When Universal Epic Universe opens by Summer 2025, the first fans through the turnstiles will sure have a lot of bucket list items to check off. Without a doubt, many will race to Super Nintendo World – the next “Living Land” in Disney and Universal’s back-and-forth theme park battles. Fans of the classics might make a beeline to the Dark Universe – a village populated by Universal’s monsters of the ’30s and ’40s. Families will no doubt race to the Isle of Berk to learn how to train a dragon. Potterheads will instead head for Place Cachée – a 1920s Paris drawn from the Wizarding World.
But like Islands of Adventure before it, the immersive worlds of Epic Universe will also be accentuated by something a little louder: a cutting edge, iconic set of roller coasters. While Universal has barely acknowledged that Epic Universe is happening at all, they haven’t been able to hide their newest thrill ride – a pair of intertwined racing coasters that will dominate the new park’s celestial hub.
What’s the story behind this new coaster that’s sure to be a landmark of Orlando? Who’s manufacturing it, and what tricks have they packed within? For that matter, what will a ride on these twisted tracks be like? Here’s what we know (and think we know) about the roller coaster that’s set to define Epic Universe…
1. It’s a "spiritual successor" to a fan favorite
When Universal’s Islands of Adventure opened in 1999, it, too, had a cutting edge double coaster as one of its main draws… Part of the Lost Legend: The Lost Continent, Dueling Dragons was a technological marvel made of two separate but intertwined B&M inverted coasters – a blazing red “Fire” track and a gleaming blue “Ice” track meant to represent the aerial clash between two elemental dragons ravaging a town.
Though each had a different layout, elements, inversions, speed, and statistics, trains from each would be dispatched together along mirrored lift hills. Then brakes throughout the rides’ courses would adjust to accommodate for differing weights between them, ensuring that at three key moments along their courses, the two trains would “duel,” racing at each other or spiraling around each other in visual “near miss” encounters. That continued even when the ride was absorbed into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade in 2010, officially being renamed Dragon Challenge.
Unfortunately, in 2011, two significant events saw riders on the recently-renamed Dragon Challenge injured by being struck by loose items as the trains barreled toward one another at high speeds. As a result, the ride’s “dueling” was officially ended leaving the two tracks to operate independently and asynchronously until the ride closed in 2017. (The space today is home to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.)
It’s interesting that Epic Universe will follow in Islands of Adventure’s footsteps by including its own intertwined double coaster which (as we’ll see on the next page) is even rumored to have dueling elements of its own. No doubt that’ll mean that safety protocols will be in place for this ride to ensure loose items are stored in lockers… but of course, Universal guests have gotten used to mandatory lockers and metal detectors on Universal’s high-thrill coasters post-2011 anyway.
2. It’s a cosmic journey
Given how much fans know about Epic Universe (thanks, in large part, to the incredible Orlando ParkStop), you might forget that technically, almost nothing has officially been confirmed about Universal’s third gate in Orlando. It was only in early 2023 that Universal formally acknowledged that Super Nintendo World would be among the park’s lands – the other three IP-based areas are still officially unannounced, even as construction races ahead and de facto confirms Monsters, Dragons, and the Wizarding World.
However, one area of the park that concept art did not obscure was its fabled hub. Just as Islands of Adventure begins with Port of Entry (a literary, nautical, seaside village) it seems that Epic Universe will have an opening act that’s fittingly cosmic – a celestial, bronze garden of art deco and steampunk influence.
Defined by bronze arches, astrolabes, Zodiac signs, and cosmic symbols, this elemental space is rumored to be sub-divided into courtyards representing the elements – in this case: water, fire, earth, air, and aether (or, in common language, space). It’s believed that the park’s racing, intertwined coaster will be found in the latter, being themed to space or space exploration – but through the fantasy lens of this retro-futuristic land. That seemed to be confirmed by a recent trademark filing…
3. Its name will likely be Starfall Racers
A March 2023 trademark filing by Universal included a number of proposed attraction and area names for the park (including the name “Constellation Carousel,” likely headed for the hub’s family flat ride). Among the filings was “Starfall Racers,” a name that seems unlikely to apply to anything in the park but for the new space-themed racing coasters found in the park’s hub.
Speaking of which, if rumors are to be believed, you might be able to ride both the Constellation Carousel and Starfall Racers without buying admission to Epic Universe… How? Read on…
I think the sides for this dueling coaster will be called Corona and Crescent.