With construction on Universal’s Epic Universe now kicked into high gear, let’s dig into all the expected roller coasters for this new theme park in Orlando.
With a possible total of four coaster attractions, there should be something for just about every thrill-level. From kid-friendly and highly-themed, to extreme thrill—and everything in between—here are all the roller coasters we could see at Epic Universe. See the video version of this story for additional visuals.
How Many Coasters?
Set to open by the summer of 2025 at the latest, Universal’s Epic Universe is under construction now in Orlando. Located just a couple miles south of the existing Universal Orlando Resort, this new theme park will open with four themed lands, as well as a massive hub with themed attractions of its own.
Coming off the success of two new, highly-acclaimed coasters that opened recently at the Universal Orlando Resort, the Jurassic World VelociCoaster and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, this new theme park is expected to continue the trend.
Originally expected to open with at least three roller coaster attractions, we now believe Epic Universe will actually debut with four, as plans may have changed to add an additional one. That would put a coaster in 4 out of the 5 areas of Epic Universe.
Donkey Kong Mine Cart
Set to open as phase two in Universal Studios Japan in 2024, the Donkey Kong Country area of Super Nintendo World is expected to open from the start at Epic Universe. The area will include interactive games, character meet and greets, a small gift shop, snack stand, and the Donkey Kong Mine Cart roller coaster attraction.
We can see that the new roller coaster is already under construction in Orlando, so it should be ready when the park opens. This new roller coaster is expected to use a new type of technology that was patented by Universal, called the “boom coaster.”
The design has riders sitting in a mine cart shaped vehicle that appears to run along a regular track, but in actuality glides along a sideways track that is hidden beneath. This design would allow the mine cart to appear to jump over gaps in the track, just like in the video games.
The roller coaster will feature both indoor and outdoor segments. The indoor scenes, while short, are rumored to include some animatronic characters and story elements. The outdoor scenes will likely be the faster, more thrilling segments of the ride.
The Donkey Kong attraction will likely have the lowest thrill level of all the coasters at Epic Universe, but with its dark ride style scenes and unique ride design, it’ll have more to offer than just thrills.
With rumored fire and water effects, familiar characters, and fun “jumps” over gaps in the track, it could be much more than just a regular family coaster.
How to Train Your Dragon
A new land based on the DreamWorks property, How to Train Your Dragon, is expected to open with Epic Universe. Featuring several outdoor attractions set within the island of Berk, a roller coaster can be seen encircling the top half of the land in the site plans.
Rumored to be themed as a dragon training coaster, which was built by the residents of Berk, this will be a launched steel coaster. Its thrill level is expected to be similar to Hargid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, but perhaps a tad more family-friendly.
Unlike the Hagrid coaster, where all of the ride takes place within a sectioned off area of the park, this one will twist and turn around guest areas, going under a bridge and passing behind other attractions in the area.
Most of the ride appears to take place outdoors, but plans call for a couple moments to take place within small show buildings. It is possible these could be for short show scenes, with some hoping for an animatronic or two to be included.
Universal has patented a technology they claim can be used to make a realistic animatronic dragon tail. It’s possible this technology may have been developed for a figure in this land, and perhaps for this roller coaster in particular.
While many believe this ride, along with the land itself, will be geared toward families, I wouldn’t underestimate this one.
Hub Racing Coaster
The most thrilling ride at Epic Universe is expected to be the dual-track racing coaster near the center of the park. This multi-launch coaster will feature two tracks, racing side by side for most of the duration.
It is expected that it will contain two separate tracks, each possibly longer than 5,000 feet, and could reach speeds as high as 60 to 70 mph. This would make these two coaster tracks not only the longest coasters in the park, but also the fastest.
This attraction will be a part of the new park’s central hub. Its ride entrance will connect only to the central hub, so it will not be a part of any of the themed lands themselves.
We suspect this racing roller coaster to feature a space exploration theme, to go along with the celestial theming for the rest of the hub.
The racing coaster is expected to be manufactured by Mack Rides. In a recent interview, Roland Mack spoke about how they were able to resume an order from Universal, which is worth “millions in the double-digits,” after only a six-month cancellation. That is in line with the pause in construction for the new park, due to complications from the pandemic.
It is good to know that this massive roller coaster project, along with the rest of the park, is back on track now.
Universal Monsters Rumored Coaster
One final roller coaster is now also rumored for Epic Universe. This project would be a late addition to the plans. If true, it will be built in the Universal Monsters themed area of the park.
In the same recent interview with Roland Mack, he talked about how Universal not only had Mack Rides resume production on the large roller coaster, but apparently two other projects as well. This lines up with a new rumor for this addition to the Universal Monsters land.
According to the rumor, what was originally expected to be an indoor theater attraction for the land, is now changing to be a Mack spinning family coaster. While this second attraction is supposedly changing, plans for the land’s main attraction, a large dark ride, is still going on as planned.
Permits for the theater’s building number seem to confirm the change, as they were recently updated and expanded. Instead of a large building, the permits have been update to now indicate ride foundations instead.
If this mysterious new ride does end up being a Mack spinning coaster, some are wondering if it would be an indoor ride, like Space Fantasy at Universal Japan, or an outdoor coaster, like Storm Chaser at Paultons Park. Either of those attractions’ footprints could fit where the Monsters theater was originally set to be built.
Another possibility, is instead of using lift hills like those rides, perhaps they could save space by using a vertical lift, similar to Cobra’s Curse at Busch Gardens Tampa. All three of these ride examples are from Mack and include spinning, so they help give us an idea of possible thrill level for this rumored project.
We don’t know yet what type of theme this rumored attraction would be, but some are hoping for it to be based on characters like Wolfman or Dracula. It’s still early for this new rumor, so we will have more information as construction continues in this area of the park.
We will continue to follow progress on Epic Universe, as it happens, so be sure to subscribe to the news feed or the YouTube channel to never miss an update. You can see the video version of this story for additional visuals.
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