Topline: Universal Orlando Resort announced a new theme park Thursday called Epic Universe, as it continues to dominate the amusement park industry over archrival Disney.
- Epic Universe will create 14,000 jobs and nearly double the park’s acreage, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Construction on the new park has already broken ground.
- In 2018, Universal theme parks generated $5.7 billion, $1.2 billion more than Disney’s $4.5 billion.
- Comcast, Universal’s parent company, has not confirmed an opening date for the park or what intellectual property will be included.
- Longtime rumors of a Super Nintendo World reignited with the announcement. Rides based on Mario Kart, Yoshi, and Donkey Kong have been floated by fansites and podcasts, but Universal has not confirmed these.
- Possible attractions could include another Harry Potter land for Fantastic Beasts, or attractions built around franchises like Shrek and How To Train Your Dragon.
Key background: Universal leveled up the theme park experiencewith the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Building out an entire “land” dedicated to one intellectual property created a brand-new experience for fans. Since then, Disney has followed suit in its Orlando parks, with lands dedicated to Avatar, Toy Story, and the upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, set to open August 29.
What to watch for: 2019 revenue. Disney’s bicoastal Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lands will be open for business by year’s end, and are expected to bring in buckets of cash. It remains to be seen if Universal will top Disney in 2019 theme park earnings, especially with no opening date for Epic Universe.
Surprising fact: In the early 1960s, as Walt Disney bought up Florida land to build the Magic Kingdom, he purchased lots under fake companies with strong puns, like “M.T. Lott Real Estate,” to keep his theme park plans secret.