Epic Universe officially postponed

Edited: May 14, 2020, 11:32 AM

Was waiting for Robert to post something on the main page but now that the article is off the front of page of the Sentinel and nobody seemed to pick up on, i'll post a topic here.

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/coronavirus/jobs-economy/os-bz-universal-epic-universe-update-20200513-pbioikeokrczdldjzcjpzm77f4-story.html

Universal told the government that construction has been postponed for a year, and that they are going to resume when the economy "picks back up." Note they did not say when things re-open, they say when the economy "picks back up." And really who knows when that's going to be. It could be years until international tourism really picks up to levels it was at before.

I think this project could be dead if we don't get the situation under control relatively soon. Building an entire park around IPs was an extremely risky and stupid idea to begin with and I am not really sad to see it go. Hopefully when they are ready to build another park in the future they come up with some better ideas. Nintendo does seem to have huge popularity though I can see the Kidzone plan making a comeback.

Replies (10)

May 14, 2020, 11:52 AM

Actually, Robert did post this story back at the end of April when the news broke...

https://www.themeparkinsider.com/flume/202004/7423/

May 14, 2020, 12:05 PM

The project is not dead and will go forward. The question at this point simply is timing. Universal doesn't want to launch this park in a global economic depression/recession, so it wants to see some sign that the economy will have recovered by the end of the three years it will take to complete this park once construction resumes.

The trouble is, at this point, no one can say with any confidence what the world will look like three years from now. So Universal is leaving the pause button on.

May 14, 2020, 12:27 PM

Anecdotally, I think we're going to see things play out much like they did in the early 2000's. Any big park improvements that were already close to completion will be finished while anything else will be delayed three to five years (depending how things go). This time around Disney already has a bunch of projects going so Galaxy's Edge, Mickey's ride, GOTG roller coaster, and Ratatoullie will stave off any staleness over the next couple of years before they decide to build again.

I recall the early 00's being really bare as far as new rides and improvements. That was when Universal really became a better competitor because they started new projects prior to a complete bounce back of the economy and were ready.

Well the reboot did happen. Just not in the way anyone would have wanted or hoped. This time around it affects the one thing that we normally cling to in hard times, socializing and community.

May 14, 2020, 12:31 PM

Oh that's funny, I guess the Sentinel re-wrote the article and put it back on the front page. I knew they paused construction but didn't remember that they said "for a year"

Correct the project is not dead, Universal still very much thinks they are moving ahead with it, but my speculation is that there is a strong possibility it will get cancelled because with every passing week the news about the virus and economy do not get better and a major recession has become inevitable. I do think they will build something there eventually. Also I think EU was always just a ploy to exploit Nintendo and Fantastic Beasts to force people to purchase another ticket to see all the IP, everything else there was basically fluff as far as i'm concerned. What they should do is remove the Backlot/Springfield/Kidzone areas and put Nintendo/Fantastic Beasts there and they wouldn't have to use that extremely valuable real estate next to the convention center just to exploit those two IPs.

May 15, 2020, 5:38 AM

I think Virgin and BA are estimating air travel won’t reach 2019 levels for about 3-4 years.

May 16, 2020, 9:29 AM

If Comcast cancels EU (based on UO's history) I suspect they'll consider putting the parks up for sale.

Edited: May 18, 2020, 11:05 AM

As I see it there's two main reasons for the postponment, but we're only focusing on one. Yes, Universal, like everyone in every industry, is waiting to see how strong the global economy bounces back and when.

But just as important, they're pressing pause until supply chain issues are smoothed out. Everything has gone forward as far as submitting plans to municipalities and basic site work, namely grading. They're now at a point where actual construction could start, but that means becoming heavily reliant on suppliers and their timelines. The biggest headache and cost with any construction is lining up subcontractors so that step 2 starts right after step 1 and step 3 starts right after 2. That can't happen now.
My hope is that once normalcy returns to the industries supplying Universal, we'll see that Universal isnt as concerned with the economic outlook alone and will proceed hopefully in a matter of months, not years.

May 19, 2020, 9:50 AM

That's a great point @FloreanFortescue. Once you start putting shovels in the ground, a well-managed project needs to have everyone in lockstep, and a delay in the delivery of one material or a subcontractor that is not capable of performing their work at 100% efficiency, it has a domino affect on the rest of the project. What may start as a 1-week delay in delivering steel to a site could snowball into a 4-month delay in applying decorative plaster and then into a 6 month delay in getting a final attraction operation license. Most modern projects on this scale are planned with very little flexibility to decrease costs and increase efficiency. With so many unknowns on the horizon, UC may have hit a point in the process where hitting pause made a lot more sense than trying to forge ahead and then run into innumerable delays that would not only push the completion date, but increase costs because individual subs were sitting idle waiting for a previous task to be completed.

Edited: July 7, 2020, 7:13 AM

Scrap it! Wait to see what the new normal will be, if there will be one, and then re-design completely the park. Even if it takes a four year delay.

If UC already have made parts of the Nintendo World attraction , together with its sibling in Japan, then take it to LA and build there.

Wait and see!

July 10, 2020, 9:07 AM

Flavio: "Scrap it! Wait to see what the new normal will be, if there will be one, and then re-design completely the park."

Me: If they scrap it, Comcast will sell the parks.


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