Epic Universe News Update: Dual Coaster Testing, New Construction, and Trademark Lawsuit

Universal Epic Universe, opening in Orlando in 2025, continues to impress with its rapid progress. Ride testing has continued in multiple areas of the park, scaffolding has come down around the beautifully themed mountain in How to Train Your Dragon, and a possible court case could lead to one of the attractions having to change its name.

Let’s dig into all that, as well as check in on construction for all areas of Epic Universe, in today’s news update. See the video version of this story below for additional visuals.

Celestial Park

Kicking off our update within Celestial Park, the central world of Epic Universe, it appears that Starfall Racers has been testing consistently in recent weeks.

This dual-track multi-launch roller coaster from Mack Rides has been testing single train as well as double train operations recently.

Bioreconstruct on social media was able to get these detailed photos of a train making its way around the track. This train is filled with weighted dummies during testing.

We can see from the next photo that the rumored Flux Capacitor on the back of the Starfall Racers coaster train is still covered.

Ethan Hershaft of The Orlando Tourist on YouTube was able to get video from the ground of both of the coaster trains testing at the same time. You can see the full 18-minute video on his channel. Ethan was even able to capture the moment where the two trains roll around each other, through the Celestial Spin.

In our last update we talked about a new trademark application from Universal for the term Stardust Racers, including our theories for its purpose. It seems that this may be a backup name for Starfall Racers, as that mark may be in jeopardy.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Earlier this year an opposition to the proposed Starfall Racers word mark was filed by the Starfall Education Foundation, who claim it infringes on their existing trademarks.

Starfall Education, which produces educational children’s games and entertainment, claims Universal’s intended use of the term could dilute the value of the company’s namesake, namely due to Universal’s “tremendous commercial strength.”

Excerpt from opposition to Universal’s trademark application, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

The initial 14-page opposition lists dozens of points on why the Starfall Racers mark infringes on their multiple longstanding trademarks, including how “Starfall” is an “uncommonly used word,” and is not even listed in the Oxford English Dictionary.

It’s possible that Universal could shorten the services for their Starfall Racers application to only include “roller coaster attraction,” and leave out the broader “entertainment services,” which might help to protect Starfall Education’s original marks, which are listed for other categories. This is how Universal’s new Stardust Racers application has its services listed, to keep it within its specific category of theme park attraction.

This will be an ongoing story, and could end in settlement, or with one party winning over the other at a trial. In either case, it certainly seems that Universal is prepared for any outcome, since they have applied for the new Stardust Racers trademark, presumably as a backup, just in case.

Whether it remains Starfall Racers or changes to Stardust Racers, construction continues for this marquee attraction at Epic Universe. New work is happening for the roller coaster’s extended queue.

The outline for one of the round covered queue areas has taken shape in recent weeks.

Nearby, the dining location we believe will be named Meteor Astropub is seeing its front exterior walls installed. Windows have been installed around the restaurant’s front entrance arch, and left and right sides of the structure.

Pathway and courtyard work is happening now on the left side of the park’s large fountain display.

Located between the Oak & Star Tavern barbecue restaurant and the large show fountain, these round structures are expected to be a Starbucks at bottom of this image, then an ice cream parlor in the middle, and finally the CelesTiki outdoor bar at top.

Moving south to the Constellation Carousel in the center of the park, rockwork around the carousel’s domed structure continues to be defined.

This rockwork lines the park’s central lagoon.

We can see a line of display fountains within this central lagoon.

These fountains now look like they continue across a land bridge between this lagoon and the shallow basins near the front section of the park, creating an even longer line of wavering fountains snaking through the center of Celestial Park.

On the other side of the octagon-shaped Atlantic seafood restaurant we can see what will be its front entrance, which starts on the second level of this upscale dining location.

Nearby, the foundations look nearly complete for the large shared dining room of two new dining locations being added to the park last minute. This is expected to feature an Italian restaurant on the left and Mexican restaurant on the right. Kitchen areas and restrooms near the back of the structure are already receiving walls.

Work has started on framing for the top part of the Chronos tower, which will act as the main portal entrance into Epic Universe.

This entry area, located just inside of the park, offers a decision point for guests to travel either left or right, passing through covered walkways with retail locations on either side. Ahead will be the Luna Overlook, featuring two torches, a decorative statue, and the start of cascading waterfalls.

Below is how this area appears in official concept art, to compare to current construction above.

Official concept art of the entry area inside of Epic Universe

Super Nintendo World

Heading now to Super Nintendo World, work is happening in front of the Nintendo Super Star Store located just outside of the land, to the right of its entry portal.

We can see the shape of the multi-tiered fountain now installed within its basin in front of this store.

Below is how this Mario-topped fountain appears in official concept art.

Official concept art for Nintendo Super Star Store

Moving into the land, the turrets on the sides of Peach’s Castle are being enclosed.

Looking to the right of Peach’s Castle, we can see the rolling game element we spotted last month. This rotating set piece, which will be part of the Power-Up Band’s Goomba Crazy Crank key challenge, has since been painted.

In the next photo we can see theming progress on the area to the left of Peach’s Castle. The opening on right will be where Peach will have her meet and greets. The opening on the left is expected to lead to elevator access to the lower level.

On the lower level of the Super Mario Land area we can see framing for the character stage taking shape within the center of the courtyard.

Nearby, attachment points for the sign above the entry to 1-UP Factory have been added. This will be the land’s main retail location.

Looking around the land, many new themed elements have arrived, (seen at the arrows in the next photo,) including rotating coins, wandering Goombas, and moving Koopa Shells, all currently wrapped in protective plastic.

To the right of Bowser’s Fortress, the Mario Motors gift shop, which will act as the exit to the Mario Kart ride, has received defined exterior theming, but still does not have its sign.

Brick blocks with a ? Block is visible on the front of Bowser Jr.’s lair nearby.

To the left of Bowser Jr.’s lair, these rectangle openings in the wall will be for high score screens, which will show rankings for the Power-Up Band teams.

Along the Yoshi’s Adventure ride path, work continues on the finale scene, with shaped exterior theming being added around the framing for several set pieces, as new framing for more elements is added earlier in the scene.

Heading into the Donkey Kong Country section of Super Nintendo World, we can see finer details appearing on the golden temple’s face at the back of the area.

New teeth-like triangles have been installed on either side of the temple front. The circle structure that will be part of the temple’s waterfall is visible here below the ride’s initial barrel launch.

At the base of the temple, pavement for the ride’s main entrance is taking shape on the left.

It appears that most of the foundation for the ride’s exterior covered queue has already been poured since our last update, and it is now covered to keep it protected.

Entry at arrow, queue areas in front of blue wall

A new type of envelope reach tester can be spotted on the track, making its way around, possibly to ensure that none of the newly added scaffolding or themed elements will get in the way of continuing ride testing.

An actual mine cart-shaped ride vehicle can be spotted in the next photo, (on the right side,) sitting on the track near the start of the ride.

Within the courtyard area of Donkey Kong Country, roof work is happening at the drink stand expected to be named The Bubbly Barrel.

And foundation work for the Funky’s Fly ‘n’ Buy retail location is continuing near the mini-land’s entry, seen at the arrow below.

Dark Universe

Moving into Dark Universe, the home of the Universal Monsters, the entry pathway on the other side of the portal has been paved.

It appears that hidden among the many gravestones lining the path, a new statue has appeared.

New paving work has been happening around the wishing well or fountain within the town square of the land’s village area.

Scaffolding has returned to most of Dark Universe’s main ride’s manor facade as intricate theming work picks up.

Vines wrapping around the manor can be seen in the next photo.

And now vines are being added to the manor gatehouse, which will act as the ride’s main entrance.

Around the back side of the manor, work continues on the extended queue areas.

Lines have been drawn on the ground here for switchback railings or stanchion installation points for the ride’s exterior extended queue.

Dirt is being piled up along the outer walls for the extended queue area.

This dirt area is the front of the land’s phase 2 expansion pad, which was originally rumored to one day be home to a Creature from the Black Lagoon indoor boat ride, but we have not heard anything on that rumor for quite some time now.

The barn-like structure that the land’s roller coaster passes through has what looks like a rustic barn door, seen on the opening in the photo below.

This central section of the spinning roller coaster will be a swing launch, where the trains will pass through, back and forth, multiple times.

Inside of the coaster’s exterior queue area, an arched sign can be spotted, right before the tent-themed indoor queue section.

Multiple pipes and electrical conduit can be seen leading to the windmill sitting atop this dining location at the back of the land.

We expect the blades of this windmill to feature a fire effect, inspired by the original Frankenstein film.

Behind the windmill-themed restaurant, a large backstage support building is being enclosed.

Backstage structure located behind Dark Universe area

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Ministry of Magic

Checking in at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Ministry of Magic, the small park area behind the portal has received even more trees leading to the area’s Parisian-inspired entry arch.

Walls creating a fork that will divide guests entering the portal to the left or right have been installed. This will block the view of the land when looking into the portal from outside.

Some minor work has happened to the side of the arch facing the land, with a weathered brick look employed, but the carved relief for the triangle sections have not yet been added.

Scaffolding has returned to many of the Parisian storefronts throughout the land, including along the side of the corner department store, (seen on the right in the next photo,) as finer exterior details are being added.

Posts are now permanently installed into ground for the circus tent themed entry into the land’s indoor theater show attraction.

A new poster featuring a magical creature has been added behind the show entry area. This poster will be visible to guests exiting show, heading toward the center of the land.

New framing structures have been installed above the Ministry of Magic ride’s extended queue. Guests will wait in this extended queue before traveling from Paris to the British Ministry via the Floo Network in a large fireplace inside.

A service road at the south edge of this land has been paved. This service road separates the Wizarding World from the rest of the park, and all of this empty space seen north of the service road is set aside for future expansions to this land.

How to Train Your Dragon – Isle of Berk

The last world of Epic Universe to check in on is How to Train Your Dragon – Isle of Berk.

Just inside of the portal, near the land’s main lagoon, we can see framing for some sort of kiosk appearing along the main pathway.

The entrance to Dragon Racers Rally is taking shape. We can see a sheep-launching crossbow element installed on top, seen at number 2 in the photo below.

Below is a comparison to what the ride entrance looks like in official concept art.

Behind the ride, theming continues to be added to the Dragon Racing grandstands. The actual stands have been installed atop this structure, while color is being added to the support beams.

It is hard to see due to the excessive amount of scaffolding around the structure, but some dragon heads can be spotted sticking out of dragon houses below the grandstands.

Located within the center of the land, all scaffolding has come down around the Mead Hall dining location, including around the large mountain that sits on top of this restaurant.

The two viking statues in front of the Mead Hall are also now completely visible. They have not yet been painted.

What could be gas elements for torch fire are visible inside of this part of the statues. Permits do show gas lines running to these statues for flame effects.

The entrance structure to the roller coaster attraction has taken shape, (seen at arrow below). This attraction is named Hiccup’s Wing Gliders.

Looking closer we can see mesh structures for two statues located in front of the coaster attraction’s entrance.

Below is how these statues appear in official concept art, on the left side of the image.

Framing for covered exterior queue areas for the coaster has started to be installed in front of the station building, (on right in next photo). The coaster station building is receiving roofing shingles.

Below is our best look yet at what is probably a Toothless animatronic on the roller coaster’s first launch, but wrapped in plastic.

In front of the coaster’s second launch, new pillars have been added for the Viking Training Camp play area.

Several boats can be spotted within the actual ride path of the Fyre Drill interactive boat ride.

Atop of the nearby Spitfyre Grill the top of a decorative windmill element has been installed.

Official concept art for Universal Helios Grand Hotel

Universal Helios Grand Hotel

At the back of Epic Universe, sits the 500-room Universal Helios Grand Hotel.

Work continues on the dome, which sits above a rooftop bar.

A smaller dome was recently installed, featuring a small spire.

A matching small dome can be seen staged on the ground in these recent photos, with its spire seen lying on the ground nearby.

Also sitting on the ground is a round element featuring a starburst design.

This starburst is likely going to be placed around the round decorative element on the side of the hotel facing the theme park, located right under the central dome.

Here is how this starburst element appears in official concept art.

In ancient Greek, Helios is the personification of the sun, and this sun icon will be visible, up in the sky at the back of the park.

New Epic Universe merchandise, Photo: @InsideUniversal

Universal CityWalk Additions

Before we wrap up, it’s worth mentioning that the first pieces of official Epic Universe merchandise have started to arrive to the main Universal Studios store in CityWalk. Some of these items, like the How to Train Your Dragon pieces, were previously only available for sale within the Passholder Lounge. Many Epic Universe-branded items are new as of last week.

How to Train Your Dragon Epic Universe merchandise, Photo: @TommyHawkings

Outside of the Universal Studios store in CityWalk, the Quiet Flight surf shop and Cinnabon locations have officially closed, and Universal has wasted no time stripping the front of the building. It is rumored that these two parcels will be connected inside to the large Universal Studios store.

Exterior demolition of former surf shop, Photo: @InsideUniversal

The new connected space is expected to be turned into a Super Nintendo World store, which will offer many of the Nintendo-themed items we’ll find in the land at Epic Universe, but here at the original resort, and likely before the new park even opens.

Possible future home of Super Nintendo World store, Photo: @TommyHawkings

While we have lost the longtime surfboard photo op, perhaps we could get a new Super Nintendo World photo op in its place.

Surfboard photo op removed, Photo: @magiccitymayhem

Also in CityWalk, the future home of the Epic Universe Preview Center is receiving exterior work. Framing for what could be connections for a large LED screen is being installed now along the front. Universal has not said when the preview center may be opening, only saying it will be later this year, but rumors have pointed to a summer opening.

Future home of Epic Universe preview center, Photo: Bioreconstruct

That’s all for this update, but be sure to check out the video version of this story for additional visuals. A huge thank you to Bioreconstruct for the amazing aerial and on the ground photographs. You can follow him on X (formerly Twitter), Bluesky, or Mastodon for more incredible theme park photos.

Subscribe to the news feed or enter your email address below to never miss an update. Official Art: Universal Destinations & Experiences | Aerial Photos: Bioreconstruct | Permit Documents: fasttrack.ocfl.net | Graphics and Overlays: Alicia Stella | Other Images as Captioned

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