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Vote of the week: Which new theme park development do you most want to see?

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Published: October 19, 2007 at 10:41 AM

The next three years are shaping up to be big ones for the theme park industry. The Hard Rock Park is slated open in Myrtle Beach, S.C. next year, with the Wizard World of Harry Potter debuting at Universal's Islands of Adventure the year after that. And, over the next three years, Disney will be revamping Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim, adding the new Cars Land, as well as other Pixar- and Disney-themed attractions.

Which brings us to the question of the week:


Readers' Opinions

From Chris Wilkes on October 19, 2007 at 10:52 AM
Ooooh, I voted first. And I voted for HP, mainly for the new E-Ticket using the Kuka tech. Which in my mind could be (tech-wise, though not thematically) like a cross between Spider-Man and The Mummy... which is just amazing to even consider.
Though, I must say that the DCA revamp may actually finally get me over to Anaheim.
From Franki Brock on October 19, 2007 at 1:02 PM
I'm not a big fan of Harry Potter, but I still voted for it because I would like to see what Universal does with the theme.
From Anthony Murphy on October 19, 2007 at 1:15 PM
I went with Harry Potter because the chances of me seeing it is much higher (since I do not know when I'll go to CA next)

Pixarland should do quite well!

From Claudine Deshaies on October 19, 2007 at 3:26 PM
I voted for Hard Rock because it would be something completely new and different (hopefully) as opposed to something being added to an existing park. (will eventually have to see all, of course)
From Susan Pfeil on October 19, 2007 at 5:13 PM
I voted for HP even though it is still a ways away from opening. I am seriously contemplating jumping on a plane and heading to So. Cal to hit Orlando's sister parks. Never been!
From Derek Potter on October 19, 2007 at 9:08 PM
I voted Hard Rock. I was at the preview center that they have set up this past August, and if the center is any indication of how the park will be, I can't wait to visit next year. Disney is Disney...and when it comes to California Adventure, I'll just say that we have a saying in the music/recording industry...You can't polish a turd. and Harry Potter is well...dying from mass overexposure (mark my words). Hard Rock is something with a fresh perspective and a new theme that's never been done before. I predict that it will have a huge first year and make it's mark on the industry for years to come.
From Deidre Dennis on October 19, 2007 at 9:50 PM
We're planning to go back to Orlando for a Disney World/Universal Studios & Island of Adventure trip so we're DEFINITELY looking forward to Harry Potter. On a side note, the new SeaWorld Water Park (Aquatica) will be up and running by then. We plan to hit them all up, and by then, it will have been about 3 or 4 years since we've been to Orlando so (hopefully) it'll be a whole new experience.
From JEANY SANCHEZ on October 20, 2007 at 6:52 AM
I love Harry Potter the ride! I love Harry Potter!
From KD Younger on October 20, 2007 at 9:24 AM
Harry Potter intrigues. Looking at Hard Rock, I see a very similar layout to IOA (build around a lagoon) or Tokyo DisneySea...all of which is a good idea - but, bottom lining - another coaster park. Not that a Coaster park is a bad thing, mind you.

Now, the poster who referred to the rework of DCA as "polishing a turd", wrong. DCA has been a problem child, but, a diamond in the rough. And, that diamond is getting some pretty spectacular grinding and polishing during the
"Phase 1" period of re-development...now through 2010. The "Radiator Springs" area is an unbelievable development in and of itself. Have you studied the other sites and the press release information on this? The fact that it is third generation 'Test Track' technology is pretty dang cool. Tossing in a return of the classic "Flying Saucers" as hovering tires and hubcaps is snazzy, too. The Tow Mater Whirly Twirly thingy has already proved a hit over in the Studio Park in Paris. So - one high speed for above 42", one all family, and, one youngster element...good packaging.

Hollywood area at DCA and the central plaza getting a full re-do? a Red Line Trolley? Yeah - this is the Dland Main Street concept...but, it works...and, it is the traditional layout (Save Animal Kingdom, for the most part) that the Disney Parks are designed upon. And, given that Mickey's Philharmagic is slated to become a fixture (probably phase 2) in the Hollywood area, that is also pretty nifty. Sadly, Muppets have to go the way of many a previous attraction for that(which makes little sense to me as Philharmagic could go in the non-used save for corporate events Millionaire building....), but, the DCA visitors seem to tarry less with the Muppets than the Florida Studio Park vistors do.

The Boardwalk is getting more of a Victorian Theming, even slapping Mickey's face on the Sunwheel is reasonable...btw - that boardwalk design has been around since Disney Co. was first designing the Long Beach Port Disney Project...so, it has been in the offing quite a spell...the Maliboomer is going, going, gone...which takes that anachronism out of the place it should have never inhabited, Toy Story Midway Mania arriving next year...and, I gather that Orange Stinger the (Traver)Rocket Flyers, and most of the Route 66 nonsense is also going bye-bye for more of the LITTLE MERMAID overlay (I imagine that Jellyfish will stay and be developed into that area's perimeter as well...I am thinking a modified "Undersea Grotto" from DisneySea concept...with a major attraction that was originally designed for Paris Dland, conceptually visualized and presented on the LITTLE MERMAID deluxe DVD set a couple of years ago...with a major change being the conveying system being taken from a monorail drive unit (Peter Pan) to an omnimover system (people eater) - Whoopi Goldberg's California Dreams is gone, Walt Disney Story comes in at the Carthay Circle Theatre back over in the central hub...and we still have to work on the Condor Flats and Grizzly Wilderness in phase two.

This is more than "polishing a turd"...it is, effectively, rebuilding the whole blessed park. Getting it to and then going beyond a level originally imagined for that gates setting. Something "off-the-shelf" Braverman avoided.

Pooh's Play area at the Florida Magic Kingdom taking away the 20K Lagoon and NAUTILUS adventure...okay, now we can talk about turds...after all, it is called Pooh... ;)

From TH Creative on October 21, 2007 at 4:44 AM
Potter is "dying from mass overexposure?"

Please! When Universal opens Potter it's attendance numbers will rocket.

From Erik Yates on October 21, 2007 at 8:09 AM
I wonder if JK Rowlings confession about Dumbledore will affect peoples feelings on the new section.
From Derek Potter on October 21, 2007 at 12:00 PM
Oh how I love rattling cages...DCA is a turd. If it wasn't, than Disney wouldn't be doing a mass overhaul. I'm sorry folks, but if the last Harry Potter book and movie really have been made, than Harry is on his way out of the limelight. The new area will be a success because Universal will make it look good, not because of Harry Potter.
From Ashley Keene on October 21, 2007 at 7:19 PM
There are still two more Harry Potter movies to go, so the hype isn't over. The transition is from going to an open-canon to a closed-canon. As the number of "new" aspects of the brand diminish, it will evolve into what Star Wars is - a story that is well-known and part of the culture, but one that is no longer growing (although, one can argue that the publishing of Star Wars novels and video games counts as a continuation of the story).

Harry Potter is a story that's been told with words, and with motion picture. I can't wait to see how it's told through a theme park.

From TH Creative on October 22, 2007 at 5:09 AM
Derek writes: DCA is a turd. If it wasn't, than Disney wouldn't be doing a mass overhaul.

I Respond: Disney consistently closes and opens attractions in all of its parks. To claim that changes (significant or otherwise) justifies complete rejection of a park concept is ridiculous.

Derek: I'm sorry folks, but if the last Harry Potter book and movie really have been made, than Harry is on his way out of the limelight.

I Respond: "If?" Sounds like Derek is not familiar enough with the franchise to make comment. And if it is Derek's assertion that the release of the last book and the final film release in 2010 means the franchise is on its "way out of the limelight" then his reasoning has changed. His original comment was that the franchise is "dying from mass overexposure" not because the film and book series are ending.

Derek: The new area will be a success because Universal will make it look good, not because of Harry Potter.

I Respond: Are you sure? Don't you think that building the new area will only add to the franchise's "overexposure?"

(Chuckle)

I think the Potter stories were well-written, providing theme park designers with a wealth of material to draw from. I think the films introduced Potter to an even wider audience. And the films get better and better with each release. I have no doubt the Potter theme park attractions will be extraordinary.

From Derek Potter on October 22, 2007 at 8:38 AM
While it's true that Disney regularly revamps attractions, when's the last time that they spent a billion dollars to give a whole park a facelift? It cost them a billion to build the place. For that kind of money, they almost could have started all over again. You can't tell me that Disney likes this park, because of the sheer amount of money they are sinking into overhauling. As for the six million attendance figure, it would be nowhere near that if it weren't next to Disneyland. Am I really to believe that Disney will all of the sudden have this creative spark that it didn't have when the park was built? Wasn't the whole concept to make this an alternative to Disneyland? What will happen is that Disney will Pixarize the park (not a bad move considering they either can't or won't come with their own themes), and then make the rest of it just like it's other parks, and then we can then call the resort Disneyland and Disneyland 2.

As far as Harry Potter goes, I'm not really a fan as much as some others around here obviously are. I do know that the last book has been written, and that the kid who plays Harry Potter in the movie probably has a beard by now. I said if because quite frankly I didn't know the situation with the movies. If they make the rest, than time will tell just how much life Harry has left. I just think that he doesn't have much time left in the limelight, and that Universal should have done this project earlier. My comment about the project succeeding because IOA will make it look good is true. IOA breathed life into Dr.Seuss, Popeye, Jurassic Park and a handful of comic characters that most of the public had forgotten about. Harry Potter the franchise has peaked, and IOA will give it a nice place to retire, but it won't have near the impact it could have had.

From TH Creative on October 22, 2007 at 5:17 PM
Regarding the Harry Potter films, Derek writes: "If they make the rest, than time will tell just how much life Harry has left."

I Respond: "If they make the rest?" Wow! Potter #6 is in production and slated for release in November 2008. The major cast members are already contracted for the last film which will be released in 2010.

From Bradley Robertson on October 23, 2007 at 7:56 AM
While I am looking forward to Harry Potter at IOA, Hard Rock Park looks like it is going to be awesome.
From Themepark Guy on October 23, 2007 at 4:08 PM
I'm thinking that if you want to go to see the Hard Rock Park, you'd better get there pretty quick, or wait two years after it goes into bankruptcy and the Jacksonville guys buy it for 25 cents on the dollar....

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