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Universal's Epic Universe (South Expansion Complex) - Opens Summer 2025

Capsin4

Well-Known Member
There was a survey from Uni this week regarding interest in certain characters and grouping them logically. Made me think it could be related to park organization. If so, they aren’t very far along or at least haven’t finalized a layout for existing concepts.
 

Bairstow

Well-Known Member
Nice work...

I’m wondering how they’re gonna try to incorporate the properties?

They can’t be standalones with buses waiting at stop lights on kirkman.

One of the more interesting tidbits to come out of last week's press conference was that Universal would be contributing $160 million to reroute and expand Kirkman and the other roads. To me that means dedicated bus lanes with controlled access overpasses and no lights.
 

MisterPenguin

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Premium Member
This park is all about franchise lands. That means no stand alone attractions.

What if they have a veryy very loose connection to the hub's "celestial" theme?

IOW, then the yellow box under Monsterland isn't a one-off Pokemon attraction and that isn't Pikachu on top of it.
 

imperius

Well-Known Member
What if they have a veryy very loose connection to the hub's "celestial" theme?

IOW, then the yellow box under Monsterland isn't a one-off Pokemon attraction and that isn't Pikachu on top of it.
There is 0 chance that building is Pokemon related. They aren’t wasting Pokémon on a single attraction in a hub. It will likely be the first expansion or take over a land in IOA or USF.
 

Timothy_Q

Well-Known Member
I don't get this debate between themes vs. IPs. For one, are we now arguing a looser theme is better than immersive IP lands? I don't get that at all.
The debate is not IP vs non-IP
The debate is about park with a cohesive theme vs park with random lands.
They both can be achieved with or without IP-centric lands

A park with a cohesive theme has a connective tissue between all of its lands.
"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts"

While a park with no cohesive theme is a free-for-all for any franchise, and has no connection between them.
The whole of the park is nothing more than the individual parts

Worth mentioning, most parks are a mixture of both
 

Tom Morrow

Well-Known Member
IOA does not have a cohesive overarching theme between lands. Port of entry is the only thing that presents any sort of overarching theme to you. The park's original incarnation kind of had a cohesive concept though of the lands being magical, fictional havens for groups of fictional characters to come together. This is the key difference between IOA and the new park - having lands that are not dedicated to one IP while still being IP-based.
 

Timothy_Q

Well-Known Member
Ok, that's more clear. Thank you.

But the way you're phrasing it makes it sound like you're maligning this park when it's really not that different from other designs. The hub has a certain theme. The IP-based lands shooting off from it have their own theme.

So it's Islands of Adventure with Port of Entry in the middle instead of in the front. What's so bad about that?
Didn't intend to malign the park, my bad.

I think Epic Universe has the potential to be one of the best parks in Orlando

But regardless, it still lacks a cohesive theme (like most parks nowadays)
 

MisterPenguin

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Premium Member
IOA does not have a cohesive overarching theme between lands. Port of entry is the only thing that presents any sort of overarching theme to you. The park's original incarnation kind of had a cohesive concept though of the lands being magical, fictional havens for groups of fictional characters to come together. This is the key difference between IOA and the new park - having lands that are not dedicated to one IP while still being IP-based.

Indeed.

Also, USO is losing its overarching theme of a movie-studio tour. There is less and less of behind-the-scenes of the making of TV and movies and more "ride the movies." The same dynamic that DHS has just gone through.

So, if your theme park isn't "ride the IP" or "insert yourself into IP-land brand X", then what exactly will your overarching theme park theme be?



So, back to Epic Universe. It seems it will have a central hub with a theme (celestial) that one travels through to get to various lands. Like traveling through space to reach different planets. And that's it. Given that they want to showcase their disparate IPs in immersive lands, that's the best one can hope for.
 
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Timothy_Q

Well-Known Member
Indeed.

Also, USO is losing its overarching theme of a movie-studio tour. There is less and less of behind-the-scenes of the making of TV and movies and more "ride the movies." The same dynamic that DHS has just gone through.

So, if your theme park isn't "ride the IP" or "insert yourself into IP-land brand X", then what exactly will your overarching theme park theme be?

DAK has the zoo and Epcot has a world's fair. But that means setting aside land for a zoo and world's fair type pavilions and less rides... and harder to showcase your IPs for the synergy that produces bigger profits (if you don't screw it up).

I know I'll get people arguing against me for this: but Magic Kingdom doesn't have an overarching theme. Space rides in Tomorrowland is not related to Magic, a Kingdom, nor a Magic Kingdom. Same with Hall of Presidents. Magic Kingdom (and all the Disneylands) have a theme that exists in its hub (and into Fantasyland). Then it has thematic branches that veer away from a Magic Kingdom.

DHS has a theme of Hollywood in its public spaces. It then branches off into disparate lands based on IP (that come from Hollywood!... or Atlanta... or Australia).

So, back to Epic Universe. It seems it will have a central hub with a theme (celestial) that one travels through to get to various lands. Like traveling through space to reach different planets. And that's it. Given that they want to showcase their disparate IPs in immersive lands, that's the best one can hope for.
Magic Kingdom (and all subsequent castle parks) are iterations of Disneyland.
Disneyland's theme is mid century Americana. It's even specified in its dedication.

Does that theme still apply to the entire park after decades of changes and additions? Obviously not.

But they started out with specific themes.
As did every other WDW park. Each with different levels of success in maintaining that theme throughout the years
 

MisterPenguin

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Premium Member
Disneyland's theme is mid century Americana. It's even specified in its dedication.

That's a marketing lie. No way Fantasyland which is clearly set in Medieval and Romantic Europe is "mid-century America."

And the marketing lie that it's mid-century America's ideal of Medieval and Romantic Europe is a whopper of a lie.

They can say it. Doesn't make it remotely true.
 

Timothy_Q

Well-Known Member
That's a marketing lie. No way Fantasyland which is clearly set in Medieval and Romantic Europe is "mid-century America."

And the marketing lie that it's mid-century America's ideal of Medieval and Romantic Europe is a whopper of a lie.

They can say it. Doesn't make it remotely true.
We can discuss infinitely how well any individual parts of a park work, or don't, with its theme.

Pretty sure there are zero parks in the world where everything works entirely within its theme

Doesn't change the fact that Americana is the original theme of Disneyland.
Be it a successful theme or not
 

MisterPenguin

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Premium Member
We can discuss infinitely how well any individual parts of a park work, or don't, with its theme.

Pretty sure there are zero parks in the world where everything works entirely within its theme

Doesn't change the fact that Americana is the original theme of Disneyland.
Be it a successful theme or not

Wait, I got something for that from a previous argument about this...

396458
 

MisterPenguin

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Premium Member
I've no idea what you're trying to prove anymore.
Beyond argument for argument's sake.

How do you not know my point when you started arguing with it? What you argued with was this: That even MK/DL did not have a park-wide theme. It had islands of themes, just like Epic Universe will have. And people were complaining that Epic Universe doesn't have a park-wide theme but is instead islands of lands. And so you jumped in with "MK did too have a park-wide theme! A plaque says so!"

A park-wide theme is very hard to do. A park wide theme of a tour of a movie studio failed for both DHS and USO. DL/MK never had a park-wide theme that was really a park-wide theme. Only DAK and Epcot have succeeded in a park-wide theme, and even now, they're both being eroded because the IPs that Disney owns and are popular don't fit those themes, but will be used anyway in those parks.
 

Timothy_Q

Well-Known Member
A park-wide theme is very hard to do. A park wide theme of a tour of a movie studio failed for both DHS and USO. DL/MK never had a park-wide theme that was really a park-wide theme. Only DAK and Epcot have succeeded in a park-wide theme, and even now, they're both being eroded because the IPs that Disney owns and are popular don't fit those themes, but will be used anyway in those parks.
Yes maintaining a park with a connective theme is hard, and most fail.
I just said that

And we can agree to disagree on whether Disneyland opened with connective theme or not.
 

Tom Morrow

Well-Known Member
I believe a theme park has an overarching theme if all or most of the lands compliment each other and are cohesive in concept. Disneyland and Magic Kingdom are collections of staples of American fiction, brought to life. You explore each land reflecting on how it and that genre differs from the others (yes, they have botched this a bit by dropping properties where they don't thematically fit). Whereas there is nothing, absolutely nothing to thematically tie together a park that is a collection of lands based on one IP each.

Also I want to be clear that this isn't a knock against specifically Epic Universe but rather the direction theme parks are headed as a whole.
 

MisterPenguin

🐧🐧Pfizer x2 🐧🐧🐧Moderna 2+bi🐧
Premium Member
I believe a theme park has an overarching theme if all or most of the lands compliment each other and are cohesive in concept. Disneyland and Magic Kingdom are collections of staples of American fiction, brought to life. You explore each land reflecting on how it and that genre differs from the others (yes, they have botched this a bit by dropping properties where they don't thematically fit). Whereas there is nothing, absolutely nothing to thematically tie together a park that is a collection of lands based on one IP each.

Also I want to be clear that this isn't a knock against specifically Epic Universe but rather the direction theme parks are headed as a whole.

"Staples of American Fiction"? So... a comic book hero land would fit in MK? A land devoted to American Musicals?

How is Liberty Square and Main Street "fiction"... aren't they simply historical non-fiction?

How is Alice in Wonderland or Peter Pan "American Fiction" when they're by a British author, the characters are British, and the place-setting England?

"Staples of American Fiction" is as cohesive theme as "IPs made by Disney" or "IPs made by Pixar" or "IPs made by Universal."

"Staple of American Fiction" is "IPs made by this country (even though many originated and are still place-set in a European country or just a historical place and event)."
 

Tom Morrow

Well-Known Member
I'm with the Penguin man here. I don't get how people can say Magic Kingdom has a park-wide theme when the core layout of the park shares so much with this Epic Universe concept. Just swap out the themed lands of Frontierland and Tomorrowland for IP-driven lands like Nintendo and Fantastic Beasts.
Because you can draw parallels between Frontierland and Tomorrowland but not two specific unrelated IPs that have nothing in common.

But beyond being the first park built from the ground up in Orlando since 1999, this is also the first park being designed in the era of immersive IP-driven lands. Why have an overarching park-wide theme that in could in any way limit what you can add in the future?
This is a good point, though. With IP lands being the new thing for the foreseeable future of theme park design, it's perhaps good practice to just not have an overarching theme that they'll eventually have to break anyway.
 
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Tom Morrow

Well-Known Member
"Staples of American Fiction"? So... a comic book hero land would fit in MK? A land devoted to American Musicals?

How is Liberty Square and Main Street "fiction"... aren't they simply historical non-fiction?

How is Alice in Wonderland or Peter Pan "American Fiction" when they're by a British author, the characters are British, and the place-setting England?

"Staples of American Fiction" is as cohesive theme as "IPs made by Disney" or "IPs made by Pixar" or "IPs made by Universal."

"Staple of American Fiction" is "IPs made by this country (even though many originated and are still place-set in a European country or just a historical place and event)."
Exotic adventures, the old west, medieval/fantasy, and the future. Common genres of American works of fiction. Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom are slices of Americana, driven by the fact that you enter through a street of recreated classic Americana.

We're talking about the themes of the lands and how they contribute to a cohesive overarching theme for the park as a whole, and I did note that some attractions within the lands deviate and they continue to move away from this. All around the theme is pretty loose, but it's there.
 

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