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Universal Epic Universe – Dark Universe Revealed

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Dark mists in the back left of Epic Universe hide a portal to the world of Darkmoore, where monsters and those who keep them at bay live. This article covers the newly announced Dark Universe land coming to Universal’s Epic Universe in 2025, including the attractions, shops, and restaurants in this not-so-quiet hamlet…

What is the Dark Universe?

Dark Universe concept art.

The creepy, the crawly, the things that keep you wondering what is around the corner live in Dark Universe. It is named after the ill-conceived cinematic universe that Universal tried to make around the monsters. But unlike the goofy Photoshopped group photo, this land is real, it is coming, and it will be EPIC. Dark Universe is home to Darkmoor, a land where monster stories are real, featuring Frankenstein’s Castle, a traveler’s encampment, and even the burning windmill.


Universal’s History of Horror

Universal Monsters: Gallery of Legends.(photo by Michael Carelli)

Horror is deeply woven through Universal ever since Lon Chaney transformed into Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Cinemas were dominated for decades by classic Universal Horror films such as Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, and The Invisible Man (along with some not-so classics like The Thing That Wouldn’t Die). Industry leaders in makeup, prosthetics, and costumes such as Lon Chaney, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and more honed their skills while working on Universal’s horror movies. Even now Universal’s horror legacy lives on with films like The Mummy, their work with Blumhouse, and their seasonal Halloween Horror Nights events worldwide.

Overview of Dark Universe

The Dark Universe portal is located in the Oculus section of Celestial Park, located in the back left of the park entering from the main gate. Look for the towering lighting rod and creepy trees, you can’t miss it.

Through the crackling portal, guests find themselves on the outskirts of Darkmoor, a village shaped and scared by monsters. Here the upturned caskets and scattered tombstones provide makeshift guest photo spots but also hint at a creepier, scarier story. Behind the dark stone buildings and signs crackling with electricity is a restaurant operated by vampires, a repurposed laboratory turned monster make-up shop, and opportunities to meet the Monsters. Darkmoor is home to both monsters and humans alike, each looking to find a connection and a place to belong.

Dark Universe’s layout is a large midway up to, and through, the village of Darkmoor, travels past Frankenstein’s Castle, and ends in a loop back past Curse of the Werewolf which returns guests to Darkmoor. The two weenies in the land are Frankenstein’s Castle, with lightning effects on the castle turret, and The Burning Blade Tavern, the eponymous windmill that ignites every 20 minutes.

Dark Universe Rides

Dark Universe features two thrill rides – the intense Monsters Unchained: The Frankenstein Experiment and the spinning family rollercoaster Curse of the Werewolf.

Monsters Unchained: The Frankenstein Experiment concept art.

⭐️ Monsters Unchained: The Frankenstein Experiment

Restrictions: Guests must be at least 48 inches (122 cm) tall to ride.
Ride Time: TBD

Monster’s Unchained is an indoor thrill ride where guests come face to face with Universal’s classic horror icons. Guests swoop, swerve, and flip through Frankenstein’s Castle attempting to escape Dracula’s grasp. The ride system is identical to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Islands of Adventure, this ride uses the Kuka robotic arm. Monsters Unchained is a super headliner and is expected to have some of the longest waits in the park.

Monsters Unchained: The Frankenstein Experiment concept art.

We are guests to Victoria Frankenstein’s castle, the distant granddaughter of the famous Victor, to witness her taming of the Monsters. As we make our way through the castle queue we learn about the technology Victoria is using, a containment system and Catacomb Navigation Units, and her goal – to return the Frankenstein name to world renown. We board the Catacomb Navigation Units, the 4-person Kuka arm ride vehicles, to witness Victoria’s plans, but Dracula has other ideas. Drac escapes and lets loose all the other monsters, and it is a mad dash as we try to escape the fiends and return to the safety of Victoria’s lab. Universal claims this attraction will be scary which hasn’t been attempted since Alien Encounter opened 30 years ago.

⭐️ Curse of the Werewolf

Restrictions: Guests must be at least 40 inches (102 cm) tall to ride.
Ride Time: TBD

Cure of the Werewolf is a launched family spinning rollercoaster (say that three times fast) based on the traveling guild of mystics from The Wolf Man. The spinning cars seat four guests, with the two pairs sitting back-to-back similar to Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney. The guild leader, Maleva, meets with us in the encampment and warns us of what lies in the forest before we embark on our journey. We soon take off, accelerating quickly, as we make haste to the forest. Soon we find ourselves caught in the grasp of werewolves and before they can make a scratch barely escape, or so we think as once we return Maleva says one of us is marked with the curse of the werewolf.

Dark Universe Food & Beverage

If you’re looking to feed a deep unsatiable hunger, or get a snack, there are three dining venues in Dark Universe. ⭐️ Das Stakehaus, located in the village near the entrance portal, is a counter service restaurant themed to vampires. Rumored to be built over a pit of vampires, the waitstaff are vampire familiars, looking to serve the humans… and vampires. The menu consists of punny fare like ribs, burgers, and kebabs – because it’s steak on a stake. ⭐️ The Burning Blad Tavern is located to the left of Frankenstein’s castle under the massive windmill whose blades ignite every 20 minutes. Inside, travelers and adventurers can grab a pint over some pub grub as they recount tales of adventure. Near Curse of the Werewolf is ⭐️ De Lacy’s Cottage with a menu of fan-favorite faire like cinnamon bread (shout out to Dollywood fans) and Twisted Taters from Halloween Horror Nights.

Dark Universe Shopping & More

Darkmoor Monster Makeup Experience concept art.

The old Dr. Pretorius, the antagonist from Bride of Frankenstein, has a deserted lab in Darkmoor that is now used for the ⭐️ Darkmoor Monster Makeup Experience. Think of a horror version of Bibbity Bobbity Boutique, guests are transformed into monsters like vampires and the undead as an upcharge. The land will also feature several shops in Darkmoor, at the exit to Monsters Unchained, and outside Curse of the Werewolf.

The Bride and Frankenstein’s Monster meet-and-greet concept art.

TouringPlans Touring Tips

  • Monsters Unchained will be one of the hottest tickets in Epic Universe – visit within the first half an hour the park is open or the last half hour before the park closes.
  • Curse of the Werewolf is a moderate thrill coaster, we expect it to stay busy throughout the day as guests ride after experiencing, or balking at, Monsters Unchained. Experience within the first 90 minutes the park is open or the last two hours before the park closes
  • We think The Burning Blade Tavern will become a fan favorite, but with only 64 seats it will quickly become crowded, like Oga’s Canteen at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. Visit before lunch or within the last two hours the park is open to avoid the crowds.

Dark Universe is coming, what are you looking forward to in the village of Darkmoor? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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Joseph Matt

Joe covers theme parks through the lens of his quality engineering day job. He has over five years of writing experience at Touring Plans and has gone on dozens of trips to Orlando over his life. When not at amusement parks you can find Joe at breweries, enjoying live theater, playing video games, and cooking.

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