Fans Torn on Leaked Universal Project, Call Out Disney Hypocrisy

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Universal Orlando Resort globe with Universal's Islands of Adventure in the background. Photo by Aditya Vyas on Unsplash

Credit: Aditya Vyas on Unsplash

The latest addition coming to the Universal Orlando Resort was just leaked earlier this week, and although initial reactions were pleasantly surprised, it’s now caused many people online to call out “hypocrisy” in the Orlando theme park community.

The Stella Nova Resort is the newest hotel coming to the Universal Orlando Resort in 2025. Stella Nova, along with its sister hotel, Terra Luna, will open alongside Universal’s newest park, Epic Universe. Epic Universe will be the first major park addition to come to Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando since Islands of Adventure opened in 1999. It will feature areas themed after the Universal Classic Monsters, like Dracula, the Wolfman, and the Mummy, as well as areas inspired by the How To Train Your Dragon franchise, and expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and it will finally bring the long-awaited SUPER NINTENDO WORLD to Orlando.

Guests riding Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge at Universal Studios Hollywood
Credit: Universal Studios Hollywood

The park is expected to open sometime in the summer of 2025, but the recent leak of the website for the Stella Nova Resort seems to imply that the hotel will be opening in January 2025, prior to the park’s grand opening. Although the website was quickly taken down, proving that it seems to be an accidental publishing, people were quick to grab screenshots and images of the concept art for the hotel.

The newest Universal resort will include 750 rooms, a game room, a massive pool, several dining options, and is “Inspired by the infinite vastness of the unknown universe, where galaxies spiral ever outward, and unknown worlds revolve around unnamed stars, Universal Stella Nova Resort, opening January 21, 2025, is your new gateway to Universal Orlando Resort.”

Concept art of the new Universal Orlando Stella Nova Resort
Credit: Loews

Initial responses to the images were positive, with many saying that the Stella Nova Resort is what the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World should’ve been, and others praising its sleek, minimalist, and futuristic design. However, since then, many others have come out to call out the supposed hypocrisy among theme park fans in response to the images. The concept art shows a lot of white, modern, and minimal designs, seemingly meant to imply a sense of space and the future. However, some have stated that had the images been concept art for a Disney project, many in the Disney community would have been upset by the boring and bland aesthetic that the designs seem to invoke.

Concept art of the new Universal Orlando Stella Nova Resort
Credit: Loews

Inspire by a hospital and no budget. This is crap! It looks like USO has tapped into @WaltDisneyWorld‘s interior designers to capture the sterility, cheapness, and sterility of a prison in space for their newest “resort” #StellaNova – This is what cheap looks like. #UniStudios” replied @TRVLtruth. 

“Fine I’ll say it: if Disney dropped this same concept concept, some of y’all would be tearing it apart and saying how bland and minimalist the space theming of the hotel is and how it’s devoid of any charm,” posted @TCJaalin. “This doesn’t look far off from many modern marriott hotel common areas,” said @HarrisonHighto2.

“Exterior looks great, but the rest looks OK (hotel rooms look really bland too). Expecting the people that bash Disney for bland hotel design to praise this like crazy too,” @the_agent_man said.

Concept art of the new Universal Orlando Stella Nova Resort
Credit: Loews

Again, the images released so far are concept images taken from a site that should not have been available to the public yet. It’s unclear if these are the final official images of the resort, and it is possible that the designs could be changed by the time the resort opens. However, it does reinforce the idea that the theme parks are slowly moving away from their heavy ’90s theming and heading towards a more modern and minimalist design scope.

Fans have been calling out Disney in the last few years for its changes to the various parks and hotels that seem to be stripping away the Disney magic and “heavy-handedness” that the ’90s brought with it. Unfortunately, this heavy theming is often what makes most of the immersive magic of the parks and is what people associate with Disney. Taking these aspects away from Disney just make its boring and corporate, removing the sense of magic.

Concept art of the new Universal Stella Nova Resort
Credit: Loews

Fortunately, from what we’ve seen of Epic Universe, so far, is it appears as though the park at least will not suffer the same fate as its newest resort. However, fans will have to wait further official information and updates on Universal’s Stella Nova Resort.

What do you think of the concept images of the new hotel? Are they fitting for the resort’s theme or are they too minimalist? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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