All aboard the hype train for Universal Orlando's new theme park

July 29, 2019, 11:45 AM · Universal Orlando's new theme park likely won't open for several years, but the resort is already firing up its first ride — the Hype Train.

Check out the tweet that Universal dropped this morning.

Is that a hint about the park's new name? And might that name turn out to be something other than what many fans have expected?

Universal revealed the "Universal's Fantastic Worlds" name to Comcast team members late last year, but encountered opposition to its trademark application for "Fantastic Worlds" from Warner Bros., who objected that the name was a portmanteau of its "Fantastic Beasts" and "Wizarding World" trademarks. Remember that although Universal owns the theme park rights to those franchises, those are granted under license from Warner Bros., which retains the trademark ownership of their names.

The other potential park name that Universal registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last year was "Universal's Epic Universe."

By highlighting the "Epic" in its teaser art today, is Universal setting us up for "Epic Universe" being the name of the new park? Universal Orlando is building its fourth gate on more than 500 acres northeast of the Orange County Convention Center, which just so happens to the be site of the press conference that Universal Orlando is hosting on Thursday morning to make this "epic" announcement.

The site plan for the new park includes a surface parking lot for more than 5,000 cars as well as an expansion of Kirkman Road south to Universal Boulevard. Universal has an abundance of IP available for us in the new park, including the Super Nintendo World that it's already announced for the Orlando resort and that is now under construction at Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Universal also is developing Universal Studios Beijing in China with that park on track for an early 2021 opening, according to construction reports. If you give Universal three to four years from announcement to opening to complete the new park in Orlando, that would put it in range to open somewhere between 2022 and 2023. But who knows? We will find out more Thursday morning.

All aboard!

Universal Orlando tickets Buy Tickets: For discount tickets to Universal Orlando's existing theme parks — Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay — visit our officially authorized Universal Orlando tickets page.

Replies (23)

July 29, 2019 at 11:55 AM

This is all due to Harry Potter expansion revenue... so glad another company passed on that IP years ago. This is all good timing as Disney is opening Galaxy's Edge soon. A little stealing of thunder, as all competing companies do. There seems to be room for a Citywalk type entertainment complex and I wouldn't be surprised to see a second water park and some hotels on that property.

July 29, 2019 at 12:26 PM

Personally, I like "Epic" over "Fantastic". Though Epic Worlds would sound better than Epic Universe(s). Maybe someone already has that trademarked though. Or Universal just really likes its extra syllables.

July 29, 2019 at 12:36 PM

Any new speculation on how they would connect a new park with the existing Studios/IoA/City-Walk complex? Or will they just not bother?

July 29, 2019 at 12:54 PM

I would think a fleet of shuttles would be the first option and maybe some sort of Disney style monorail in the future.

July 30, 2019 at 3:07 AM

If there was any doubt about the announcement being about a new park that just about seems erased now. It will be about the new park and if it isn't expect a huge collective moan across the theme park sphere.

Now question is... Will this convince Disney to open that long awaited 5th gate. The Universal Studios Florida and then Disney-MGM Studios competition from back in the day has been well chronicled, opening within a year from each other. Also to note their last parks Animal Kingdom and Islands of Adventure also opened within a year. Now that will not happen this time because Universal has a head start but will Disney World get that 5th gate sometime in the next decade?

July 29, 2019 at 1:03 PM

Regarding the transportation of guests, I'm still holding out hope for a gigantic fleet of Knight Buses with 3D-movie windows like the ones on the Hogwarts Express. Impractical and expensive? Possibly yes. Do I still want this? Also yes.

July 29, 2019 at 1:18 PM

This video came out last December showing the improvements to Kirkman Road.

https://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/video/xpZDV3ZzE6M0-YTO73ryX8rsKrlWrI6s

What it also shows is a dedicated bus lane between what will be the new park and the existing resort.

This 'bus lane' is starting to take shape, especially at the new I4/Kirkman intersection just south of UOR

July 29, 2019 at 1:53 PM

Looks like i will be staying on Universal for my future trips once this is built.

July 29, 2019 at 2:24 PM

I wonder if any of the current or planned Universal hotels will have Express Pass privileges at the new gate?

July 29, 2019 at 3:12 PM

Sounds redundant to call it Universal's Epic Universe and sure seems like this was always the in case of emergency break glass second choice name for Universal Orlando Resort's third theme park and fourth gate. Prefer Universal's Fantastic Worlds, which may still one day be used for the next theme park on that reacquired expansion acreage since there is certainly room for 1 more. That said, still can't ever be the worst name ever used at Universal- that dubious distinction will forever belong to "Universal Studios Escape" :)
By the way, plans filed with Orange County many months back showed Endless Summer as a transportation hub for corridors intended to link the two separate properties with talk of shuttles that may be complimented by a light rail link at some point.

July 29, 2019 at 3:20 PM

"I wonder if any of the current or planned Universal hotels will have Express Pass privileges at the new gate?" - Now that would be epic.

July 29, 2019 at 3:21 PM

I'm excited about the new addition, but "Universal's Epic Universe" sounds like a failed attempt by an over excited 4th grader trying to create a palindrome.

July 29, 2019 at 4:09 PM

@ Rob - I thought the exact same thing but in my mind, it was a 3rd grader! ;D

July 29, 2019 at 5:27 PM

I agree that Epic Worlds sounds best but regardless this is going to be amazing. Given the lackluster response to Galaxys Edge so far, this park might have the potential to finally put the Universal Resort on equal ground with Disney. Cannot wait!

July 29, 2019 at 6:31 PM

Re: Disney having a 5th gate.

I really think the plans for this exist - especially knowing Disney's Florida property purchases for the purposes of wetland conservation. And I think, in terms of intellectual property and theming, their plans revolve around the recent acquisition of Fox. If there is a moment that Universal were to let go of their hold on Marvel properties in theme-parks (which, I think, is inevitable), that is when you will see Disney announce a new, slightly more mature and edgy, 5th gate at Disney World "with-a-Fox-attitude".

July 29, 2019 at 6:35 PM

I would have thought "Epic Adventures" is better, but with Worlds of Adventure being called what it is, that wouldn't work.

July 29, 2019 at 7:10 PM

It would be great if Universal had something to announce that hasn’t already been rumored to be a part of Fantastic/Epic Worlds/Universe.

July 30, 2019 at 2:27 AM

I don't want to say too much in case my information is wrong, but here's my contribution to the hype train...those looking at this project as simply a third/fourth theme park are thinking a bit too small. From what I've heard, this will be more like a second Universal Orlando Resort in terms of magnitude, and if anything is going to get Universal at all close to the attendance seen at Walt Disney World, this is what will do it.

July 30, 2019 at 2:59 AM

With a new theme park I expect at least 1 deluxe hotel will get Express Pass privileges. Universal didn't want to go overboard with the Express-Pass to no-pass ratio I guess but a new theme park will make that possible.

Regarding Disney opening a fifth gate, I don think it's unlikely. Except for MK non of the other parks reached their potential and Disney is still struggling (or willing) to maintain their current parks to the standard they used to have. Also most Americans have a week of vacation to spent and more parks wouldn't be beneficial.

July 30, 2019 at 11:51 AM

I've little doubt that Universal will bus guests from resort to resort, especially considering that "bus-only lane" mentioned earlier. Hopefully it is just a relatively inexpensive placeholder while they are planning and building a monorail. Of course monorail construction is very expensive, but at the same time, imagine being stuck on I-4 and seeing the monorail whiz by with happy and excited vacationers - and staycationers going between the resorts. It'd be a really good way to advertise to all of the people in their cars. Better than ads on the side of a bus.

Although I really dislike buses, and hope Universal plans bigger, getting from the new to the existing resorts is not really different than getting from EPCOT to Animal Kingdom. Or Downtown Disney to Magic Kingdom, where there are no non-bus routes.

I'd say that's more a knock on Disney, though. Don't stoop to Disney's level, Comcast!

July 30, 2019 at 2:34 PM

Cole Short, I love the fleet of Knight Buses idea! That would be the best shuttles ever!

July 31, 2019 at 4:21 PM

From the viewpoint of customers, it's difficult to stay serious around all of the 100% puberal IP-rights (/trademark) games that are being fought out amonst theme park operators...
Is there anyone who still CARES about those silly battles ?

It brings me once again farther away from everything related to IP, when considering "unique theme park experiences".

August 1, 2019 at 1:28 AM

Hate to be a debbie downer but there is pretty much zero chance of any kind of comprehensive transit system other than shuttle buses ever happening. It is generally agreed upon that the state/county does the roads in order to accommodate traffic for the businesses in the area (especially a big one like UO) but there is no way in hell the businesses in the area would ever agree for them to build some sort of train or skyway system that is only for Universal and just whisks everyone by all of their businesses. What will most likely happen is that these roads will have bus lanes that all buses are allowed to use because they are on county property and paid for by the county and the state, and Universals buses will be allowed to use them.

Also regarding the parking lot being a waste of space sure it is, but it cost $20,000 a space to build a parking garage hence why they are only built when absolutely essential (or in Disney Springs case if you have your own government that you can vote for them to pay for it). They will probably build another garage in due time but when they're spending over a billion on a whole new park they probably don't have much left in their budget to spend on an expensive garage.

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.



Discounted Park Tickets

  Orlando attractions

  Southern California attractions

Get Our Newsletter

Read Robert's Book

Stories from a Theme Park Insider