Get ready to 'Train Your Dragon' at Universal Orlando

March 28, 2024, 7:30 AM · Universal Orlando Resort this morning revealed the details for the next land at its upcoming Universal Epic Universe theme park - How to Train Your Dragon – Isle of Berk.

How to Train Your Dragon – Isle of Berk
All concept art courtesy Universal Orlando

Based on the Dreamworks Animation franchise, this land will include the American premiere of the Theme Park Insider Award-winning show "Untrainable" that premiered at Universal Studios Beijing.

To be called The Untrainable Dragon in Orlando, this production will star Hiccup, Toothless, Gobber, and Astrid and feature music as well as flying dragons in the theater.

The Untrainable Dragon

Other attractions in the new land will include:

Hiccup's Wing Gliders, an Intamin multi-launch roller coaster with a top speed of 45 mph.

Hiccup's Wing Gliders

Fyre Drill, a Splash Battle-style interactive boat ride, where "Ruffnut and Tuffnut invite teams of Vikings to compete to outscore and out-soak each other on this wet-and-wild boat battle."

Fyre Drill

Dragon Racer’s Rally, a Gerstlauer Sky Fly with a maximum height of 67 feet.

Dragon Racer’s Rally

Viking Training Camp, a play area.

Viking Training Camp

Haddock Paddock, a character meet with Hiccup and Toothless.

Haddock Paddock

The land's restaurants will be:

Mead Hall, a Viking dining hall serving a variety of meats, fish, sandwiches and more, along with a collection of meads and ciders.

Mead Hall

Spit Fyre Grill, a quick service location overlooking Fyre Drill, and Hooligan's Grog & Gruel, another quick service location, in Viking Camp.

Here is an intro video from the team at Universal Creative:

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Replies (19)

March 28, 2024 at 2:46 AM

I love how many beautiful themes different parks have been able to use for their Gerstlauer Sky Fly attractions. The core ride system is loads of fun, and the interactivity means the intensity level is up to the rider, from a gentle and relaxing ride to an extreme thrill machine if you manage to get an absurd number of spins (or as I once did, get yourself stuck upside-down for 2 entire rotations so all the force went directly into my brain).

Having said that, I struggle to imagine any Sky Fly being in as spectacular a location as Pixarus at Toverland (google it - they've fit the Sky Fly inside the helix of Fenix, their B&M wing coaster)

March 28, 2024 at 8:46 AM

Of the IPs announced for Epic Universe, this is the one I have the least familiarity with - I watched the first 2 movies when they came out, but haven't seen the 3rd movie (Hidden World) or carved out time to watch any of the TV show. Another sequel is planned for release next summer, so Universal (and Dreamworks) will be able to cross-promote with the debut of Epic Universe.

The land itself looks pretty incredible, a mix of the Lost Continent with a dash of Wizarding World. I anticipate the Mead Hall to be similar to Leaky Cauldron/Three Broomsticks, but I would hope that they are daring enough to include some more Scandinavian fare (like what's served at Akershus in EPCOT) so we're not stuck with generic Ren Faire food (turkey legs, shepherds pie, meat skewers, etc...).

I have always thought Universal has set the bar for character meet experiences, which Disney has failed to match. The characters here will again be a step up from what you see at WDW, and appear to be on par with the top experiences guests can have with the likes of Blue, Optimus Prime, Donkey/Shrek, and others.

As far as the main attractions, Hiccup's Wing Gliders looks like Universal's version of Slinky Dog Dash. This looks pretty similar to what is WDW's most popular roller coaster right now, and my guess is that it will have a similar height requirement (38"), which should allow it to be accessible to all but the smallest of guests, who will probably prefer to hang out in Viking Training Camp anyway. I do see a mix of elements that are inspired by current Universal coasters with the quick turns over the water (reminiscent of Velocicoaster), and the dive under the bridge (an apparent nod to Hulk). There seems to be a deliberate attempt to put features onto this coaster to get younger guests excited to ride the bigger coasters when they're tall enough, which is an excellent strategy to ensure younger guests and families return year after year.

I've ridden a few splash battle style attractions (most recently at Legoland California back in 2019), but I've always thought these are tricky because unlike traditional water rides (rafts, flumes, and shoot the chutes), operators cannot tone down how wet guests get by simply dropping the water levels in the splash zones. If hitting targets with water cannons is an important element of the ride, those cannons have to be "tuned up" enough to hit those targets, meaning guests will probably still be able to hit guests on nearby rafts. Having a water-based attraction in Orlando is pretty important, but I do anticipate a significant dip in popularity on most days between late November and early March. I think a traditional flume ride would have been better here, but I understand the desire from UC to offer something different and new in the Orlando market.

The Sky Fly is an off-the-shelf stock attraction, but I believe there's only one currently in the US (Shell Shock at Nickelodeon Universe in Mall of America). I rode that attraction quite a few years ago, and marveled at how fun and unique it was, yet I'm pretty sure Epic Universe's will be just the second (and third technically since it's a double installation) in the US. The one thing I did notice when riding the one in Minneapolis is that while you can make your car flip upside-down multiple times, it can take some practice to figure out the motion and it can be pretty difficult if you're a smaller rider (at least for the version at Mall of America - perhaps this one will be easier to control).

Obviously, the biggest draw here will be The Untamable Dragon, which comes with huge accolades and fanfare from Beijing. This could very well be the WaterWorld of Epic Universe (can't miss show that absorbs 1-2 hours of your day), and will instantly challenge for best in-park theatrical show in Orlando with the likes of Festival of the Lion King, Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, Finding Nemo, and Bourne Stuntacular. Universal Orlando has kind of gone away from these large scale shows, so it is refreshing to see a big commitment to this type of entertainment while taping into a proven commodity.

I like what I see here, and even though this is the land I was least interested in, Universal is obviously pulling out all of the stops here. Considering how good my least favorite part of the park looks, I can't wait to see what they have in store for the other portals.

March 28, 2024 at 9:29 AM

I am beginning to wonder if Epic Universe will quickly become Orlando's best theme park.

This place is so well thought out. Each Portal, will immerse you into a new adventure.


March 28, 2024 at 10:53 AM

Brian ... I would have agreed with you, if ... it wasn't for the portal-entry system. It works fine at USH for Mario land, but to have a park with 5 lands, and none interconnecting is going to be a logistical nightmare.

I hope I'm wrong, but I just don't see anyone being able to visit Epic and do all lands/areas in one day. And that is a definite first in the theme park industry.

Everything's looking really good though, except for those horrendous looking 2 hotels just off Universal Blvd.

Seemed like a good idea at the time prime example... LOL

March 28, 2024 at 11:07 AM

@Makorider - I would tend to agree regarding the portals and the fact that you have to enter and exit from Celestial Park instead of walking between individual lands. I had a similar skepticism regarding TapuTapu at Volcano Bay, and that system has worked flawlessly for me the 2 times I've visited the water park. I think there will be a lot of confusion and frustration when the park first opens to the point where it may turn off some guests and send them across town. However, once the kinks are worked out and Universal has a better feel for the popularity of individual portals/attractions, it will not seem very foreign.

I think it's natural to fear the worst case scenario here, but I'm hopeful that UC has gone through all the possibilities and has plans in place to deal with all the potential hiccups and problems that this new approach to a theme park will create.

Obviously for an AP like Makorider, it will be extremely important for Universal to make sure the park is accessible as possible for frequent guests. Whether that means offering tiered passes, or setting clear expectations for visits (only 2-3 portal entries per day for base-level APs), maintaining happy APs is going to be critical.

March 28, 2024 at 11:10 AM

What constitutes 'the best' theme park is a very subjective issue. There's no doubt Universal Epic Universe is going to look amazing, be very immersive and no doubt feature a number of attractions which will very quickly dominate the 'world's best' tables for a while, because... Well, because the sort of people who vote for these things love big new shiny rides and attractions, especially when they are really well done as all these are sure to be. But Makorider has a good point - guests coming to visit the park and finding they can't get into certain lands because they've reached capacity, or unable to drift between lands because of the reservation system, or simply being unable to visit one or more lands because there isn't enough time in the day... that I can see being shrugged off by the theme park community but being a bigger issue with the family who have spent Disney-level amounts of money to come to Universal. Universal fans already give Disney a lot of hate over the need to pre-programme so much of your holiday, or being unable to experience certain attractions because they weren't lucky in the lottery that is a virtual queue. So I think we are simply going to have to see how EU beds down, how it deals with the inevitable crowds, and whether the sheer quality of the attractions compensates and makes up for the limitations created by the park's design.

March 28, 2024 at 1:12 PM

Russel and Makorider have me thinking now about AP holders.

IF you are a current AP holder - does this allow you entry into Epic or will AP now have Parks listed\included.

AP for IOA and Studios - the another AP just for Epic..

Wow this can be a whole new can of worms.

Do they start to charge more for AP now that they added another Park?

March 28, 2024 at 1:47 PM

@Brian - My guess is that since it sounds like Epic will be operated very differently than IOA/USF/VB, it will probably have a separate AP, or at the very least create an additional tier of APs (i.e. more expensive). You won't be able to travel seamlessly between EU and USF/IOA like you can right now with the Hogwart's Express, so I think Universal would be justified in creating a separate AP for the new park and/or creating a higher tier AP that allows access to all of the parks.

That is what I'm expecting when Six Flags and Cedar Fair eventually combine their season pass programs - more expensive than current all-parks passes for either chain.

March 28, 2024 at 2:29 PM

Just to clarify, the How to Train Your Dragon film for next year is a live-action remake, not a sequel.

Ever since the rumors swirled in 2019 when the park was announced, I thought it was a little weird to base a land on a franchise that had just wrapped up. But Harry Potter still packs them in, so maybe the Dragons merch is strong enough to justify this.

March 28, 2024 at 2:44 PM

Does anyone have information on how Disney APs operated with the opening of Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom? I'm curious if they released different tiers, excluded APs, or allowed APs into the new parks. Certainly the environment has changed since then, but trying get the gist of AP entitlements for Epic.

March 28, 2024 at 3:22 PM

A theater show!!! That is all.

March 28, 2024 at 3:32 PM

I was a passholder when AK debuted. We were given first access to a soft open before the grand opening to the general public (I remember stumbling upon Joe Rohde and his team giving Michael Eisner and some brass a walking tour near the old creek water feature next to Camp Minnie Mickey). I don’t remember how much our annual passes went up when we renewed. It was something like going from $250-$280? God it’s been a while so don’t quote me on that. I do remember that the park was opening officially around time our passes for that year were expiring so we never had to prorate any sort of monthly add-on for access to the new park.

March 28, 2024 at 4:24 PM

I have a premier pass, and I'm expecting a similar roll out of a new park as happened with Volcano Bay .... keep the 2 park pass or upgrade to a 3 park for extra $$.

I think something similar will happen with Epic. To create a new pass level just for Epic will create too much confusion.

The now existing 2 & 3 park passes will remain, but I'm guessing an all seeing all doing new tier (xxx plus ???) will be rolled out to include Epic.

Cost ??? For my premier pass I'm budging for a $300'ish annual increase.

And for that commitment I would like to think, and hope, we get first dibs on visiting the park before it's rolled out to everyone else ?

March 28, 2024 at 4:39 PM

@fattyackin That's great context, thanks! Beyond the Epcot After 4 Weekdays AP that Disney used to sell to locals, Disney looks to mainly include all Dry Parks on their APs.

I'm wondering if, instead of creating a new AP tier just for Epic Universe, Universal doesn't just have separate block-out dates. I could see them raising the price substantially on the Premier Pass and include limited blockout dates for Epic, while most of the other 2-Park passes effectively stay the way they are with extremely limited non-blockout dates for Epic Universe.

March 28, 2024 at 5:04 PM

Of the four Epic Universe portals, this one has always seemed the most comprehensive to me, and now that details are confirmed I can say it looks great! There's a very solid line-up of attractions present here, most of which can be enjoyed by all family members, and while the attractions themselves aren't as cutting edge as others in Universal's arsenal, the extremely detailed environment should make up for that. I'm definitely excited to check this area out when I get a chance to visit Epic Universe.

As for APs, from what I've been led to believe Epic will be treated similar to Volcano Bay. Essentially, the base passes will remain just USF & IOA, three park can add either UEU or VB, and four park will get you everything. Epic will have its own blockout dates, and those with passes will still be subject to the virtual queue system for portal entry. Also, at least at first, Seasonal is not expected to be upgradable to include Epic, so you'll need one of the higher level passes, meaning the cheapest three park with Epic will probably be in the $700-800 range.

March 28, 2024 at 5:45 PM

Dragon Island is a great concept for a themed land even if there were no live action remake in the pipeline. Magic School, Alien Outpost and Dinosaur Zoo all would have been successful as original theme park IPs.

March 29, 2024 at 12:49 PM

Looks awesome, lots to explore and many trips to get t all in !

Disney the best theme park - so many jokesters lol

April 1, 2024 at 8:27 AM

happy to see there is at least one water ride but i'm hoping there's more than meets the eye, or bioreconstruct drone flyover, because the track for fyre drill looks incredibly short.

April 2, 2024 at 7:15 AM

Wow. Looks like a paradise for kids / families. I cannot wait to take mine.

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