Epic Universe seems to be back on track after a minor setback a couple weeks ago. Flooding from Hurricane Ian has already subsided at the massive work site, and crews have been back to work constructing this new theme park in Orlando.
Thanks to Bioreconstruct on Twitter, we have new aerial photographs taken a little over a week after the storm passed through Central Florida. Comparing these photos to those from the day after our storm in our last update, the difference is night and day.
Some of the most apparent differences can be seen within the three central water features for Epic Universe. The areas, where these two lagoons and a fountain display are being constructed, were completely filled with water as of September 30th, but now they are not only empty, but work has resumed within them.
The water features can be seen within the center of the concept art above. The most recent area to start construction is the lower section of lagoon, seen in the photograph below.
This lower section of the central lagoon, which is close to the park’s entrance, is where an octagonal-shaped dining location will be located. Rumored to be themed to the ocean, this full-service restaurant and lounge will have large picture windows overlooking the lagoon and rest of the theme park.
Subsided water from within the central areas of the park has also revealed progress within the water feature directly within the center of the theme park.
This central water feature is expected to contain some type of spinner flat ride. Foundation work looks to be complete and new footings are being installed to support sections of a canopy or some type of enclosure for this attraction.
While it is still unknown what type of ride this will be within the center of the park, rumors were originally for some sort of carousel. In our last update we discussed the possibility of a different type of flat ride system being used instead, one that utilizes water.
We saw plenty of pipes being installed below the foundations for this flat ride, so it is possible water may play a part in some way. Or, those pipes may be for fountains around the perimeter of the ride structure, set within the central water feature itself.
A plumbing permit for this area describes 22,798 linear feet of piping for “water feature.” The permit also says this project has piping for a “pool.” Older permits for this attraction described this work as a “Ride Pit with an Acid room and Liquid Chlorine room,” as well as an “Indoor Oil Water Separator to support a Hydraulic Elevator and Lift.”
The final water feature for the new park’s central hub is the large Bellagio-style fountain display with amphitheater-like seating surrounding it.
Foundation work for this fountain was interrupted by the storm, but work can continue now that the water is drying up.
At the very back of the park’s central hub will sit a large hotel. With 500 rooms, this hotel will tower over the rest of the park.
A tower crane was scheduled to arrive this month, but may have been delayed by the storm.
Major construction is only now starting on the hotel, but a dining location that will face the theme park’s hub is taking shape in front of the hotel.
In our last update we discovered new documents that may prove that this hotel at the back of Epic Universe will in fact be named “Universal’s Helios Grand Hotel.” Not only is that a trademarked term from Universal, but it appears that the company has selected “Helios” as the name of the road that will lead to this hotel behind the park.
Also seeing progress within the park’s central hub, is the dual track racing roller coaster. It can be seen branching off of the hub in the photograph above.
Now that the water has cleared from this area, we can see that foundation work is continuing.
While no additional track has shown up since the initial shipment, new shipping reports show that several deliveries of track from Mack Rides are on their way. They may be for this ride, as well as a few other attractions at Epic Universe.
Besides the water features within the center of the park, another area that saw a lot of flooding from the storm was the land we believe will be themed to Universal Monsters. It does appear that water has dried up or has been removed from this land.
With the water in this area now out of the way, we can see prep work for this land’s main dining and retail locations have made progress. The land’s main dining location is rumored to be named the “Stakehouse” based on early concepts. This could of course change however.
After entering the portal into the Universal Monsters land, guests will see the restaurant on their right and retail on their left. These areas will be themed as a village street with multiple facades.
The portal for Universal Monsters itself is the furthest along in the park, with themed elements being constructed atop.
In the photo below we can see the walls erected for a windmill-themed lounge for the land on the left. In the backgound is the facade and entry for the land’s main indoor ride. And within the center is a long strip that permits call “Scene 2” for the land’s outdoor roller coaster.
In the photo below you can see the station structure for the roller coaster at bottom, as well as the scene 2 area at top. It is rumored that scene 2 will be either the launch or lift hill for the ride.
The attraction has been rumored to be a spinning coaster from Mack Rides, but until we see track delivered to the site we have not been able to confirm that yet.
Moving on to Super Nintendo World, the new sections of Yoshi track that we saw installed in our last update have since been covered.
The Mario Kart building continues to be enclosed, so we will not be able to see inside for too much longer. For now, we can see new foundations being poured around the track layout for this indoor two-track dark ride.
A new section of track around a major outdoor scene for the Donkey Kong mine cart roller coaster has been installed.
A closer view of this section of track shows just how banked the U-Turn curve will be, seen on the bottom-right of the photo below.
The sideways coaster track being installed now is what the ride cars will actually be riding on. A false track that appears like regular mine cart track will be installed above, which is what it will look like you’re traveling on. That way there can be gaps in the track we think we are riding on which the carts can appear to jump over.
Before we wrap up in Nintendo, the footprint for the land’s main entrance is taking shape. The portal for this land will be through a warp pipe. It will be much larger than the portals for the other lands, because this entry will most likely contain escalators inside to bring us to the land’s second level. That way we enter the land through Peach’s Castle, same as it is in Universal Studios Japan, which already starts on the upper level.
Over in the park’s Wizarding World land, the massive Ministry of Magic ride building continues to be enclosed. Prep work for other structures around the land is continuing as well, which will be for shops and dining along city streets.
In the How to Train Your Dragon land, water has cleared from the lagoon. More work is being done to prepare for the installation of statues and other themed elements within the lagoon.
Footers for the coaster’s load area, maintenance bay, and first launch are looking much more complete than in our prior updates.
We’re also keeping an eye on construction happening at the Great Hall restaurant within the center of the How to Train Your Dragon land, the outdoor boat ride, and the indoor theater.
That’s all for now, but be sure to check out our last update for updated site plans for the Universal Monsters and Wizarding World lands, including details on how they have changed since the park first started construction.
A big thank you to Bioreconstruct for providing us with an aerial look at the Epic Universe site so soon after our last update, so we can compare everything to how it looked immediately following the storm. You can follow Bioreconstruct on Twitter for more amazing photography from above, and within, the Central Florida theme parks.