Universal Orlando Resort announced plans for a new theme park, Universal’s Epic Universe, Thursday, August 1.
The new addition marks the fourth theme park at Universal Orlando Resort and will nearly double its size, with tentative plans to open new hotels, restaurants, shops and an entertainment center in addition to the theme park attractions.
The news comes just weeks ahead of rival Disney’s newest park opening in Orlando, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which opens August 29.
“Our new park represents the single-largest investment Comcast NBCUniversal has made in its theme park business and in Florida overall,” said Brian L. Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer of Comcast Corporation. “It reflects the tremendous excitement we have for the future of our theme park business and for our entire company’s future in Florida.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and Tom Williams, chairman and CEO for Universal Parks & Resorts, joined Roberts for the big announcement.
What We Know About Universal’s Epic Universe
Details were scant during Universal Orlando Resort’s initial announcement, mum on the cost of the park and what attractions will be offered within.
(Some speculate Nintendo-themed attractions could be among the offerings).
“Our vision for Epic Universe is historic,” Williams said in a statement.
“It will build on everything we have done and become the most immersive and innovative theme park we have ever created,” he added. “It is an investment in our business, our industry, our team members and our community.”
Universal's new Epic Universe theme park will be located within a larger 750-acre site that nearly doubles Universal’s total available acreage in Central Florida.
Universal Orlando Resort Map With Epic Universe (CLICK FOR LARGER VIEW), Credit: Universal Orlando Resort
It will be located just a few miles from the existing resort in Southwest Orange County.
The location also neighbors the Orange County Convention Center, which will make it a convenient add-on activity for groups convening in Orlando—the #1 meetings destination in the U.S., according to Cvent's annual list of top meeting destinations.
What Universal’s Epic Universe Means for Orlando Meetings and Events
Universal Orlando Resort’s meetings and events offerings are already expansive. The 2010 opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade catapulted the park’s growth, prompting new hotel development and meetings experiences within the parks.
Hosting a private event inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade are some of Universal Orlando Resort’s most popular meeting spaces.
In June 2019, the opening of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in Hogsmeade added to the experience, available for use during after-hours private events and park buyouts.
The ride is the world’s first “story coaster,” reaching speeds of 50 miles per hour and features rich sets, an actual forest with more than 1,200 trees and an interactive story experience via ground-breaking coaster technology.
Universal Orlando Resort says almost any part of its parks can be rented for events, which bodes well for the new Epic Universe park offerings.
A spokesperson for Universal Orlando Resort said that no details about the park’s specific meetings and events offerings are currently available, as the theme park is still in the early planning stages. But its convenient location near the convention center and plans for new restaurants, hotels and entertainment will only create more space for meetings and events.
Existing Universal Orlando Facilities and Even More News
There are already eight meetings-friendly hotels located within Universal Orlando. Universal Orlando Endless Summer Resort: Surfside Inn opened this summer, and its sister hotel, Dockside Inn and Suites, is on track to open in 2020. The new properties are located on International Drive, also in convenient reach of the convention center.
On the heels of the Epic Universe news, Universal Orlando Resort continued to push its meeting and event offerings, creating its first ever offer called a “Universe of Perks” in July 2019, which provides meeting planners with three free incentives when they book their meeting at Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando Resort.
Planners that want to take advantage must book a contract by Dec. 31, 2019 and actualized for May, September-December 2019 through 2024.
More details about Universal’s Epic Universe will be released over time, according to the Universal Orlando Resort announcement.
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