It’s time to check in on all of the progress around Universal’s Epic Universe, including the latest construction progress, new permit details, and attraction rumors. With track being installed at roller coasters in four different areas of the park, building exteriors taking shape, and even some themed elements popping up, it’s an exciting time for this upcoming theme park in Orlando.
Let’s take a look at everything happening around Epic Universe in today’s news update. See the video version of this story below for additional visuals.
A big thanks to Bioreconstruct on Twitter for providing us with these amazing aerials views of recent progress around the site. Compare the latest wide view of the theme park below to the official concept art above.
We’re starting our update at the future entrance to the park, where two structures are taking shape that will one day flank either side of the park’s main gate.
We can make out the curvature of the south sides of these buildings, which make up the round entry courtyard just outside the park.
These structures are listed in permits as multi-purpose buildings that will contain things like guest services and the park’s largest gift shop.
Moving into the park, work on a full-service restaurant and bar rumored to be named ATLANTIC has been picking up, seen below. Plans for this location show most of the dining room on a section lower than where you enter, with picture windows overlooking the park’s water features.
The kitchen areas, which are under construction now, will be set below the restaurant’s entrance, with what appears to be some sort of access tunnel for deliveries to and from backstage without having to pass through guest areas above.
One restaurant within the hub of Epic Universe that is looking more complete than others is the one set right outside of the Universal Monsters land, seen below. Rumored to be named Elysian BBQ, the two round covered seating areas for this location can be seen, as well as the outline for its entrance between them.
The shapes for the hub’s central lagoons are well carved out, leading to the flat ride within the center of the park.
Parts of the ride pit for this spinner attraction have been enclosed, and footings for supports for the future canopy over the attraction are more defined, but it doesn’t appear that work on the mechanics for the actual ride within the center has begun.
Construction progress for the hub’s large dual-track roller coaster is more obvious as several new pieces of track have been installed near the start of the ride.
Areas within the station building and maintenance bay have also received quite a bit of work since we last checked in.
Zooming out however, is where we see the most progress, with a web of track supports now installed for the latter half of the ride.
Located just beside this massive coaster project we see progress on another roller coaster for the park, but this one will be located within the How to Train Your Dragon land, (see the arrow in the image below).
Supports and track have been installed along a section along the edge of the land closest to the hub coaster. This section of the family-style launched coaster comes right after passing below the water level of the land’s lagoon, dipping under a bridge.
This lagoon will be the first thing that greets visitors when entering the Dragons land, and a major landmark within the lagoon is starting to take shape. There will be several viking ships in the lagoon, which the bases that will support them can already be seen, but there will also be two statues facing the land’s entrance as well.
The two large statues will be just like the ones seen at the start of the third film, and one of them—which appears to be a dragon in the plans—has just received its framing.
Plans for this area show natural gas lines running beneath the lagoon and ending at the statues for a “flame effect.” Going by the scale of the equipment nearby, these iconic statues will be quite large.
Across the How to Train Your Dragon land, work is progressing on a theater building, seen below. Permits say this indoor theater will have at least 985 seats. Many assume this theater will feature a show similar to, or the same as, “Untrainable” at Universal Studios Beijing.
Recent Notices of Commencement filed with Orange County show many of the manufacturers and companies that are working on Epic Universe. For the Dragons land, TAIT Towers Manufacturing is listed as one of these companies. They specialize in large-scale stage show media integration, like the technology used in Bourne Stuntacular as well as Untrainable.
Other companies mentioned in these recent documents, specifically for this particular land, include Intamin, who is expected to have manufactured the roller coaster, Gerstlaurer, who will be providing the Sky Fly flat rides, Mack Rides, who is providing the Splash Battle Boat Ride, and other companies like Holovis, who specialize in audio/video integration.
Over in Super Nintendo World, documents show Setpoint as a contractor, which is the company creating the Donkey Kong coaster, and Sansei Technologies, who are listed as providing elements for the Yoshi ride.
Other companies listed for work within Super Nintendo World include Scenario Cockram, Harbour Marine, and once again, TAIT Towers.
The Universal Monsters land features work by Mack Rides, who we suspected was providing the new spinning roller coaster, as well as Peterson Inc., which is said to be working on the ride system for the land’s main E-Ticket attraction.
Adena Corporation and Altect Integrated Solutions are also listed as working on the Universal Monsters area of the park.
The Wizarding World area of Epic Universe has documents showing TAIT Towers working on something here too, as well as Simtec Systems and Industrial Smoke and Mirrors.
Interestingly, both Simtec Systems and Industrial Smoke and Mirrors develop and install motion simulator attractions. They could be working on elements of the large Ministry of Magic attraction, but the documents do not specify that.
The exteriors around the huge Ministry of Magic attraction are now some of the furthest along in the park, with the streets of Wizarding Paris becoming clearer with every update.
The dead end within the land, seen below, will serve as the entrance and exit to the area’s main attraction, which will take us into the British Ministry of Magic using the Floo Network.
A recent permit included a small graphic showcasing the layout for what may be the entrance and exit areas for this attraction, below. This graphic also illustrates the Floo Network hallway of fireplaces leading to the impressive round atrium.
Rumors say that the large round atrium will feature a fountain in the center with Wizarding statues that will be 20 feet tall, surrounded by towering office windows in a section of the building that is more than 5-stories tall.
One interpretation of these plans could have the area behind the atrium, (highlighted in the image below,) which is set-back a bit, as a sort of large screen, extending our view infinitely. Perhaps acting like the giant LED screen from Bourne Stuntacular, this theorized set extension could also be a way to incorporate the paper airplane-shaped inter-office memos that fly overhead in the films.
The queue areas and unique entry to the Ministry of Magic attraction are in the first parts of the building, but all of the ride areas will be contained within the large structure at the back.
Also attached to this building is the land’s theater attraction, seen below, which is also receiving some exterior work as well.
Across from this structure, on the other side of the street, work is picking up for one of the land’s two dining locations, as well as attached restrooms, seen below.
The retail locations and the dining establishment closer to the land’s entrance have also received framing for their facades, seen below.
Across the park, within the Universal Monsters land, the village streets are taking shape here as well.
The retail shop on the left and dining location on the right are receiving themed exteriors now to make this winding entry street feel more like a European village.
At the end of the street, dead ahead, will be the towering facade for the area’s main attraction, an indoor dark ride. The other attraction for this land, a spinning roller coaster, looks to have had all of its track delivered and has been installing more each day. We will be digging deeper into this coaster project, including its possible layout, very soon.
Themed elements for the portal that will act as the entrance to the Universal Monsters land are beginning to be installed. This is rumored to be themed as an electrical tower surrounded by old tree roots.
The entry portal over at Super Nintendo World is making good progress as well.
Looking to the other side of the large warp pipe entry, the stairs in front of Peach’s Castle have appeared, as has the framing for the flat hills backdrop all around the land, seen below.
It’s easy to get bogged down in the incredible details being added now, from the Yoshi ride and Mushroom Kingdom areas up front, to the Mario Kart ride and Donkey Kong roller coaster behind it, but shockingly, there was nothing in this area just one year ago, as seen in the comparison below. Everything we’re seeing now simply did not exist in January 2022, so it’s amazing to see how far we have come in such a short time.
Just outside of the Super Nintendo World land, work on what we believe will be a Nintendo gift shop facing the hub has reached a new milestone. Decorative elements have been added over this store’s entrance, with a new dome along the roof.
Attached to the right of this store, according to permits, will be restrooms, and then a small restaurant, which is rumored to be a quick service location that serves pizza, named Moon Pie.
Near the back of the park, one of the last projects to get started is picking up the pace now, the attached hotel. Known as Project 910 in permits, it is expected to be named “Universal’s Helios Grand Hotel,” due to a trademark filed by the company back in 2021.
The trademark isn’t the only time we’ve seen this name however, as the guest road leading to this hotel will be named Helios according to documents filed with the county. A tunnel has been constructed for the Team Member backstage road that the future Helios road will pass over.
While progress on the hotel at the back of the park has been slow, the hotel being built across the street from Epic Universe is moving much, much quicker.
Known as Project 912 in permits, this hotel is using a faster building method than Helios. Prefabricated sections are lifted into place using this method, which has allowed this hotel to essentially pop up out of nowhere in a matter of weeks.
The hotel, which is being built by the same company behind the Endless Summer Resort, appears to feature rounded windows. This may be to go along with the space theme it is rumored to have, along with its sister hotel, Project 913 nearby.
The company’s trademarked names “Universal’s Stella Nova Resort” and “Universal’s Terra Luna Resort” are expected to be used for these two hotels. Land clearing is happening now over at the Project 913 parcel, and work is expected to begin on it within the next few months.
These three hotels will make up the official hotel offerings for Epic Universe when it opens in summer 2025, with one hotel at the back of the park and two across the street in front of the park.
Another new hotel was just announced to be built within this area as well, but this one will not be an official Universal resort.
Marriott has revealed plans to build a W-Hotel branded 22-story tower just outside of Epic Universe. With 400 rooms, an on-site 2000-seat music venue and a 6-story parking garage, this proposed luxury hotel does not yet have an opening timeframe, but the developer says they hope to break ground by the end of this year.
That’s all for now, but be sure to check out the video version of this story for additional visuals. A big thank you to Bioreconstruct on Twitter for providing us with an amazing aerial look at the Epic Universe site.
Be sure to check out the Everything Epic Universe video playlist for more details on every area of this new theme park, and stay tuned for more construction updates coming soon.
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