Universal has "paused" the development of its Epic Universe theme park at the Universal Orlando Resort, according to parent company Comcast's first quarter earnings call this morning.
Meanwhile, Orange County (Florida) Mayor Jerry Demings said during a press briefing that senior officials at Universal told him that the overall expansion project at Universal Orlando, which includes Epic Universe, would be "delayed by a year."
"However, they’re going to continue with $300-plus million in construction that is really underway at this time," Demings said.
On the earnings call, Comcast reported that revenue for NBCUniversal's theme parks division was down 31.9 percent, from 1.276 billion in the first quarter of 2019 to 869 million in the same quarter this year. EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation) was down 84.7 percent, to $76 million. The company stands to lose $500 million if the parks remain closed for the entire second quarter, which would be through June, Comcast officials said.
Universal Parks Chairman Tom Williams had told team members earlier that the development of the Epic Universe theme park remained on schedule for its announced 2023 opening, despite the parks' closure in response to the pandemic. Universal Creative staff have remained on the job, though working remotely, as design and construction had been proceeding on the park.
No one at Comcast or Universal, or local government officials, has said today when the new theme park is now expected to open.
Site prep work is underway for Universal's Epic Universe, which will be located on Universal Orlando's new "south campus" across Universal Boulevard from the Orange County Convention Center. The new park is expected to include four immersive, single-IP lands branching from a central dining and shopping plaza that rings a series of pools and fountains. Comcast and state officials announced the new park in August 2019.Tweet
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