It's not a fever dream; it's not a shared delusion; it's not a trick. Unbelievable as it may seem, theme park fans are gearing up for what they expect could be a true game-changer in the industry: Universal Epic Universe.
The first destination major theme park to open in the U.S. since Disney California Adventure in 2001, Epic Universe is a project that industry insiders suspect might actually shift the gravity in Orlando for good, turning Universal from a day-trip-from-Disney-World into a definitive multi-day, multi-park resort that can replace a Disney vacation altogether.
Universal has filed trademark applications for the term "THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING" for use in theme park, hotel, and retail services. Perhaps this term could be used for promotional materials, including upcoming marketing for Epic Universe, but that is only speculation on my part. pic.twitter.com/svxfOUvl0O
— Alicia Stella Nova Resort (@AliciaStella) January 22, 2024
Now, we have our first glimpse into Universal's updated messaging around their expanding resort. Discovered by Universal fandom's "permit princess" Alicia Stella of Orlando ParkStop, it appears that Universal's push around their soon-to-be three-park resort comes in the form of the tagline "THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING."
The new potential tagline – which seems to strike at the larger notion of Universal's slow and steady rise in Central Florida – is a bold statement. But of course, Universal is nothing if not bold, and especially after the massive release of new concept art and details surrounding Epic Universe in January 2024, their cockiness looks warranted.
Epic Universe will not only be the first major park in the country in twenty years; it's also the first built after the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, meaning that in Epic Universe, we'll see a park comprised entirely of immersive, story-driven "Living Lands." Its enviable collection of IPs includes Universal's in-house horror movie monsters, a from-scratch and completely original Celestial Park, the always-profitable Wizarding World, DreamWorks' How To Train Your Dragon, and the anchoring Super Nintendo World.
As if Epic Universe wasn't ambitious enough on its own, Universal also lucked out in ramping up to its new park in a time when Disney is in a protracted downswing. An era of slashed perks and new upcharges has alienated even longtime Walt Disney World loyalists; an exhausting focus on modern IP and a lack of originality has left parks enthusiasts feeling drained; and more to the point, Iger's embattled return after the penny-pinching Chapek has left Disney with a staggering multi-year gap until it could have a new E-Ticket ready even if they started today.
When it's all said and done, Universal Orlando will feature some of the biggest franchises in history – Jurassic Park, Dr. Seuss, Marvel Superheroes, Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Harry Potter, DreamWorks, Minions, Fast & Furious, Transformers (and possibly, The Legend of Zelda, Pokémon, and more on the way). And with Epic Universe shaping up to offer timeless lands based on multi-generational IPs, it looks likely that the resort's third gate really could change everything...
What do you think? Is "THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING" a good statement for Universal to make right now? Or are you reserving your judgement on Epic Universe until the picture becomes clearer?