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Universal Epic Universe Preview

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Years in the making, Universal Orlando’s newest theme park is almost here. Epic Universe is more than just Mario and Monsters, this is Comcast’s largest investment in themed entertainment ever. This article will cover all the information you need about Universal’s latest theme park and hotels opening in 2025. (Last updated January 30, 2024).

History of Epic Universe

Epic Universe construction site areal photo from January 2021. Just a lot of dirt.
Epic Universe construction site aerial photo from January 2021.

Universal first purchased the land that would become Epic Universe in 1998 from Lockheed Martin. Originally designed as a third phase of expansion for a resort after Islands of Adventure, the third phase of expansion would have housed golf courses, resorts, timeshares, and more. After the tourism recession in 2001/2002, the resort switched hands and the new owners sold the land in 2003 to keep the resort afloat.

Comcast fully purchased NBC/Universal in 2011 and finally fully took over the operations of the resort. Comcast was looking at expansion and started with Volcano Bay in 2017 and the Endless Summer hotels in 2019 and 2020. In late 2015 Comcast shocked the themed entertainment community by reacquiring the original 1998 land. While Universal remained mum on their purchase everyone knew it was for a third theme park.

After years of rumors, land cleanup, and roadway expansion proposals, Universal announced Epic Universe in August 2019 for a grand opening in 2023. Then the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic hit and Universal Orlando closed for months. Team Members either were furloughed or lost their jobs, and Epic Universe was paused. In March 2021 Universal re-announced the project with a 2025 opening date.

Park Map. Concept Art.

Today the park, roads, and hotels are under active construction. Comcast has confidently stated the park will be open by the summer of 2025, leading us to believe Universal Orlando plans to offer extensive previews for the park.

I don’t know about y’all, but I am beyond excited.

Location of Epic Universe

Epic Universe is located at the intersection of Kirkman Road and Universal Boulevard near the Orange County Convention Center. The north Universal campus is home to the current Universal Orlando theme parks and the south Universal campus will house the future Epic Universe park and its three themed hotels. This new campus is located south of the existing hotels and theme parks and will be accessible by bus or car. Unlike at Walt Disney World, Epic Universe is separated from the north campus by land Universal doesn’t own or control.

epic universe parking diagram

Guest parking is located in a surface parking lot off of a new street being built south of the park, Epic Boulevard. The easiest way to reach Epic Universe will be by taking I-4 North to 528 East. Take 528 East and then go north on Universal Boulevard. Follow Universal Boulevard and take a right onto Kirkman Road. Take the next right onto Epic Boulevard and follow the signage to parking. I-4 Southbound guests to take the Kirkman Road exit and then take a left on Epic Boulevard.

Hotels at Epic Universe

Universal is opening three new hotels near to Epic Universe in 2025 – two Prime Value hotels and one Premier or Preferred hotel located inside the park.

Opening in January 2025, Universal Stella Nova Resort and Universal Terra Luna Resort are sister Primve Value resorts located next to Epic Universe. Prices start at $189 per night and as low as $134 per night for a 7-night stay.

Each ten-story, 750-room, indoor tower is covered in color-changing panels that shimmer in the sun. Guests enter through the black hole portal into a neo-futurist lobby with sweeping surfaces and large windows. Indoor and outdoor counter service dining is available along with coffee baristas and bars for your early-morning coffee run or late-night pizza order. Kids will love the outdoor pool and splash pad while adults will enjoy the hot tub, outdoor activities, and bar.

Both hotels also include theme park early admission, free transportation to and from the theme parks, resort-wide room key charging, and package delivery.

Universal’s Helios Grand Hotel is rumored to be located at the back of Epic Universe. Themed to the sun god, Helios is expected to have full-service dining, concierge-level service, and 500 deluxe rooms. Many of the rooms will either overlook the Oculus fountain in the park or have a view of the fireworks.

What is Epic Universe?

Epic Universe site overview, Jan 2024. Photo courtesy Bioreconstruct.

Universal Epic Universe is the third theme park at Universal Orlando Resort. Epic Universe combines industry-leading design and state-of-the-art technology to create an unparalleled theme park experience. If Universal Studios Florida has themed lands and Islands of Aventure is denoted by islands, then Epic Universe has worlds. Each of the four themed lands is a self-contained space accessed through portals located in the hub. Epic is shaping up to be one of Universal’s more well-rounded parks at the opening, with a slew of attractions designed for all ages.

Epic Universe is estimated to be around 110 acres in size, roughly the size of the Magic Kingdom. The park has a stem and leaf design, with the park’s stem reaching from the entrance of the park to the hotel in the back. Themed portals branch off from the stem, leading to the universes of How to Train Your Dragon, Universal’s classic monsters, Harry Potter, and Nintendo.

Rumored Attraction Type Overview:

  • Dark Rides: 4
  • Roller Coasters: 4
  • Shows: 3
  • Flat Rides: 2
  • Water Rides: 1
  • Interactive/Play Areas: 5


Park Entrance. Concept Art.

From the parking lot guests pass through a combination of security and entrance turnstiles set up. Guests walk through the main portal past The Chronos statue, the central icon for Epic Universe. Behind it is Celestial Park, the main hub for Epic Universe.

Celestial Park

Celestial Park

Celestial Park is the backbone of Epic Universe and is decorated with lush gardens and elaborate water features. The park spans the full length of the park, from the entrance to the Helios Grand Hotel in the back. Celestial Park is home to the park’s core utilities like rentals, first aid, guest relations, and lockers.

Four attractions are found in Celestial Park:

  • Starfall Racers – super headliner thrill coaster where guests race and duel like a shooting comet. 48 inch height requirement.
  • Constellation Carousel – an innovative carousel
  • The Oculus – Fountain show
  • Astronomica – Water play area
Atlantic Restaurant in Epic Universe

The gardens host the majority of Epic Universe’s restaurants. Due to the amount of restaurants in the hub and the nighttime entertainment it is rumored some guests might be able to access Celestial Park at night without purchasing a ticket.

These are the restaurants in Celestial Park:

  • ATLANTIC – Upscale full-service dining overlooking the water pools of Celestial Park. Surf and turf in a Victorian aquarium setting.
  • The Oak & Star Tavern – Casual full-service dining focusing on BBQ and grilled items
  • Blue Dragon – an Asian fusion restaurant attached to the park and Helios Grand Hotel.
  • Meteor Astropub – Rumored burgers and beer overlooking The Oculus and Astronomica. Unconfirmed by Universal.
  • Pizza Moon– Counter service pizza.

Super Nintendo World

Super Nintendo World Portal. Concept Art.

The only officially confirmed land for Epic Universe, Super Nintendo World brings the world of Mario and Donkey Kong to life. Super Nintendo World will be home to three rides:

  • Mario Kart Bowser’s Challenge – interactive dark ride using Augmented Reality technology
  • Yoshi Aventure – omnimover attraction for young children
  • Donkey Kong Mine Car Mayhem – next-generation mine coaster

Eat at Toadstool Cafe, shop at Mario Motors, and collect coins using the PowerUP Bands throughout the land. This is the definitive version of Super Nintendo World, larger and more elaborate than the lands in Hollywood and Osaka, Japan.

Dark Universe

Dark Universe Portal. Concept Art.

Universal found a winning formula with the Horror Make-Up Show and Halloween Horror Nights in Universal Studios Florida, so why not add a modern-day spin on the Universal monsters to Epic Universe? Straddling the line between horror and the silly, guests will find a quaint town full of shops, restaurants, and bars.

The land’s two attractions are both monsters adjacent:

  • Monsters Unchained: The Frankenstein Experiment – Thrilling dark ride similar to Forbidden Journey featuring the classic Universal Monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula, and more.
  • Curse of the Werewolf – spinning family coaster

In the Dark Universe, it is rumored guests will interact with the land with body paintings, aka temporary tattoos, activating effects around the land.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Paris & Ministry of Magic

Wizarding World Portal. Concept Art.

Walk through the Wizarding World portal and into Paris, with authentic winding streets full of magical surprises. Those magically inclined will find beasts behind those Parisian windows and guests will find a whole new batch of interactive wand locations. Expect to find a French wand merchant, pastry shops, counter service dining venue, and two attractions:

  • Harry Potter and the Battle at the Ministry – Join Harry, Hermione, and Ron in the British Ministry of Magic as they stop a jailbreak of Delores Umbridge.
  • Le Cirque Arcanus – Elaborate stage show featuring fantastic magical beasts.

How To Train Your Dragon

How to Train Your Dragon – Isle of Berk Portal.

Enter the rocky portal to the Isle of Berk, the hometown of the How to Train Your Dragon series. Our story is the personal journey of learning how to ride a dragon, from fire extinguishing to dragon riding. Berk features several of the park’s attractions:

  • Hiccup’s Dragon Gliders – Family coaster with similar intensity to Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure
  • Dragon Racer’s Rally – Mild-thrill flat ride
  • Fyre Drill – Interactive boat ride
  • The Untrainable Dragon – indoor stage show featuring live actors, puppets, large sets, and projections
  • Interactive play areas

Of course, you will get hungry, so stop by the great hall for a meal. If you do decide to adopt a dragon of your own (read: purchase) the resident dragons of the will interact with your pet.

Coming Soon…

Epic Universe and the three brand-new hotels begin opening in January 2025. Stay tuned to TouringPlans for all the latest Epic Universe news and the first Epic Universe touring plans.

Original published June 9, 2023. Updated on January 30, 2024.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Universal Epic Universe Preview

  • I am hoping to come end August 2025 so fingers crossed it will be open by then

  • I absolutely cannot wait. Everything looks amazing, and, knowing Universal, it WILL live up to the hype. I’m excited that we will be able to use our existing wands in new places. I can’t wait to fly a dragon! As my friend and travel partner said to me, “Universal, just take my money now!”


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