Universal’s Epic Universe will be a whole new theme park opening in Orlando in 2025. One of its four themed lands is expected to be based on How to Train Your Dragon. With a steel launched roller coaster encircling the area, the Great Hall hilltops looming in the background, and an impressive live stage show, this massive land will be for more than just kids.
Here is everything we know (so far) about the How to Train Your Dragon land at Epic Universe. Be sure to see the video version of this story below for additional visuals.
Epic Universe will be Universal Orlando’s newest theme park when it opens in 2025. It is being built a couple miles south of the current parks.
In this 5-part series we are digging deeper into each of the areas of the new theme park. (See our previous installments on Super Nintendo World, Universal Monsters, and the Central Hub.) In this installment we are talking about the land we believe will be based on DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon, known as Project 903 in permits.
Immediately after entering the portal into this land, which will be themed to the Isle of Berk after the events of the first film, you will see two large statues and a few Viking boats in the lagoon ahead. Permits for this area show natural gas lines running beneath the lagoon and ending at the statues for a “flame effect” related to these scenic elements.
This land was designed with adventure and exploration in mind. Even upon entering you can choose whether to go to the left or the right. Ahead you will see winding steel roller coaster track, zipping under a bridge and cutting through the land’s lagoon. On your left will be a large outdoor play area, designed for exploring.
The play area will likely be comparable to something like Camp Jurassic at Islands of Adventure, where it is well-themed and tied directly to the stories of the How to Train Your Dragon films and television series.
This land’s attractions are meant to help train you before you’re ready for your very own dragon. A set of two Sky Fly flat rides are next along this path. This area is themed as dragon racing from the second film, complete with large crowd stands in the background. According to early concepts, this attraction was named “Dragon Racer Rally.”
From Gerstlauer, the Sky Fly ride system is unlike usual spinner rides, because riders have the ability to control how thrilling their ride will be. Using a lever attached to their seat, a rider can decide whether they want to rotate their individual seat around, going completely upside-down. You can do as many barrel rolls while soaring in a circle as you want, or can personally handle, or choose not to go upside-down at all.
Continuing along this path on the left side of the lagoon, we find ourselves at the Haddock House, which serves as the entrance to the area’s largest attraction, a steel launched roller coaster.
While we will likely not be riding atop a real dragon for this attraction, the people of Berk have created this contraption as a way to prepare us for the real thing. The trains will likely look like dragons, but in a handcrafted style, similar in concept to Flight of the Hippogriff at Islands of Adventure.
The thrill level for this multi-launch coaster is expected to be comparable to something like Hargid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, but perhaps just slightly more family friendly.
Most of the ride appears to take place outdoors, but plans call for a couple moments to take place within small show buildings, including one that passes below the stands at Dragon Racers nearby. It is possible that these interior sections could be for short show scenes.
Manufactured by Intamin, this coaster will feature a dual load platform. The ride appears to start with a launch hill, and may contain a second launch somewhere on the back part of the ride as well.
The coaster will travel around the north section of the land, passing below the lagoon’s water level and under a bridge, before making its way behind the play area and under the stands behind the Sky Fly rides. (See this visualization from Amusement Insider for the latest look at what this attraction may be like to ride!)
This coaster will likely not contain any inversions, meaning it will not go upside-down, but it should still pack a bit of a punch, especially for a “family coaster.” Between the launches, skating across the water, possibly overbanked turns and near misses with decorative elements of the land, this should be the perfect introduction course to dragon training.
There is one more ride to be found within this area of Epic Universe, an interactive boat ride in the middle of the land. Expected to be manufactured by Mack Rides, the Interactive Boat Ride is also known as the Splash Battle ride, because it allows riders to fire water cannons as the boats float slowly around the ride path.
Themed as Viking boats, the floating ride vehicles won’t be the only way you can join in on the splash battle. Guests along the banks of the attraction may be able to operate water canons of their own, firing back at the ships as they pass. Targets will likely be set up along the path for riders to take aim at as well.
After exploring play areas, training for G-forces on the Sky Fly, taming a flying dragon on the coaster, and participating in target practice on a boat, there is one more major attraction set for this land, a live stage show.
Permits describe the large structure at the southern-most part of the land as an indoor theater with at least 985 seats. Many believe this attraction may feature a show similar to Untrainable, which opened with Universal Studios Beijing in 2021. That show combines live actors, large-scale puppetry, moving set pieces, and screen-based media.
After the show, guests will be able to visit the stables, located near the theater’s exit. Here you will be able to meet many of your favorite dragons and characters from the series, including Toothless and Hiccup.
But these won’t be the only dragons you’ll find in the land. In fact, there may be dragons sticking out of buildings all around the area. A two-headed dragon pokes its heads out near the entrance to the boat ride. An ice dragon hangs out near an outdoor quick service location. And a wagging dragon tail sticks out of a window of the roller coaster’s exit gift shop. Universal has actually applied for a patent for a piece of robotics technology, which describes how it can be used to create a moving dragon tail.
Several locations from the films will be recreated around the land, serving as shopping and dining establishments. One permit describes a candy store with homemade confectioneries, located near the boats parked in the lagoon. The outdoor quick service permits say it will have a covered seating area with 204 seats, which will overlook the boat ride’s lagoon.
The main centerpiece for the entire land will be the hillside entrance to the Great Hall. This large restaurant will recreate the popular meeting place for the residents of Berk, complete with a very tall round dining room surrounded by large columns. Permits say this upscale quick service location will have 244 seats. Permits also show gas lines running to the structure for the torches seen on either side of the Great Hall’s entrance.
One attraction that was rumored early on for this land, but was never part of the permitted plans, was a flying simulator ride. We talked about this early rumor years ago, which may have been prompted by patent applications from Universal.
Illustrations included in these simulator attraction patents, included some that feature what could be dragon-like seating. Some believed that the central structure in the plans may have been for a ride like this, but permit details later revealed that it will in fact be a restaurant, so it looks as though a simulator ride was never approved for this land.
An area at the furthest corner of the land was originally marked for future expansion, but recently an additional drainage pond was constructed here. It is not known whether this pond will be a permanent addition, or may have only been set up temporarily for construction. If it is temporary, that would give this land about 1.5 acres for future expansion space where another attraction could be added someday.
There are rumors that, like the Power-Up Bands for Super Nintendo World, all of the lands of Epic Universe will feature some sort of interactive experiences that require purchasable items to participate. For this land, there have been rumors that we will be able to adopt our very own dragon who will make noises and react to different elements around the land, including other dragons.
The How to Train Your Dragon land will be a colorful place with plenty of kinetic energy and motion visible in all directions. And it will be perfect for exploring. Despite having some of the more family-friendly offerings in the park, in true Universal Studios fashion, nothing will be too kiddie that everyone won’t be able to enjoy it. After all, you’ve never be able to flip upside-down on the Dumbo ride before.
That’s it for this installment, but be sure to check out our previous stories all about Super Nintendo World, Universal Monsters land, and the Central Hub. Stay tuned for our final installment, all about a new Wizarding World land for Epic Universe. Be sure to check out the video version of this story for additional visuals.
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