Epic Universe News Update: Theming Details, Coaster Trains, and New Construction

Another month, another massive update for work happening around Universal Epic Universe, opening next year in Orlando. Today we’re seeing artistic details added like fancy graphics painted within the Wizarding World, more gravestones in Dark Universe, and final touches already installed atop Mt. Beanpole in Nintendo. Plus, we have sheep in How to Train Your Dragon.

Let’s check in on every area of Epic Universe in today’s news update. See the video version of this story above for additional visuals.

Official concept art of Universal Epic Universe

All aerial photos by @Bioreconstruct

Dark Universe

Starting our update at Dark Universe, the world of Universal Monsters, we can now see that just beyond the portal there appear to be rows of gravestones.

These gravestones are lining the pathway walls leading into the land, almost as if old headstones have been repurposed by the town to be utilized as a makeshift fence.

There is a crypt in the center of this entry area, helping to separate the entry path from the exit.

This winding path leads into the village, rumored to be named Darkmoor.

The end of this village street is framed by a broken wall.

At the top-corner of the land’s main retail location, we can see pipes coming out onto the roof.

Permits list this corner of the structure as a “fog room.” Perhaps these pipes could have something to do with the land’s rumored fog effects?

Heading deeper into the land, the gate wall at the entry leading to the main attraction has received ornate elements atop its roof.

The bridge leading to the ride entrance has received detailed aging and paint along the sides.

On the face of the manor itself, theming work is happening on the two newest towers at the center of the structure.

This ride is expected to be named Monsters Unchained: The Frankenstein Experiment.

Despite Universal releasing an official render of the manor facade, as well as glimpses of some of the attraction’s characters, they have not yet confirmed the attraction’s name.

Official rendering for the manor

New trees have been added along the side of the manor, and along the back exterior queue areas as well.

Pathways have been poured within the exterior queue garden area.

A section of the land’s main pathway has been poured in front of the snack stand, which we expect to be named De Lacey’s.

A temporary tarp net has been added under the track for the Curse of the Werewolf coaster.

This spinning roller coaster has been testing in recent weeks, and these photos have captured a full circuit test run.

We can get our best look yet at the trains for this attraction, which appears to feature free spinning cars with seats facing in both directions.

These coaster cars are wrapped in black plastic on the sides and a white cover along the bases, so we are not looking at their final colors or design.

It is rumored that this attraction will focus on the Maleva, the fortune teller character from The Wolfman film, and as such the queue area will feature colorful fortune teller tents and a temporary town of Romani traveling wagons.

It is possible the coaster trains may take inspiration from these colors and themes.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Ministry of Magic

Heading now to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Ministry of Magic, the courtyard in front of the entry portal is appearing.

On the other side of the portal, we can see the beginning of a split entry pavement design. When completed a wall may force guests entering to turn left or right after entering, while blocking view of the land from inside the portal.

While scaffolding is down in front of the land’s large Parisian arch, theming and color has not yet been added. Sections of carved relief are still expected to be added within the triangle sections on either side.

To the right of the arch, facing the park’s central hub area, the mural being painted here appears to be a 1920’s advert for perfume.

This new advert may be the same perfume that has a modern advert within the King’s Cross Station queue for the Hogwarts Express at Universal Studios Florida.

Themed perfume ad at Wizarding World in Universal Studios Florida

As more and more scaffolding continues to come down around the large scale Parisian building facades within the land, new decorations and painted details are being added.

Plant pattern graphics have been added to a wall near the land’s entry. This false facade is expected to be themed to a florist shop.

Across the street, a poster advert has been added over the entrance to land’s main dining location, expected to be named Cafe L’air la Sirene.

Green graphics have appeared on the wall to the left of the cafe’s entrance. Permits describe this false facade as being themed to a jewelry shop.

On the corner of this structure, facing the central intersection in the middle of the land, this corner retail location is expected to be named Les Galeries Mirifiques, a Wizarding department store.

The large monument at the end of the street on the left side of the land is receiving additional stone-themed elements.

Directly to the right of this structure, this building has received ornate decorative elements along its face. The door on this building will be the main entrance for the land’s main ride, rumored to be named Harry Potter and the Battle at the Ministry.

The yellow line in the next photo shows the separation between the main attraction on the left side of this large building, and the land’s indoor stage show on the right.

Zooming out, according to permit information, the yellow highlighted area in the next image is designated for the main attraction’s queue areas only. The taller section near the back, highlighted in orange, is where the actual ride will be located, making it the largest indoor ride at Epic Universe.

Super Nintendo World

Just outside of the portal entry into Super Nintendo World, we can compare the progress on the officially announced Nintendo Super Star Store to concept art.

A fountain with Mario featured in the official art can be seen under construction in recent photographs.

Official concept art for Nintendo Super Star Store

Inside of the land, the exterior of Peach’s Castle is receiving weather-proofing work. The second tier for this iconic structure has not yet been installed.

Bundles of electrical conduit can be seen running from this area to other sections of the second level.

Unpainted brickwork is visible around the entrance to the Bowser Jr’s boss battle challenge entrance. Ice capped walls are now visible for an ice-level themed area along the second level.

Work is currently happening on the turrets on both sides of Bowser’s Fortress, the future entrance to the Mario Kart ride.

Major progress has been made for Mt. Beanpole, the land’s centerpiece and tallest point.

Blocks, coins, and a Thwomp are now visible on the mountain, in addition to the clouds and Mario flag at the top.

This circular section may be for a walking Yoshi animatronic, which can be seen circling a tree in the original Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Japan.

Below this area, the Yoshi’s Adventure ride has been continuing testing in recent weeks.

The colorful Yoshi-shaped ride vehicles, as well as the egg-shaped accessible vehicle, remain covered in multiple layers of protective materials, with weighted dummies in every seat, during this testing period.

Framing for the ride’s finale scene is being installed now.

Below this section of the Yoshi ride, we can see the future entrance to the Donkey Kong Country mini-land, which will be located behind this area.

Within the Donkey Kong area, the first section of foundation has been poured.

The pavement section is near the entry to the mini-land, where a small outdoor retail location will be located.

Colorful theming elements continue to be added to the temple wall on the left side of the area.

Additional colorful elements can be seen staged on the ground awaiting installation.

We can see where these large blue bricks meet the golden temple brick style on the right. Unpainted carved blocks can be seen on the top-right of the completed sections.

In the center of this crumbling temple wall, new framing for a large circular element is being formed.

Looking closer, we can see the shape of a palm tree design as part of this element.

In front of the wall, the track for the ride is receiving themed planks facing the land’s courtyard.

These planks will help to block the view of the ride’s real track, which is hidden below, so it appears the mine carts are riding on the false track above. This will help to create the illusion that our carts are jumping over missing gaps in the track.

A new development is happening within the middle of the Donkey Kong area, as the beginning of work for an interactive game has begun.

Shown as utilizing DK barrels in promotional art, this interactive game is expected to feature Rambi the rhino.

Official promotional art from Universal Studios Japan

The former mesh and wireframe rockwork along the ride’s outside water feature scene has been sculpted, now awaiting color.

Work is still finishing on the end of this area, with some rocks just now being shaped.

New decorative temple ruins have been added along the front of the attraction, along the ride’s main lift hill.

How to Train Your Dragon – Isle of Berk

Entering How to Train Your Dragon – Isle of Berk, several sheep figures have arrived near the front of the land.

Located within a section of the land’s roller coaster attraction, we can see two sheep, and what at first glance appears to be a small dragon with wings… but in actuality, this is a third sheep, but dressed up as a dragon.

These Dragon Sheep, first seen in the third How to Train Your Dragon film, are just regular sheep dressed like this so they can move among the dragons unharmed.

Dragon sheep from How to Train Your Dragon, DreamWorks

The roller coaster area at the back of the land has received extensive landscaping work since we last checked in, with rows of trees and plants added as well as mulch and grass.

A coaster train can be seen parked within the ride’s first launch in this area.

Themed gears are visible as part of the show scene for this launch.

In story, it is rumored that Hiccup has constructed this “Wing Glider” contraption to help prepare us for dragon flying.

Work appears to be beginning on decorative grandstands behind the land’s two Sky Fly spinner rides.

The coaster track will pass through these stands near the end of the ride, after its second launch.

In front of that second launch, prep work is happening for interactive kid play areas in this section of the land, in front of the rockwork along the coaster track.

Zooming out, the scenic boats parked within the land’s main lagoon have received more theming details.

Colorful Viking-style shields can now be seen lining the sides of these ships.

The basin at the bottom of the boat ride’s lagoon appears to have received a finishing coat, leaving it a murky bluish-gray color.

Behind the boat ride, the tower atop the restrooms connected to the Spit Fyre Grill quick service window has received color.

A test sample on the ground shows an example of how the themed walls below this tower will look once painted. Sample seen at arrow below.

Still completely covered in scaffolding, the walls around the base of the Meade Hall dining location appear to have been sculpted, but also have not yet been painted.

The small sections of painted cliff face poking up above the backside of the building give us an idea of what the completed front may look like, seen at the arrows below.

Behind this area, new framing is going up along the right-front of the land’s large indoor theater show building.

This framing is shown as a small retail location in permits. Rumors suggest that this gift shop may be named “Toothless’ Treasure.”

Celestial Park

The last area of Epic Universe is named Celestial Park, which encompasses all of the park’s central areas.

The large show fountain at the back of Celestial Park is seeing its nozzles installed.

It appears as though each of these nozzles has its own pump. According to Universal, these fountains will be capable of shooting water up to 135 feet in the air.

Along the north side of the fountain, new rockwork has appeared.

This section of rockwork will help create a cascading waterfall effect, appearing to lead from the Universal Helios Grand Hotel, down to the fountain basin.

Official rendering of the Universal Helios Grand Hotel

New foundation work is happening in front of the Dark Universe portal, (ring on the ground at top of next photo).

This new foundation work is rumored to be for an outdoor bar named CelesTiki, a name that was trademarked by Universal last year.

A second bar on the other side of the fountain has already received framing. This one is rumored to be named Bar Zenith.

Located between the fountain and the carousel in the center of the park, this is a kids’ splash pad named Astronimica.

The queue entry and exit area is being formed now at the entrance to Constellation Carousel. The smaller dome on right will be for the queue, with the main attraction taking place under the larger domed roof.

The rotating base for this carousel has been installed since our last update.

The inner circles for this carousel will rotate independently while the entire turntable rotates as well, creating two levels of motion, as opposed to a standard carousel’s single point of rotation.

According to the patent related to this attraction, some seating will remain outside of the inner circles, for those looking for less motion during their ride.

Official rendering of Constellation Carousel

Checking in on the other major attraction for Celestial Park, the icon near the front of Starfall Racers continues to receive themed rockwork surrounding it.

The rockwork around the front part of this dual track launched roller coaster is receiving a red coat of color on its right side, helping it to better match official concept art.

Official rendering of Starfall Racers

Land prep continues for what we believe may be a phase 2 dining location, made up of two connected quick service restaurants rumored to be named Pavo’s Italian and Luna Estrella.

While these dining locations were omitted from the model shown in the recent official announcement from Universal, we can see renderings of the final building in some of the official concept art for Celestial Park.

Official image of Epic Universe model with plot circled

In fact, in the background of the piece of concept art below, we can even make out the words “Mexican Fresh” and what could be part of the name “Luna Estrella” above it.

Despite showing up in art and starting work now, we will have to wait and see if they can get these dining locations built and ready in time for the park’s grand opening in 2025.

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 photographs. You can follow him on 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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  • Brian


    The styling of the buildings for celestial park are akin to the belle époque and art nouveau architecture from Europe of the 1920s. Simply beautiful.

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