Two years out from its summer 2025 opening, Universal Orlando’s Epic Universe is quickly growing beyond vague scaffolding and construction debris.
Epic Universe was announced four years ago as Universal’s fourth theme park in Central Florida. Construction on the park paused in July 2020 due to the pandemic, but resumed in spring 2021. Since then, hundreds of construction-related permits and requests have been filed for the estimated $1 billion park.
Touted as “the most immersive and innovative theme park” Universal has ever created, Epic Universe is expected to be the home of multiple lands themed after blockbuster franchises. The first area officially confirmed by Universal is Super Nintendo World, an immersive video game-ified land already open in Japan and California.
No other lands have been confirmed yet, but there has been heavy speculation and rumors pointing to a new Wizarding World of Harry Potter, as well as How to Train Your Dragon and Universal Monsters attractions.
Much of the most detailed and up-to-date Epic Universe developments comes from @bioreconstruct on Twitter and Alicia Stella of Orlando Park Stop. Both have consistently shared monthly and even weekly updates on the construction of the 750-acre park off Sand Lake Road, a few miles south of the main Universal Orlando Resort.
Some of the latest aerial photos and permit records show a dual-racing roller coaster, colorful statues of figures from How to Train Your Dragon and possible names for shops and restaurants in the Universal Monsters-themed land.
In the How to Train Your Dragon land, photos point to a recreation of the Isle of Berk from the hit Dreamworks animated film series. There are two towering statues of a viking and a dragon that are currently being painted as well as installation of themed walls and decor to bring the mythical Viking village to life.
For this area of the park, there are have been multiple construction notices with LifeFormations as the contractor. LifeFormations, now LF Studios, is known for outdoor themed sculptures and animatronics and was behind some of the figures in Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure coaster at Islands of Adventure.
For the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter, theme park sleuths are predicting the area will be heavily themed after the Fantastic Beasts films but with an indoor ride based on the original Harry Potter series.
In Orlando Park Stop’s latest update, construction photos appear to show buildings and facades reminiscent of the Parisian settings in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
With the new Minion Land taking over where the Monsters Cafe once stood, it’s easy to predict Universal Monsters will pop up again over at Epic Universe. Many avid Universal fans guess this area will be a “Dark Universe” land comprised of attractions themed after classic scary creatures like Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula and the Mummy.
Earlier this month, Universal filed a trademark request for “Oddities & Monstrosities,” which could be used as the name of a merchandise store within the land.
As for other attractions, Orlando Park Stop and @bioreconstruct have pointed out other facets taking shape in aerial construction photos – a roller coaster, a village, an in-park hotel and a restaurant themed after the fiery hilltop windmill in 1931’s Frankenstein.
As for the confirmed land, Super Nintendo World in Orlando will likely be an expanded version of the ones already open in Hollywood and Japan. That means a Mario Kart racing ride, the Toadstool Cafe, the 1-UP Factory store and the Power-Up bands that let guests play as a video game character in the Mushroom Kingdom.
The Epic Universe version is also expected to have the Yoshi ride (like the one in Japan) and a Donkey Kong roller coaster.
These themed lands aren’t the only things going into Epic Universe. Many more rides, attractions, restaurants, hotels and shops will be announced over the next two years for one of the largest parks Universal has ever created.
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