Will Comcast build Epic Universe?

Edited: September 7, 2020, 1:10 AM

In a world reeling from a pandemic and economic collapse, will Comcast invest billions of dollars to develop another Orlando park? In the arena of armchair theme park QBs, it is far and away the most predominant question. Walt Disney World has three e-tickets that WILL drop in the next 18 months. In the face of this, is UO planning to compete with two same old parks or will they sack up and pull the trigger on UEU? Tick tock, tick tock ...

Replies (8)

September 6, 2020, 9:16 PM

And just so we are all on the same page, if they announce that Epic is cancelled, then Comcast is clearly surrendering the Orlando market ... Unless, of course, they have another GENIUS 'Fast and Furious' concept we don't know about.

Edited: September 7, 2020, 1:06 AM

Nah, in my opinion I’ve never seen Comcast to take “big risks”. And for anyone who’’ll say that in the midst of a economic collapse they went ahead and built velocicoaster, I have no doubt that they already invested so much money into it beforehand that it would be an even bigger burden to cancel it. Yes they could’ve postponed the coaster but I think that for the time being, comcast is betting that The Bourne Stunt show and velocicoaster will be enough for the next 3 years. I’m predicting that the Woodpecker land at USF will be demolished and the creative team will be tasked on how to fit Nintendo land in there. Whether or not ET will still be there is up for discussion but that’s just my two cents

September 6, 2020, 11:01 PM

I've been saying since the start of the pandemic that there is no way this park is getting built and i'm sticking with that. When companies commit to making investments they make those investments under the assumption that they are going to be making a certain amount of money while that stuff is getting built. They went from raking in huge amounts of cash to pouring out huge amounts of cash overnight.

We are 6 months into this and half of their hotels, including 3 of their newest ones, are closed for an indefinite amount of time. While they have probably been profitable on weekends the parks are still totally empty during the week and they are doing heavy discounting. Sorry but there is no way Epic Universe is in the cards anymore. I think Nintendoland will likely be built at USF and UO will probably not develop the land next to the Convention Center for a long time.

Edited: September 6, 2020, 11:24 PM

Here's my gut feeling on this...

If the Orlando tourism industry somehow manages to make a rapid recovery and is back to pre-pandemic numbers by next summer, I think Universal will move forward with Epic Universe. It likely will be delayed one or two years from the previous timeline, but will probably happen largely as originally envisioned. That said, I see this as an unlikely scenario, and I would probably bet against it.

Instead, what I expect to happen is a reversion to the original plan for Nintendo taking over Kidzone, with that project beginning construction once clear signs of recovery are present and opening 2-3 years later. The rest of Epic Universe will likely be discarded, as the IPs in use don't seem like they'll maintain their strength indefinitely. Eventually, a brand new park will be developed from scratch for the site, but the soonest that would happen would be toward the end of the decade (probably 2029/2030 opening to beat WDW's 60th). As it is likely going to take at least two years if not longer before activities such as international travel return to pre-pandemic levels, I foresee this as the most likely scenario.

As for those E-tickets opening next year, I personally am considering anything that, prior to March 2020, was scheduled to open in 2021 as a non-factor on future plans at this point. These attractions were so far along that it was more economically feasible to complete them than abandon them, and I've always considered Velocicoaster to be Universal's answer to Tron and Guardians (which, BTW, is sounding unlikely to open in the next 18 months). What will be more telling is if Disney announces new projects in the next year or two while Universal remains silent, but my guess is both companies are going to be quite quiet for the next several years due to uncertainty in the industry for the foreseeable future.

September 9, 2020, 12:29 PM

Sweet! Disney has 3 e tickets that only Florida residents will be able to experience because there were still be travel restrictions in place. Sounds cool.

As to Universal building Epic Universe, we're currently in the midst of a reboot like 2001, but with far worse implications because this one affects the overall health of the population. After 2001, neither Disney nor Universal spent much capital on new rides or experiences. So yeah, they may build it, but my guess is it won't open until 2025 and that is if Florida and the nation itself sees a recovery in the economy prior to that.

Still, I guess it's nice to have three e tickets even though a small percentage of people will actually get to experience them. Kind of doesn't make fiscal sense though.

September 9, 2020, 2:04 PM

I also think Epic Universe is done for. If Universal is struggling to get people in the parks they have now, then building another one for $1 billion just ain't in the cards.

September 13, 2020, 10:19 AM

@JT: "$1 billion"? That's a pretty low estimate. I'd guess closer to two or three.

September 24, 2020, 10:57 AM

I think they'll build Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios and wait 5+ years to build Epic Universe.

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