Epic Universe News Update: Yoshi Ride Testing, Ride Patents, and New Construction

Checking in on Universal Epic Universe, the new theme park opening in Orlando next year, it appears that the Yoshi ride has begun testing with weighted dummies. New color is being added to multiple buildings within the How to Train Your Dragon area. And new patents may give us insight into the Universal Monsters ride.

Let’s go over all of those details, as well as work happening in all parts of Epic Universe, in today’s news update. See the video version of this story above for additional visuals.

Official concept art for Universal Epic Universe

Current look at construction of Epic Universe, Aerial Photos by: Bioreconstruct

Park Entry

Starting our update at the very front of Epic Universe, new arches are being added to the round ticketing area outside the park, as seen in the next photo.

A connective beam extends from this ticketing and guest services area all the way to the large covered security and turnstile canopies.

Zooming out, in the photo above, we can see how four of these connective beams extend out from the security roofs to four different corners.

After passing through the security and turnstiles we enter the park through the portal.

Entry portal into Epic Universe

There are two large multi-purpose structures, one on either side of the entrance to Epic Universe.

Permit image with entry buildings highlighted, Image: fasttrack.ocfl.net

On the left, permits describe the contents of this building as wheelchair and stroller rental, lost and found, lockers, and a very large retail space.

On the right, permits describe this two-story building as containing guest services, health services, restrooms, retail space in the middle, photo pickup, and a Starbucks on the far end.

The upstairs area of this structure contains Team Member-only areas, including VIP rooms and events space, with a bar and outdoor patio.

Celestial Park

Within the central hub for Epic Universe, which is expected to be named Celestial Park, there are two rides: a carousel and a dual-track roller coaster.

We expect the first to be named Constellation Carousel, which will be set within a domed roof in the center of the park.

The supports for the domed roof have just begun to receive gold paint, and some decorative framing can now be seen installed inside the dome.

Celestial-style decorative elements being added within the dome

The roller coaster, which we believe will be named Starfall Racers, has now seen most of its station roof covered in the green material.

Interesting walls have shown up around the front part of Starfall Racers, where the tracks get closest to the rest of the hub.

What appears to be mesh for rockwork and supports have been installed around the tracks within this area as well.

In the middle of the park, the large show fountain, which we believe will be named The Oculus, is seeing a blue finish on its basin bottom.

The blue finish appears to be darker colors within the center of the fountain, perhaps to give the illusion of greater depth once filled with water.

Near the fountain, in front of the portal into the Wizarding World, framing for a kiosk has been installed.

Concierge Kiosk seen at arrow

Foundations for octagonal kiosks can be spotted throughout Celestial Park, but this is one of the first ones to receive framing.

These are thought to be “Concierge Kiosks,” which may act as information booths, and offer some guest services, as well as hotel bookings and dining reservations.

Dark Universe

Dark Universe, the land based on Universal Monsters, has seen scaffolding come down around its windmill-themed dining location, revealing a painted windmill structure on top.

Inspired by the original Frankenstein story, this detailed windmill structure is rumored to contain fire effects when the park is open, which goes along with its name of The Burning Blade Tavern.

In front of this dining location, the Curse of the Werewolf spinning roller coaster attraction is seeing roofing tiles added to the barn-like structure in the middle of the ride.

Queue areas within the center of the roller coaster’s layout are taking shape, with the curvy pathways covered in plywood, visible between the trees.

Work continues within the extended queue and garden area behind the main attraction’s entry facade.

The small mausoleum has already been enclosed within this graveyard-like garden.

A side entrance into the main ride’s large manor facade has taken shape, with its own small walls along its stoop.

The walls leading towards the ride’s main entrance in front of the manor have started to receive their first coats of paint.

A section of the manor gate wall near the very front shows what could be the final coloring may be.

Looking at the front of the manor, an unfinished part of the wall can be seen in the next photo, near the door leading from the ride’s exit gift shop.

This massive indoor attraction is expected to be named “Monsters Unchained: The Frankenstein Experiment.” It is rumored to be a KUKA arm style tracked dark ride featuring all of the Universal Monsters characters.

A rumored element for this attraction’s preshow has an animatronic Frankenstein’s monster figure walk into view of guests. A recently published patent application from Universal just happens to be for a piece of technology that allows an animatronic figure to create the appearance of walking.

Patent illustration from Universal for walking animatronic technology, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

Even one of the patent illustrations conjure up an idea of Frankenstein, with the stick figure walking with its arms outstretched.

Illustration from walking animatronic patent application, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

Another patent application from Universal could be a rumored element on the ride, which would have the Phantom of the Opera playing an organ.

Prop and animatronic movement patent illustration from Universal, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

The patent illustrations show how the keys of an instrument could be moved in time with an animatronic figure.

Patent illustration from Universal, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

Heading back outside, crumbling brick walls on either side of the village street in front of the manor continue to receive paint, including various levels of distressing towards the top.

The other side of these walls are themed as though this structure was initially larger, but sections of the building have collapsed away over time.

Near the entry to the land, after guests pass through the portal, they will pass under the arched structure in the photo below.

How to Train Your Dragon – Isle of Berk

Over at the land based on How to Train Your Dragon, some mesh structure has taken shape atop the portal. This will allow the carved look of the rockwork to continue from the sides.

A reference sample can be seen in front of the portal, seen at number 1 in the next photo, which shows us what some of this rockwork may look like once completed.

The lagoon inside of the land has been drained since our last update. Temporary safety railings and walkways have been installed along the boardwalk-style pathways.

A section of backstage path has been poured behind the Sky Fly rides.

This path reaches behind this small snack stand, which, looking closer, appears to have been painted!

A sign has appeared on the front of this snack stand, which reads “Grog & Gruel.” It has been previously rumored to be named “Hooligan’s Grog & Gruel.”

This is the second location within this land with a visible sign, as the outdoor quick service restaurant named “Spitfyre Grill” had previously received an unpainted sign above its ordering windows.

Spitfyre Grill, with arrow pointing at sign over ordering windows

Located to the left of the now painted Grog & Gruel location, the front to a guest-facing restrooms near the kids play area has also received colorful paint.

At the back of the land, the roller coaster attraction has received stylized safety netting along a section of track over and around its exterior queue areas.

It appears that a themed wall is being built along the coaster’s final brake run to help block the view of backstage and the maintenance building.

At the center of the land, framing for dragon houses has been installed above the land’s main retail location. Acting like large birdhouses, it is rumored that we may see a swinging dragon tail sticking out of one of these colorful houses.

Scaffolding has been added behind the mountain structure atop the land’s central dining location, expected to be named Meade Hall.

We can now see the mesh framing for both of the statues along the front of this dining location, matching the entrance to the Great Hall as seen in the films.

The roof over the station for the area’s boat ride has been installed. Lots of footings and connection points can be spotted for structures and themed elements yet to be installed along the ride path for this attraction.

An arch has been installed at the entrance to a bridge leading to the land’s stage show.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Ministry of Magic

Heading into the park’s Wizarding World land, scaffolding has come down around the Parisian arch at the entry to the land’s main street.

What appears to be a colorful mural is just starting, located to the right of the arch.

The false front structures as part of an elaborate forced perspective display at the back of the land are being enclosed.

These somewhat large elevated structures are being themed as Parisian rooftops to help partially obscure the Sacré-Cœur Basilica towers behind them, creating a sense of depth for this forced perspective illusion as seen from the ground.

Forced perspective seen on right of photo

Some scaffolding has come down in front of a section of facades on the left side of the land, seen at the arrow in the next photo. This will be the exit to the land’s main ride, rumored to be named “Harry Potter and the Battle at the Ministry.”

This massive indoor attraction is rumored to feature large elevator-like ride vehicles that travel along a track, set within the British Ministry of Magic.

Super Nintendo World

Bricks are being installed along the front of the portal leading into Super Nintendo World. Bricks can already be seen installed along the wall on the left of the entry portal

Inside of the land, the Yoshi ride has been testing with weighted dummies.

This continually moving omnimover-style family ride appears to have two weighted dummies in each ride vehicle during this test and adjust phase.

Each of the ride vehicles are covered in a white cloth, and then wrapped in a translucent green plastic on top of that. Some vehicles even appear to have another layer of protection, with a black cloth over the Yoshi’s heads!

During testing, a temporary safety wall has been constructed around the ride path. Strings of temporary lights can be seen around the ride path as well, likely to help when testing at night.

Behind this area, within the Donkey Kong Country mini-land, the framing for the very top of the golden temple is being installed.

This framing will create the golden face above the temple, which will become the start of the waterfall over the ride’s first launch through a barrel cannon.

Workers can be seen working along the lift hill leading to this waterfall section of the ride.

We’ll learn more about this ride in the coming months, as the first version of Mine Cart Madness will be opening at Universal Studios Japan this Spring.

Epic Universe Hotels

Checking in on progress around the hotels for Epic Universe, the Universal Helios Grand Hotel is seeing new pavement work on the side facing the theme park.

A raised patio overlooking the park can be seen here, located directly behind the hotel’s lobby area.

Work continues on the bar at the center of the Helios hotel’s roof. Sections of this rooftop bar are being enclosed.

The yellow framing may be a temporary structural support. This may be used while the domed roof is placed, and then removed once the dome is structurally sound. A similar method was employed during construction of the carousel in the middle of the park.

Located to the side of the rooftop bar, the rooftop ballroom is receiving framing, including curved roof supports on top.

The pool for the Helios hotel is being shaped, wrapping around the pool bar and restrooms building already under construction.

As for the two hotels just outside of Epic Universe, nearly all of the colorful, reflective tiles have been installed on the side of Universal Stella Nova Resort that is facing Universal Blvd.

Its sister hotel, Universal Terra Luna Resort, is only just starting to receive its colorful tiles, but no time is being wasted.

And to wrap up today’s update, many have been wondering what the new work is happening to the left of the Terra Luna hotel, seen at number 1 in the photo below.

Known in permits as Project 917, it is believed that this area will be a resort shuttle bus depot. Here the shuttle buses for Universal Orlando will be able to park and depart, with easy access to both Epic Universe and the existing resort areas via the extended Kirkman Rd.

It is also rumored that the bus fleet will utilize electric buses, which would mean this could also act as the bus charging stations between dispatches.

Kirkman Rd. traffic circle ramp, with bus depot area seen at top

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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  • Lou Zameryka


    great update. what is #4 in the numbered image at the end of the article?

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