Universal Orlando

New details were revealed about Universal Orlando’s upcoming theme park, including what properties some of the attractions may be based on.

This morning, during a virtual question and answer chat with the NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell, some details were revealed about the company’s recent success in the theme park sector, as well as what we can expect for Epic Universe.

Shell touts how quickly demand for the theme parks, especially in Orlando, has risen since the parks reopened a year ago. He also says that the parks have “ramped up to full capacity” recently, as they are hiring new Team Members to meet the demand.

“We’ve had 11 million people, as of last month, go through the parks since we reopened. We haven’t had any outbreaks. We’ve done it safely” according to Shell.

Universal Orlando
Jurassic World VelociCoaster recently opened at Islands of Adventure

Shell attributes part of the theme park business’ success on continuing to build attractions during the pandemic, including the new Jurassic World VelociCoaster, which he says is the best roller coaster he’s ever been on, and that guests seem to agree.

He also spoke about Super Nintendo World opening in Universal Studios Japan, referring to Nintendo themed lands as one of the company’s cornerstones for a lot of the company’s parks around the world.

Shell said of Nintendo, “We’re really excited about that attraction, and it’s going to anchor our Epic park in Orlando when we get that open in a couple years.”

The moderator, Doug Michelson, asked Shell how Epic Universe will differentiate itself, and add to what the company has in Orlando now. Shell says that size wise, it will be their largest domestic theme park to date.

Universal Orlando
Official concept art for Universal’s Epic Universe

Shell continued: “It’s actually really interesting because, number one, it’ll be anchored by a lot of our strong I.P., including some of the Illumination and DreamWorks content, but especially Nintendo.”

While Nintendo for Epic Universe has been brought up by the company before, this is the first time other intellectual properties have ever been talked about officially.

We’ve long suspected that a land based on DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon could be a part of the Epic Universe theme park, but this is the first time Illumination has really been brought up as a possibility.

Illumination
The Secret Life of Pets is an Illumination film

Illumination Entertainment is an animation studio owned by Universal’s parent company, and has produced hits like Despicable Me, Minions, and The Secret Life of Pets.

What Shell did not talk about were the other rumored lands based on Universal Classic Monsters including Frankenstein, and a possible Wizarding World land which has been expected to contain attractions based on both Harry Potter and the newer Fantastic Beasts film series.

Shell went on to talk about where Epic Universe will be located, saying it will be 10 to 15 minutes south of the current theme parks in Orlando, near the Orange County Convention Center, which may allow them to tap into Orlando’s fruitful convention business.

Shell also said that “the park is going to be amazing” and will allow us “to continue to take share away from other attractions in Orlando” and that guests will be able to “do a full week now, with this park, and only Universal properties in Orlando.”

Jeff Shell did say that Epic Universe would be opening in “a couple of years,” but most theme park fans are not expecting the complete park to open until 2025. Whether or not this interview indicates a rapid acceleration of the timeline remains to be seen.

Universal only officially announced they were restarting the project back in March of this year, after pausing major construction due to the pandemic.