One of the late additions to the lineup of attractions for Universal Orlando’s upcoming Epic Universe is a roller coaster within the Universal Monsters land. Originally designed as an indoor theater, permits and plans changed early last year. Now, a year later, most of the coaster track has been installed and even themed elements are being added.
Let’s check in on the progress and rumors for this ride, as well as the rest of the Universal Monsters land, in today’s news update. See the video version of this story below for additional visuals.
Universal’s Epic Universe is set to open by summer 2025, and is being constructed two miles south of the current Universal Orlando Resort.
In the short time since our last update, the framing for the second statue has been added within the lagoon at the How to Train Your Dragon land.
The facades at the Wizarding World are looking more and more finished with every day, and the arch near the land’s entry is starting to be constructed now.
The portal to Super Nintendo World is making quick progress as well, with the enclosed warp pipe section installed. We do still believe that this entry will eventually include an escalator to bring us from ground level to the top of the land where Peach’s Castle will be located, but we’ll talk more about that in a future update.
Today we are focusing mostly on the roller coaster project within the Universal Monsters land. We were the first outlet to report that what was originally going to be a theater attraction for this land was changed to a roller coaster instead, back in March of last year. Permits at the time only hinted at the change, but it didn’t take long for footers to start showing up for this then rumored change.
Cut to this month and more than half of the roller coaster’s track has been installed, and we’re even starting to see some themed structural elements be added around one of the ride’s launches.
We still believe this attraction will be a family spinning roller coaster, manufactured by Mack Rides. The layout for the coaster is somewhat short, and also mostly low to the ground, without any inversions. The rumored spinning element should add a touch of thrill, but for the most part it appears this ride will be for families and will not be an extreme coaster.
Matching updated site plans from the last year, seen above, the station structure and maintenance bay have been constructed at the edge of the land. The maintenance bay is on the edge of an access road, so coaster train cars can be brought in and out easily.
Track sections have been installed for taking trains off and putting trains onto the main circuit from this maintenance building behind the station.
It looks as though the station will be able to hold up to two trains at once, with one parked at an unload area and another at the load area.
There has been some conversation within the theme park fan community over the direction of travel for this attraction, but I believe it will travel counterclockwise, starting the ride on the side closest to the park’s hub. The ride will not feature any type of lift hill, instead using launches in two sections of the ride to propel the trains.
The overlay graphics above and below from Tommy Hawkins show what we believe the fully completed track layout could look like. The image below also adds in possible pathway layouts and some digital trees to give a sense of how the area could look once completed.
There does not appear to be any more track for this coaster than what you see pictured here, as most pieces that have been delivered on site have already been installed. Plus, all footers for additional track to be installed have been accounted for in these overlay graphics.
There is what appears to be themed structural elements being installed here, around what the site plans call “Scene 2.” This barn-like structure is being built around this ground level launch section of the coaster. Rumors have said that this section of the ride may contain some sort of scene or themed story elements.
One possible theory for this section of the ride has this not as a single launch, but as a swing launch that goes both forwards and backwards. Instead of simply continuing forward, this theory suggests that the coaster train could be launched forward, but without enough momentum to continue up the next hill, causing it to fall back into the launch zone.
It could go back and forth a couple times before being launched finally with enough force to get over the hump and conclude the ride. Ice Breaker at Sea World Orlando features a type of swing launch, as an example of how something like this works.
Keep in mind that this is only a theory, and we may not be able to prove it until the ride starts testing with trains someday. It would add a little extra time to the short ride length though.
The queue areas, which are expected in the empty space between the station structure and this scene, may still be somewhat covered, but will likely not be fully enclosed. The only structures listed in permits are the station and maintenance building, as well as the themed scene 2 launch area.
This roller coaster has long been rumored to be based on the Wolfman in some way, but so far there has not been any evidence to support that rumor. Perhaps as more themed elements are added we’ll be able to spot some hints for its theme.
Looking to other areas of the Universal Monsters section of Epic Universe, new scaffolding has shown up around the tower on the front of the main ride’s facade. This large manor facade is said to have been partly inspired by the former Château Miranda in Belgium, which had a similar tower.
The part of the structure with the facade for this attraction contains the entrance and part of the queue, but the ride itself will be contained within the massive building behind it.
This ride is rumored to be an indoor dark ride that will feature all of the Universal Monsters, including Frankenstein, Wolfman, The Mummy, and more. See our recent Everything Epic Universe video for rumored story and technical details for this attraction.
Work is progressing on the retail and dining locations that will make up the village areas of the land. The roofs for both of these structures look to have been installed, and more framing for themed facades has been put in place.
The structure on the left side of the land’s entry path will be the area’s main gift shop. It will also contain the largest restrooms for the area. With coaster track behind it being as low to the ground as it is, there is a good chance that most, if not all, of the roller coaster will be blocked from view when walking down this village street.
Located on the right side of the street, the larger of the two village structures will be the land’s biggest restaurant. Permits say this upscale quick service location will have 362 seats.
Walking down the winding entry street, between the village facades on either side, the large château will be looming ahead, slightly raised above the path.
It looks as though the pathways within the land are still being constructed as shown on earlier site plans, with a full loop around the central area. It appears the coaster track is raised high enough to pass over the pathways, so there will not be a dead ends.
At the back of the land, work continues on a second quick service location. This restaurant has been rumored to be themed as a windmill inspired by the original Frankenstein film. The framing set upon its roof may be for the windmill itself, with the dining location’s entrance set within a hillside-themed base.
The entry portal into the land continues to receive framing for themed elements, seen below. Each of the portals into the lands will be similar, but with their own decorative motif featuring something related to the area you are about to enter. Rumors say this portal will feature an electrical tower on top, surrounded by tree roots.
Before we wrap up, the photo below is an overview of how the entire Epic Universe site looks now.
We’ll end today’s update with a look back at how the park looked just one year ago. The next photo was taken February 18, 2022. Just imagine what the park will look like a year from today!
That’s all for now, but a big thank you to Bioreconstruct for providing the amazing aerial photographs, and thanks to Tommy Hawkins for help with the coaster overlays. You can follow both of them on Twitter for more theme park images.
See the video version of this story for additional visuals, and 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.
Subscribe to the news feed or enter your email address below to never miss an update. Official Concept Art: Universal Orlando | Aerial Photos: Bioreconstruct | Overlay Graphics: Tommy Hawkins | Other Images as Captioned
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Always enjoy the updates although I have a hard time envisioning the final product.