Since 2012, one of the most striking characteristics of Universal Orlando Resort has been its ever-changing roster of attractions; thanks to the phenomenal success of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the unceasing drive of Comcast, NBCUniversal’s corporate parent, not a single year has gone by without a new experience of one sort or another debuting, whether that be a ride, restaurant, store, or hotel.
It can be a lot to keep track of, especially with a whole new parcel of land being developed – including a whole new theme park, Epic Universe, along with it. But don’t worry! Every announced addition, expansion, or replacement is listed here, starting with this year, 2021, and then moving on into the near future.
Given everything that has transpired last decade and everything that’s lined up for this one, we can honestly say this is the single most exciting time in Universal’s history – yes, even with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has injected some uncertainty into the future-attraction proceedings. (For example, Epic Universe’s expected opening date got pushed back from 2023 to sometime in ’25.)
Universal Studios Florida
Universal Orlando’s very first theme park has continued to undergo a years-long transformation, replacing its older attractions with brand-new, updated content – and signs only continue to point to this being the case in the 2020s.
Opened: May 28, 2021
Location: Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone
Billed as a “first-of-its-kind interactive character experience,” DreamWorks Destination gathers several different characters from several different DreamWorks Animation properties to sing, dance, and pose for photos for you and your family.
Read more about the character interaction over on our guide page.
Islands of Adventure
Universal’s first non-Studios-branded park in the world hasn’t seen anywhere near the amount of attention as its counterpart has next door, but that doesn’t mean it’s been left alone; what construction projects it’s received have tended to be on the more impactful side, such as adding whole new islands on the map or replacing long-lived (and massive) rides.
Jurassic World VelociCoaster
Opened: June 10, 2021
Location: Jurassic Park
The most extreme ride experience Universal has yet crafted for any of its five theme parks anywhere in the world, Jurassic World VelociCoaster is a massive roller coaster that has guests racing alongside a pack of velociraptors. Beyond its top speeds of 70 mph and its mammoth 155-foot hill (replete with an 80-degree drop), the attraction also features the core cast of the Jurassic World film franchise.
You can find out everything there is to know about VelociCoaster on our guide page.
The fourth theme park at Universal Orlando has seen something of a bumpy ride over its short lifespan: announced in August 2019, put on hold in July 2020, and reactivated in March 2021 (all thanks to COVID-19, of course). Currently, construction is slowly ramping back up to pre-pandemic levels, and its opening date is still set for sometime in 2025.
What else do we know about one of Universal’s biggest projects of all time? It will be erected on the recently acquired south campus of the resort, which is located some 10 or 15 minutes away from the other parks and CityWalk. The concept art that has been released suggests that there will be four themed lands, but only one has, thus far, been revealed: Super Nintendo World, the potential game-changing addition that will be first installed at Universal Studios Japan later this year.
The swath of real estate that the new theme park will sit on actually has a long and convoluted history with Universal, and you can read all about it here.
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