Universal Orlando Resort is readying for an "Epic" expansion.
Officially announced Thursday, a fourth theme park called Epic Universe is under construction a few miles from Universal's flagship Orlando location. The company said, in an official release, its ambitious plan for the addition will include an “entirely new level of experience that forever changes theme park entertainment."
A solid timeline for the project's estimated completion remains evasive, but Epic Universe is expected to include multiple roller coasters, an entertainment center, restaurants, retail outlets, hotels, and new attractions in which “beloved stories expand into vibrant lands” on the property. An outdoor concert venue, indoor rides, and new bodies of water—that could play host to aquatic-themed rides—are all envisioned for the new park.
Located few miles away from the existing Universal Resort hub in Orlando, within a larger 750-acre site, the park (at least based on early renderings) will virtually double Universal's total acreage in Central Florida. The company's past parks in the area include: Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay.
Which "beloved stories" will crop up in Epic Universe are as of yet unclear, but one easy bet would be Nintendo IP, once slated for inclusion within a Super Nintendo World addition that saw construction plans abruptly halted around Universal Studios Florida a few years back. Today's announcement could explain that change of heart, provided Super Nintendo World could serve as a cornerstone for the Epic Universe location.
Surveilling Universal's other franchise options, the Jurassic World and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series seem like obvious launchpads for amusement-park attractions. Even though the Wizarding World of Harry Potter already exists at Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, the franchise's continual expansion (and the immense popularity of that park) would seem to beget additional expansion.
“Our vision for Epic Universe is historic,” said Tom Williams, chairman and CEO for Universal Parks & Resorts. “It will build on everything we have done and become the most immersive and innovative theme park we have ever created. It is an investment in our business, our industry, our team members and our community.”
As per the release, 14,000 jobs will be created by the new location, with $15-per-hour base pay, constituting a massive economic boon to the Orlando area. Universal Orlando is already staffed by 25,000 employees.
The new park is described as the single-largest investment Comcast NBCUniversal has made in its theme park franchise and in the state as a whole, where its Universal resort has become a tourism touchstone.
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