Universal’s Epic Universe is set to open by summer 2025. This new theme park is expected to include a third Wizarding World land for Orlando, after Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. But what iconic locations from the Harry Potter series will be included this time, and will it incorporate anything from Fantastic Beasts, or has that been completely removed from the plans?
Here is everything we know (so far) about the Wizarding World 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 How to Train Your Dragon, Super Nintendo World, Universal Monsters, and the Central Hub.) In this installment we are talking about the land we believe will be a new Wizarding World land, known as Project 905 in permits.
This third Wizarding World for Universal Orlando is expected to explore one final location from the original Harry Potter books and films, the British Ministry of Magic. The main attraction for this land will likely be set within this iconic location, located within a structure that will make it the largest indoor ride at Epic Universe.
Rumored to be named “Battle of the Ministry of Magic,” it is rumored that we will gain entry to the Ministry by using the Floo Network, and enter a large hallway through a magical fireplace using a special effect. Ahead of us will be the massive atrium, as seen in the Harry Potter films, surrounded by towering office windows.
As we move into a more traditional ride queue we will pass through some of these Ministry departments and offices, including the office of Dolores Umbridge, who is rumored to be the villain for this attraction.
We’ve talked about earlier versions of this attraction, which would have had the story focusing on Umbridge on trial after the events of the original Harry Potter stories. There, the Death Eaters would break in to break her out, and we would go on an adventure to stop her and the Death Eaters from attempting to bring Voldermort back to life.
While those early versions had the ride start within a courtroom, current plans appear to have us boarding elevators within the round rotunda of lifts as seen in the films.
The possible track layout seen below was created from permits and site plans filed with the county. It does not include the design for the load and unload areas, which may be located above this main ride path.
It is rumored that this ride will be utilizing a modified version of the “SCOOP” ride vehicles, first used on The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Islands of Adventure, and then later used on rides like Transformers: The Ride 3D and Jurassic World Adventure.
In addition to being able to move through scenes with the vehicle’s built-in motion base, it is rumored that this new version of the ride vehicle will also have the ability to move up and down as well.
Since the ride is apparently designed to appear as though we are traveling within a magical lift, which acts like a “Wonkavator” within the stories, able to travel in any direction, there may be moments where it will appear that we are traveling up and down throughout the attraction.
Some of the sections seen in the possible track layout, highlighted in the image above, may be for these vertical motion moments. Universal has patented different types of technologies for rides that incorporate lifts, and these patents include the ability to change scenery through adaptive projection mapping.
The vertical motion of the ride vehicles during these segments may be exaggerated or accentuated by projections in front of us. This could make the short distance the ride vehicles are rumored to be able to move up and down seem like we are traveling much further.
Just like Jurassic World Adventure at Universal Studios Beijing, this ride is not expected to utilize 3D glasses. And, just like that ride, this one is expected to have multiple animatronics, including one that may be very similar to the chasing Indominus rex.
It is rumored that an erumpent, which is like a giant rhino in the Wizarding World, has escaped from the Department of Magical Creatures during our adventure through the Ministry. According to the rumor, this giant animatronic animal will be charging at us for an entire scene while we make our escape backwards.
— Upper Lot Podcast (@UpperLotPodcast) August 21, 2021
This ride is still currently rumored to feature Dolores Umbridge, and it is still expected to take place shortly after the events of the Deathly Hallows story, continuing the saga. On the ride it is rumored that Umbridge has joined forces with the Death Eaters, and as such will be able to teleport around, but in true Umbridge form, she would leave behind a pink smoke trail instead of gray.
Universal has reportedly been attempting to create this Ministry of Magic attraction for years, originally planning it as a trackless ride for an expansion to Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida. Eventually the concept was moved to Epic Universe, where it will have more space for the Floo Network entry and the impressive atrium.
This attraction may be Universal’s conclusion to the Harry Potter saga within the Wizarding World lands at the parks; their grand finale. Hogsmeade was the start of the stories, and represents our introduction to the characters and settings, Diagon Alley came next, incorporating us ourselves into moments taken directly from the film series, and now this will act as the third act and conclusion, wrapping up our own adventures within the Wizarding World.
As massive as it will be, this ride was not the only attraction designed to be set within this third Wizarding World though.
A second ride was initially planned to open with this land, but has since been canceled. The facades are still being constructed, as well as the ride’s entrance, but the attraction’s building has been completely removed from recent permits and site plans submitted with the county.
This ride would have been a Virtual Reality attraction where we would have gotten to fly on a broomstick. This attraction was originally being planned around the Fantastic Beasts film series. The setting for the ride was going to be the French Ministry of Magic, and it seems that the facades outside still will be.
If it had been built, this would have been the highest capacity VR attraction in the world, with 144 broomstick pods that could be in use by riders at once. Groups of 24 guests at a time would experience a preshow within a briefing room, and then be split into 4 groups of 6.
Those groups of 6 riders would climb atop their broomstick, put on the VR headset, and travel together on an adventure through Wizarding Paris. This attraction would have seen us fly through Paris with Newt Scamander and his friends as we attempt to stop an Obscurus from destroying the city.
This ride was cut from Epic Universe, but was briefly planned to be built as an expansion to Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida instead, with a new story revolving around the Harry Potter era. Ultimately the VR attraction was canceled there as well.
Some have guessed that the high number of Team Members that would be needed to run so many Virtual Reality pods would have made this ride a staffing nightmare. Or, perhaps the technology for VR may not be ready for such a large scale application within a theme park. Or maybe the opening of a similar VR broomstick experience at the Harry Potter Store in New York, which opened in 2021, had something to do with the cancellation.
While the VR attraction may have been removed from the plans at Epic Universe, the area behind what would have acted as its main entrance is remaining saved as future expansion space for this Wizarding World land. When they are ready to construct something here, they have enough room to add an attraction as large as the British Ministry ride on the other side of the land.
Despite a Fantastic Beasts ride that would have been located within the French Ministry being canceled, the land itself is still expected to be set within Wizarding France, as first seen in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
After passing through the portal from the hub, we will enter the land by passing under the Porte Saint-Denis arch from Paris. The main streets of this land were themed as Place Cachée, set up similarly as Diagon Alley, with its own Wizarding shops and dining locations.
At the end of the land’s main street will be an attraction that is set within Paris. Plans seem to have us entering this indoor attraction by passing through the The Circus Arcanus circus tent, as seen in the second Fantastic Beasts film. After entering the small tent it will appear much larger inside.
Permits say this structure will be a 5-story theater with a stage and at least 642 seats. We do not know what type of story or show may happen inside of this theater, but many have speculated that it may contain some sort of wand battle show, which may or may not involve participation from volunteers from the audience.
This tall theater is connected to the land’s main attraction, an attraction which is set within the British Ministry of Magic, despite the land outside taking place within France. It is rumored that the Floo Network we use to travel into the British Ministry will explain how we are traveling from one country to another.
The land itself will contain multiple retail locations, which will likely be inspired by stores within Place Cachée. This includes a cauldron shop, clothing shop, pub, quidditch shop, pet shop, candy shop, and other types of locations we already have in Diagon Alley, but here it will be their French equivalent.
One interesting location is a wand shop called “Baguettes Magiques de Cosme Acajor”, which is similar to Ollivanders, but with its own line of magic wands, each packaged within unique triangle boxes.
Permits call for two different dining locations within the land, one on either side of the main street, (seen on image above). One will have 227 seats according to permits. The other is permitted as having 281 total seats, however 64 of those may be for a connected Team Member Grill located backstage.
There have been rumors for magical creatures to be located all around the land, including large creatures sticking out of windows above the paths which may interact with guests using interactive wands. There are also rumors that a new generation of interactive wands will be introduced with the debut of this land.
The wand experiences within the previous Wizarding World lands are rumored to be updated to incorporate these new, more advanced wands as well. It is not known how the new wands will be different from the older ones, but some have suggested that they may allow us to see the magic emanating from them for the first time, using effects within the interactive experiences.
While the land itself may have been inspired by the Fantastic Beasts film series, it seems like the attraction that would have tied it directly to those stories has been cut. This leaves us with a new place within the Wizarding World to explore, with an emphasis on the magical creatures themselves, but not the film series specifically.
Given the scale and ambition of this area’s main attraction, it feels as though the main draw here will be the impressive ride that finishes out the Potter era series of rides, with a bang.
That’s it for this installment, and while this marks the end of our deep dive into all of the theme park areas of Epic Universe, there are still several hotels under construction for the new park, as well as multiple expansion plots designated for future growth later on.
Be sure to check out the video version of this story for additional visuals and stay tuned for more Epic Universe news as it happens.
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