What would you do? To build a new ride or not, when Disney isn't
We're in the middle of a theme park building boom. In Central Florida, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
is opening at Universal Orlando. Legoland Florida
opens next year. At Disney's Hollywood Studios, a new version of Star Tours also hits in 2011. In 2013, Walt Disney World will debut its new, Princess-laden Fantasyland
Disney's busy on the west coast, too. World of Color bows tomorrow night at California Adventure, the latest in a multi-billion-dollar string of improvements to that park, which continue next year with a Little Mermaid dark ride and wrap up with the premiere of Cars Land in 2012.
So it really shouldn't surprise anyone that Disney, at least, plans a breather after this current round of attraction construction. Last week, Disney CEO Bob Iger said:
"I think, once we get through this period, we're probably going to drop down to what I'll call a more steady state," Iger said. "We don't really project — save for Disneyland Shanghai, should be we successful in completing that agreement and building the park — we don't really project anything as significant as this collection of investments on the [capital expenditure] front over the next decade."
Knowing that, what would you do if you were Disney's competition?
Let's focus on the other "Big Two" in the industry, who compete with Disney in both the Central Florida and Southern California markets: Universal and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.
Universal's wrapping up its big construction projects in Orlando, with Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit last year and Harry Potter now opening this month. On the west coast, Universal Studios Hollywood has rebuilt much of its backlot and will unveil its new King King encounter next month. In 2012, USH gets its version of the Transformers ride, a next generation version on Islands of Adventure's beloved Spider-Man ride.
But what happens after that for Universal, especially in Orlando? Harry Potter will be four years old the year after Disney opens its new Fantasyland. With no major new attraction coming at Disney for the rest of the decade, should Universal also sit back and conserve cash, or plan for an expensive (and thus, financially risky) counterpunch?
And what about SeaWorld? The company's building a major new ride at Busch Gardens Tampa. But SeaWorld Orlando's been quiet since the premieres of Aquatica and Manta. With the company's ownership now secure, how should SeaWorld react to Disney and Universal's building binges?
I'll kick off the discussion with this: Walt Disney World's Fantasyland rehab skews heavily toward younger girls, with its emphasis on the Disney princesses. This leaves a large opportunity for an attraction targeted at boys, and older kids.
Transformers debuts at Universal Studios Singapore next year, and in Hollywood in 2012. To me, it's a no-brainer to bring Transformers to Universal's Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios Florida in 2013 or 2014.
Okay, your turn. What would you do, if you were running Universal or SeaWorld?
There are rumors that Seaworld Parks and Entertainment will be building a new country in Busch Gardens Williamsburg. If they really do end up doing that, the park could use another great rollercoaster, and maybe another great BG show.
I would add something new to jurassic park in IOA and Bring a Stand up coaster in at least one florida theme park
Universal Studios is doing great right now. A new park in Singapore and opening what could be the world’s most anticipated theme park area Wizarding world of Harry potter. I have seen video's of the new theme park and am in awe. Disney has never made me feel fully immersed in there attractions as Universal. Though I wish ceo and excec's of Hollywood will really put some money into that theme park. Refurbishments are as great assests as creating a whole new attraction. The coak soak is a joke, the Wild West arena being empty for so long its ridiculous. And let’s not talk about the ouch with creature from the black lagoon. But back to the question. Theme parks must be kept current and up to date. Seems like after all this new construction is completed it should be enough to stop and enjoy what has been created. Not just for those who are hard core fans (ME) but all the people from around the world who hear about the great theme parks in the US.
If I were Universal Orlando my next plan would be to place Transformers the ride in the hollywood section of the park, and have it replace the Lucy wax museum. Or maybe have it replace twister in the new york area. But I don't know if Transformers will ever go to Orlando because the ride tech is too much like spiderman, and I am assuming that Universal would want to avoid repitition in the resort.
Such an unusual statement from an executive. To let your competition on to you taking a back seat to your theme parks for the next decade. I do expect a move by Universal Sea World to take lead with a significant market share strategy. Cost of constructing today is far cheaper than having to make up for loss time in a decade, especially when the competition steps up. After our 2013 visit to WDW I guess that is it for a decade or so at Disney. Could be a false statement to mess with them. Disney is so far behind I mean the Star Wars changes when they open will likely be outdated. There not going to come up with a response to Harry Potter? Sad, but guess we'll have to rely on the competition. There is not much of a reason to visit Disney annually without new attractions.
If i owned Universal,i would let disney take marvel in florida and replace marvel superhero island with cybertron.Spiderman would become transformers,and hulk would become,Autobots!Transform and roll out Blast Coaster,Dr.Doom would become The wrath of the Decepticons,and storm would become,The wrath of megatron.
Could this be another "mini dark ages" for the Orlando parks? I expect the Sea World Parks and Entertainment Parks to continue their schedule of every 5-7 years building a new attraction. Universal is another story.
I don't see Disney as not building anything new, I just see them not building new lands and such. I'm pretty sure that Disney is not going to let their Imagineers just sit there collecting paychecks. There will probably be just one new ride/show added at a time instead of all these big projects.
I agree with you Amanda, they are not just gonna let the imagineering office gather cobwebs. Disney is a living creature as Walt Disney said, it will always continue to grow and be plussed. Disney has something in store as they always do, it just may not be as large scale as we have become used to in these past couple of years. I think we have become spoiled starting with Everest, this has been one of the fastest growing times in Orlando since Disney arrived. They wont stop, everything will just turn back to its usual pace. Maybe Disney will take a step back, look at what they already have, and find out how to plus it to improve that fully immersive feel that Disney totally trumps Universal at.
Uh Robert, the "other" Tampa newspaper (St. Pete Times-- Tampa Edition) confirmed today that the activity in Busch Gardens is INDEED a new roller coaster set to open in 2013.
I think Disney might have some Marvel Magic up their sleeve. I do not think Disney would overlook Iron Man!
If I could, I would go to Walt Disney World annually and I think that there are alot of others who would too. About the question, I don't know if I would or not.
This is a great discussion.I think the WDW Magic Kingdom fantasyland project is overrated. That Little Mermaid ride will be good but everything else caters STRICTLY to little girls. Star Tours 2 should be fun next year for both coasts. Epcot got a lot of love this past decade but maybe a new attraction in world showcase should be the next project for Disney World. What ever happened to the Monsters Inc coaster for DHS?
Maybe when the big construction efforts complete, parks can focus their attention on seemingly smaller, yet crucial, details. Work on improving your cleanliness, upkeep, employee friendliness and professionalism, and, above all, food. We have all these incredible, innovative attractions we couldn't even dream of in 1955, but we're eating the same crap they served at Coney Island in 1916.
^^Bravo, Josh, I totally agree! I would love to see all these major theme parks beef up their existing "lands" removing and replacing any and all traces of those cursed midway/carnival rides so prevalent at Six Flags, Cedar Fair, and every touring carnival that passes my way.
Nice bluff Bobby, I'll be sure to send you an autographed souvenir picture of me on the Monsters Inc. Coaster in a few years, free of charge of course
there is so much that disney can do,maybe a new park at wdw or a new land at DAK,or DHS,EVEN EPCOT.
I think people are reading too much into Iger's statement. He only says that it won't be investing in more large projects like the $1.1 billion DCA makeover or the $750 million (reportedly) Fantasyland expansion. Nowhere does he say that Disney will stop building new attractions or continue to make investments in the parks.
No significant investments for a decade? Methinks I smell the beginnings of a new park! Could it be the long-rumored Villains park that I've been hearing about to get Disney into the thrill park market? Or might they be planning a deal to wrest control of the Marvel park rights from Universal?
Thanks, James. I like your suggestions, too. My initial solution was to simply demolish the crap-tacular lands and attractions, as well, such as Hester & Chester's, A Bug's Land, Sounds Dangerous, and various other eyesores. Replace them with something simple or scenic. However, the problem with this is that although it trims the fat, it leaves the
I live in SoCal, and let me tell you, the reason SeaWorld San Diego has not added coasters is because the whiney, crybabby residents of that area won't allow it...it's not "educational" and doesn't fit the "charter" of SeaWorld. Therefore, SeaWorld is kinda stuck. It's typical of California, though -- we're over-regulated, over-legislated and over-burdened to the point that no one wants to deal with the hassle. Why are Disney's fireworks shows canceled so much at night? Sometimes it's the wind, but Disney has been hemmed in by houses and neighbors who moved in AFTER Disney was already there for years, then those new neighbors complianed about the noise, the smoke, the traffic, etc etc.....it's like moving to a farm and then complaining about the farming...then crying to the legislature to make it stop. Or better yet, it's like sleeping in the highway and complaining about being run over. Some people....
Certainly you will see some new attractions through out the next decade. I can't imagine a park such as Animal Kingdom going a decade without some other top attraction being added to their very lean list. Maybe no Beastly for the next decade, but surely something new that rivals Everest in popularity and innovation to keep bringing people through the turnstiles.
Disney NextGen supplants the need for the construction of new attractions.
^^Yeah the NextGen initiative crossed my mind as being in the back of Uncle Bob-O's head when I read that statement, but it's more fun to root for an E-ticket :)
Phil B (Excellent Post) writes: In the long run, the NextGen initiative will allow for attractions that will surely astound us in the future on a less gregarious scale.
I'm still upset that Transformers isn't coming to Orlando!! Singapore??? Gimme a break!!
I would like to see a new concept in theme park rides. A sort of personal coaster. Imagine putting a 3d helmet (perhaps Iron Man's) standing on a platform, and going through a 3d world, much like a video game, The platform will tilt and turn, giving more than just a 3d experience. But we won't stop there. Using a pneumatic tube, like the kind the drive-up windows use at banks - only much wider, we can be sucked through a maze of tubes to simulate actual flying as Iron man did. Or perhaps instead of pneumatic tube, use a water coaster.
I am shocked....SHOCKED I SAY, at all this talk about Transformers at Universal. Even more shocked at the notion of turning Marvel Island into, gulp, Transformers Island. This is an awful, awful movie series based on a series of kid's toys that, lets be honest, wasn't that interesting. I can't imagine trading the wonderful imagination of Marvel for some cars that are really robots but are really aliens. Um.....no.
I'm certainly in the camp that Marvel Super Hero Island should not be turned into Transformers Island, and while the first TF movie was fun, the second was a poorly paced, obnoxious craptacular of the highest order, whose only redeeming qualities were a few very well done action sequences earlier on in the film. That being said, the TF concept is FAR from being uninteresting. Michael Bay has muddled what could have been a truly epic film franchise and turned it into nothing more than a vehicle for his formulaic fast cars, hot women, sophomoric humor, big giant BOOM BOOM everywhere style of making movies. Though originally based off of a toy line, the mythology created close to 30 years ago is as rich in ideas and imagination as any other Marvel Universe character ever conceived. Oh and FYI, that mythology was conceived by none other than MARVEL editors and writers who were approached by Hasbro to create a story to help sell their newly acquired toy line. Perhaps it is silly because after all, it’s just a kids toy line and has no place being in a theme park. Much like Toy Story’s many classic characters such as mister potato head perhaps, who had zero character development until PIXAR came around and gave him some, now he’s a Carnival Barker and featured in one of Disney’s most wildly popular theme park attractions this past decade TSMM. It’s almost as lame as a whole theme park based off of a childrens toy line that never featured any real characters or story…oh wait that’s right, we have the very successful Legoland Parks that will number 7 of them by the year 2015, so much for that.
Thank you TH, I was thinking about it too.
Bring Transformers to Universal Florida!!!
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