

How to Train Your Dragon is one of the more popular DreamWorks properties. The description for the first movie, made in 2010, can be read below:

“Hiccup (Tawin Yavapolkul) is a Norse teenager from the island of Berk, where fighting dragons is a way of life. His progressive views and weird sense of humor make him a misfit, despite the fact that his father (Kongkrapunt Sangsuriya) is chief of the clan. Tossed into dragon-fighting school, he endeavors to prove himself as a true Viking, but when he befriends an injured dragon he names Toothless, he has the chance to plot a new course for his people’s future.”

How to Train Your Dragon Themed Land
Credit: OrlandoParkStop.com

The land is expected to house a roller coaster, where you’ll likely be flying on a dragon, as well as a restaurant based on the film. The land is also expected to have several flat rides for children, a Great Hall, and a Theater attraction.

Aerial look at Epic Universe. 1,2,3 Chain of water features in park’s central corridor 4 Recent excavation 5 Dual-racing coaster 6 Coaster in How to Train Your Dragon land 7 The Great Hall 8 Theater-based attraction

It’s unclear at this point exactly what this will all look like when it comes together, but it’s clear that this is one land that Universal is excited about and believes that it can be successful in the new theme park.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The Wizarding World is available at both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure features Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, The Flight of the Hippogriff, and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida, which is connected to Hogsmeade by the Hogwarts Express, features Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

It should come as no surprise that another portion will be built in Epic Universe, as well.

Harry Potter reacting to Sirius Black's death in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Credit: Warner Bros.

ScreamScape recently shared more details about the anchor attraction for the world, which is expected to be based on the Minstry of Magic:

Guests will ride along and enter various rooms in the Ministry and pass through the chaotic magical battlefield as shown through both projection and real-world animatronic effects. When I say Animatronics… apparently Universal is putting some new animatronic figures to use here that go by the codename Megabot. From what I’m told these are the most advanced animatronics ever put to use by Universal Creative ever and not only feature fluid human-like motion, but fully projection mapped animated faces.
While I’m not 100% up on all my Potter universe and magical creatures, you’ll not only encounter some kind of fire breathing chicken creature, but also a frightening encounter with Newt’s Erumpent. While trying to get away Umbridge apparently frees the Erumpent, which is sort of a massive magical creature with a rhinoceros style horn coming from the top of its head. From what I’m told, Universal is going to borrow the effect they created for the Jurassic World dark ride in China here, as the guests will come face to face and then look like they are trying to run away from the charging Erumpent.
It all comes to a head when Delores thinks she has the Time Turner she was seeking out in hand, only to realize that Hermione has done something to it. I’m not sure if she created a fake one, or put a curse on a real one, but in the end Delores Umbridge will see her plan fall to pieces and litterally slip through her fingers, and find her obnoxious pink garb transformed back into prison black & white stripes as she is apprehended once again. From here everyone is taken back to the court room for the final sentencing by Shacklebolt and as the finale scene for the ride.

Great Hall
Credit: Warner Brothers

@bioreconstruct shared photos of what the attraction is looking like currently.

Aerial look at facades in the Harry Potter related land at Universal’s Epic Universe. Part of the featured attraction show building.

In addition, the report indicates that the actress who plays Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) has signed off to film footage of the ride, and Universal has reached out to Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione), and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) to reprise their roles in the attraction.

Hotels Around Epic Universe

The lands inside Epic Universe aren’t the only thing that are being constructed.

It has been confirmed by Universal Orlando that Epic Universe will have a hotel at the back of the theme park, but there are already a couple of plots being constructed for more hotels to surround the theme park, as well.

Aerial overview of a Universal Orlando Resort hotel under construction near Epic Universe. Universal Blvd at left.

The expectation for the hotel at the back of the theme park is that it will have its own entrance and will be space-themed, to match the theming of the Central Hub. The two hotels being constructed across from the Park are also thought to have a space theme, but this hasn’t been confirmed.

Are you excited about the opening of Epic Universe? Let us know in the comments!

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