Work Resumes on Epic Universe
In a sign that recovery is underway within the global attractions industry, Universal Orlando Resort in Florida announced on March 3, that work would resume on the new Epic Universe theme park. Development of Epic Universe came to a halt in July 2020, as Universal says the “company adjusted plans in the midst of the pandemic.”
Epic Universe will feature a new theme park with several themed lands, hotels, restaurants, retail, and entertainment when complete. The new complex will be located on 750-acres—nearly doubling Universal’s acreage in Florida—at a site located behind The Wheel at Icon Park near International Drive.
“We are excited to begin work on Epic Universe again and for what this moment means for our industry, our community, our business, and our team members,” says Tom Williams, chairman and CEO for Universal Parks and Resorts and a member of the IAAPA Hall of Fame. “Our confidence in our collective future is as strong as ever.”
While work has restarted, Universal Orlando expects it will take several months before reaching full-speed as the theme park operator “re-staffs for the project and reassembles its vendor and contractor teams,” according to a press release.
“The restart of construction of Epic Universe is a terrific moment for our employees and for our theme park business in Florida,” says Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation, parent company of Universal Parks and Resorts. “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 project is expected to create hundreds of jobs within Universal—from skilled professional positions to construction jobs—that will be needed to bring the park to life. Once finished, Universal says the operation of Epic Universe will generate more than 14,000 permanent jobs.
An opening date for the theme park and first phase of Epic Universal has not been announced. The new complex will sit across the street from the North Concourse building of the Orange County Convention Center—home to IAAPA Expo—just south of Sand Lake Road, east of Universal Boulevard, and north of the Beachline Expressway leading to the Orlando International Airport.