How Epic Universe Could Put a MAJOR Dent in Disney’s Theme Park Domination

We are (not-so-patiently) counting down the days until Epic Universe officially opens at Universal Orlando!


Although we don’t know an official opening date just yet, we do know the park will be opening its gates sometime in 2025. We’ve been keeping track of the latest announcements and construction updates on Epic Universe, and so far it looks like Disney World is going to have to seriously defend its domination over Orlando theme parks.

Epic Universe has been the talk of the town ever since Universal announced the new theme park — and it’s clear to see why. There will be five different lands: Super Nintendo World, Harry Potter — Ministry of Magic, How To Train Your Dragon — Isle of Berk, Dark Universe, and Celestial Park. With a 2025 opening goal in sight, we think Disney is going to have a hard time keeping its crown as the top theme park destination in Orlando.

The Entrance to Epic Universe

When Epic Universe opens, three new hotels will open with it — two of which will be just outside the gates. And, according to a commercial real estate professional — it might not be enough. Michael Weinberg, managing director in the Orlando office of commercial real estate firm Berkadia, told the Orlando Business Journal that these 1,500 rooms are just “a drop in the bucket to satisfy next year’s hotel demand.”

Concept art of Terra Luna and Nova Stella Nova Resorts adjacent to Epic Universe ©Loews Hotels

“If you add this big demand driver in the market and then you look back at previous big demand generators — like when they added [Wizarding World of] Harry Potter in 2010 — the spike was around 10%-15%,” Weinberg said. “This is like adding four or five Harry Potters.”

He continued, saying that historically the Universal Boulevard hotel corridor has always been number two from a revenue perspective — behind International Drive — but that Universal will take over.

©Universal Orlando

With Epic Universe opening, Disney needs to deliver something big to answer for the potential dip in park attendance if folks head to Universal instead. Of course, it’s not likely that Disney would be able to come up with something quite as big as another theme park altogether, but a new experience could bring needed crowds to the parks.

And, from what we’ve seen, people are ready to ditch the mouse and move to Epic Universe — at least for a while.


The Wall Street Journal reports that if Universal can convince enough families to book a trip there instead of at Disney World, “…it could be a big blow to Disney’s most profitable division at a time when the company is struggling to juggle other priorities, including finding its next chief executive, reinvigorating its movie studios and making money in streaming.”

Celestial Park Overlook at Epic Universe

Disney’s current CEO, Bob Iger, recently commented on the company’s lack of response to Epic Universe, saying “That couldn’t be further from the truth,” before listing major projects and expansions at Disney World over the past 5-6 years, including Pandora — The World of Avatar and its two rides in Animal Kingdom; Toy Story Land and Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios; the EPCOT Transformation including the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic RewindRemy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and Moana Journey of WaterMickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Hollywood Studios; and Tron Lightcycle/Run in Magic Kingdom.


Iger said that at Disney World, staggering the opening of new projects over time is their way of optimizing operations. And he assured shareholders that “there’s much more coming to our parks around the world, including Florida.


One potential quick turnaround project could be doing something with the now-closed Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel. Disney could likely retheme the space and get it ready in time for a 2025 opening. But, it would have to be a seriously popular theme or concept to be a big enough draw.

Of course, it’s possible that people could choose to take Disney World and Epic Universe trips at the same time by combining them — but that would still likely take away time that normally would have been spent at Disney World for Universal instead.


Stay tuned to AllEars for the latest news about all things Epic Universe, Universal Orlando, and more!

Learn MORE About Everything Coming to Universal’s Epic Universe Here

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Will you be booking a trip to Epic Universe when it opens? Tell us in the comments.

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2 Replies to “How Epic Universe Could Put a MAJOR Dent in Disney’s Theme Park Domination”

  1. Wishing Universal all the best. Disney has gotten bloated and is taking the family market for granted. All they do is raise prices and cut services. They cater to the Uber rich, and although that crowd can surely put a nice topping on Disneys Profit Sundae, it can’t make up the whole thing. And Disney is in danger of losing their base, middle income families. Universal, at least for now, seems to be trying to offer much better value options and services, even for families who can’t spend 15k on a week long vacation. If Universal could add some more dark Rides that appeal to younger kids and nauseated older adults, I think they could take a permanent bite out of Disneys market share. I don’t see the accountants currently running Disney parks worrying anytime soon about how to offer more value for families.

  2. While the new park will be a huge boost, Universal has a bigger problem – outside of Harry Potter, a lot of the IPs don’t have that lasting attraction that Disney IPs do. Train Your Dragon was a solid series, but does it really have that big of a fanbase? The only IP they have going besides HP is their partnership with Nintendo, and even then, in the long run, will 3 rides sustain the demand?
    With Disney’s plans to redo Dinoland, then MK Beyond Big Thunder section, they already are working on an answer.

    In the meantime, Universal doesn’t have appeal for young families, so Disney will coast on them until the new lands are open at MK and AK. Ultimately, like they say in The Road to El Dorado – Both? Both. Both is good. We can just do both.