Universal Orlando just announced Universal’s Epic Universe, its fourth theme park in the Orlando area and the first major theme park project in 20 years.
Thursday morning's announcement at the Orange County Convention Center ends years of speculation and digging by bloggers and fans. Most significantly, Universal's announcement didn't included a lot of dollar figures, but the project is expected to employ 14,000 new jobs with a base rate of $15/hour, "an epic investment" in the Orlando economy. Universal currently employs approximately 25,000 people.
Universal Orlando currently has two theme parks, a water park, six hotels, and a shopping district. Our own Ken Story predicted the name would be either "Fantastic Worlds" or "Epic Universe," with the new park serving up a "best hits" presentation of NBC Universal’s intellectual properties.
The park “represents the single-largest investment Comcast NBC Universal has made in its theme park business and in Florida overall,” said Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast. The new park will also include an entertainment center, hotels, shopping, and a restaurants.
Not a lot of details were released at today’s press conference, like when it will open or how much it will cost, but Universal’s Epic Universe, which is already under construction, will sit a few miles away from the other resorts on a 750-acre site south of Sand Lake Road and east of Universal Boulevard.
So far, Nintendo seems to be the most likely intellectual property that will be represented at the new park, along with How to Train Your Dragon, Kung-Fu Panda, Madagascar and Shrek.
“Our vision for Epic Universe is historic,” said Tom Williams, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Universal Parks & Resorts. “It will build on everything we have done and become the most immersive and innovative theme park we have ever created. It is an investment in our business, our industry, our team members and our community.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was also present at today’s press conference. “We look forward to Universal’s continued contribution to our state’s economic growth and development,” said DeSantis said in a statement. “And we are especially grateful for Universal’s partnership in improving Shingle Creek, which plays a critical role in serving the Everglades.”