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PENNIES FROM KEVIN - Too Many Shows?

There are three big theme parks that have had spotty attendance records the past several years. And all three have very few actual rides. Can their problems be traced back to the number of shows each has?

Written by Kevin Baxter
Published: June 7, 2004 at 12:20 AM

Back in 1915, Universal Studios was a great place for tourists. Many would visit the studios and sit in bleachers to watch a film being shot. For a mere twenty-five centse, people got to see their favorite stars up close, kinda, and Universal interested people in the films they were allowing people to see. The whole thing was such a popular enterprise that Walt Disney originally wanted Disneyland to be a working studio as well as a theme park. Instead, Disney went on to change the way we rode rides and Universal Studios, which closed to the public in 1930 so they could film its first talking picture, eventually turned into a park that showed us even more about what goes on behind the scenes, yet still featured that famous backlot.

In the park's early years, the late 60s, Universal was little more than a tram ride. But what a tram ride! As the Studios grew more and more popular, Universal was forced to create more entertainment. And to keep the behind-the-scenes theme, most of that entertainment took the form of shows. Special effects shows, sound effects shows, blue screen shows, stunt shows... Universal was a true original and was usually included in any vacation to Southern California.

Space problems made it difficult to add actual rides to the mix, so different types of movement were limited to parts of the tram ride. Still, there wasn't much to "rides" like the collapsing bridge or King Kong's attack or the topsy-turvy tunnel. Earthquake, built in 1989, was still a part of the tram ride, but it is considered to be Universal's first ride. It was a smash at the time, but it was later came rides that put Universal on the map: Back to the Future and Jurassic Park.

Including the now-defunct ET, Universal Studios Hollywood has never had a lot of rides. And it has done well without them. Until lately. The park had been suffering for years before a boffo year in 2002, followed again by a down year. Many critics say the park has too many shows. Considering 2003, a down year, came when yet another show opened - Shrek 4-D - maybe many critics are right. Suddenly USH's show-heavy attraction list was no longer working. Counting the upcoming Revenge of the Mummy, USH has three rides plus the Studio Tour tram. The park has seven shows and a walkthrough. Is that too many?

Let's compare it to other parks that have had periodic attendance problems and have also been accused of being too show-heavy. Disney/MGM Studios has four rides, not counting their far-less-exciting tram tour, and one of those rides is the ever-so-slow Great Movie Ride. This Studios has one walkthrough and a massive nine shows with another one upcoming! Animal Kingdom has four rides also, not counting the kiddiecentric Dumbo clone, and one is just a mouse coaster. This park has only five shows, but many walkthroughs. For California Adventure we have a little problem. There are actually eight non-kiddie rides, though among those eight are four carny inclusions like the Sun Wheel, the Maliboomer and the totally useless Golden Zephyr. Everyone treats the park like it only has four rides - Tower of Terror, California Screamin', Soarin' over California, Grizzly River Run - but we'll give a half point to Mulholland Madness. On top of this we get six shows, a walkthrough and two pathetic tours. (We'll ignore the Seaworlds, since those parks are about the animals, even though even they have all been adding rides also.)

So four, which is basically the number of rides all these parks have, is clearly not enough. But why should it matter how many rides there are? I have, for quite some time, declared all over this site that rides aren't important. Let me add something to that: Rides aren't important IF the non-rides are high-quality attractions. Terminator 2: 3-D and Festival of the Lion King are perfect examples. But EVERY park relies on Annual Passes now, and too many shows can definitely keep many locals from buying these Passes. The two shows I mentioned have high revisit rates. Does USH's Spider-Man Rocks? Does Disney/MGM's MuppetVision? AK's Pocahontas and her Forest Friends? So, yes, rides and their rerideability are very important to a park's continued success. Hey, even the hugely popular ogre couldn't help USH last year.

So how many rides is enough? Universal Studios Florida, which is also very show-heavy, has seven rides, and it gets its share of complaints. Islands of Adventure has eight rides, if you ignore Storm Force, Flying Unicorn, or nine if you feel generous to include Dr Doom and, according to this site, it seems to be doing its job. So seven might actually be the magic number for these parks.

AK is getting Expedition Everest, which brings its total up to 4 1/2 (I still can't get past the crappy mouse coaster). And more shows and walkthroughs are clearly not going to do the job here. So this one should be easy, since this park won't necessarily need to close anything to open up a ride. A new land could take care of two of these needed rides, so Disney needs to get to work here.

Disney/MGM is a little tougher since it has some attractions that would need to close to open those three rides, and then there is the further problem of a place to put them. This is one of the worst planned parks, so this isn't going to be easy.

Back to USH, and all we are doing is continuing the space problems that have always plagued the park. Some things must close. And the rides that replace them must not be too large or too loud.

So what should be taken out of each park? What should be added?

That's my two cents. Gimme yours!

Readers' Opinions

From Kevin Baxter on June 7, 2004 at 1:02 AM
Okay, this is kind of a different approach to some of our "Fixing Fill-in-the-Blank" series.

I did Animal Kingdom as my first PENNIES FROM KEVIN piece. What in there would give us three rides? Actually that entire column would work PERFECTLY. The Oceania land I suggested would add two rides and the rest would be moved from the Living Seas pavilion. The Australia Animal Flume would be the required third ride, and would be another fairly cheap addition. An animal walkthrough would be needed, but this park is done... for now!

There's a Disney/MGM post somewhere, but damned if I can find it. Still, I don't think I had a lot of ideas for the park, since I probably focused more on the problems. And there is plenty that can go here. Personally, I would dump Beauty and the Beast and build a ride there, but that show is somewhat popular, for reasons that stump me. Still, I'd put this show inside the dark Doug Live theater and build something in this primo spot. I'd also give up on the animation building. Disney wants to turn it into DCA's version, but that one doesn't get much traffic so why waste another great location? Build another good ride here and connect this courtyard to the RnRC courtyard! Create some traffic flow, people! Build the proposed Muppet Movie Ride over by MuppetVision and you have your three rides. There's still other problems, but we'll focus on the three necessary rides for now.

USH had another long column from me, but a lot of that was blue sky. Giving up on losing the Auditorium right now, let's find places to put three rides. There are two vacant theaters, the wasted Coke Soak area, the very big WaterWorld theater area and Backdraft. All are possibilities. Close up some of the unnecessary walkways and use that space too.

USH is rumored to be replacing one side of BttF, at least, with maybe a Fast and Furious film. With Vin Diesel signed on for a third installment, this is even more of a possibility. And it would qualify as a new ride, as long as BttF doesn't disappear. The park desperately needs something with massive rerideability like Men in Black, which could fit in a multilevel building in the Coke Soak area, I think. Add in a family ride with repeat appeal and this park could soar. I can't think of one that fits the bill right now.

From Russell Meyer on June 7, 2004 at 6:52 AM
I think the movie-park concept lends itself more towards show and immersive experienced than normal rides. I had a great time at USH last November, and did not at all feel overwhealmed with "shows." I'm sure Universal would take offense to calling T2 and Shrek 3-D as shows, because as far as I'm concerned they're more ride than show. I think one needs to look at the re-rideability of the attractions, because there are some attractions that you can do once, and that's it, while there are those attractions, even ones that don't change, that people want to ride over and over again. Show provide a cheaper alternative for parks to put in an attraction that can provide alternative experiences over a period of time. Scripts can be tweaked, and actors can be changed to provide audiences a slightly different experience every time. Rides can be very static, and if your ride starts out as a flop, it's going to typically cost a lot of money to fix it, and then a lot of effort to get people back on it. To say a park needs "x" number of shows and "y" number of rides is not the answer. In addition, every theme park has its own niche that they are trying to target with new attractions and shows.

We all probably wish parks could add lots of rides, but then every park would turn into Six Flags. Most people are going to want every major park to add a new ride, because that's a big deal, whereas a show is not that big of a deal. Look at Busch Gardens Tampa, they added a huge broadway style production show that cost almost $5 million, but everyone wants to talk about the new coaster rumors and what is going on in Stanleyville. Let's face it, the people who frequent parks will put just about any ride ahead of just about any show. Trying to be fair to park space and target groups, here's what I think each of the big parks need to do to balance their parks...


Disneyland

1. Update Star Tours-yes everyone says this, but this is probably the cheapest thing that could have a huge impact on park attendance, especially if it's timed with the release of Episode 3 and Disneyland's 50th.

2. This may upset some, but get rid of the Storybook Cruise, and use the space to build a theater for a Disney Princess show. The princess line of clothing and accessories is really hot right now, and shows now sign of cooling off. I'm sure some second tier writer could come up with an entertaining enough show to entertain the little girls.


DCA

1. Pull out the silly Whoopi movie and replace it with Hollywood retrospective movie with clips from Oscar winning movies and commentary from Oscar winning actors and directors.

2. Put a Monsters Inc. ride into Superstar Limo, and use Millionare set if extra space is needed.


USH

1. Pull out BTTF altogether and replace it with a Spiderman style attraction.

2. Replace Backdraft with an extended movies secrets attraction which includes special effects and camera tricks (forced perspective).


EPCOT

1. Turn The Living Seas into a real aquarium with real fish and animals that actually swim around.

2. Add a section onto each pavilion that allows you to watch that country's local television. This is something I always thought EPCOT needed, because while you learn a lot about the history of each country, you never really get the feeling that you're in the country today. Germany could show DW, Mexico would show Telemundo, Morroco would show Al Jazera, and England would show BBC. The more popular countries could have whole rooms, similar to ESPNZone's screening rooms that allow you to watch different feeds from that particular country.

MGM

1. Update Star Tours...see Disneyland

2. Move the Beauty and the Beast show to a retractable stage in the Fantasmic arena, and turn the Beauty and the Beast theater into a James Bond ride/attraction.

3. Dump Muppetvision and design a Toy Story interactive 3-D movie.

Animal Kingdom

1. Put in a Jungle Cruise-style attraction with a fast paced section like JTA.

2. Create a dusk spectacular with fireworks and lights that would keep guests in the park until close, instead of only spending half a day in the park.

Magic Kingdom

1. Turn Ariel's Grotto into a princess show...see Disneyland


USF

1. Build a new stunt show to replace the Wild West Stunt Show

2. Create a nighttime spectacular that occurs in different areas of the park simultaneously. Each section of the park would provide a slightly different show that is capped off with fireworks launched from IOA's lagoon.

IOA

1. Turn Sinbad into a Van Helsing (or whatever big Universal summer movie is current). This show would update annually with new characters to compliment the biggest Universal summer offering.

2. Build a perminant Grinch attraction in Seuss Landing.

From alex morehouse on June 7, 2004 at 1:23 PM
I think more rides would fit the bill for some of these parks.

1. Disneyland
A. That Storyland Canal Boats could be replaced by an energetic Harry Potter dark ride
B. If Disney can't pay Lucas properly to update Star Tours, replace Star Tours with Stargate: The Ride. Each of the 4 gates can have 15 different ride films for a total of 60 different ride experiences.

MGM
Get rid of that animation building. Disney owns Saban Entertainment (Power Rangers, Digimon, ring a bell ? ), and they should use mickey mouse in a Jimmy Neutron like attraction called "Mickey Mouse and The Superhero World of Saban.

From Matthew Armstrong on June 7, 2004 at 5:10 PM
Since there's now denying the need for new, innovative, and interesting rides, I'll admit to blowing my own horn here for the following original designs:

One: A motion-simulator gimble on an off-axis sliding turntable inside a 3/4 geodesic dome projecting an on-the-fly, photo realistic, 3D environment in which guests travel to randomized locations with randomized adventures at each location. This could be used in any number of ways, it's relatively small, and (for the most part) uses technologies that are already in existence.

Theme ideas: Outback Adventure, Mars or Moon Expedition, Just about any place where an all-terrain vehicle could go.

Two: An underwater, hydraulic, gimble on a track (similar to Indiana Jones at Disneyland, but underwater). The vehicle would have 180* of viewing from right to left, with rear-projection movie screens behind sealed glass to create the environment, story, and add to the motion of the vehicle.

Theme ideas: Any Atlantis idea you can think of, Finding Nemo adventure, just about any underwater adventure you can imagine. The perfect attraction to put in the now, unutilized submarine lagoons at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom.

Three: A vertical launch rollercoaster. Uses a combination of counterweights and hydraulic accerlation to launch the vehicle straight up.

Theme ideas: Space launch. That's about all I can think of.

Four: A magnetic, induction-levitated rollercoaster. If you had enough room for the large sweeping turns at extreme speeds. At a given speed, electro-magnets on the train would induce an inverse magnetic polarity on the track to cause the train to levitate through elements which would be too fast for traditional wheels and axles.

Theme ideas: Who cares? It would be the fastest and most intense coaster EVER CONCEIVED!

I think any of these rides would have no problem attracting guests from all over the country, and tourists from around the world. They're exciting, imagnative, and completely original. And all have the added bonus factor of high thrills to encourage repeat ridership.

From Kevin Baxter on June 8, 2004 at 1:24 AM
Okay, people, can we stick somewhat to the topic at hand? USH, Disney/MGM and AK. Realistic fixes.
From alex morehouse on June 8, 2004 at 10:11 AM
I think Disney -MGM Studios has too many shows. The four rides you mentioned are The Great Movie Ride, Star Tours, Tower Of Terror, and Rock N Roller Coaster. When Disney shut down it's Animation Studio in Florida, I thought this would be a great opprotunity to add a fifth ride. Disney owns Saban Entertainment ( Digimon, Sonic The Hedgehog, etc.), and I thought they could take the Saban animated characters, use Mickey mouse, and bring them together in an E-Ticket attraction in the Animation Courtyard area of the park. After all, the characters are animated, and it fits with Animation Courtyard (Get it?)


From Matthew Armstrong on June 8, 2004 at 3:06 PM
Alright Kevin, I can take a hint. But what you term "realistic" is eactly the problem. As long as you continue to think small, attendance will stay small.

Honestly, how many more "4D" movies do we really need. Park designers need to stop dusting off the same crap that's been sitting in their garages, giving it a new paints job, and calling it a new attraction. It's time for someone to do something truly original. Living in Orlando, right now, I have been able to observe attendance patterns pretty closely. The general trend is that people are bored! That's it! They leave the parks early because there just isn't anything else to do that they haven't already done. Shrek 4D is already showing its limited appeal and Philharmagic won't be able to hold attendance much beyond this season. It's just too much of the same things rehashed.

If theme parks want to get guests excited about their parks again, than they need to redefine "realistic".

P.S. Kevin, I will respect your wishes and refrain from posting to your columns in the future.

From alex morehouse on June 8, 2004 at 3:58 PM
Kevin, if you get a chance, please give me your opinion on The Superhero World Of Saban Idea!
From Andrew Rector on June 9, 2004 at 1:15 AM
USH
1. Use the space of the old ET ride to put in a Spiderman ride, Men in Black ride, or Hulk coaster.
2. Change half of the BTTF ride (one side of it) to a new film, like Fast and the Furious, or whatever. Keep one side BTTF so there is two different rides in the same building.
3. Get rid of the Nickelodeon area (if it still exists) and add a Twister Ride It Out.

Disney MGM
I have never been here before but from what I heard I have some ideas.
1. Update the Star Tours film (same thing needs to be done at Disneyland)
2. Get rid of the Beauty and the Beast theatre and add an Indiana Jones ride like at Disneyland but with a different adventure besides Temple of the Forbidden Eye.
3. Use part of the animation complex (or all) for a Armageddon attraction, or better yet, an Armageddon ride with either a simulator, a track ride, or coaster being the basis of the ride.

AK-- never been here so nothing I can say about it.

Disneyland

1. Update the Star Tours film
2. Use the old submarine track for a Finding Nemo ride but also make it more thrilling by adding some shaking movement to the ride (like your being attacked by a shark).
3. Do anything with the peoplemover track. Either bring back the old peoplemover ride for nostalgic reasons, or bring back Rocket Rods, or best of all, add a high speed coaster with a futuristic high speed theme (fits Tommorrowland) and goes around the track but also inclines and declines on open air parts of the track with a loop and an in-line twist inversion, and it could be launched by LIMs or catapult launch system.
4. Another idea for Tommorrowland since it has become the most dead part of the park. Use the Innovations building, get rid of Innovations, and add the ExtraTerrorestral Alien Encounter ride that used to be at Florida (from what I've heard). I would like to try this. Here in California, we will appreciate it more.
5. Finally on to another area of the park. Scrap the lousy Winnie the Pooh ride by Splash Mountain and add another E Ticket ride. An idea is an inverted coaster that goes through the trees and through the tunnel where the Pooh ride goes through with added critters to give it a Critter Country theme and have it go through the back part of the river for more space, maybe even through a part of the Splash Mountain area. Also and some inversions to it.
6. Okay! My last idea! Take the Big Thunder Ranch which is a dead area of the park and add another water ride. Splash Mountain being the only current wet water ride at Disneyland makes this park too dry and causes huge lines for Splash Mountain. This could be a splashdown ride with two drops and heavy mine shaft theming ofcourse, or even a rapids ride, but I'll choose the splashdown ride since DCA has a rapids ride.
Well this is all my ideas for Disneyland, I could go on for ever but I'll stop now. These 6 ideas could be done in a period of 10 to 15 years adding a new ride every 2 to 3 years keeping the park fresh and adding repeat visiters.

From Kevin Baxter on June 9, 2004 at 3:15 AM
Jeez, Matthew, lighten up. If you want to list a bunch of unrelated ride ideas, then submit a story. I asked specific questions that I didn't feel were being answered.

Andrew, I'll ignore the Disneyland thing since that isn't the topic at hand. But excellent point about a new Star Tours film at Disney/MGM. If they went through the promised rehabs on Star Tours and the Great Movie Ride, the park would improve greatly. Still, I think two rehabs would equal one new ride, so the park still needs a couple more. An Armageddon RIDE could be a good idea, as long as it isn't the Paris attraction Ben claims is atrocious. But an Indy type ride will not work since that ride system is in AK's Dinosaur. Too much of that wouldn't work.

As for USH, Spider-Man is naturally an option, but I hope Universal never does it. That is a one-of-a-kind ride, which means there should never be more than one. Men in Black doesn't have the storyline, so it could definitely survive a cloning, as long as it is changed a little. That said, a Spider-Man ride with a different theme would be great. Like the X-Men. And screw Twister. The movie sucks and that attraction should be the next thing to go in USF. The Nickelodeon play area NEEDS to remain, since there really is very little for younger kids in USH.

Alex... I think your idea is sound, if this was Universal. Disney doesn't like doing anything for characters outside its own animated films. A lot of its popular Disney Channel shows are nowhere to be seen in the parks. And look at the Pixar characters - which are far more popular than any Disney character except for Pooh - and look how underrepresented they are.

From Robert Niles on June 9, 2004 at 7:21 AM
Actually, anyone should feel free to submit a new article riffing on one of Kevin's piece (or any other piece you see on TPI.) The flow of new articles to the site is slooooow right now, and I'd love to see some solid new threads.

Here's my hit list:

USH:
Spider-Man Rocks: Ugh. Anything would improve on this.

Waterworld: Having just walked around the backstage area here, there isn't as much room behind this attraction as I'd thought. But the show's getting on now and the space could be better used for some new rides.

DCA
Golden Dreams: If you're gonna do the history of California, do it better than this. Give me a Calif. version of Epcot's American Adventure. I love the Academy Awards idea, unfortunately, this theater's in the wrong section of the park.

Muppets: No one cares anymore. 3-D is played out. Maybe this is where the Oscar show goes. (Though Disney would have to do some sort of deal with the AMPAS.)

Aladdin: Nothing in this theater should run for more than one year. A good show. Now it is time for another!

It's Tough to Be a Bug: The whole Bug's Land concept has no legs. (Pun may be intended. Maybe not. Haven't committed to it yet....) But I'd put this whole land last on this priority list for replacement.

DAK:
Everything but Festival of the Lion King needs to go ASAP. And that show ought to be tweaked each year with substantially new routines.

From Ben Mills on June 9, 2004 at 11:33 AM
How about dumping DLP's old Mulan show in the DCA Aladdin theatre? Probably the best theme park show I've ever seen, and as all the props, soundtrack and routines are already made, it would be incredibly easy and cheap to do. It's the only theme park show that I've ever wanted to see twice, and that's precisely the sort of thing these parks need, right?
From alex morehouse on June 9, 2004 at 5:09 PM
I'm just saying, Kevin, Disney owns those characters, and they never use them. Think about it.... I picture the Digimon characters around the studios, greeting audiences, and Power Rangers taking photos with the kids. I say they should do this, and give Universal a run for it's money!
From alex morehouse on June 9, 2004 at 5:17 PM
Secondly, Kevin, The Disney Channel shows are not going to be popular for very long. Disney owns ABC Family, which airs Digimon, Power Rangers, and Beyblade in the mornings. They have all prettty much become monster hits and were around for a very lond time. (For example, Digimon was on for 4 years, and Power Rangers has already been on for 12 years).
And it's all owned by Disney, and they released the latest volume of Digimon episodes. I say, green light!
From alex morehouse on June 9, 2004 at 5:34 PM
Think hard about my response, Kevin, then tell me what you think!
From alex morehouse on June 9, 2004 at 8:05 PM
By the way, one more peice of advice, Kevin: Look at Toon Disney.Com, and look under the Jetix section of the site. You'll know why I think my idea could work.
From Kevin Baxter on June 10, 2004 at 4:04 AM
Alex, it doesn't matter if you think it would work. Disney would just never do it. If it isn't one of their feature films, they aren't going to bother with them in the parks.

Personally I don't understand why TV shows get such short shrift in the Disney parks. Television audiences are usually far larger than movie audiences, and many television shows do better on DVD than movies too. Universal used to have Hercules and Xena in an attraction and they also have Nick attractions. Except for getting Drew Carey in Sounds Dangerous, when have the Disney parks ever paid attention to their television shows?

From David Franzen on June 10, 2004 at 10:18 AM
Gee Kevin, it took 17 posts before someone (you) got around to mentioning "Sounds Dangerous". Actually, its the only attraction that I have an idea for. I haven't really thought about new stuff for the parks.

Anyway, as far as "Dangerous" is concerned, this attraction could very easily be turned into something REALLY cool by giving it to George Lucas and having him turn it inot a Skywalker Ranch/THX show. It sticks with the movie theme, its still centered around sound, and all the husbands will be sucking up to thier wives for a new "THX certified" home theatre. Hmmm... add a THX store in Downtown Disney and the ride/shop cycle is complete.

Other random thoughts:
AK: You have to keep Bug's Life. It may be a little dated, but where else can you go to watch/hear twenty kids suddenly combust into tears and screams... priceless.

MGM: Have to keep the Muppets too. Eisner gave way too much money to EM.TV to let that show go.

The New York street set has always puzzled me. I realize that its a good way of disguising the backs of some of the buildings, but maybe a "Crazy Taxi" ride on the streets might work. They could use that skeleton guy from the Halloweentown movies as the driver.

Can't add anything to the USH thread. Only been there once.. that was about 6 years ago.

From J. Dana on June 10, 2004 at 11:58 AM
Actually, I do like quite a bit of animal kingdom (I just wish there was more to like there). they definitely need to develop an area to keep people in the park at night...why not even have an area devoted to Nocturnal Animals. Also, develop a Dinner Show or some sort of night attraction with the Safari ride...I know they do limited runs of the safari during the holidays, but if they could morph it into two versions: one at night and one during the day, perhaps they could keep visitors longer.

What this area REALLY needs is a "kiss goodnight" that the other three parks have...because of the animals, they claim they cannot have fireworks...no prob...just create a Fantismic-type closing event, but use the theme of Donald Duck's Noah's Ark part in Fantasia 2000. Make it more of a stadium attraction (yikes! Am I suggesting another show?) that shows only at night. HOWEVER, it should be situated in a new land....the ever-rumored Beastly Kingdom might materialize if Disney has success with its "Lion, Witch and Wardrobe" movies...but no one's holding their breath, that's for sure. All I know is that Disney announced that it would take 20 years for AK to become a mature park. Well, it's been 10. The new Expedition Everest does include a slew of new shops and things to see and restaurants too...almost like a land unto itself, so I'll be interested to see it. The excuse they give for closing the park (besides guest boredom) is that the animals must be put away...well, then start creating more attractions where you don't have to put animals away. Like Dinosaur, and Tough to be a Bug, and such. The fact that they don't utilize the river is a shame.....they should have built some rails in that river for a faster ride. Original plans called for extending the river to the Animal Kingdom Lodge....that would have been neat. Okay, so to sum up for AK:
1. Develop a closing finale
2. Develop area/land around the closing finale with some sort of ride.
3. Develop the on-the-original-blueprints excavation roller coaster in Dinoland (wooden coaster).
4. Add nocturnal animal exhibits.
5. Develop a nocturnal safari ride.
6. STOP BOTTLENECKING guests with narrow walkways (jeesh).

DISNEY-MGM

1. Do something with New York Street. Put a show back in the stage back there. People have almost no reason to be back there. The stunt show will bring them back, yes. But it seems like such a waste. It's good for parades. And photos. And snow falling during the holidays (did they do that this year?). But I agree: since MGM really is not longer a real working studio, develop this into more than empty props. Heck, just gut the thing and put in another thrill ride...there are enough shows to kill a cat in this place....and I LOVE the shows...but my annual pass was not renewed last year because...well, TrT and RrC needed some company.
I've always thought that MGM was ripe for a real holloween celebration, akin to Universal's Holloween Horror Nights. Make it less pre-school friendly, but not quite as "racy" as universal...but this is a conversation for another time.

EPCOT: Going in the right direction. The addition of Mission Space and Soarin are great leaps for this park. And adding a wet ride in Canada can't be all bad...actually, I'm looking forward to that. But for God's sake, update that damn Mexican water ride....the 70s went out with....the 70s. And it was built in the early 80s! Italy could get a really cool Gondola water ride....where? Who knows. Epcot has looked at multiple plans for another country pavilion, but since the country must pay for most of it itself, most of those plans have fallen off the wagon. Develop Egypt with an exciting Pyramid thrill ride. It's been talked about...along with developing a Russian pavilion (money is an issue with this country).

Since I'm just rambling now, I'm signing off...later.

From kathy sussman on June 10, 2004 at 1:28 PM
what mgm studios needs is another twilight zone ride like the tower of terror. They should update the great movie ride since it really is getting old.
From alex morehouse on June 10, 2004 at 6:03 PM
For the New York area of the park, I would suggest Disney should get the rights to the movie Independence Day, and make a special effects show like twister at USF 7 miles away. The story is that aliens spaceships have hovered over the major cities around the world, and there could be a wall of flame that can rush up to just 20 feet away from the audience and scare them s#!%less! It could replace the Hunchback Of Notre Dame show, since a lot of adults go to the park. Another suggestion is that if they can not Negotiate properly with George Lucas, they can replace it with a simulator ride based on the movie Stargate. Sounds like a winner, eh, Kevin?
From alex morehouse on June 10, 2004 at 6:09 PM
Also, the problem with DCA is that there aren't so many shows, it's that the rides are cliched and not original. So, what's the answer? They start cloning, Damn It! It's tired, and I want something original! In fact, I have an idea for a new coaster for the Hollywood Pictures Backlot. I read an article in Entertainment Weekly; it was the Entertainers of The 2003. One of them was Jack Black and Will Ferrel. One line said this:

"In 2003, Jack Black and Will Ferrell pulled off the biggest heist in Hollywood: armed with family-friendly tomfoolery, loud guitars, and a tranquilizer dart to the enck, the 2 made out like bandits at the box office."

This qoute inspired me for an attraction. The story is a crime has taken place at a local Hollywood theater. There is an investigation, and it turns out Jack Black and Will Ferrell have robbed the Big Budget Theater in Los Angeles, and now are planning to rob The Chinese Theater. As guests walk through the police staion, they see the prison photos of Jack Black and Will Ferrell,and over them is a label that callls them "The Box Office Bandits."
It will also say they are wanted in 37 states for grand guitar loudness, pestering a fake santa, and posing as an anchorman.
In the preshow, Vince Vaughn plays a suave detective, giving us info on these funnymen. In the end, he says: "These men are considered physical and funny." HA HA HA!
Guests exit the station and board onto lambraginis, and launch to chase these guys from 0 to 60 in 3 seconds into southern california. It would be a great substitute to Rock N Roller Coaster!

From alex morehouse on June 10, 2004 at 6:29 PM
Respond to my idea Kevin, when you get the chance! It's the one about Jack Black and Will Ferrell.
From Kevin Baxter on June 11, 2004 at 12:16 AM
It would definitely be nice to see Disney get a little more hip with the comedians in its parks. Exactly how many things does Robin Williams need to do the voice for? Considering Jack Black and Will Ferrell were the only funny part of the Oscars this year, shouldn't one of the parks be doing something with them?

And we aren't talking about fixing DCA, since that isn't one of the parks mentioned. The park sucks in more ways than just the too-many-shows variety.

I got to thinking about the Star Tours problem. Supposedly the problems lay with Disney pissing off Lucas somehow. Well, with Lucas pissing off millions of Star Wars fans, maybe the shoe is on the other foot now. If I were Disney, I would tell Lucas to get us a new ridefilm by the time the next piece of crap opens or I'd promise to shut it down and replace it with a license that is no longer a laughingstock.

From alex morehouse on June 11, 2004 at 5:18 PM
By the way, what do you think about my Independence Day Special Effects idea, Kevin?
From alex morehouse on June 11, 2004 at 5:19 PM
All right, Kevin, let's talk about one of the parks you mentioned: Universal Studios Hollywood. I agree that there are too many shows. First, they could get rid of that Spider Man Rocks show ( WEAK!!!), they could also get rid of the Coke Soak as you mentioned, and they can get rid of Backdraft. The Coke Soak could be used to put a better version of Men In Black-Alien Attack, so that would bring the ride total to four. Secondly, Backdraft could be converted into a free- fall ride like the Tower Of Terror, so that could bring the total to five. Thirdly, I would expand the Nickelodeon Blast Zone if the Amphitheater was torn down, and create a West Coast Version of Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast, so that would bring the ride total to six.Finally, the rest of the amphitheater space could be used to make an Indiana Jones Adventure- type ride called "The Fast and The Furious- The Ride." All together, it would bring the ride total to seven, and lower the number of shows to four. It could help attendence! Respond to this, Kevin!
From alex morehouse on June 12, 2004 at 6:03 PM
If Saban isn't the answer for a Jimmy Neutron like attraction, why not use the Disney Channel Shows in a ride called " Kim Possible's Disney Channel Adventure." The ride could include characters from the shows "The Proud Family," " That's So Raven," Lilo and Stitch," "Stanley," "Even Stevens," and "Lizzie McGuire." The story could be that one of Kim Possible's villans are out to cause mayhem in the Disney Channel, and it's up to us to stop them before they cause problems, and along the way we meet the Disney Channel characters! What they should also do is make sure people should necer have the same experience. There could be about 30 different ride films! This could replace the Magic Of Disney Animation at the Dsiney-MGM Studios! Respond, Kevin!
From Robert Niles on June 12, 2004 at 6:35 PM
Let's combine a bunch of 'em and call it "Jailbait -- The Ride!" C'mon Kevin, you gotta go for this one....
From Kevin Baxter on June 13, 2004 at 1:35 AM
All I'm picturing is a petting zoo...

Kevin has left the building!

From Bryan Fear on June 17, 2004 at 5:21 PM
Wow, such good points all around and well thought out.

I disagree about nixing the Jungle Cruise ride. It's a classic. Keep it. To lose that, you might as well fire the mouse.

Canal Boats? Oh man, that should have gone long ago. I remember it as a kid and even then it was becoming an antiquated concept. Although some argue "but Fantasyland is a KIDS land" you've got to remember that kids today don't relate to that old time fairytale stuff. Remember when your grandparents tried to relate to you by referring to elements that were part of their childhood? "Rake the leaves off the porch or the KAISER will get you!" Yeah, thanks. I think he's dead by now. The Harry Potter idea is an excellent alternative.

The Whoopi show was offensive to me and has to go from DCA. Why didn't they just call it "Whoopi Goldberg's 'Evil White Men in the 1800's' Adventure."? She does her best to restrain herself from deviating from the script and expressing personal politics again, but her tone is obvious when she goes on about all forms of 1800's racial oppression. She seems only to glad to tell you that hundreds of Chinese immigrants died while rich white guys were living it up as robber barons. I got news for her, there's still a bunch of rich white guys running the world and I'm not one of them so don't give me grief when I pay to go to DCA and watch your damned movie.

I never returned to DCA after the exact thing you reported. Not enough rides, or at least for adults. Too many shows. One after another after another.

I used to do comedy at the Comedy Store in San Diego. I did a bit about DCA when it first opened. I won't go into it here, but the focus of this tirade was that they had so many bogus attractions like a tour of a tortilla chip factory or a tour of a bread factory. There was even a tour of a winery and did you at least get samples so you could get drunk and forget you were in a crappy park? Hell no. Someone figured these were attractions?! Someone was overpayed.

From Kevin Baxter on June 18, 2004 at 1:05 AM
DCA is a perfect example of how uncreative Michael Eisner is. The park was created to compete directly with thrill parks like Knotts and Six Flags Magic Mountain. In fact, a memo released to the public said, and I am paraphrasing, "If it is good enough for Six Flags, it is good enough for the new park." But then they went out and got a bunch of attractions that wouldn't be good enough for Six Flags. I don't see anything resembling a friggin' tortilla-making tour in a Six Flags park. And their kiddie area is worse than any Six Flags park I have seen, and it wasn't even built until later! If the park had like six cool coasters and a bunch of crappy flat rides, then it would be like Six Flags. Right now it isn't Six Flags. It isn't Disney. It's just crap.

But no more on DCA. USH... Disney/MGM... AK... fix!

From Matthew M on June 21, 2004 at 1:01 AM
Universal Studios is ok the way it is In my opinion. The only thing that I really do not like about the park is the lack of space in the walk ways. Maybe if they made a transportation ride to take you down to the lower level so you don't have to use the escalaters, it would help with the walk ways in some way. The park is just too cramped. If they can fix that, then the park would be even better. Yes I agree with everyone, put in something to do with spider-man and then you have an awsome park.
From alex morehouse on June 28, 2004 at 4:45 PM
I'm firing back with my response! I put a second thought into my Saban idea, and this is a great opprotunity to make a fifth ride at the Disney-MGM Studios. The reason they should use the Saban characters is because- look at Universal, man! They used the characters from the Hanna-Barbera - created series for The Funtastic World Of Hanna- Barbera for 14 years at Universal Studios Florida. Yet Disney uses characters that are recognizable, but they have been around for a long time. I'm mostly saying they should get more hip with more non-disney characteres like Universal did. After all, on one blog flume issue, it said Disney should be more like Universal. One was Don't focus solely on Disney characters. It said Universal had Twister, The Terminator, Marvel Superheroes, Sinbad, Popeye, barney and Friends, Men In Black, and The Dr. Suess Characters, all of which have nothing to do with Universal movies. I'm outraged Disney won't bother with the Saban characters, and have a chance to cash in on the purchase of Saban entertainment with a ride based on the shows like Power Rangers, Digimon, Beyblade, and Sonic The Hedgehog, like how Universal cashed in on Hanna-barbera!
From Herminio Rodriguez on August 7, 2004 at 7:12 PM
Isn't Saban really just the North American distributor of those Japanese Shows like Power Rangers. I believe their licensing probably is limited and they can only do certain things with those characters. Sort of like Warner Brothers with the Pokemon cartoon.
From Patrick McGee on July 11, 2005 at 3:17 PM
Disney-MGM deffinatly could use some improvements. For one they should either get rid of or move the Beauty and the Beast show, and use that area to put the much overdue "Indiana Jones Adventure". Second, since disney closed the Florida branch of their animation studio, they should totally get ride of the animation toour and put in either a Saban themed attraction or a Disney Channel Adventure type show/attraction. Third, I also do agree, Disney should obtain the rights to "Independance Day", "Alien" or some kind of Sci-Fi film like those and do a "twister: type attraction. They should update the Star Tours film and also consider putting in a Roger Rabbit Themed ride.
From Patrick McGee on July 11, 2005 at 3:39 PM
One last thing. World Showcase at Epcot needs a thrill ride like Maelstrom in the Norway Pavilion.

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