Universal’s Epic Universe Update: Major Construction, New Permits, and Theme Park Areas Graded

Things are getting exciting at the future site of Universal’s Epic Universe. Construction on backstage support structures is moving at a rapid pace, but more interestingly, sections of the theme park are literally taking shape, as the lands and hub areas are being graded.

Plus, new permits for the hotel at the back of the park and one of the lands have been filed, which could hint at what construction we may see next. And, could an entirely new area of the park be added? Let’s dig into all that, and more, in today’s news update. Check out the video version of this story below for additional visuals.

Future home of Universal’s Epic Universe theme park, Photo: Bioreconstruct

New permits related to the new park were filed with Orange County a few weeks ago. One set of permits is for Building 1620 as part of Project 905. That’s the project we believe is a new Wizarding World land. The permit lists the building as “a ride combination building.”

One of several permits for a ride combination building in Project 905

These permits are the first ones related to actual theme park areas of Epic Universe that have been filed since the project resumed after pausing last year due to the pandemic. This may give us some indication that the theme park areas are back on track and construction will be moving there next, after focusing mainly on backstage areas until this point.

Permit describing Project 910 as a Hotel/Motel/Timeshare type project

Another set of permits recently filed were for Project 910, which was thought to be for the hotel at the back of the park. The most recent of these permits do list the project as a Hotel or Motel, confirming our suspicion. Another one of these permits is listed as being for a “Parking Garage” for the hotel.

Permit filed for the hotel project’s parking garage

General locations of hotel, its parking garage, and Wizarding World land, Image: Tommy Hawkins

In our last construction update, back in November, we spoke about a new chiller plant that was beginning construction. Now, thanks once again to Bioreconstruct on Twitter, we can see that this new chiller plant looks to be nearly complete.

Nearly completed chiller plant located backstage, Photo: Bioreconstruct

A second structure has also gone up in the backstage areas behind the future theme park. This one appears to be listed as “Warehouse 4” in the permits, and will be a single story structure.

Chiller plant in foreground, new warehouse seen behind it, Photo: Bioreconstruct

Chiller plans and new warehouse, Photo: Bioreconstruct

The new warehouse is being built near the employee parking lot behind the theme park, and is only the first of several warehouses that will be added.

Small structure as seen in permitted plans

Official concept art for the new theme park with speculation labels added

The speculation map above shows locations for all of the rumored lands, as well as the hotel at the back of Epic Universe. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

While most major work has been going on in backstage areas behind the theme park itself, we have seen quite a bit of movement in other areas lately. Near what will be the center of the park, for example, we can now see a perfect circle that will be part of the hub.

Land grading being done for hub area, Photo: Bioreconstruct

Closer view of circle area located near top part of hub, Photo: Bioreconstruct

This circle contains a large fountain in the drainage plans and in official concept art. This is the top ring of the three-ring hub, or, if you’ve been following along with us for awhile, it’s what we call the snowman’s head!

“Snowman” shape of the hub, made of three separate circular pathways

Other areas are also being graded, including a massive berm and cut out section of land along the side of what we expect will be the How to Train Your Dragon land.

Massive grading project seen in what might be How to Train Your Dragon area, Photo: Bioreconstruct

This massive dirt shape will become part of the land’s roller coaster, while also helping to block views of the parking lot and other areas of Orlando from inside of the theme park.

Closer view of grading going on in this area, Photo: Bioreconstruct

And speaking of the parking lot, the shape of the roads leading into parking and drop off areas for Epic Universe have been created, and look ready for paving.

Shape of new future road being created, Photo: Bioreconstruct

This road will be named Universal Way, and will connect from the existing Destination Parkway, seen on left of the image above, and the extended Kirkman Road, which is under construction now.

Bottom arrow pointing to new road, which curves towards future parking lot on right, Photo: Bioreconstruct

The image below shows what Universal Way will look like once complete, and you can see how the dirt is perfectly shaped to match it now.

New road seen above shown in green in these plans

There is one last area of land grading I wanted to mention, as it is the area that will eventually be home to Orlando’s Super Nintendo World! From the new aerial photographs it appears that the entire Super Nintendo World section is graded and just about ready for foundations to be poured.

Nintendo area seen above hub area in this photo, Photo: Bioreconstruct

You can even make out the future warp pipe entrance shape facing the hub!

Future entrance to Nintendo seen on right of photo, Photo: Bioreconstruct

But, that’s not all that has been graded in this area. The expansion plot located above Super Nintendo World also appears to have been partially flattened. This area was not yet expected to receive any construction, so this new clearing work could simply be for a staging area for supplies. Or, perhaps it is possible that an additional area is already being added to Epic Universe?

There have been rumors for Pokemon being added to the park in the future, or even for an Illumination mini-land to be added as a fifth land after Nintendo, How to Train Your Dragon, Wizarding World, and Universal Monsters.

The two areas shown here with labels

The area that has been flattened doesn’t seem to take up the entire expansion plot, but it does appear to have a path leading directly to the hub.

Could this mean we’ll see more lands than we originally thought? Or will this just be a temporary staging area for supplies during construction, with the path leading to it used for work vehicles?

The view from behind the entire theme park, Photo: Bioreconstruct

I guess we will learn more soon, when either the area is filled with materials for staging near Nintendo, or, the area receives new foundations. We’ll keep an eye out for new permits in the meantime, just in case.

The new theme park is literally starting to shape up, and more of the areas seen in site plans and concept art are coming into focus! Be sure to follow us so you never miss an update.

Bottom arrow at chiller plant, top arrows at new road work, Photo: Bioreconstruct

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.

That’s all for now, but be sure to check out the video version of this story for more visuals, and see our Everything We Know story, or the video below, for more details on the upcoming Epic Universe theme park in Orlando.

Subscribe to the news feed or enter your email address below to never miss an update. Aerial Photos: @bioreconstruct | Official Art: Universal Orlando

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