Epic Universe News Update: Yoshi Vehicles Revealed, Monsters Village Towers, and New Construction

Universal Epic Universe, the new theme park opening in Orlando in 2025, keeps evolving at a rapid pace, with new color and details added every week. The Yoshi ride vehicles are being uncovered in Super Nintendo World, massive new structures are popping up in How to Train Your Dragon, and a gothic village is appearing in the Dark Universe.

Let’s dig into all of those construction milestones, as well as progress in 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

How to Train Your Dragon – Isle of Berk

Jumping right into construction progress within the worlds of Epic Universe, it appears that a new finish has been applied to the basin of the main lagoon within How to Train Your Dragon – Isle of Berk.

Looking closer, what could be water sprayer effects have been added along the sections of track where the coaster attraction will appear to skate along the water.

The scenic grandstands behind the land’s two Sky Fly spinning flat rides is just now beginning construction.

The framing for this structure is being built around a section of the roller coaster, so it can pass through the stands.

The stands are designed to appear like the ones seen in the films during the Dragon Racing segment, with the name of this ride rumored to be Dragon Racers Rally.

Walls separating this attraction from the rest of the land are being erected on either side.

On one side of these two flat rides, we can see prep for the exterior queue areas for the land’s roller coaster, rumored to be named Hiccup’s Wing Gliders.

Themed divider walls have been added to separate the main coaster ride from the maintenance building on the other side of the track switch.

Looking very closely, we can just spot one coaster train parked within the maintenance building for this attraction.

On the other side of the divider walls, here is a side view of the coaster’s first of two launches.

As we pointed out in our last update, large themed gears are visible within this scene. In story, this contraption built by Hiccup is what powers the coaster, giving us the momentum to start the ride.

Later along the coaster track, located near the land’s entrance area, the two sheep we saw previously are now covered in protective plastic.

The single Dragon Sheep is not yet covered up. This is just another sheep, but it has been dressed as a dragon, complete with wings, to help blend in with the other dragon residents of Berk.

More progress is being made on the land’s family-friendly outdoor boat ride. The actual conveyor belt has been installed along the ride’s load and unload platform.

A mossy wall has been fully themed near the start of the boat ride.

New framing for covered queue areas for the boat ride keeps appearing.

This queue framing leads from the ride’s load area, under a nearby bridge, leading all the way to the boat ride’s pump room further away.

Looking very closely, what could be our first glimpse at one of the boat ride vehicles can be spotted parked behind the pump room for the ride.

Zooming out, sculpting work for the gigantic mountain on top of the Meade Hall dining location has progressed extremely fast.

It is hard to spot through the scaffolding, but even some additional mossy green color can be spotted along the base of this structure, seen on bottom-left of next photo.

Nearby, work is also progressing on the dragon houses atop of the land’s central retail location.

Acting like big bird houses, we can get an idea of what these completed dragon houses will look like from an image seen in publicly filed permits. What could be swaying dragon tails can be spotted hanging out a couple of these houses.

Retail location permit image, fasttrack.ocfl.net

New trees have been planted near the front of the land, to help block the view of the Celestial Park hub areas outside.

With these new trees, along with the perimeter fences, and the now completed pathways near the land’s entrance, this How to Train Your Dragon land is feeling more and more fleshed out.

Super Nintendo World

Moving across the park to Super Nintendo World, in a big milestone for the park, the ride vehicles for Yoshi’s Adventure are finally being uncovered.

Being uncovered from their protective plastic and cloth layers as these photos were taken recently, we can now see some of the colorful Yoshis that were previously hidden beneath.

These ride vehicles had been testing previously with weighted dummies.

This ride vehicle, seen at the arrow, which is shaped like a Yoshi egg, will be used for ADA and accessibility.

To the left of the Yoshi ride, exterior work continues on the facade for Bowser’s Fortress, the future entrance to the Mario Kart ride.

The Mario Kart ride’s exit gift shop, expected to be named Mario Motors now has an “M” shaped entrance to the store.

New towers have been added to the facade for Peach’s Castle, the entrance into the land. The second level for Peach’s Castle has not yet been installed.

Heading behind the main areas of Super Nintendo World, more theming progress is being made within the Donkey Kong Country mini-land.

The palm tree icon along the wall on the left side of the area that we saw framing installed for last update is now fleshed out, as more color is being added along the rest of the wall.

This section of the Mine Cart Madness roller coaster in front of this area is where it will appear that our carts will jump over a pit of spikes, where there is a gap in the track.

The Amusement Insider YouTube channel recently created a visualization for this attraction showing how this unique ride system may work. In the video below we can see a POV for parts of the ride like this, to see how effective this ride system may be.

The front of the golden temple facade at the very back of the Donkey Kong Country mini land continues to receive its golden color, including these newer temple ruins themed elements along the lift hill.

A ring has been installed atop of the main temple front. This ring will be part of the attraction’s centerpiece waterfall.

This waterfall will be segmented to allow for the coaster arm to pass through the center without touching the water, but will appear as a continuous waterfall from the front.

The side view below shows some of the layers for the future waterfall on either side of the ride’s first launch at the top of the lift hill. A later section of he ride track can be seen behind this area as well.

At the very top of the temple facade, where a face will be built, we can spot what may be water jets.

The jets may be for the start of the waterfall, which will spill out of the face’s mouth.

Dark Universe

The latest land to receive its portal ring is Dark Universe, the land based on Universal Monsters.

The front of this land’s detailed portal has now received its metallic ring on the front.

This is the third portal to receive its ring, as How to Train Your Dragon and the Wizarding World already have. We are now just waiting on Super Nintendo World to get its portal ring, and then all four worlds will have received it.

The portal front for the Dark Universe appears to be brown and gold in color.

This notch in the portal ring is likely for an extension of the tree root motif for the portal, so a tree root can extend out and overlap the portal ring.

A section of the portal ring, a plate with a phrase etched into the front of it, has still yet to be installed. According to official concept art for Dark Universe, it appears as though this portal’s phrase will be “It’s Alive. “It’s Alive.” from the classic Frankenstein film.

Official concept art for the Dark Universe portal

Behind the portal, the first thing guests see as they enter are gravestones and grave markers that line the main pathway, seen at number 1 below.

Moving into the land, the village roofs are starting to peak out above the scaffolding. These rooftop peaks now include what could be a bell tower near the front of the land.

Crumbling brick walls, towers, and stairs that look like they could be right out of the set from the classic Frankenstein film can now also be seen near the front of the land.

Deeper into the land, the manor gatehouse continues to receive theming. We will pass through this gate to enter the main indoor attraction, rumored to be named Monsters Unchained: The Frankenstein Experiment.

Looking to the land’s other attraction, a spinning roller coaster expected to be named Curse of the Werewolf, we can spot one of the coaster trains for testing sitting on the spur leading to the maintenance building behind the station.

The train is still covered in black and white protective plastic so we still do not have a good idea of its actual colors.

The queue areas for this roller coaster ride are themed as winding paths, wrapping around trees.

Some of these queue paths, as well as the main pathways within the center of the land, appear to be covered in plywood. This may be a precautionary method to keep the freshly poured paths from being damaged.

At the back of the land, hiding behind the windmill-themed dining location, a backstage structure continues to be built. This backstage structure is now receiving its roof.

This backstage building is being built on a corner section of the land that has always been allocated for backstage use, and it does not interfere with the land’s phase two expansion plot.

According to permit information, the 3 acre expansion plot along the back edge of the land is being set aside for future expansion of the Dark Universe land.

Permit image with Dark Universe expansion plot marked in green

This expansion area at the back of the land is currently being utilized for staging, parking, and portable offices during construction.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Ministry of Magic

Heading now to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Ministry of Magic, the mural just outside of the land is looking more complete. This mural appears to be designed as a 1920’s perfume advertisement.

Some color has been added to the courtyard taking shape just outside of the land’s portal entry.

Pavement prep is happening inside of the portal, and garden landscaping work on either side of the portal entry is happening now, with it looking nearly complete on this side near the land’s exit gate.

Inside of the Wizarding World land, more color is being added to Parisian-style building facades along the streets, including some yellow color added to a facade in front of the theater attraction.

Outlines for the sidewalks have appeared along the side street on the left side of the land.

At the dead end of this street, hookups can be seen for something within this uniquely shaped wall.

Stairs to nowhere are being added to the right of this wall.

And on the right of that is the future entrance to the area’s main Ministry of Magic ride. The exterior of this building facade is covered in Art Nouveau decoration.

Celestial Park

Moving now into the center of Epic Universe, within the Celestial Park area, more fountain pumps have been installed within the basin for the park’s large show fountain.

The pumps appear to have been installed within a star-shape in the fountain.

On the north side of the fountain, we can get a good look at the jagged rockwork along the sides of the cascading waterfalls that dump into the fountain’s basin.

To the left of the fountain, supports and hookups for an outdoor bar have shown up in the last couple weeks. This outdoor bar is rumored to be named CelesTiki, assumed to be a celestial-themed tiki bar.

Another covered outdoor bar can be found on the other side of the fountain. This one is a little further along, with its roof already installed.

The nearby dining location, expected to be named Meteor Astropub, is seeing glass installed along the top of the round seating area in front of the main building.

Located between the large fountain and the carousel in the center of the park, this splash pad was officially announced as being named Astronomica.

The Astronomica splash pad has seen its fountains partially buried since we checked in last.

Many of the dome supports for Constellation Carousel have started to be painted gold, but only along the lowest sections.

Tarps and small pieces of wood can be spotted covering up work happening on the turntable for this attraction.

Rows of electrical conduit can be seen running in multiple directions between the carousel’s domed roof supports, seen at the arrow in the next photo.

Rockwork continues to take shape in front of Starfall Racers, the dual track launched roller coaster attraction in Celestial Park.

The rockwork on the left side of the ride’s centerpiece icon is now the same orange color as the rockwork on the right.

The comet icon itself has received more details, with a new silver finish spotted hiding behind the plastic sheeting on the scaffolding.

Plus, segmented green decorative plating has been added to the rings above the comet, in addition to these small silver accents.

Around the side of the roller coaster attraction, prep work is happening for its extended exterior queue areas, seen within the two arrows in the next photo.

This extended queue is shown in permits as being made of several circle foundations, with celestial-themed roofs over top.

Here is a graphic overlay showing the permitted plans over top of a recent construction photo to get an idea of what these extended queue areas will look like once completed.

Overlay graphic by @tommyhawkins

Back to the center of the park, the inside walls of the shallow reflecting pools in front of the Atlantic restaurant have received a layer of light blue.

It is possible that they could be installing the picture windows for the Atlantic restaurant, as temporary suspended platforms have been added along several sides of this octagonal dining location.

Here is what this restaurant looks like in official concept art.

Atlantic restaurant concept art

Beside this area, foundation prep work is happening on what we believe will be two phase two dining locations near the front of the park.

The entry portal arch at the park’s entrance looks to have connections atop, ready for the Chronos tower structure to begin to take shape.

Here is how the Chronos entry tower appears in official concept, the main entrance into Epic Universe.

Chronos Tower official concept art

Epic Universe Hotels

At the back of Epic Universe, the dome framing has been installed at the Universal Helios Grand Hotel.

This domed structure is going to be part of the hotel’s rooftop bar.

A lot of progress has been made on the side of the hotel opposite the park, including windows installed and new arch shaped along the lower level. This side of the hotel is where guests will enter the lobby for checking in.

Windows are installed all along the side facing the theme park as well.

Beside the Helios hotel, the pool is being shaped, seen in the next photo wrapping around the round poolside bar structure in the center.

Moving from the hotel at the back of the park, to the two other hotels being built across the street from Epic Universe.

All three hotels for Epic Universe seen in one photo

Colorful reflective tiles are being installed quickly along Universal Terra Luna Resort, seen in the foreground of the photo below.

Universal Stella Nova Resort has received most of its reflective tiles, except for the section on the front of the hotel facing the park.

The outline for the guest drop off road along the entrance to this hotel is visible in the photo above.

Stella Nova has received its own street sign, for the small road leading into hotel parking lot. Seen at number 4 in the photo below, it appears to be named Stella Nova Way.

Recently the Stella Nova hotel has been testing its twinkling star lights at night.

Spread out around the face of the hotel, these individual white lights are placed in multiple spots to give the effect of a starfield.

Here is a close up look at one of these individual lights.

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 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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