Portal to Dark Universe

Welcome to The Epic Universe, your one-stop shop for new details emerging from the development of Universal's Epic Universe. In this series, we’ll be dissecting the upcoming plans for Universal’s new Orlando-based theme park, Epic Universe, land by land, covering the details of known rides, attractions, shops, and hotels planned for each section of the park as well as current construction process on the area.

Today, we’ll be taking a deeper look at the Dark Universe section, dedicated to Universal’s classic monsters… but to understand the significance of this area is to understand the significance of the classic monsters’ presence in the Universal parks to begin with.

Universal Monsters, Universal
Image: Universal

For longtime Universal fans, this comes as no surprise, but Universal truly prides itself on being one of the first film production companies to create iconic horror legends on the big screen. Before the age of CGI, these classic monsters had to be invented with the use of practical effects and makeup.

The innovation of early film creators helped shaped the film industry as we see it today. If you have an interest in exploring these techniques on a deeper level, I recommend stopping by for a viewing of Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-Up Show (if you’re lucky, you might even grab a picture with Beetlejuice outside the front door!).

Because of Universal’s extensive history of monsters, horror, and filmmaking, it was naturally only a matter of time before space was dedicated to show off the legacy of Universal’s monster catalogue. Thus, the Dark Universe was created. Originally intended as a cinematic universe of sorts, Dark Universe planned to recreate the stories of classic Universal monsters with modern technology.

Dark Universe, Universal
Image: Universal

Unfortunately, after the remake of Mummy flopped in 2017, plans for this cinematic universe were shelved, much to the disappointment of many fans. However, after plans for Epic Universe were announced, fans were quick to point out that the Dark Universe seems to have made a return—albeit in a somewhat different fashion. Instead of coming face-to-face with classic monsters on the big screen, soon fans will be able to interact with them in a newly themed area.

As of right now, construction is far underway with the development of the classic monsters themed area. Some of the initial scaffolding has been removed from the structures and the vision has begun to take shape. A giant tree with long, scattered vines rises high above the portal, shaping the soon-to-be entrance to the Dark Universe.

Entrance to Dark Universe

Deeper in, progress is taking place in Darkmoor, a themed village with a massive, ominous mansion looming in the background. This mansion will eventually house this land’s main attraction, rumored to be titled “Monsters Unchained: The Frankenstein Experiment”, a dark ride that will utilize a four-person bench attached to a robotic arm similar to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

Another ride is currently taking shape in the area—a steel coaster dubbed “The Curse of the Werewolf”. As the name implies, this coaster will feature appearances from the Wolf Man and will take guests on a wild chase through the woods.

Curse of the Werewolf Coaster Construction

The area also has plans for two restaurants—a quick service stop at one side of the Wolf Man coaster, and a large, potentially Frankenstein-themed restaurant on the other. This larger restaurant is expected to be built into a false hillside with a large (potentially on-fire) windmill rising high above.

Additionally, rumors regarding a "fog room" have been circulating, leading many to believe that the Dark Universe land will be a gloomy, fog-ridden experience. We've seen smaller fog effects pulled off during Halloween Horror Nights inside the various haunted houses and scare zones, but nothing that requires a dedicated fog room to make the effects happen. It will be interesting to see how Universal is able to implement fog machines on a larger scale. 

Although details at this point in time are still foggy, Theme Park Tourist will remain dedicated to providing new updates on park construction as they are revealed. With developments on the project coming along nicely, the excitement is palpable for many Universal fans.

Are you excited to step into the realm of monsters yourself? Let us know your thoughts by leaving us a comment below or on our Facebook page.


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