Universal to build major new theme park in Orlando, creating 14,000 jobs
Universal Studios Resort is adding another theme park to its roster.
Parent company Comcast revealed Thursday that it will be building Universal’s Epic Universe, a major expansion in Orlando, Florida, that includes hotels, restaurants and shops.
The news comes just as Disney is about to open its second Star Wars theme park land in Orlando.
Executives teased during an earnings call last year that the company was seeking to turn its two-park resort into a weeklong travel destination, not just a two- or three-day trip for families.
Epic Universe will be the fourth Universal theme park in Florida and “represents the single-largest investment Comcast NBCUniversal has made in its theme park business and in Florida overall,” Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer of Comcast, said in a statement.
The new park will be located 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 currently employs 25,000 people and will hire an additional 14,000 workers, including professional, technical, and culinary staff.
It typically takes three to four years to build a full-scale theme park. The land was cleared last year, so it’s already in the process of being built. This will be the first park Universal has built since 1999, when Islands of Adventure opened.
n 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 has lagged behind Disney for years in terms of annual visitors. While Disney brought in an estimated 157 million people to its parks in 2018, Universal brought in around 50 million, according to the Themed Entertainment Association and the global management firm AECOM.
Disney hasn’t built a full-scale theme park since it opened Animal Kingdom in 1998, but it has been adding new lands to its established parks. In 2014, New Fantasyland was completed, Toy Story Land opened in 2018 and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is set to open at the end of this month.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.