Written by Kevin Baxter
Published: May 25, 2004 at 3:43 AM
The Florida High Speed Rail Authority needs money if it expects to finish the Tampa-to-Orlando line by the mandated 2009 finish date. Of the $2.6 billion the Authority needs, they have already raised a whopping $.3B. Smirk. Without state funding, even supporters of the line don't see a rosy future for the line. Even if the Authority can raise the money, the Bush that isn't busy covering up occurrences in Iraq is busy getting signatures for a repeal, which might be successful if Disney's kidnapping of the process is focused upon.
Orlando Sentinel - May 23
Universal Studios Florida's Revenge of the Mummy is getting some online love. Of course, it isn't getting one percent of the love the news media showed the opening of the Tower of Terror or Mission: Space, but it is a start. Unlike the LA Times, the Sentinel apparently has a "professional" ride critic who reviews EVERY ride that opens in the country. (Funny this is the first I have seen this guy on the Sentinel's site, isn't it?) Anyhow, his review of Mummy isn't as glowing as Joe's review but he does call it a "nice addition" to the park. Like Joe's review, he does seem to agree that certain things need tweaking. The best line? After commenting on Mummy's paltry pricetag of $40M (or so) in comparison to Mission: Space's $100M, he says, "Universal got much better bang for the buck. And unlike Mission: Space, people are much less inclined to vomit after riding the Mummy." He adds, "if you consider only the rides, Universal always has topped Disney and the Mummy only continues that trend." Truer words were never spoken.
Jim Hill Media - May 24
After making a big deal about the layoffs of Universal Creative staff, Jim Hill has learned that not everybody was given the heave-ho, as I suspected. It wasn't just the pencil pushers left behind, but the "heavy hitters" which I also suspected. In fact, as I stated elsewhere, Universal just let the unnecessary ones go until the next project. EXACTLY like Disney does. Why wasn't this brought up?
This is the second time recently I have ragged on Jim, and I'm not trying to be mean. We all have our little roles to play. Al Lutz is the cynic. I'm the know-it-all jerk. And Jim is the one who likew to create controversy. (I guess Robert is the true professional of the bunch, though he is a bit of a wraith at times.) Controversy isn't a bad thing - I use it often to liven up the Flume - but I think Jim often creates controversy where there really isn't any. In my column, any controversy I create can immediately be confronted by our many readers. Jim's site doesn't allow an immediate answer to anything he raises, meaning columns like the recent Universal Creative "layoffs" column sit there until they are refuted days later. Jim has stated repeatedly how he doesn't like having a whole site with his name on it, and I can feel for him. I haven't been fond of having my name all over this site at times and I have really thick skin.
Anyhow, the recent success of the Revenge of the Mummy ride at USF has apparently made the suits at GE and NBC take notice. Rumor has many of the recently dismissed UC contract workers coming back soon for upcoming attractions at the stateside parks as well as the proposed Shanghai park. I say, get them to work IMMEDIATELY on something for Islands of Adventure!