universal epic universe

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Disneyland and Walt Disney World are announcing their holiday plans.
  • Universal Studios Orlando announced the arrival of a third theme park.
  • And more!

Are you ready to get epic? Even if that word has arguably lost most, if not all, meaning over the last decade? Well, I hope so because Universal Studios Orlando made a big announcement to kick off August: they’re going to build and open a new theme park in the resort, titled Epic Universe. If you’re curious about things like its opening date, you’ll have to wait. For now, we know there’s going to be a new hotel, restaurants, likely connections to the world of Harry Potter and Nintendo, among others. And there’s concept art like the image above. But that’s kind of it. For now.

All-New Holiday Twist on Tomorrowland Speedway at Magic Kingdom Park

Ignore the fact that we’re in the dog days of summer. If you close your eyes and pretend, it’s really about to be the holiday season. At least, that’s the case at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. In the past few days, the Disney Parks Blog has been on the case in revealing some new details of the holiday season at Disneyland, and some attraction updates for the end of the year at the Magic Kingdom. For Disneyland, the season goes from November 8 to January 6, with special versions of World of Color, It’s a Small World, and more. At the Magic Kingdom, attractions like Space Mountain and Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor are getting a holiday theme with special lighting, music, and more. (What will a holiday-themed Space Mountain look like? I’m fascinated.)

Recently, we highlighted how Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run welcomed its millionth guest in just under a couple months. That may seem impressive, but when you look at the statistics of how many people, on average, visit certain Disneyland attractions per day, it’s definitely unremarkable. Roughly 27,000 people per day ride Smuggler’s Run, which seems like a lot…until you see that over 55,000 people per day ride Pirates of the Caribbean. Another boat ride, It’s A Small World, sees the most people per average each day at 57,000 people. No one can resist that tune! (And also, the design of the ride and its queue is such that lots of people can load continuously. But…that tune.)

Rock 'N' Roller Coaster

Earlier this week, another attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios celebrated a banner anniversary. Recently, it was the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror that turned 25; now, it’s the attraction just across the way, the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Featuring Aerosmith. The upside-down, in-the-dark roller-coaster is now 20 years old. To commemorate the anniversary, Disney’s offering some special merchandise that, right now, is only available in the park itself. Everything from T-shirts to tank tops to guitar picks are available for the die-hard Aerosmith fan in your family. (If your family includes such a person.)

Over in Disney California Adventure, construction continues on the section that used to be A Bug’s Land, and will now be themed to the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A key part of any themed area is, of course, the food, and there will be at least one option for guests. It’s a microbrewery themed to the character of Ant-Man; the concept art for this new restaurant suggests Disney focusing on a theme that’s very popular in dining these days, but the Imagineering possibilities of the building or its interior expanding or shrinking are pretty wild. You can only hope the real thing is like the concept art.

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