Could Universal’s Epic Universe be its most expansive, immersive destination yet?


As details emerge on Universal’s Epic Universe, we have to ask: Could this expansive, immersive destination be the future of theme parks?

After much speculation, Universal’s Epic Universe has been confirmed. At a press conference near the soon-to-be-developed site, Universal Orlando Resort released some details regarding this huge expansion for the Orlando-based theme park. What can fans expect from this epic adventure?

As fans start to digest this big announcement from Universal Orlando, a few details seem to set the tone. First, this theme park expansion is huge. It is “a larger than 750-acre site that nearly doubles Universal’s total available acreage in Central Florida.”

While this expansion is about a 12-minute drive from the existing Universal Orlando theme parks, the size of this expansion is “epic.” Given the space, it’s clear that Universal is not just adding a few attractions. This expansion is a new destination with hotels, shops and restaurants in addition to the attractions themselves.

Although the term epic is extremely broad, it can be assumed that this destination will tie all those components together under the concept of a journey or adventure. Even though Islands of Adventure might convey a similar idea, this new universe should take the destination to a broader, more cohesive level.

Given the level of expansion and the investment by Universal Orlando Resort, this new universe changes the perception of a Universal Orlando Resort vacation. Over the past several years, the company has looked to make the Orlando attractions more of a week-long destination instead of a 4-day vacation. This addition accomplishes that task.

Still, guests will need to be impressed with the Universal’s Epic Universe. According to Universal Orlando Resort, “guests will venture beyond their wildest imagination, traveling into beloved stories and through vibrant lands on adventures where the journey is as astounding as the destination.”

Unfortunately, specific details on those beloved stories and vibrant lands were not shared, but one rendering was:

Epic Universe
Epic Universe /

Similar to Universal Studios, there appears to an archway entrance to this universe. This visual keeps with the classic Universal theme. Similar to the Universal Globe, the arches are part of the iconic visuals.

Beyond that classic nod, the elements seen in this picture are quite different from the other Universal Orlando attractions. It appears that each “area” seems to lead off the center water feature. Some areas seem quite defined, but other items appear to be stand-alone attractions.

For roller coaster fans, at the bottom right of the image, there seems to be a very long coaster. Since many people want roller coasters over screens, this addition should appease some fans  — although at the press conference, Universal’s team mentioned that screens can often tell an immersive story better.

Some theme park watchers have noticed that Universal filed paperwork to secure rights to a velociraptor roller coaster. Although nothing can be told from this image, that coaster could go there. Then again, space is being cleared at Islands of Adventure by the Jurassic Park area.

Two potential attractions seem to be a slight departure for Universal. Based on the image, it seems that two items are located on the water features. Although the Jaws ride has long departed Universal Studios, many people miss that classic attraction.

Given the two circular shaped structures on the water, could an underwater-themed attraction be in the works? Perhaps Jaws could reappear in a screen-style ride.

To the left of this rendering, there is one land that seems very clearly defined. While nothing can be seen from this drawing, some people might believe that this area is the potential Nintendo Land we’ve been hearing about.

While Universal acquired the rights to and announced the Nintendo partnership many years ago, everyone is still curious how this Nintendo World could come to life. If this area is that proposed addition, it appears to have a few attractions and a quite immersive feel, similar to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

In the back left corner, there is a very dark area. While many people were hoping for a Harry Potter or Fantastic Beasts expansion, this area seems a little more old school.

As seen in this year’s Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Monsters are making a return. Given that this image looks similar to an old school Dracula castle, could this area conjure those classic monsters? But, consiering the amphitheater located off the side of this area, that idea might not hold water. How would a show about Universal Monsters work? While many people enjoy the Horror Make-Up Show, a Fantastic Beasts show might be a bigger draw.

Lastly, the other two buildings in this drawing are somewhat mysterious. Both buildings are large and would probably hold some type of screen-based attraction. Given that the one building is the centerpiece behind the two water features, this attraction might be the focal point of the traveling adventure.

If the idea of this theme park is an epic traveling adventure, each land doesn’t necessarily have to tie to each other. Instead, guests will need to go on a journey. As long as the progression from land to land (in any order) makes sense, the theme should be sound.

While this rendering offers much to discuss, it doesn’t seem to mention the hotel aspect. Since this Universal’s Epic Universe includes hotels, could any of these structures be on-site hotels with direct access to the theme parks?

Universal Orlando Resort has been diligent about expanding its lodging options. From value properties like the new Endless Summer to luxury spots like the Hard Rock Hotel, there is a hotel option for every price point. But, these hotels are either a walk, boat ride or bus ride away from the parks. Having direct access to the theme park could make for a totally new immersive experience.

While this announcement brings both excitement and speculation about the upcoming Universal’s Epic Universe, there are very few details truly available. Yes, it is clear that this announcement is a huge expansion and will bring many jobs and visitors to the Orlando area, but the theme park itself will be a long time coming.

Right now, the area is an empty parcel of land. When could this new theme park open? Most likely, not for a couple years. Until then, everyone can wonder, wish, and speculate on the epic adventure that awaits them.

Related Story. 6 reasons why Endless Summer Resort is the perfect Universal Orlando destination. light

What did you think about the Universal’s Epic Universe announcement? Do you think that this universe will be bigger than any other world?