Universal Orlando finally revealed details about its upcoming Epic Universe theme park on January 30th, but readers of the latest Unofficial Guide already know all about this game-changing new expansion, thanks to our contributor Alicia Stella of Theme Park Stop. There’s still more than a year to go until guests get to enter the new attraction, but we’ve already got your complete breakdown of all the lands and rides that are on their way to Epic Universe.
On August 1, 2019, Universal officially announced plans for its second resort campus, which will be called Universal Epic Universe. Construction is well underway on more than 750 acres acquired by Universal near the Orange County Convention Center (about 2 miles south of the current resort), as well as an extension of Kirkman Road that will directly connect the two properties. And now, Universal has kicked off a multi-month mass media awareness campaign promoting their new project with this exciting video:
Originally anticipated to open in 2023, Epic Universe was delayed when the pandemic began, but construction resumed on March 3, 2021; an exact opening date has not been officially announced, but the theme park is on track to be operational by summer 2025.
New concept art and construction permit filings reveal a central hub with fountain-filled lagoons, surrounded by three hotels—the luxury 500-room Helios Grand attached to the rear of the hub, as well as two moderately priced 750-room hotels (named Terra Luna and Stella Nova) across the street—multiple restaurants, and four highly themed lands.
You may not even need a physical ticket to traverse the new resort because Universal has patented facial recognition technology to replace traditional turnstiles. (Of course, all of these plans are speculative and subject to change.)
At the front of Epic Universe, the park’s expansive hub itself will be home to a couple of rides of its own—as well as entertainment, dining, shopping, and a few other surprises. Even after the lands close, guests will be able to enjoy the amenities of this central park for several hours (possibly without purchasing park admission), before capping off the day with nightly fireworks.
Acting more like a second CityWalk location than a central hub, Celestial Park will also have several full-service dining locations here, including a smokehouse called The Oak & Star Tavern, The Blue Dragon Pan-Asian Restaurant, and the undersea-themed Atlantic, as well as indoor and outdoor bars, unique shopping, and even live entertainment.
Celestial Park will also be home to the Super Star Store, where you can purchase Nintendo merchandise before entering the land.
At the northern end of the hub, a large fountain outside the Helios Grand hotel called The Oculus offers Bellagio-style water shows all day, as well as a synchronized performance during the nighttime spectacular.
Starfall Racers is Epic Universe’s fastest and most thrilling attraction. This dual track-launched steel coaster from Mack Rides boasts two separate circuits weaving around and racing against each other with some extreme airtime moments that are sure to satisfy both coaster junkies and casual thrill-seekers alike.
Constellation Carousel sits atop the park’s central lagoon and is covered by an exquisitely decorated canopy. Kids and kids-at-heart can ride on animals inspired by real constellations in the sky on this fanciful carousel.
Super Nintendo World
The first featured franchise officially confirmed for the new park was Super Nintendo World, based on settings from popular video games starring Mario and friends. The multilevel land, which guests access via a green warp pipe, centers around a Mushroom Kingdom–themed courtyard flanked by Peach’s Castle on one side and Bowser’s Fortress on the other. There is also a Donkey Kong Country mini-land, which is accessed via another warp pipe within the land.
The land features Power-Up Band wearables that can be purchased to unlock interactive games and allow access to explorable areas, which connect to a smartphone app to track your score. Of course, there will also be meet-and-greets with Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and more, along with exclusive merchandise stores and food that’s almost too kawaii (cute) to eat.
Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge is an interactive dark ride that uses augmented-reality goggles to put riders inside the popular racing games.
Yoshi’s Adventure is a family-friendly scenic tour over the Mushroom Kingdom, which slowly traverses an elevated track through animated scenes.
Donkey Kong: Mine Cart Madness is a new type of roller-coaster attraction, with both outdoor and indoor scenes, that can make it appear that your out-of-control cart is jumping over gaps in the track.
The legendary fiends from Universal’s vintage black-and-white fright flicks finally get their due with the first-ever theme park land dedicated to the classic monsters made famous by Karloff, Chaney, Lugosi, and Lanchester. Step into the rustic European village of Darkmoor, a land where monsters still roam, and danger could be lurking around every corner.
Between the spooky rides and meeting the monsters in person, guests can enjoy a frightfully good dinner at Das Stakehous or grab a drink from The Burning Blade, a replica of the windmill from Frankenstein, perpetually engulfed in flames.
Monsters Unchained: The Frankenstein Experiment sees guests entering a Gothic manor at the back of the village. Here, brave riders are strapped onto a KUKA robotic arm within Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory, when something goes wrong, unleashing all the Universal classic monsters, including the Baron’s Monster and his Bride, Count Dracula, and other iconic boogey-persons. (Imagine Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey meets The Haunted Mansion.)
Curse of the Werewolf is a Mack spinning roller-coaster attraction starring Maleva, the fortune teller who has set up camp at the edge of the village. Once afflicted with the curse ourselves, our coaster train cars start to spin out of control on this outdoor swing-launched family coaster, where no matter what time it is, it’s always a full moon.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter—Ministry of Magic
Universal’s third—and presumably final—Wizarding World will re-create the streets of Paris from the Fantastic Beasts spin-off series, as well as the Ministry of Magic in London as seen in the original Potter films. Guests will travel between Paris and London via the Floo Network, entering the Ministry’s grand atrium through magical fireplaces.
The Wizarding Paris part of the land will re-create full-scale Parisian streets (like a beefed up EPCOT pavilion) filled with magical creatures around every corner. Learn more about these fantastic beasts at the Circus Arcanus live show.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Wizarding World without places to buy Butterbeer, uniquely themed foods, merchandise—including clothing, robes, and wands—as well as a whole new land’s worth of interactive wand displays to cast a spell on.
Harry Potter and the Battle for the Ministry will take us beyond the stories, as we go on a new adventure to defeat the diabolical Dolores Umbridge, aboard enchanted elevators that can travel in any direction. This high-tech dark ride will combine animatronics, moving set pieces, and projection mapping, along with a new type of motion-base tracked-ride system, to create another level of immersive experience.
How To Train Your Dragon—Isle of Berk
DreamWorks’s Isle of Berk looks to be the most densely packed land in Epic Universe, with multiple attractions and eateries woven around a whimsical waterfront filled with the kinetic motion of roller-coaster trains, water-spraying boats, flying dragons, and fire-breathing statues.
Learn the story of the land via the massive indoor stage show, The Untrainable Dragon, and then meet Hiccup, Toothless, and their friends afterwards. Then let the kids burn off excess energy in the land’s climb-and-explore play area and enjoy a meal at the indoor Meade Hall, where fire-breathing dragons cook your food.
Hiccup’s Wing Gliders is an Intamin launched-steel roller coaster (think a tamer version of VelociCoaster) that encircles much of the land, zooming over pathways and under bridges.
Fyre Drill is an interactive boat ride where riders of all ages can work together to spray targets with the vessel’s on-board water cannons.
Dragon Racer’s Rally features two passenger-controlled spinning rides (like Dumbo the Flying Elephant, except the lever allows them to do barrel roll flips).
What element of Epic Universe are you most excited to experience in 2025? Let us know in the comments below!
For all there is to see and do at Universal Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Threads, X, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. #unofficialguide #theUGSeries