FL: Universal Orlando to Open Epic Universe, With Thousands of Jobs | Trade and Industry Development

FL: Universal Orlando to Open Epic Universe, With Thousands of Jobs

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Jan 28, 2022
Universal Orlando’s upcoming theme park, Epic Universe, is expected to open by summer 2025, Comcast executives said during a recent call with investors. The project is expected to create thousands of jobs and pump billions of dollars into the Central Florida economy.
 
“Epic is full steam ahead,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said. “I was down there a few weeks ago and the construction is going really well. We expect that park to open in ’25 and certainly in time for the summer of ’25.”
 
Epic Universe was originally projected to open in 2023 before work was paused in spring 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Work resumed in March of 2021.
 
The new park will be Universal’s largest in the U.S. and will include lands and attractions based on DreamWorks, Illuminations and Nintendo content. A Super Nintendo World already opened at Universal Studios Japan, with one currently under construction at Universal Studios Hollywood. Epic Universe is expected to get a version as well.
 
The updated timeline for Epic Universe comes as the company’s theme parks division continues to bounce back from the early impacts of the pandemic.
 
In the earnings report released Thursday, Comcast said its parks posted their most profitable fourth quarter on record due to an increase in attendance and visitor spending at its parks in the U.S. and Japan.
 
Revenue jumped 191.3% to $1.9 billion for the quarter. For the year, theme park revenue was $5.1 billion, an increase of $3 billion compared to 2020, when most of the parks were closed or operating in a limited capacity.
 
“We haven’t seen any impact of Omicron in Florida, for example, and very limited impacts, which we seem to be past, in Hollywood and Japan,” Shell said in the investors call.
 
However, international visitation still has not returned to its pre-pandemic levels, with the majority of international visitors coming from the UK and Europe.
 
Heading into the first quarter, executives said the parks are going in the “right direction.”
 
“I think part of that, by the way, is because we continued to invest in our attractions during the pandemic,” Shell said.
 
Universal opened its Jurassic World VelociCoaster at Islands of Adventure in June. In California, Universal Studios Hollywood welcomed its Secret Life of Pets attraction in April. The company also opened Universal Studios Beijing park in September.
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