Universal Orlando Resumes Work on Epic Universe

March 3, 2021, 10:19 AM · The Universal Orlando Resort has resumed construction on its planned Epic Universe theme park, owner Comcast announced today.

Universal had "paused" the billion-dollar-plus south campus project due to the pandemic-induced global travel industry slowdown last year. However, we reported over the weekend that Universal had been reaching out to local contractors about resuming the project. Today, Universal made the restart official.

"The restart of construction of Epic Universe is a terrific moment for our employees and for our theme park business in Florida," Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts said. "It is our single-largest investment in the state and represents our enthusiasm for the spectacular park and the economic opportunities it will generate."

"The resumption of the Epic Universe project couldn’t come at a better time," Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings said. "Our community has so many talented workers who will benefit from this massive project. I am confident it will deliver a huge economic boost to Orange County."

Epic Universe will be built on a 750-acre South Campus for the Universal Orlando Resort, located off Universal Boulevard, next to the Orange County Convention Center. The park is tipped to include Super Nintendo World as well as lands themed to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Fantastic Beasts, How to Train Your Dragon, and Universal's classic monsters.

Since Universal paused the project last July, many creative leaders associated with the new park, including Steve Tatham and Jason Surrell, have left Universal Creative. Universal said that Epic Universe's restart will result in the hiring of hundreds of new employees at the company, plus thousands more across contractors, leading to the eventual creation of 14,000 permanent jobs.

The original plan was for the park to open in 2023, but the delay of nearly a year in the park's development should push that back to 2024, at least. Universal has not yet announced an official revision to its planned opening date for the park.

Here is our coverage from the announcement of Epic Universe in August 2019 plus our next-day analysis of the park's concept art.

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Replies (27)

March 3, 2021 at 10:29 AM

One step at a time life recovers.

March 3, 2021 at 10:32 AM

Bravo, this is tremendous news!!! For a while there it seemed this was not going to happen, and that can still be the case, but for now it is a cause of celebration, optimism, and hope.

I'm sure the attraction line-up will change somewhat in the future and all that but I'm excited to see the development of a new American park of this scope.

March 3, 2021 at 2:54 PM

This is SUCH great news!

Comcast has deep pockets. No doubt they have run the numbers and evaluated the economic forecasts. This announcement means that Comcast is bullish on Florida tourism.

There is now very real light at the end of the tunnel.

March 3, 2021 at 10:43 AM

HUGE!!!

However, I do wonder if the designs will be tweaked to not only compensate for current and near-term economic conditions, but also for lingering pandemic restrictions/precautions. Will hygiene and increased health and safety standards be part of basic theme park design (i.e. restroom design/layout, overall attraction spacing, and queue design)?

March 3, 2021 at 10:55 AM

I am curious not just for the changes brought by pandemic but also how Universal let some folks go over the last year so possible changes from the original plans. Still, good to see progress after so long.

March 3, 2021 at 11:57 AM

YES! The current administration can’t cancel this! USA! USA! USA!

March 3, 2021 at 12:30 PM

Early 2025 per Mayor Demmings

March 3, 2021 at 12:45 PM

Although like many theme park enthusiasts, I too was a bit concerned about the future of epic universe but not overly worried about its future mainly because of what is opening for Universal studios overseas this year which is Universal studios Beijing. Surprisingly it is still scheduled to open this year and will provide much needed Cash flow to Comcast. If USB was delayed then I would be worried too about the future of epic universe

March 3, 2021 at 12:52 PM

2025 will be when the extension of Kirkman Road is complete. That will provide a direct route from the existing Universal Orlando resort leading right into the heart of the new property.

March 3, 2021 at 1:00 PM

Now THIS is the kinda news we need! Lets get back to the back seat theme park creating!

March 3, 2021 at 1:10 PM

If there are some attractions cut, I wouldn’t expect it from major vendors like Mack and Kuka. Maybe the show in Monster Land, Donkey Kong ride and a Ministry of Magic/Fantastic Beasts attraction.

March 3, 2021 at 1:20 PM

This is the biggest news to come out of the industry since the pandemic started, and shows that even though they've suffered the worst hit since WWII, the industry as a whole is on a positive long-term trajectory. I honestly did not expect the Epic Universe project to see the light of day again, and I'm curious how much of it will be altered as I doubt it will remain fully intact. Whatever ends up happening, just the promise of a new destination park in Orlando in the mid-2020s is something to look forward to.

March 3, 2021 at 1:21 PM

I knew the doomsayers were wrong on this. The fundamentals haven't changed. Can't wait to go.

March 3, 2021 at 1:30 PM

This is AWESOME! Much like many of the readers here, I fear EU was done. Even though the tourism industry may not recuperate in the next year or two, it looks like the industry insiders at Universal believe that it will come back, and they want to have the first new attractions to show off.

March 3, 2021 at 1:48 PM

I can not wait until I walk into Frankenstein Village for the first time (assuming that's what it's based on). I love the classic Universal monster movies. And my kids loved the How to Train Your Dragon movies and books. I enjoyed them too. I think they'll surprise a lot of people with that land.

March 3, 2021 at 1:57 PM

Yay, yay, yay!!!! And I'm with NCPete -- I hope the classic monsters and Dreamworks parts still make the cut.

March 3, 2021 at 2:51 PM

By the way, if y'all buy into the "Universal's expansion pushes Disney to respond" theory, Orlando is gonna look AWESOME in 2025.

March 3, 2021 at 4:01 PM

This is seriously the best news we've seen in ages (even though I'm more of a Disney guy, so my biggest thing to look forward to is Harmonious, even though the barges have been pretty "Universally" panned). But to have construction resume on something bigger than a Star Wars hotel is pretty major, and a good sign for the confidence that Florida tourism will get back to normal levels in the next few years.

Now if we can only get some good news about California other than food festivals.

March 3, 2021 at 4:30 PM

>>"Universal's expansion pushes Disney to respond" theory, Orlando is gonna look AWESOME in 2025.

With Disney though, I can't see them adding another park. They already have enough attractions for a weeks visit, I can't see them seeing the value in adding another day's worth of activities that people wont get to experience.

Now maybe a Niche park, ala that Peppa Pig thing, although targeted at a different group, that could be interesting. Using some of the Fox properties for a Teen focused Afternoon/Evening mini park maybe? Some sort of "Under age safe" permanent music festival?

March 3, 2021 at 4:50 PM

Chad H: "With Disney though, I can't see them adding another park."

I respond: They don't need to build an entire park. TRON is set for MK, Zootopia can be added to DAK, EPCOT can finish Play Pavilion and demo and rebuild something on the Journey to Imagination site and DHS can feed off the Star Wars hotel.

March 3, 2021 at 4:51 PM

How will Disney respond is indeed the billion dollar question. Disney is adverse to building a fifth gate as when Animal Kingdom opened, it cannibalized the attendance at Magic Kingdom which is something Disney wants to avoid of course. Will they instead the Mary Poppins attraction, Festival Center and the Play center taking over what remains of the Wonders of Life. Disney knows it has to respond somehow or risk losing more visitor traffic to Orlando

March 3, 2021 at 6:25 PM

It's about time. It will take some good part of 4 years to finish this new park. Thankfully Universal has opened a new show and will open a new ride this year continuing updating and add new rides and attractions yearly and I hope they continue doing that.
I'm sure they try to beat the rush on vendors (that for sure will come later this year) who are now eager to make cheaper deals. Above that Comcast did very well with it's internet business and okay with television to the cash kept streaming in trough those channels.
Disney will be a slow burn. The investment of streaming will be significant and is still costing them a lot of money and the parks are leaking money as the days go by. California is closed as is their cruise business, Paris had a tough time and the Asian parks also weren't doing great either.
Above that The Dis (biggest seller of Orlando theme park vacations) see a huge shift in future bookings in favor for Universal.

March 3, 2021 at 6:57 PM

Epic's back, Disney is still leading and OT is posting nonsense.

We're back to the old normal ... And my God it feels great!

March 3, 2021 at 10:24 PM

Well, I'm glad that its resuming. Honestly didnt expect this for about another year so hopefully the opening date wont be pushed too far back.

I hope this'll be the spark to ignite other good news to come in the future.

Edit: Did some digging and found this article (https://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/tourism/os-bz-universal-epic-universe-construction-20210303-ti4f3dednnczfknphsenndwkjm-story.html), it says theyre looking to open early 2025.

March 4, 2021 at 12:58 AM

If Epic Universe is a financial success, Disney's response will not be a fifth gate, but more IP-based lands like Pandora and Galaxy's Edge. Expect things see like Zootopia @ AK and an Indiana Jones Land @ DHS to be announced in the 2026.

March 5, 2021 at 8:33 AM

"The current administration can't cancel this?" Let it go. Move on. This is an amusement park.

March 5, 2021 at 10:11 AM

Can someone confirm if EU will include a Jurassic World land?

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