It may not seem like it, but it’s been nearly a quarter-century since a full-fledged new theme park has opened in the Orlando area. However, that’s all set to change in 2025, when Universal opens its highly anticipated Epic Universe.
While official details are scant, rumors about the upcoming park’s lands and especially its rides abound. So let’s dive right in and explore all the rides we know — and the further ones we believe — are coming to Epic Universe.
Universal first announced Epic Universe in 2019, saying that the park would be their “most immersive and innovative theme park” and naming a potential 2023 opening date. However, the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to those plans, with construction being halted and the project being indefinitely delayed in July of 2020.
Despite fears that the project would be shelved entirely, construction resumed in the spring of 2021, and the following year the company announced a new opening date of Summer 2025.
With the park’s opening date reset, the company has continued hyping the park. For example, Tom Williams, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Universal Parks & Resorts told Good Housekeeping in 2023:
“Our vision for Epic Universe is historic. It will build on everything we have done and become the most immersive and innovative theme park we have ever created.”
So, what exactly will be in this “historic” “immersive” and “innovative” theme park? Well, let’s start with the only 100% confirmed land:
Super Nintendo World
An East Coast outpost of Super Nintendo World — the land first opened at Universal Studios Japan in 2021 and Universal Studios Hollywood in 2023 — was one of the first lands suspected when Epic Universe was first announced, with numerous outlets, and even a few Comcast executives, openly speaking about the land in the ensuing years.
In fact, when Universal Destinations & Experiences CEO Mark Woodbury officially confirmed the land’s presence in the park in February of 2023, he referred to it as the “worst-kept secret in history.”
So, what rides will Epic Universe’s Super Nintendo World contain? To answer that, one only needs to look at the other versions of the land. The headlining ride will almost definitely be Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge. This AR dark ride uses practical sets and augmented reality images shown in glasses to bring guests directly into the world of the popular spin-off video game series. In addition, all signs point to the Florida version of the land featuring clones of Japan’s Yoshi’s Adventure (a slow-moving family omnimover ride that brings guests around the land’s second level) and the upcoming Donkey Kong mine cart attraction (a revolutionary “boom coaster” style ride that will allegedly feature the illusion of jumping over sections of missing and broken track), both of which are absent from the Hollywood version.
Now, moving on to technically unannounced but already under construction/heavily rumored lands and rides coming to Epic Universe.
Before we dive into the park’s lands, we first have t0 focus on the so-called hub area. Supposedly this central area will be accessible even to those who haven’t purchased tickets to the full park, though that’s unconfirmed.
From a ride standpoint, the hub’s two main attractions are rumored to be a massive dueling coaster titled Starfall Racers, and a double-decker carousel-style attraction known as the Constellation Carousel.
Unsurprisingly, Epic Universe is rumored to contain the latest installment of Universal’s massively successful Wizarding World lands based on the seemingly evergreen Harry Potter franchise. The focal point of the land — and arguably the most anticipated attraction rumored for the park — is to be a massive dark ride that will take guests through the Ministry of Magic, including encounters with the villainous Dolores Umbridge, as well as numerous animatronic creatures from the series. Allegedly, the ride is going to use an updated version of the SCOOP ride vehicle used on The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and Transformers attractions.
At one point, this Potter land was also rumored to contain a virtual reality attraction that simulated flying on a broomstick. However, these plans have reportedly been cut.
How to Train Your Dragon
One of Dreamworks’ most successful and long-lasting animation franchises is rumored to have a major role in Epic Universe, as the park is rumored to have a whole land dedicated to the How to Train Your Dragon franchise. If rumors are to be believed, the land will feature two major rides: The first is a massive roller coaster. Allegedly, this massive launch coaster will be themed around riding one of the titular dragons, and will supposedly encircle the vast majority of the land.
The second is supposedly a family-friend boat ride that will feature interactive canons on each vehicle that will allow riders to interact with the physical environments that make up the dark ride-style show scenes.
In many ways, it’s shocking that none of Universal’s theme parks already have a land dedicated to the studio’s iconic monsters — Frankenstein, Wolfman, Dracula, the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Invisible Man, and etc. — given their ubiquity in Universal’s merchandising and advertising. However, the rumored land at Epic Universe will be the first, and allegedly Universal is looking to pull out all the stops.
The land’s main attraction will supposedly be a massive dark ride set in Frankenstein’s Manor, which will allegedly feature many of the titular Universal Monsters, and utilize the Kuka Arm ride system popularized by Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
The Universal Monsters-themed land is also rumored to feature a second ride, specifically a family-style spinning coaster supposedly themed to the Wolfman.
Which of these rumored Epic Universe attractions will you be most excited to visit when the park opens in 2025? Be sure to let us know in the comments below, and keep following All Ears for the latest Epic Universe announcements!
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