Universal’s Epic Universe construction may have slowed temporarily due to repercussions of the global pandemic, but work does seem to be picking up at the site in recent months.
Our good friend Bioreconstruct on Twitter has shared some incredible aerial photography from the Epic Universe site. We’re getting a better look at work ramping up in backstage areas of the park—as well as new work starting in what will become the center of the park. Plus, new drainage permits have been submitted showing off updated plans for the entire project site.
Before we get into the views from the air and construction progress, I wanted to share an image that was included in publicly available water drainage plans filed on October 28, 2021.
The document, which was uploaded to the South Florida Water Management District ePermitting site, shows water basin and drainage information for the several ponds around the area, and how the surrounding land is affected.
The stormwater and drainage plan above shows us how the guest parking lot for Epic Universe will look when completed, as well as backstage areas. Each area of the theme park is also color coded to show that they each have their own site plans, filed separately. Note: The dark line running down the center of the image is to show delineation between basin areas, and is not related to parcel separation.
This plan also features the Kirkman Road extension, seen on left, which is also under construction at this time. Water drainage plans for that project, a joint venture between Universal Orlando and Orange County, were filed back in July of this year.
The graphic above, created by Tommy Hawkins using a Google Earth satellite image, shows what each of the areas of the park are rumored to be, based on speculation and early information.
When comparing official drainage plans to this graphic, you can get an idea of what each section of the park will be shaped like and its location relative to the pond at the back of the park, and the park entrance on the opposite end. This will be helpful as we take a look at some of the aerial photographs next.
While in the air, in addition to sharing these interesting photographs, Bioreconstruct also tweeted out a video. This video helps show off the scale of this massive project.
Video: 3/4 orbit of site of Universal's Epic Universe. Road seen at first is to be day guest entrance, with parking at right. Notice a large number of dirt roads intersecting near a tall pole; near approximate center of the theme park. pic.twitter.com/7805HZXvvK
— bioreconstruct (@bioreconstruct) October 31, 2021
Most of the work happening at the site is going on in what will become the theme park’s backstage areas. Warehouses and other support structures are starting to take shape now.
A parking lot in this area, which is being used for construction vehicles currently, will eventually become the new area’s Team Member parking once the park is open.
Permits have been filed in recent weeks for a data center, as well a chiller plant, which may be related to some of the recent construction.
Amidst the theme park news and chaos this week, I'm just here to inform you that new permits for backstage areas of Epic Universe continue to be submitted and approved. Today's was for electrical work related to a backstage building labeled as "Data Center 1." pic.twitter.com/SvZ2vN06h0
— Alicia Stella (@AliciaStella) October 22, 2021
What has caught my eye, especially when driving by on Sand Lake Road lately, is what permits say could be a large chiller plant.
Zooming back out, the photo below shows the entire theme park site, with backstage areas at bottom of the image. The arrow is pointing at the entrance for Epic Universe where guests will enter when it is complete. We’re noticing some very interesting work happening directly in the center though.
The tall pole in the middle of the next photo below is thought to be the center of the Epic Universe theme park. Some unusual work is happening just north of that area.
A closer view reveals dewatering going on, as well as some land shaping in the middle area of the park. This area appears to be within an outer ring of the future park’s hub, around what will later be a fountain centerpiece.
It will be interesting to see if this area is being shaped to receive foundation work, or if it will simply become a work road in the same shape as the future park’s pathways, as it will not intersect with any structures planned to be built.
The park’s official concept art below shows the shape of the hub, including an outer ring on the north-east section where I believe this work is taking place.
Before we end this update, the photo below shows where the track pieces we believe are for Yoshi’s Adventure at Super Nintendo World are being staged near the site. This omnimover-type attraction is one of three rides expected for the Nintendo-based land at Epic Universe. Currently, the track pieces have been covered in tarps.
We still have several years of major construction ahead of us, but you can follow us to never miss an update! Special thanks to Bioreconstruct for the amazing aerial photography. If you’re not already, you should follow Bioreconstruct on Twitter for more aerials around all of the Orlando theme parks.