Ask and ye shall receive; Universal Orlando to drop $100 mil on new attractions
Universal fans are buzzing about the company's latest SEC filing
, which reveal plans to more than double capital spending, to "$100 million to $120 million" on shows and attractions in 2007. Universal told federal regulators that it plans to spend just $15 to $20 million of that on maintenance of existing rides.
(Background: All U.S. companies whose stock is traded through public exchanges must file quarterly statements with the SEC, the Securities and Exchange Commission, revealing how much money they've spent and earned, plus any plans they have which could affect their stock price.)
Universal's announcement lends support to rumors that the park is planning a major retheming of one of the IOA lands, possibly to a Harry Potter theme. Keep in mind that $100-$120 million is just what Universal's planning to spend this year. A newly rethemed land would not open until 2008, at the earliest, so additional funds for the project, presumably, would come from the 2008 budget, as well.
As I noted earlier this week, Universal's attendance has not kept up with rival Walt Disney World's, and has declined at IOA. Attendance remains down, 3 percent for the year, according to the SEC report. So Universal needs to do something to boost attendance. And the Blue Man Group, tweaked admission deals and another Orange County ad campaign won't cut it.
I hope they re-theme IOA's Lost Continent to cheese. That way we can have Dueling Dragons turn into Cheddar vs. Mozarella: The Coaster, and melted cheese rivers and watefalls.
Freakin AWESOME...i love the ask and ye shall receive headline, that was genious. I am so glad that Universal is stepping up its game. Whatever is coming, i think will be really good. Its good to see some solid proof that they are doing something about there lack-of new attraction/attendace problems.
Good plan for IOA!
The best news I've heard all week.
I agree, this is excellent excellent news. Hopefully ontop of a new retheming they finally put in a new JP ride as well...thats an area that needs something very badly.
Looks like Universal is really planing to spice up their parks the next year or two. Knowing that they just closed down Back to the Future and that they are working on something new to open in 2008, I think it is great that they are finally putting more money into making the park more exciting. It's been quite some time since they have added anything new and exciting to the parks and I really think it is time that they do something. I mean I'm starting to get really bored with both parks. Now I know that since I have the annual pass I tend to visit the park more often that most other people, but honestly even if it was just once a year I'd go there, it would still seem like it's starting to get boring and old. They really need to add something new and exciting, something unique, something that people will remember. Universal hasn't done a good job of keeping their parks spiced up and keeping them exciting. I hope they will finally change that.
I agree with you Domenik. The last time we were at USO, was when The Mummy opened. And we hadn't been to IOA for 2 years before that. We haven't been to either since The Mummy. We just got bored. Nothing was changing. I was just telling my husband last night that I hated to say it, but I was turning Disney fan over USO. Simply because Disney has been renewing over the past few years. Maybe after this, we can go back to being BIG IOA and USO fans. They really needed this.
They've got something up their sleeves (Obviously not Wizard sleeves as they dropped them last year) and they know last with attendance down they have some way to go to catch that stinky mouse.
Great...they are spending 100 million dollars....on what. Obviously they won't be telling us that yet. The article said that Universal wanted to maintain their teen fanbase, fans of the "intense ride" as they put it. The Blue Man group is interesting and probably a great show, but I really don't think it will make the turnstiles turn that much. They need more.
While this is good news, what are they actually going to get for 100-120 million????
Harry Potter will most likely make IOA look like a freak show. In my opinion, they should not do that, because of my experience of being friends with geeks, they love Harry Potter, but the people who go to theme parks not giving a care about the theming or the storyline of the rides do not want to have Dueling Dragons or Poseidon's Fury rethemed to be some stupid Broomstick coaster or a Magic Wet Dunnel of Basiliskiominus, or whatever. The harry Potter theme will turn IOA, and possibly Universal, into the Deathly Hallows.
Blue Man Group is a relatively minor capital investment -- just a theater rehab. There's no basic construction, ride mechanism or animatronics involved -- that's what really pumps up the costs.
I think the current "express pass" policy is going to have huge negative effect on attendance over the next few year. My family has made an annual trip to Orlando for spring break (Grandpa has a timeshare). We normally spend a few days at the Disney parks and one day at the Univeral Parks.
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