Plans for Universal Studios’ new Universal Epic Universe include parks based on Harry Potter, “How to Train Your Dragon,” Nintendo and more
Universal Orlando’s new theme park, opening next year, will include a look at the history of the Harry Potter universe, a Super Nintendo themed world, a Viking village based on “How to Train Your Dragon” and the of Frankenstein.
Universal Orlando Resort on Tuesday revealed details of the new Universal Epic Universe park that will include five new “worlds,” three hotels and restaurants among its more than 50 attractions.
The magic of Harry Potter at Disney
The new addition to Universal Orlando’s popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter will send guests back in time to experience the Ministry of Magic as seen in 1920s Paris – inspired by the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise – and 1990s London, as Harry, Ron and Hermione would have known it in the “Harry Potter” books, the first of which was published in 1997.
The Super Nintendo World will be based on the success of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” and will allow visitors to access a Mario Kart ride and other attractions through an iconic green pipe, and the Island of Berk, based on ” How to Train Your Dragon,” will feature Viking-themed attractions, according to the company.
The Dark Universe area of the park appears to be a spin on the mad scientist from Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel “Frankenstein,” and will be based on the experiments of one Dr. Victoria Frankenstein in a “world of myths and mysteries.”
New attractions include Celestial Park, a nature-based area with gardens, canals and a constellation-inspired roller coaster.
Three new hotels will debut: one with a galactic theme, another inspired by the “diverse planetary elements of the universe” and the 500-room Universal Helios Grand Hotel, with an exclusive entrance to the Celestial Park.
The history of Universal
Universal opened its first theme park, Universal Studios Hollywood in California, in 1964. It expanded to Orlando in 1990 with Universal Studios Florida and now includes the Islands of Adventure theme park and Universal CityWalk, which takes guests to both parks.
There are currently six Universal hotels and resorts in Florida parks, and an estimated 21.7 million people will visit them in 2022. Universal’s parent company Comcast’s theme parks generated revenue of $7.5 billion in 2022, up 49% from the previous Covid-affected year.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was the undisputed centerpiece of Universal’s attractions in Florida since its debut in 2010 and its expansion in 2014. Attendance at Universal parks soared an average of 32.1% in the years after premiere of the Wizarding World. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is the longest roller coaster in Florida and, at the time of its debut in 2019, was the most expensive roller coaster ever built, costing $300 million. Today, that title is held by Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, which premieres in 2022 at Disney’s nearby competing park, EPCOT.
Mark Woodbury, CEO of Universal Destinations & Experiences, said in September that Epic Universe would be the “most technologically advanced park we’ve ever done.” He said the park will use facial recognition, photo validation technology and robotic drone technology to take the experience of visiting a park “to a whole new level.”