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Universal's Epic Universe | Orlando USA | Theme Park

Wazzupnerds

Mega Poster
Are we even sure that's coaster track, and not part of some other girder arch structure? We've had many, many of these "coaster track spotted on the highway!" threads over the years, and most of the time, it has turned out to be some unrelated support structure for stadium lights or something like that.
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Looks like Mack supports to me
 

TPoseOnTantrum

Hyper Poster
It's Donkey Kong track for Epic Universe

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Cantilever coaster would easily put tons of pressure on the track when turning. Of course it’s going to be stupidly large. Can’t believe it’s taking a whole 18-wheeler to transport one piece.

It’s also worth noting that Epic Universe has been receiving the entirety of their Intamin/Mack shipments through Miami, so it would only make sense to be coming from Intermount.
 
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Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
Sorry, so is this confirmed as Epic Universe track?

If so, I'll merge with that thread - no need for two. Pain the arse to undo, though, so want to be right.
 

Pear

Strata Poster
Sorry, so is this confirmed as Epic Universe track?

If so, I'll merge with that thread - no need for two. Pain the arse to undo, though, so want to be right.
I think it's safe to say at this point. The track for other coasters at Epic Universe is showing up now and this is a new color and track type than what we've seen before that matches with the Donkey Kong prototype.
 

Dar

Hyper Poster
It's weird that it doesn't have protectors on the rail-ends. Maybe this is for demo purposes?
 

TPoseOnTantrum

Hyper Poster
Think that this thread is overdue on progress, so here be the highlights;

Last month saw the arrival of a lot of Mack dueling coaster track. Footers have also gone in for the coaster's main turn;
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Donkey Kong Boom Coaster is going in quickly and Yoshi's Adventure moving circular station was installed;
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Mariokart building progress and what appears to even be the layout partially outlined
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Plausible spinning coaster footers over at Classic Monsters. No track or supports sighted yet.
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How to Train Your Dragon land and coaster trench
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Bigass warehouses under construction
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Finally to top off the seemingly endless construction updates (we can indeed have too much of a good thing) a pair of trademarks have been filed for their remaining two hotels (first one was the Helios Grand Resort) as seen below - Stella Nova and Terra Luna;
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Source & Source & Source & Source & Source & Source
 

TPoseOnTantrum

Hyper Poster
Today Screamscape wrote a major exposé on the Ministry of Magic attraction, tentatively named The Battle for the Ministry of Magic. You can read the full essay on the site or as quoted below, but I'm going to summarize some key points covered;
  • The area will be themed to the 1920's Parisian French Wizarding World (La Place Cachée) yet the actual attraction will take place in the modern-day London Ministry of Magic. Why? Don't know. It'll use a floo network system to access the ride entrance from the land, and that's all that we get.
  • Storyline will revolve around the Cursed Child lore rather than Fantastic Beasts, thank ****. We enter the end of Dolores Umbridge's trial post-Voldermolt defeat, in which she's expected to receive a life sentence in Azkaban for her crimes. However, a remaining faction of Death Eaters manage to break her out and she heads off to get ahold of a time travel [Time-Turner] device, apparently to restore Voldermolt and the Dark Ages timeline. So yeah, it'll be a chase-and-fight type of attraction that will end with Umbridge's plan failing and the ride ending back in court for her sentencing. Exaggerated courtroom drama wouldn't usually make for an intriguing attraction concept, to be sure, but if we get to watch the pink woman go to jail then I'm a happy camper.
  • Effects will be tenfold as expected, wildly mixing projections and animatronics. The latter set are going by the codename Megabot and will be among Universal's most advanced animatronics to date, using human motion and projection-mapped faces. You can also expect an Erumpent chase not so different from the Indominous Rex scene in Beijing's Jurassic World Adventure.
  • The vehicles were reported to use a "heave" system, where the cars vertically move up and down. Separate from Lance's research, Universal the other day filed a patent for an "Overhung Ride Assembly", in which "a ride system has an overhead arm mechanism with a ride car at the bottom, which the arm may raise or lower". Kongfrontation 2, anyone?
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(10/8/22) Today Screamscape is back with another special reveal about the one of the major attractions under construction at Universal’s Epic Universe. Today we’ve going to dive DEEP into Universal Orlando’s 3rd “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” themed land, and the key anchor attraction, which is tentatively named, “The Battle for the Ministry of Magic”. I’d expect some small tweaking of the name to take place before things are officially announced, but this title is pretty clear to the story being told within her.
But before we get to that, I’m going to talk about the land itself briefly, which is sure to cause more than a little confusion when it comes to the story being told within the attraction. As previously rumored, the land itself is supposed to be themed as if you are in the French version of the Wizarding World. Guests will enter the land and the surrounding streets and shops, which I believe is called “Place Cachée”, which roughly translates as “Hidden Place”. Fans of the Wizarding World films will have seen Place Cachée for a brief time in the second Fantastic Beasts film, and is essentially a more fancy and French version of Diagon Alley.
While a secondary attraction was once intended for this land (remember that VR Broomstick ride?) it has long since been canceled. Apparently not for budget reasons, but mainly it sounds like when the option came to move it to a new location in the main Studios park and they started to push ahead with building it sooner than later, they realized that it just wasn’t really going to be as good of an attraction as they thought, so they scrapped it. The land where this attraction was going to be placed however will still remain available to add an additional attraction onto the land in the future when the time is right. Otherwise, I think the only other attraction in the land will be some kind of show theater.
So anyway, guests will visit the French Wizarding World for the first time, so you can see how this can open up a lot of ways to sell all new merchandise and food options not already sold in the first two Wizarding World lands over at the main resort parks. Interactive Wands will also be in play here, and apparently the entire interactive wand play as seen throughout all three parks is said to be planned for a major upgrade where all new wands capable of more interactive elements will then be sold. We’ll discuss that more at another time… but just expect to see the wands able to do a lot more here in this newest land.
The entrance to the main attraction will be an interesting feature for this land, as guests will enter into what is essentially a giant public Floo Network station. So you’ll enter into a giant room full of fireplaces that will transport you BACK to the British Ministry of Magic. Yes… you read that last part right… while the entire land is themed as if you are in Parisian Wizarding World, the main attraction for the entire land take place in in the UK, and requires them to come up with an in-storyline method of transportation to get all the guests back to the British Wizarding World, and back again by the end of the experience.
You may find yourself asking… Why did they bother themeing the land to Paris at all then? Or why not come up with a new story involving the French Wizarding World? Both are good questions… and neither have a good answer. Apparently Universal Creative is just hoping that no one will really ask those kind of questions and just go along with the experience. OK then… and oh… don’t even try to bring up the time jump, as the Fantastic Beasts era (early 20th century) theming of Place Cachée will then give way, via Floo teleport, to a future timeline in the regular Harry Potter film series that takes place in the world following the events of the Deathly Hallows book/films but before the events that take place in The Cursed Child play.
All this aside, everyone is trying to get to the London Ministry of Magic to catch the end of the trial of Dolores Umbridge who is about to the sentenced to serve a life sentence in Azkaban prison for her crimes. To do this, guests will enter this magical public transportation station to get to the Ministry, which will actually be done through a very cool room stuffed with special effects.
Guests will then exit the Floo into the giant hallway of Floos as seen in the Ministry of Magic in the film series. Through design and some effects, this area will be a huge reveal and “Wow” moments for the guests as they move from here into the queue for the ride. Guests will move towards the center of the Ministry rotunda, which will include the huge statue at the center. The buildout of this massive round room has already been spotted in some of the aerial construction photos of the park. From here guests will travel down the various hallways within the Ministry, past various office doors and different Ministry departments, which includes the office of the Aurors. Aurors are essentially the highly trained enforcement arm of the Wizarding World. As I said previously, this all takes place after the Battle of Hogwarts (as seen in Deathly Hollows Pt 2) and before the events of The Cursed Child. In a quick little spoiler here, both Harry and Ron eventually become Aurors, which will be important later.
Working through the Ministry guests will eventually get to the magical elevator bays where they will board the ride vehicle. As I mentioned in the previous article, the originally vision for the attraction was to use sort of Elevator platform attached to an overhead track, not unlike the original Kong attraction at Universal Studios Florida when it first opened in 1990. Instead this idea was revised to use a next-gen Spider-Man style ride car system that will add a significant bit of “heave” movement to the platform. In the vocabulary of motion-base platform rides, “heave” would be described as vertical up and down motion, so essentially this ride platform will move like Spiderman through the dark ride, while being able to also provide lift and dropping sensations during the ride experience, to give it a true elevator motion style feel.
As guests come up into the loading station for the actual ride they will see it is laid out as a dual-side station just like Gringott’s or Revenge of the Mummy, which would be a first for Universal when building a Spider-Man / Transformers style dark ride system. Guests will board and be transported to the courtroom to see the trial of Umbridge. From here, in true Universal ride fashion, things go horribly wrong rather quickly. (Warning: Spoilers Ahead!)
Death Eaters arrive on the scene to free Umbridge, and the storyline will see the arrival of your three favorite Potter characters (Harry, Ron and Hermione) to battle the evil and stop their evil plans. It seems breaking Umbridge out of the Ministry isn’t enough, she is trying to get into a storage area for powerful magical artifacts to get her hands of a time travel device. If I understand things correctly, Umbridge wants to open a portal back in time to when Voldemort was all powerful and bring that version of Voldemort to the present in order to take over the Wizarding World.
Guests will ride along and enter various rooms in the Ministry and pass through the chaotic magical battlefield as shown through both projection and real-world animatronic effects. When I say Animatronics… apparently Universal is putting some new animatronic figures to use here that go by the codename Megabot. From what I’m told these are the most advanced animatronics ever put to use by Universal Creative ever and not only feature fluid human-like motion, but fully projection mapped animated faces.
While I’m not 100% up on all my Potter universe and magical creatures, you’ll not only encounter some kind of fire breathing chicken creature, but also a frightening encounter with Newt’s Erumpent. While trying to get away Umbridge apparently frees the Erumpent, which is sort of a massive magical creature with a rhinoceros style horn coming from the top of its head. From what I’m told, Universal is going to borrow the effect they created for the Jurassic World dark ride in China here, as the guests will come face to face and then look like they are trying to run away from the charging Erumpent.
It all comes to a head when Delores thinks she has the Time Turner she was seeking out in hand, only to realize that Hermione has done something to it. I’m not sure if she created a fake one, or put a curse on a real one, but in the end Delores Umbridge will see her plan fall to pieces and litterally slip through her fingers, and find her obnoxious pink garb transformed back into prison black & white stripes as she is apprehended once again. From here everyone is taken back to the court room for the final sentencing by Shacklebolt and as the finale scene for the ride.
I’m told that the actress who plays Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) has signed off to film footage for the ride. I know what you are thinking… and yes Universal has reached out to the actors who play Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) to see if they can lure them back to reprise their characters once again for the new ride. This can be done via full performance work, voice work, or give permission for some alternative GCI version of their likeness to be used.
Storywise, this is likely going to be one of the best attractions in the park, and a great example of having a Wizarding World attraction officially expand the universe through a new storyline that has been approved by Warner Bros and everyone involved to be considered as official cannon for the Wizarding World universe. This will include the use of all official characters from the films, and the introduction of some new characters and creatures we may not have seen before. One new character that will be introduced here via an Animatronic is the first female house elf character to be introduced, who I believe will be an assistant to Umbridge. This character may possibly be first shown in the queue as guests pass by Umbridge’s old and very pink office, full of those crazy animated cat plates on the walls.
Once the ride is over, guests will exit through a gift shop area and through another pass through the Floo network to get everyone back to early 20th century Paris once again. I’ve drew up a quick layout drawing of the actual attraction space, where the ride system itself seems to be entirely contained to the upper level of the attraction building. The queue will be contained in the shorter single story building in front of the main attraction building, as well as throughout sections of the first level under the attraction itself, not unlike how the original Forbidden Journey attraction is done.
While I’ve already described the basic overall story to be told during the ride experience, there is nothing in the layout that will really give away which scene is which, but there are a couple of stage areas you can see along with what look like areas where rear projection screens will be placed throughout the ride experience and other areas that appear as if they could use more practical real-world effects. There is also an area where the ride vehicles can be swapped in and out of a maintenance area just after leaving the station, with the maintenance area being in the upper front left section of the building. You can see this shown in a great aerial picture of the site posted by Bioreconstruct on Twitter below.

Universal Parks patent details new ride design​

Oct 6, 2022
Universal Parks & Resorts' newest patent, dubbed "Overhung Ride Assembly," shows another way future theme park rides in Orlando and beyond might be designed.
The patent describes engineering a ride system that has an overhead arm mechanism with a ride car at the bottom, which the arm may raise or lower, according to patent renderings.

"Traditional ride systems employing overhung ride assemblies may include a limited range of motion of the ride vehicles relative to the track. Further, traditional ride systems employing overhung ride assemblies may be expensive to manufacture (e.g., due to excessive part counts and expensive parts) and operate (e.g., due to wasted energy)," said the patent.
However, this new patented alternative design appears to address those issues.
Representatives with Universal were not available for comment.
There's no description on how such a ride system may be used. However, it likely could assist with attractions with platform changes or height changes in the experience.
Patents can give a peek into what theme park designers and creative departments see as improvements to the parks.
Patent activity with a magical twist has been a focus for some of Universal's recent patents, including:
 
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Matt N

CF Legend
Come to think of it, I can’t actually remember The Cursed Child that well… what’s the plot again?

I did read it, but it was some time ago, and I don’t remember enjoying it as much as the regular HP books… although to be honest, I don’t remember it that well, as I read it quite some time ago. The only thing I really remember is that it revolved around Harry Potter’s son and entailed a load of time travelling… I can’t remember for the life of me what the actual plot was, for some reason.

I must admit, I’m surprised that Universal are allegedly considering a Cursed Child-based attraction. I was under the impression that the WWOHP areas were more based on the Warner Bros film franchise than the books (which Cursed Child is not connected to), and even notwithstanding that; did JK Rowling even write Cursed Child? I always thought it wasn’t part of the official canon, and was written by somebody else, but I could be wrong there.
 
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Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
I did read it, but it was some time ago, and I don’t remember enjoying it as much as the regular HP books… although to be honest, I don’t remember it that well, as I read it quite some time ago. The only thing I really remember is that it revolved around Harry Potter’s son and entailed a load of time travelling… I can’t remember for the life of me what the actual plot was, for some reason.
If I recall correctly, the plot largely centers around time travel, also known as the death knell of any franchise that doesn't specifically revolve around it. Time travel is an universal ruiner of plots, unless the time travel itself is the plot. Because if time travel can undo past events, there's no reason not to spam it wildly to fix any mistake. Rowling realized this and had the entire national stock of time turners destroyed during the events of book 5. But the producers of the stage show, who wrote the book, didn't mind such implications.

If I recall the plot correctly, Harry's kid and Malfoy's kid become friends at school. They somehow end up talking to the father of Cedric Diggory, who has become a bitter old man who blames Harry Potter for his son's death after the Triwizard Tournament. The two kids get access to a super time turner from Malfoy's father, go back to the Triwizard Tournament, and ensure that Cedric doesn't die. But instead, in this time line, he ends up so humiliated by his loss that he becomes a Death Eater and something something the present changes and Voldemort won. It turns out Diggory Sr.'s angry rant about his son's death, which tricked the boys into going back in time, was orchestrated by Voldemort's daughter, who had been born off-screen right before Voldemort died in the seventh book. The daughter then goes back in time to kill Harry's parents before Voldemort does, so he doesn't die in the first place but gets to rule Wizard Britain forever. Or something. But Harry somehow gets a message and goes back in time as well to stop her and fix everything. This involves sitting down with his family to watch Voldemort kill his parents from the next street over.

As I said, royal unholy mess. It reads like a bad fanfic at best, and a work of trolling at worst. It was presented as "the continuation of the story of Harry Potter and his friends", but sidelines them completely in favour of new characters who aren't interesting, while also ruining the original trio. Harry becomes an absent, workaholic dad, Ron and Hermione are utter failures, I don't think we even see Ginny, Voldemort and Bellatrix turn out to have a kid all of a sudden, and there's a point where Harry's son is Polyjuiced into Ron and starts making out with Hermione (who is his aunt, mind). And the lady who runs the snack trolley at the Hogwarts Express is a 350-year-old monster. Meanwhile, the plot hardly continues the story of anybody, it instead revisits scenes from the other books and mess them up.

Most fans tend to pretend The Cursed Child doesn't exist. They read it once, slam it shut, and try to forget what they just read. But Rowling has been adamant it's official canon. Fans tend to overlook that. If you don't remember the plot, consider it a success on behalf of your past self. I wasn't that successful. I've only read it once on the day it came out, but I still remember the broad strokes. I really wish it never happened.
 

TPoseOnTantrum

Hyper Poster
Wait, did you actually read The Cursed Child? "Royal, unholy mess" wouldn't even begin to describe it. I know Fantastic Beasts is bad, but Cursed Child takes it completely off the rails.
It’s not that I consider Cursed Child to be a suitable product. Agreed, it’s a messy, pointless, thematically empty fanfiction that accomplished nothing and didn’t need to exist. It’s more so that I have a personal hatred towards the moral and narrative decline of Fantastic Beasts. I’d rather see a Time Turner rampage than Newt and crew trying to stop a fascist wizard from winning an election. So yea, hot take.

Also, I’m not sure why I referred to this as Cursed Child lore when it’s closer after the Battle of Hogwarts. Maybe it was the idea of the time travel chaos, but that was a mistake.
 

Jamesss

Hyper Poster
The plot to the Ministry of Magic ride is a bit too convoluted.

Theme park rides are too short to convey such complex stories. Those who aren't HP fans will have little idea what's happening.

The other two Potter dark rides face the same problem - there's so much fast-paced action that the basic story gets lost.

Ideally, the plot needs to be simple enough that it can be broadly understood in one sentence.

Off the top of my head - guests could be on a tour of the Ministry when they get lost in the highly-dangerous "Department of Mysteries" and must escape.
 

Lofty

CF Legend
A few years ago I'd mentioned that UOR were looking at redeveloping Kongfrontation tech, and it just turns out this is what it was for. Which is super exciting.
 
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