Universal Orlando Resort

WALKING WITH BIORECONSTRUCT – The Journey from Epic Universe to Universal CityWalk

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For the last several years, we have doubled our dose of Dramamine to join blogger-in-the-sky @bioreconstruct high above the theme parks in our FLIGHTS WITH BIO series. Today we embark on a new series that takes place on the ground as we join Bio on one of his many walking adventures around Orlando.  Today’s journey is going to be the walk from Universal’s EPIC Universe to Universal CityWalk, the hub of the current Universal Orlando Resort. So without further ado, take it away Bio…

A common question is: how far is it to Epic Universe? The answer depends on how you measure. There’s straight line distance and there’s driving distance.

Aerial look at the route between CityWalk (just out of frame below) taken from starting outside Stella Nova resort. Aug 4, 2023.

This article looks at the walking distance from just outside Universal’s Stella Nova resort (opening in January) and Universal CityWalk. About 3.8 miles along Universal Blvd, and the route seen in yellow in the aerial photo above. The route is also in the Google Maps image below.

Over the decades I’ve run the full length of Universal Blvd too many times to count! Universal Blvd could be a route for runners to keep up their training while on vacation. The area near Stella Nova is also a common running route for nearby residents.

Route between CityWalk (at top) and just outside Stella Nova resort. Amended image, original is from Google Maps.

Let’s be clear, there’s no reason anyone has to walk between these sections of Universal. There are transportation options available. However, if you’re a step-counter and frequently do 10,000 steps or five miles a day, then this walk might be a fun adventure to get your steps in.

Caution! Be fully aware of traffic when walking along Universal Blvd. There are very busy intersections. Remember also that you can always bail on the walk with transportation through a ride share app.

Street view of the construction of Terra Luna, Helios Grand Hotel, and Stella Nova. Mar 22, 2024.

The walk seen in this article starts across the street from Stella Nova resort. Why start here instead of CityWalk? Well, my full walk on this day was from CityWalk, going completely around Epic Universe, and then back to CityWalk! This is a detailed look at the walk back.

Another article later will look at the full circle walk around Epic Universe. The Epic Universe full circle is an option for long distance runners looking for a route to maintain their training while on a trip.

Aerial photo of Stella Nova and Terra Luna resorts under construction. Mar 22, 2024.

Probably the closest point reachable now to the Epic Universe theme park is across the street from the construction of the Kirkman Rd extension. Sidewalks are seen in aerial photos of Stella Nova and Terra Luna. Add another half mile on these sidewalks to reach the Epic Universe entrance.

Barricades at the crosswalk of what will be further extension of Kirkman Rd. Mar 25, 2024.

The route between CityWalk and Stella Nova passes a few convenience stores. If you’re doing an out and back from CityWalk, you might need a convenience store just past the South end of Stella Nova.
Let’s start the walk to CityWalk from this point, directly across from Stella Nova.

View of the Orange County Convention Center. Mar 25, 2024.

The sidewalk along the Orange County Convention Center is wide, and the area is well landscaped. It might be the most relaxing and quiet part of the walk.

Aerial photo of Universal’s bus depot site. Note the power transfer yard top right. Feb 28, 2024

Across the street is a developing area, currently with only construction site trailers in the parking lot. Universal is building a bus depot here for a new fleet of electric buses that will connect Universal Resorts with Epic Universe. The buses will have exclusive lanes in the median of Kirkman Rd.

The reason the bus depot will be here is there’s a major electric power transfer yard right next to the site. This transfer yard has been here for many decades.  You’re lined up with the power transfer yard as you walk under a line of high voltage electric cable towers here.

Edge-on view of The Orlando Eye. Mar 25, 2024.

Well landscaped sidewalks continue now to some of the lodging and attractions in the I-Drive area. One of the turns in the sidewalk has an edge-on view of The Orlando Eye.
This might be a good moment to say that if you select any of the images in this article they will display at full size. This larger view might be helpful to see more detail in the aerial photos.

Aerial view of the Orlando Eye area Mar 31, 2023.

In this aerial photo of the Orlando Eye area:

  1. Universal’s Dockside Inn. The walk will pass by it soon!
  2. Bell tower above Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food in CityWalk.
  3. Dr Doom’s Fearfall towers in Islands of Adventure.
  4. Krakatau in Volcano Bay.
  5. Spur of Epic Universe property.
Distant view of Epic Universe construction. Mar 25, 2024.

Seen on the opposite side of Universal Blvd is a strip of vacant land. The land is the far end of a spur of the Epic Universe property. The spur runs between Lockheed Martin and Topgolf Orlando, to Universal’s electric bus depot area.

Aerial photo of the route walked so far. Jan 13, 2024.

In this aerial photo:

  1. Arrow at about the viewpoint of photos of this section of the article.
  2. Electric bus depot site.
  3. Electric transfer yard.
  4. Terra Luna resort.

The next two photos are distant views of the Epic Universe skyline from this area of Universal Blvd.

The manor tower in Dark Universe, the mountain in How to Train Your Dragon land, and the portal tower of Dragon land. Mar 25, 2024.
Mount Beanpole in Super Nintendo World. Mar 25, 2024.
Caption: Orlando Eye being assembled. Dec 7, 2014.

As this walk continues past The Orlando Eye, it might be interesting to look back at the construction of the attraction.

View of the Sand Lake Rd construction at Kirkman Rd. The arrow is at the overpass. Mar 25, 2024. (PHOTO A)

Moving along now to a busy intersection, Universal Blvd and Sand Lake Rd. A convenience store is here if needed. Store is directly behind this viewpoint. Behind the billboard on the right seems like an undeveloped area … an aerial photo showing what’s behind the trees will be seen in a moment.

In view here, to the East, is construction of a new overpass at Sand Lake Rd and Kirkman Rd. The arrows in the photos above and below are at that new overpass.

Wide view of the Sand Lake Rd at Universal Blvd. Mar 29, 2024 (PHOTO B)

Part of the new overpass is that Kirkman Rd. is being extended alongside Epic Universe. The extension ends right where this walk began, across from Stella Nova!

Aerial photo of the Sand Lake Rd overpass of Kirkman Rd. Arrow is the viewpoint two photos back in this article. Mar 16, 2024.

This aerial photo shows how large the project is at Sand Lake Rd and Kirkman Rd. It’s unknown at this time if this interchange will have sidewalks. The arrow in the aerial photo is the viewpoints of Photo A and Photo B, at Universal Blvd.

Aerial photo of Sand Lake Rd at Universal Blvd. Arrow is viewpoint of the previous photo in this article. Mar 25, 2024.

Behind the trees seen in Photo A is a private parking lot and outdoor sports fields for Lockheed Martin team members.

Universal’s Dockside Inn now in view along Universal Blvd. Mar 25, 2024.

Continuing along Universal Blvd to a sighting of Universal’s Dockside Inn.

Aerial photo of the areas near Universal’s Surfside Inn and Dockside Inn. Mar 22, 2024.

Arrow in this aerial photo at about the location of the previous photo. Volcano Bay, Islands of Adventure, and Universal Studios Florida are in the top right of the photo.

Before Universal built Surfside and Dockside this area was home to Florida’s very first water park: Wet ‘n Wild.

Aerial photo of Wet ’n Wild, two weeks after it closed. Jan 16, 2017. 1) Site of Dockside Inn 2) Site of Surfside Inn
3) A non-Universal owned hotel here now (a skydiving simulator is seen here, inside a tall tower with large fans underneath.)

Wet ‘n Wild was the first attraction to combine the three essentials of a water park. Water slides, wave pool, and lazy river. Disney’s River Country opened before Wet ‘n Wild. However, it had only two water slides at “the old-fashioned swimming hole”.

Universal bought and operated Wet ‘n Wild for several years, and then began to develop Volcano Bay (which opened just a few months after Wet ‘n Wild closed.)

Composite photo of the length of Wet ’n Wild as it was seen from Universal Blvd. Jan 22, 2017.

The overhead message sign seen at right is still standing!

Aerial photo of a pool at Dockside Inn. Apr 16, 2023.

Guests staying at Dockside Inn have access to a pool bar called Wave Maker’s Bar. Here’s a fun history lesson, George Millay – the founder of Wet ‘n Wild (also the founder of Sea World) was nicknamed the Wave Maker.  At Dockside’s Wave Maker’s Bar there are a few Easter Eggs related to Wet ‘n Wild.

Sidewalk along Universal Blvd, crossing I-4. Mar 25, 2024.

Almost there! Cross International Drive and you reach the Universal Blvd overpass of I-4.


View of Krakatau in Volcano Bay, and some of the Universal Orlando resorts. Mar 25, 2024

Aerial photo of the Universal property as seen from the I-4 overpass.

View of I-4 through the fence along the Universal Blvd overpass. The concrete lanes are tolled express lanes. Mar 25, 2024.

A view of I-4 is on the right. The overpass seen in the distance is Kirkman Rd. The white structure in the middle of the photo is part of the Orlando Premium Outlets, home of a Disney Character Warehouse store, which some TouringPlans readers may know from the Disney Outlet Photo Report series.

One of the Osprey Nests near Universal. On a billboard near the Universal Blvd overpass. Mar 25, 2024.

As the Universal Blvd overpass goes downhill there is a sighting of a longtime Osprey nest. A pair of Osprey are here in the Spring. By summer their youngster(s) have taken flight, and everyone leaves. A new pair of Osprey nest the following year.

Universal Orlando sign at the Universal Blvd entrance. Mar 25, 2024.

The walk is almost over. It might be time to take a selfie at the Universal sign.

Arrival in the CityWalk transportation plaza. Mar 25, 2024.

After a careful cross over through the Universal bus plaza you are in the CityWalk transportation hub. An escalator, stairs, or elevator at left takes you to the security check in the hub.

Congratulations! You’ve completed the walk between Stella Nova and CityWalk!

I timed it at 1 hour 12 minutes for the 3.8 miles, including waits for crosswalk. I stopped my timer when I took photos. Including camera time, my walk took 1 hour 36 minutes. My suggestion is to plan for 2 hours, allowing time for a convenience store stop.

If you walk, be cautious of traffic and have fun!

So there you have it: WALKING WITH BIORECONSTRUCT – Epic Universe to Universal CityWalk! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out the THEME PARK ENJOYMENT INDEX, giving a monthly recap of all the theme park news you need to know (and a lot more you don’t need to know, but we’re gonna tell you anyway). You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).

If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following: 

The SATURDAY SIX Celebrates Ten Years with TouringPlans

SATURDAY SIX Presents: The Disney Merchandise Hall of Shame

SATURDAY SIX Presents: The Disney Signage Hall of Shame

SATURDAY SIX Presents: The Disney Food Hall of Shame

SATURDAY SIX: Tribute to Josh easyWDW

SATURDAY SIX: Tribute to Ian Barritt

Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, Digital Maestro Scott Walker, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, artist @SonderQuest, the mighty maven of merchandise Hedgehog’s Corner, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and “the Dadalorian” Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, charter member of the Universal Four @Nitro230, the permit princess Alicia Stella, master cartographer Tommy Hawkins, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Absolutely no help was added by SeaWorld Influencer @SuperWeenieHtJr. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will  enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.

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2 thoughts on “WALKING WITH BIORECONSTRUCT – The Journey from Epic Universe to Universal CityWalk

  • Really Great Feature. The lack of shade will really make this a daring journey for the casual fan!

  • Love it, please post any more good running routes, I am often down there and I need places to run.


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