Epic Universe is Universal Orlando’s upcoming theme park, and it is currently under construction near the Orange County Convention Center, about two miles south of the current resort. Company executives said recently that they plan to open the park by the summer of 2025 at the latest.
In recent weeks, construction has been gaining momentum on the new park, especially in the area set aside for its Nintendo-themed land. This has led some to bring up the rumor of that area possibly opening sooner than the rest of the park. Let’s discuss whether or not that is possible, and why some think it could happen, in today’s news update.
We have gotten another great look at the new park as seen from the air thanks to photographer, Bioreconstruct on Twitter. These new photos show incredible progress, even when compared to what the site looked liked just two weeks ago.
The most active area of interest appears to be where we believe Super Nintendo World will be located within Epic Universe. This area is expected to contain the Mario Kart ride and Yoshi’s Adventure ride—just like the ones open now in Universal Studios Japan—as well as the Donkey Kong roller coaster attraction, which is also under construction in Japan at this time.
While foundation work is happening around the site, new pipes are being installed underneath the future Mushroom Kingdom, according to permits. (And yes, I do see the humor in that.)
The shapes of each of the land’s three main attractions are becoming more apparent within the area, with basement level foundation work and more construction taking place.
The plans for the park’s Nintendo area were the first to be finalized, building not only on what was designed and built for Universal Studios Japan, but also earlier versions of Orlando’s iteration, which were drafted to be built at Universal Studios Florida before being shifted to the new theme park instead.
Since the plans for this area are the furthest along, it is no surprise that foundation pouring is starting here when it comes to work on the theme park areas themselves. Prior work had been mainly focused on backstage areas until recently.
And that leads us to the rumors of Super Nintendo World perhaps being ready before the rest of the park, and whether or not that could mean special guest previews of the land.
This rumor was first mentioned before the pandemic, having annual passholders, on-site hotel guests of Universal Orlando, or other special audiences given the opportunity to preview the new area in the year leading up to the park’s grand opening.
Whether this would be an opportunity offered to all on-site hotel guests, or only those staying at one of the new hotels being built near Epic Universe, was not specified in any of the rumors or speculation floating around nearly two years ago. (See the video above for more information about all upcoming hotels in development for Epic Universe, or click here.)
The Super Nintendo World area itself will be located on the south-west side of Epic Universe, near the park’s main entrance. This has led some to theorize that a work-wall lined pathway could lead special preview visitors to the Mushroom Kingdom without having to set foot in the rest of the park.
Given the Diagon Alley-like immersive design of the lands for Epic Universe, one could be inside of Super Nintendo World and not have any views of the rest of the park at all. That could lend itself well to opening any area of the park without having to wait until the entire project is complete.
In fact, it is expected that construction on the park’s central hub’s will be completed last. That means that entire lands within the park may be built and ready for “play-testing” before the theme park is open.
Whether or not that means Team Members or Annual Passholders could be exploring the lands of Epic Universe before it’s even fully built remains to be seen.
Another theory on why Super Nintendo World in particular could be the one to open first, has to do with Nintendo and Universal’s licensing agreement. While details are still not public, some wonder if Universal could be under a contractual obligation to open Orlando’s Nintendo attractions by a specific date?
Universal Studios Japan has said that when their Donkey Kong expansion opens in 2024 it will be the world’s first, so even if we were to get a sneak preview of Super Nintendo World in the year leading up to Epic Universe’s grand opening, perhaps that section would be sealed off until later.
Universal Studios Hollywood is expected to open their version of Super Nintendo World by next year, so Epic Universe’s won’t be the first Nintendo attractions to open in the country. Orlando’s version will contain more attractions though. Hollywood is only expected to open with the Mario Kart ride, and not Yoshi’s Adventure or Donkey Kong.
What do you think? Would you pay extra for a specific hotel package at Universal Orlando, or some other special ticket, if it meant you could be among the first to explore the new land before it opens to the public?
Keep in mind that nothing has been confirmed by Universal, other than the fact that Epic Universe will contain a Super Nintendo World land, and that the park is expected to open by summer 2025 at the latest.
As always, a huge thanks to Bioreconstruct for sharing the incredible aerial photos for the insight into recent construction progress. If you’re not already, you should follow Bioreconstruct on Twitter for more photos around the Orlando theme parks.
Check out our last construction update for more information on the layout of the Super Nintendo World land. And see our Everything We Know story, or our How Big is Epic Universe story, (or watch the video below,) for more details on the upcoming Epic Universe theme park in Orlando.