Universal Orlando Has Big Plans for 2020
From brand-new entertainment to a new hotel, there's never been a better time to visit Universal Orlando.
If you haven’t been to Universal Orlando in a while, you might not recognize it. You can now get healthy, hip avocado toast at the morning show-inspired Today Cafe.
Cool dudes like Jimmy Fallen and Rubeus Hagrid (OK, he’s not real, but still a cool dude) now have their own namesake attractions. And watch out for Death Eaters that sometimes haunt The Wizarding World of Harry Potter now. A big wave of openings and renovations for the mega theme park resort distinguished 2019 and that momentum isn’t slowing down in 2020. Read on to see the new attractions, specialty ticketed events and more opening in the new year.
Universal Studios is known for its thrilling, high-intensity live action shows and 2020 will bring a new show to the streets of Hollywood. Replacing the "Terminator 2: 3D" show, "The Bourne Stuntacular" will put park guests in the middle of the Universal Picture’s Jason Bourne film franchise, and, according to Universal, it will “blur the lines between stage and cinema in a hybrid form of entertainment that has never been seen before.” Just like the films, the show will be action-packed with live actors performing stunts including chase scenes, fistfights and incredible leaps. "The Bourne Stuntacular" is set to premiere in spring 2020.
This past summer, Universal debuted its latest hotel: Universal’s Endless Summer Resort: Surfside Inn and Suites. The property created a new “extra-affordable value category” with rates advertised as low as $85 for standard rooms in low season. And on March 17, 2020, the resort’s sister property Universal’s Endless Summer Resort — Dockside Inn and Suites will open its doors.
The two hotels and their rooms are identical except for the theming. As the names suggest, one property is surf-inspired while the second hotel is more about sailing and lake life. But both are all about value. Surfside is a great option for families as suites feature two bedrooms plus a kitchenette with banquet seating. And the room rate isn’t the only thing that’s affordable. The menus at the resort’s restaurants and bars are more budget-friendly than other properties. So if you’re in need of a post-park cocktail, head to the lounge or pool bar at Endless Summer to cheers for less.
Universal has hosted private running events over the years, but never a public race like the runDisney events at Walt Disney World. But they’re finally getting into the theme park running scene (yes, it’s a dedicated, passionate one) with an “Epic Character Race” 5K and 10K on February 1 and 2, 2020. The inaugural race weekend for Running Universal will feature Universal characters — from Minions to Jurassic World’s Velociraptor Blue —cheering runners on, and select characters will also be available for photo ops at water stations. The courses for both races will go right through both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure with routes running through lands such as Seuss Landing and Jurassic Park. Of course, serious runners are welcome, but the vibe seems to be incredibly casual and approachable with the event website providing tips for first-time 5K runners and running newbies.
Fan-Favorite Events Returning
Universal may be rolling out new additions, but fan-favorite, seasonal events, such as the resort’s Mardi Gras celebration, aren’t going anywhere. The family-friendly alternative to New Orleans will take place from Feb. 1 through April 2. And as for the resort’s crown jewel, Halloween Horror Nights, the chilling specialty-ticketed event promises to be bigger than ever for its 30th anniversary in 2020. On select nights from Sept. 10 through Oct. 31, 2020, guests — if they dare — can venture through 10 haunted houses and five scare zones all inspired by iconic scary movies and pop culture. And beyond the screams, there’s usually Instagrammable food inspired by popular TV and movies available, from a Ghostbusters drink to Stranger Things waffles. While, technically, anyone can attend, the event isn’t recommended for kids younger than 13: It's fun, but it’s scary fun.
And an Entirely New Park Is on the Way
While all of these updates, grand openings and rollouts are happening in 2020, Universal will also be very busy building its fourth theme park in Orlando: Universal’s Epic Universe. “Our new park represents the single-largest investment Comcast NBCUniversal has made in its theme park business and in Florida overall,” says Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation. “It reflects the tremendous excitement we have for the future of our theme park business and for our entire company’s future in Florida.” Located southwest from Universal’s Endless Summer Resort, Epic Universe will nearly double the theme park’s size and feature “an entertainment center, hotels, shops, restaurants and more,” says Roberts. Universal has been tight-lipped about the new park’s theming, design and characters, but promises to reveal more details in 2020.