Universal Orlando has plans for an “epic” fourth theme park. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Universal says doubling Orlando resort size with 4th park

ORLANDO, Fla. — Universal Orlando officials said Thursday that the resort is doubling in size with plans for an “epic” fourth theme park, but they offered almost no information on when the new park will open, what it will hold or how much they are spending.

The secretive nature of the new park is “because of competitive pressure,” Universal Parks & Resorts CEO Tom Williams said at a news conference with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his boss, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.

“You are aware of the competitive nature of this Orlando marketplace,” Williams said. “We’re all battling for the time of visiting guests to come to our location and to share details of what we have in mind with the competition is something we have no interest in doing.”

The announcement is the latest salvo in the war for dominance between Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando in America’s theme park capital.

Despite the lack of details, officials with the theme park resort promised the new park would be epic. To that end, they’re calling the new park Universal’s Epic Universe.

“Last I heard, a universe is bigger than a world,” said Williams, making a dig at Disney World.

The new park will be located on a 750-acre site separated by a few miles from the current Universal Orlando property that is home to the Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure parks, as well as the Volcano Bay water park.

More than 14,000 workers will be hired on top of the existing 25,000-person labour force in Orlando. They will be paid a starting minimum wage of $15 an hour, officials said.

The company also has theme parks in California, China, Japan and Singapore.

Comcast purchased NBCUniversal almost a decade ago. During that time, Comcast has put more money into theme parks than any other part of the company, Roberts said Thursday. That investment had paid for Harry Potter-themed lands and rides based on other franchises, such as “Fast & Furious.”

The fourth park will be the biggest investment the Comcast NBCUniversal has made in its theme park business, Robert said. It will have a park, hotels, restaurants and shops, and more details will be released as the project gets under way, officials said.

“I don’t think there’s been announcement like this in over 20 years here when you hear the scale,” Roberts said.

Universal recently had been acquiring hundreds of acres of land near Orlando’s convention centre in its aim to topple Walt Disney World’s dominance in Orlando.

Universal’s announcement comes weeks ahead of the planned opening of a Star Wars land at rival Walt Disney World. An identical attraction opened earlier this summer at sister park Disneyland in California

Earlier this summer, Universal also debuted a new ride based on the Harry Potter character, Hagrid, which had fans waiting for hours to ride it.

By The Associated Press

Just Posted

Red Deer would be the site of potential TV show

A potential TV show aims to bring Red Deer kids across the… Continue reading

Oilsands firms considering diluent recovery units to boost crude-by-rail volumes

CALGARY — Ongoing pipeline project delays and growth in crude-by-rail capacity from… Continue reading

Ex-Eskimos CEO gets new job among flurry of Alberta government appointments

Ex-Eskimos CEO gets job among flurry of appointments EDMONTON — Len Rhodes,… Continue reading

State of mind to be key issue in Alek Minassian trial, judge says

TORONTO — The trial of a man accused of killing ten people… Continue reading

WATCH: ‘Lots to see and do’ at Pioneer Days in Red Deer

Sunnybrook Farm Museum is celebrating its 24th annual Pioneer Days this weekend.… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Thursday The Red Deer and District Garden Club hosts its annual Flower… Continue reading

Two men seriously injured after small plane crashes in Alberta field

BLACK DIAMOND, Alta. — Two people were injured in a plane crash… Continue reading

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is condemning violence in Hong… Continue reading

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

OTTAWA — Emotions ran free in Ottawa Saturday as the more than… Continue reading

Liberals unveil $3B sole-source deal for armoured vehicles ahead of election

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government has unveiled plans to award a… Continue reading

85-year-old, lifting since 1950, on track to cinch weightlifting championship

MONTREAL — Olympic-style weightlifting isn’t just about strength or power. It’s about… Continue reading

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson comes out as gay after 40 years

OTTAWA — After 40 years, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has come out… Continue reading

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

SASKATOON — A minor injury cost former Humboldt Broncos hockey player Jacob… Continue reading

Most Read