Entertainment

Universal set to resume construction of Epic Universe park in Florida

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Key Points
  • Epic Universe will be the first park Universal has built since 1999.
  • Construction was halted in July due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The new park will be on a 750-acre plot of land just a few miles from the existing resort.

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Concept rendering of Universal Orlando Resort's newest theme park: Epic Universe.
NBC Universal

Work is finally resuming on Universal Orlando Resort's fourth theme park, Epic Universe.

The park, which was announced in 2019, had previously halted construction in July due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, Universal revealed that it will take several months to ramp up to full speed because it needs to restaff the project and reassemble its vendors and contractors.

"The restart of construction of Epic Universe is a terrific moment for our employees and for our theme park business in Florida," said Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of NBCUniversal parent Comcast. "It is our single-largest investment in the state and represents our enthusiasm for the spectacular park and the economic opportunities it will generate."

The company is seeking to turn its two-park resort into a weeklong travel destination, not just a two- or three-day trip for families. The company also operates Volcano Bay, a water park about a mile down the road from the Universal Studios parks.

The new park will be on a 750-acre plot of land just a few miles from the existing resort. Universal said it will provide transportation between all of its properties.

Universal Orlando employs 25,000 people and will hire an additional 14,000 workers, including professional, technical and culinary staff. The company said Wednesday that restarting construction on Epic Universe will infuse billions of dollars into Florida's economy and create thousands of jobs during its development.

It typically takes three to four years to build a full-scale theme park. The land was cleared in 2018, and it will be the first park Universal has built since 1999, when Islands of Adventure opened. In the last decade, Universal has expanded its two parks to include Harry Potter-themed lands Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

Analysts are speculating that new rides could be based on Universal properties such as Minions, classic monsters, and even Nintendo. Universal execs have remained mum on the specifics. Tom Williams, CEO of Universal Parks and Resorts, called it "the most immersive and innovative theme park we have ever created."

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.

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