Super Mario fans take note: On August 1, Universal Orlando announced it will build its fourth theme park in Florida, and it may feature a land inspired by beloved Nintendo characters. Universal’s Epic Universe, as it will be called, will feature hotels, shops, restaurants, and an entertainment center a few miles south of the resort’s other theme locations in Florida.
At the park’s announcement event, Tom Williams, Universal Parks & Resorts chairman and CEO, called it “the most immersive and innovative theme park we have ever created.” Other details are scarce, but here’s what we know now.
When and where will Universal’s Epic Universe open?
Universal Resorts has yet to officially name an opening date of the park, but local reports show that ground has been cleared on the site and construction has already started. But Alicia Stella of the blog Orlando ParkStop estimates the earliest it could open is around 2023 or later, considering an entirely new infrastructure, including parking lots and road expansions, has to be built first.
According to a map Universal released, Universal’s Epic Universe will open a few miles south of its existing resort in Orlando south of Sand Lake Road and east of Universal Boulevard.
What lands will Universal’s Epic Universe feature?
In an official statement Universal said guests can expect to see “beloved stories expand into vibrant lands” at the new park. The renderings it’s released so far also don’t share much beyond the fact that the park will feature a spoke-and-hub design centered around several large pools of water and fountains.
But Stella of Orlando ParkStop tweeted what she believes will go in each area of the park. It appears that a large hotel will anchor the park opposite the entrance. In each corner there could be at least four distinct lands themed around Nintendo, the Harry Potter franchise Fantastic Beasts, as well as How to Train Your Dragon and classic monsters like Dracula and the Mummy.
The Super Nintendo World isn’t entirely just a rumor. Back in 2016, Universal and the Japanese gaming franchise announced a partnership to add themed attractions to several existing parks, including its locations in Hollywood, Orlando, and Osaka, Japan. However, Stella told the gaming news website GamesBeat that she believes Epic Universe will feature a much larger area than the expansions under construction at the other two parks.
Leaked photos posted on Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast earlier this year also confirm Stella’s belief that Epic Universe could feature three new Nintendo rides, including one inspired by Mario Kart, another attraction for families called Yoshi’s Adventure, and a roller coaster called Donkey Kong’s Mine Car Madness. Keep in mind that Universal has not confirmed if these are real. But if they are, guests may get to enter the Mario Kart ride through Bowser’s Castle.
This story will be updated with more details about Universal’s Epic Universe as they’re revealed. Visit universalorlando.com for more information.
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