Universal Orlando’s upcoming theme park, Epic Universe, is being built now near the Orange County Convention Center. Set to open in summer 2025, this massive project is seeing new construction added daily, along with dozens of permit updates weekly, which can help us make sense of what is happening around the site.
Let’s check in on new theming elements installed around the park, possible changes to some of the restaurants, and new detailed plans for one the park’s main attractions in today’s news update. See the video version of this story below for additional visuals.
Epic Universe will be Universal Orlando’s newest theme park when it opens by summer 2025. It is currently being built about 2 miles south of the existing Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure parks.
Updated Trademarks, Logos and Hotels
As we reported in our last update, new logos for Universal’s theme parks appear to be removing the possessive “S” from their names. For example, “Universal’s Islands of Adventure” now shows as “Universal Islands of Adventure.”
New trademarks for Epic Universe seem to continue the trend. While the original trademarks for “Universal’s Epic Universe” were recently renewed and are still active, a new one for “Universal Epic Universe” was also filed. This matches the new logo for the park, which two versions of themselves were just trademarked.
Several additional trademarks continue this trend as well. One is for “Universal Helios Grand Hotel,” which is expected to be the name for the 500-room hotel at the back of the theme park.
Two more trademark applications also remove the apostrophe “s.” These are for what we expect the two 750-room hotels across the street from Epic Universe to be named, “Universal Stella Nova Resort” and “Universal Terra Luna Resort.”
We are not sure which one is which, but major construction on the main structure for the first of these two resorts is wrapping up now, while its sister hotel is just beginning its construction.
Central Hub Dining Changes
Inside the park, we have possible changes to some of the hub’s dining options. In our last update we talked about a new trademark filing for “The Oak & Star Tavern,” and suggested it could either be for a dining location within the Universal Monsters land or perhaps for the hub. We now believe that this trademarked name is in fact for the hub.
It appears that the barbecue restaurant located directly outside of the Universal Monsters area has been renamed from “Elysian BBQ” in early concepts to “The Oak & Star Tavern.” As part of this change, the location is rumored to have switched from a quick service restaurant, where you order at the counter, to a full service restaurant, where you order from a server at your table. A full bar is rumored to be added as well, hence the “Tavern” part of the new name.
The change may be related to what we can only assume is the cancellation of a different full service location within the hub for Epic Universe, which was named Cassini. Cassini was going to be an Italian restaurant and bar themed as an observatory, but its permits were never paid and have since expired. Construction on this location never started, which has led many to believe it has been canceled.
This is not the first dining location to be seemingly canceled in this corner of the park. Meteor Burger, a quick service location right next door was removed from site plans shortly before construction on the park began. Its connected restrooms were all that remained in the updated plans, and have since been built. It’s possible that this section of the park may be reserved for something else someday, but is being undeveloped at this time, for now.
One dining location that is being constructed is what we believe will be named ATLANTIC. The framing for an octagonal dining room at this upscale full service restaurant and bar is being erected now. This dining area will overlook one of the park’s water features.
Central Hub Rides
In the center of the park’s central lagoon will be a flat ride we believe will be named “Constellation Carousel.”
Work continues on reinforcing the walls that will eventually hold in the water for this central water feature where this ride sits. These walls appear to create the shape of a walkway, which will lead between the lower water feature where ATLANTIC is located, and the middle water feature containing the carousel.
The central dual-track roller coaster in Epic Universe, expected to be named “Starfall Racers” doesn’t appear to have had much more track installed since our last update, but more supports have gone up for the ride’s patented dueling barrel roll.
Additional work is happening on the ground for a structure that appears to extend from the station and queue areas.
How to Train Your Dragon – The Isle of Berk
Moving into the lands of Epic Universe, the large statues that will great guests entering “How to Train Your Dragon – The Isle of Berk” continue to receive sculpting work.
Behind these statues, multiple scenic boat elements within this lagoon are receiving some mesh shapes of their own now.
Multiple pieces of mesh wireframe “chips” are being installed around the land’s roller coaster to create sculpted rocks that will stick out of the lagoon.
Also sitting in this lagoon area now, shown at number “1” in the photo below, is what appears to be a ride envelope tester.
Objects like these are often dragged through the track of a roller coaster to ensure that no scenic elements are within reach of guests riding the coaster. It seems a bit early for a coaster train pull through, so perhaps they are using this to ensure no rockwork is being installed too close to the track as they go.
Additional rockwork-type forms are being installed along the roller coaster track outside of the lagoon area as well. These unique shapes are located shortly after the track passes below the lagoon’s water level.
Along another section of track earlier on the ride, color details are already being added to the lagoon’s themed walls. Construction on what permits call a candy shop is picking up steam along the other side of this water feature.
New flooring is being installed at the coaster’s dual-load station, enclosing the lower level below the station level. New footer forms are being added in front of this area which may be related to the ride’s exterior queue.
Also in this land, the roof is being placed over the main dining room of the Great Hall restaurant.
The top of this section of the structure is expected to eventually feature a large forced perspective cliff face, almost like a large green mountain, which will be visible along the back of the land when entering the Isle of Berk.
Super Nintendo World
Next up, let’s check in on Super Nintendo World. The shapes for planters and interactive elements are taking shape along the upstairs pathway, as well as shapes for the base of castle turrets on either side of Bowser’s Fortress.
The framing seen in the next photo will eventually be the entrance to Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, and will look like his fortress.
An interesting wall is being installed along the track for Yoshi’s Adventure, partially covering the exit path from the ride’s indoor scene.
The Donkey Kong mine cart coaster at the back of the area is already receiving theming details, including a golden temple facade. The wall seen at the arrow in the photo below is already being shaped to look like temple bricks, which have been painted gold.
Dark Universe (Universal Monsters)
The portal into the land based on Universal Monsters, which we believe will be named “Dark Universe” according to a recent trademark, continues to receive extensive theming.
Forms for rockwork-type themed elements have been wrapped around the steel structure, and even look fully formed now on the right side of the photo below, just awaiting color.
Inside of the land, most work on the roller coaster, expected to be named “Curse of the Werewolf” has been focused around the station area lately.
This roller coaster is rumored to be a launched spinning family coaster, and may contain a swing launch through the themed structure in middle of the ride.
Nearby, work has started on what plans refer to as a “Drink Stand.” This drink stand was the only permitted structure that had to be moved to make way for the roller coaster, which was a late addition to the plans. The drink stand sits at the back of the land, between the entrance to area’s main indoor attraction and a windmill-themed quick service location.
Work on the exterior for the windmill restaurant continues. These concrete walls being built along the front of the structure are expected to be filled with dirt to create an artificial hillside, making it appear that the windmill is sitting atop a hill.
The entry for this small windmill-themed restaurant can be seen in the center of these forms.
The other, larger restaurant for this area is still expected to be named “The Stakehouse,” (and that is “Stake” as in, stake-through-the-heart). We are still awaiting confirmation or a trademark to support this rumor though.
Moving on to the Wizarding World area of Epic Universe, which will contain elements from both Fantastic Beasts and the original Harry Potter series, the tall building facades along the streets of Wizarding France continue to be enclosed.
Looks like the structure at the back-right of the land will be themed as the steps of Place Cachée, as we suspected.
The facades we talked about in our last update have continued to pop up around the right side of the land. This dead end of the land is blocking a large expansion plot for the Wizarding World which may receive another attraction in the future.
Ministry of Magic Ride
Thanks to publicly posted permits we are getting confirmation of the setting for the land’s main attraction. Set within the largest indoor structure at Epic Universe, this ride is rumored to take place within the British Ministry of Magic, as first seen in the original Harry Potter series of films.
New permitted plans filed with Orange County prove this setting, as the plans seem to include drawings of the Floo Network fireplaces that lead into the Ministry, as well as its large atrium, and even a note about a “Wizard Statue” at the back of the area.
The permitted plans, (seen below) show the entry into the building from the street, as well as an exit retail location that leads back to this street. We will enter the Ministry by using the Floo Network, and pass through a fireplace, just as employees of the Ministry do in the films. The plans seem to show multiple such fireplaces so multiple parties can enter at the same time.
Once inside, we will make our way down the large hallway of fireplaces, and into the grand atrium. Just as in the films, towering round office windows will flank either side of this tall section of the building.
Straight ahead, in what appeared to be a dead end area behind the atrium in earlier plans, is what these documents call a “Forced Perspective Area.” It appears that instead of using an LED screen as we had theorized in a prior update, the effect of the offices going on forever will be achieved by having physical set pieces that get smaller as they get further away from the viewer, bending around a corner until out of sight. This forced perspective area will also contain a 20-foot tall wizard statue in the foreground, to create a sense of scale.
Queue areas are also marked on these plans, with us continuing along the queue by entering the next section on the left side of the atrium. The queue takes us through what has been rumored to be offices and other areas of the Ministry, before eventually reaching the ride’s load area, which would be located north of these plans.
An exit path is marked on these documents, which takes us by a photo pickup kiosk, presumably for purchasing an on-ride photo, before dumping us back into the Ministry’s atrium. We then make our way to fireplaces across from the ones we entered to get back out, passing through an exit gift shop before walking back out into the streets of Paris.
While we still do not have a complete picture for how the ride system itself will work, which has been rumored to be something similar as The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Islands of Adventure, but with the ability to also go up and down, we at least now have confirmation of how we will enter and exit this Ministry attraction. You can learn more about this attraction in our “Everything Epic Universe” story on the Wizarding area.
That’s going to wrap it up 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 for more incredible theme park photos.
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.