New park expected to open in 2023
The opening date for Universal's third theme park in the Sunshine State has been announced during a Comcast earnings call.
Officials said the new park could be here as soon as 2023. Take a moment to let that sink in.
"We recently announced we're doing a fourth gate in Orlando in 2023. We think the theme park business is a great business for us and we're going to be making the investments to try to grow cash flow aggressively in the future," one executive said during Thursday’s call.
During the conversation executives noted higher attendance and an increase in operating costs. Theme park revenue had also increased 6.8%.
"In terms of the theme park business, six years ago we made about a billion dollars in the theme park business and now we're at about 2 and half billion, so theme parks have been historically one of the fastest growing parts of our portfolio, and we have a lot to look forward to," the executive added.
The opening date comes two months after Universal Orlando announced construction had begun for Epic Universe.
Epic Universe is a long-rumored fourth park that executives promised "forever changes theme park entertainment."
After the Aug. 1 announcement, Universal Parks CEO Tom Williams kept the details to a minimum and said they were not ready to release more details, which included the park's opening date as well as themes and rides.
At more than 750 acres, the park more than doubles the company's acreage in Orlando, according to a statement. The park will be located near the Orange County Convention Center, a few miles south of its sibling parks.
Once the park opens, Epic Universe is said to create 14,000 permanent new jobs which will include a base pay rate of $15 an hour.
Universal has already had a great, dare we say "epic," year. In June, Islands of Adventure welcomed its newest coaster, Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, which has been a hit with theme park enthusiasts and tourists alike. Sadly, the ride has been met with many challenges and has been forced to close early most nights.
"While the parks business is subject to some ebbs and flows, we are pleased with our summer launches of Jurassic World in Hollywood and our Hagrid themed "Harry Potter" coaster in Orlando," Brian Roberts said during the phone conversation.
Universal is also in its final weeks of Halloween Horror Nights, which has a large following of haunted house fans and scary movie buffs. The event, which begins in September., ends Nov. 2. The event requires a special ticket for admission, which brings in even more money for Universal.
Central Florida theme parks have been rolling out new lands and ride ideas all year. In August, Walt Disney World opened "Star Wars:" Galaxy's Edge to the public and unveiled more details for its "Guardians of the Galaxy themed coaster." SeaWorld Orlando announced a new coaster coming to its park in 2020 called Ice Breaker.
The years that follow 2019 will be huge for the theme park industry as the different parks continue to push the boundaries of immersive attractions. It goes without saying, it's never a bad time to call Central Florida home.