Image: Orlando Park Stop

What we know about Epic Universe's land of monsters is thanks to Orlando Park Stop, whose illustrated map (above) helps paint the picture of what to expect... 

We know that looming just beyond the village of Darkmoor will be an incredibly impressive sight: a long-abandoned manor house serving as the entry of the park's anchoring E-Ticket experience...

Image: Wikipedia

Based on current construction, it's believed that the soaring facade beyond the village will be that of Belgium's Château Miranda – an iconic (and recently demolished) gothic structure that does look directly pulled from the classic horror films of the '30s. It's an appropriately-imposing structure for what resides within: the mega E-Ticket that Universal's monsters have been waiting nearly a century for. 

Reportedly set to be called Monsters Unchained: The Frankenstein Experiment, it's believed that Dark Universe's anchor attraction will use a familiar ride system in a new way. In fact, the idea is that this ride will place guests on a KUKA Robo Arm – the same revolutionary ride system used on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey back in 2010. 

Image: Universal, via Park Stop

However, this new take on the technology will be presented very differently. Riders will strap into a mechanical creation straight out of Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory, boarded via a massive rotating platform. Rather than the enclosed shell that limits your view on Forbidden Journey, patents uncovered by Park Stop suggest that this version of the vehicle will have a more open view. It could also mean that this ride will not feature the screen-based, projection dome scenes (which are the reason why the Potter ride limits your side-to-side view).

Given that this is the land's major E-Ticket, it's expected that it'll feature appearances by all of the classic monsters, perhaps having been unleashed when "something goes horribly wrong" in Dr. Frankenstein's lab. In any case, it'll be quite a landmark to see all of these characters honored with a technologically advanced dark ride! 

Further out into the forests beyond the village, initial plans called for a theater. We can't know what exactly Universal planned for the space – be it a year-round haunted walkthrough, a stage show, or a musical like the long-lost Beetlejuice's Graveyard Revue. Ultimately, Universal made a late-in-development swap for this space anyway, replacing the theater with what's expected to be a multi-launch roller coaster. 

Image: bioreconstruct, Twitter

Aerial construction photography captured by the always-incredible @bioreconstruct shows the completed layout of the coaster, which looks like it'll launch guests through the woods, twisting and turning until reaching a broken down shack in the forest. From there, the ride will likely pause for a show scene before launching forward, backward, and forward again, gaining enough speed to race through the swirling second half of the ride, tearing through the forest at top speed. 

Like Starfall Racers, insiders believe that this is a creation of Mack Rides, and that it'll use the same free-spinning launched-and-inverting coaster ride system as Time Traveler at Silver Dollar City, adding chaos to the ride. Given that it's reportedly set to be called The Curse of the Werewolf, the ride system seems perfect for embodying the Wolf Man's moonlit transformation.

Image: Universal

Deep in the forests outside of the village will reside another eatery – this one themed to an old, run-down windmill. Reportedly, this location is planned to be a bar-type eatery, with visitors sitting inside the mechanical inner workings of the windmill, which is inspired by a windmill famously burned down by angry villagers in the original 1931 Frankenstein.

And that windmill will serve as the dead end of the land... for now. But the Dark Universe space comes with a built-in, multi-acre expansion pad that can be activated in further phases and build-outs of Epic Universe!

Image: Universal

Rumors have long suggested that the short-list for Dark Universe's expansion is a boat ride themed to Creature from the Black Lagoon. It's easy to see that concept applied to the return of the Lost Legend: JAWS, or as an indoor, moonlit boat ride like Pirates of the Caribbean... But as the park opens and expansions are green-lit, those plans could change.

Between its village, E-Ticket dark ride, and spinning family coaster, we'd say that the "Dark Universe" is shaping up to be a very strong zone in a park that's looking like it'll have a whole lot of winners. Really, it's long past time that Universal pays homage to its classic monsters in a permanent, built-out way – even if we're pleasantly surprised that such a "throwback" IP made the cut! 

Image: Universal

What do you think? Can Universal's home-grown, black-and-white monsters hold their own against Mario & Luigi, Harry, Ron, & Hermione, and Hiccup & Toothless? Or are you left scratching your head as to why Universal went retro with one of the anchors of Epic Universe? Will you make a bee-line for Dark Universe when Epic Universe opens in 2025? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


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