NBCUniversal’s Universal Destinations & Experiences CEO Mark Woodbury revealed new details Thursday about Universal’s planned Epic Universe theme park, which is scheduled to open in Florida in 2025.
Speaking at the Bank of America Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference, Woodbury said the new park is Universal’s “most technologically advanced park” yet. This park will also begin using “facial recognition and photo verification technology” that will allow guests to have a “seamless experience” at this park, as well as at the company’s other parks in Orlando.
“It’s the most technologically advanced park we’ve ever done,” Woodbury said. “This speaks to the attractions themselves, the next generation of robotic drone technology, all the way to the guest experience. The entire guest journey has been taken to a whole new level.”
The park itself will consist of “four themed lands” based on “strong, journey-inducing intellectual property.” One of them, which has already been announced, will be Nintendo Land, which will have a larger footprint in Florida than it does in Japan and Hollywood.
The four “lands” will surround a central hub, which will be “lushly landscaped” with attractions and food services, which Woodbury said will be different from others and “bring the park back to theme parks.”
In creating the park, Universal built on its existing immersive experiences, such as the World of Harry Potter, and also looked for a way to cumulatively extend the amount of time visitors spend in the parks in Orlando. The goal of Epic Universe, along with Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay water park and CityWalk, is to get visitors to stay for an entire week.
“This became an opportunity for us to look at how do we expand visitation into the Orlando market that would give us a full week off? Right now, we have three good days,” Woodbury said.
Universal is also adding an additional 2,000 hotel rooms to Epic, and the park will have “unprecedented” hotel integration into the park experience, Woodbury said. A fleet of electric buses will transport guests to the site, which is about 3 miles from Universal’s “North Campus” in Florida.
As for how Universal will manage the expected demand, after seeing high levels of interest in existing attractions like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Super Nintendo World, Woodbury said the company has a “good handle on it” thanks to the new technology.
“We have the advantage of new technology that we’re deploying in terms of ticket and revenue management and revenue management across each of these platforms,” he said.
The park was originally announced in 2019, and is scheduled to launch in 2023. However, construction was delayed due to the pandemic.
In addition to Epic park, Universal will open a children’s theme park in Texas in 2026 and a Halloween horror experience in Las Vegas in 2025. The children’s theme park is intended to target attendees under 8 years old – while the main attraction is families with 8-year-olds. Ages 8 and up – The horror experience leverages existing franchises and partnerships with creators like Jordan Peele.
“Lifelong beer expert. General travel enthusiast. Social media buff. Zombie maven. Communicator.”