Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter YouTube Email Newsletter

How much longer should Universal stick with Marvel and Toon Lagoon at Islands of Adventure?

Written by
Published: August 18, 2010 at 8:35 PM

ORLANDO, Florida - You can win with theming; you can lose with theming.

A great theme is bringing great success to Universal's Islands of Adventure this summer, as Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has welcomed more than one million riders within its first two months of operation, winning this year's Theme Park Insider Award for Best New Attraction, as well. Universal Orlando's scored a huge hit with its Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is driving attendance gains for the Universal Orlando Resort, even as arch-rival Walt Disney World deals with a year-over-year attendance decrease.

Hogwarts Castle at Universal;'s Islands of Adventure

You'd face a tough challenge to name a stronger entertainment theme in 2010 than Harry Potter. This is the franchise that encouraged a generation of your people, derided for a short attention span, to read 800-page books cover-to-cover. The six Harry Potter films have, to date, grossed more than $5 billion worldwide.

But as some themes draw fans to parks, other themes lose traction over time.

On the other side of Islands of Adventure from Harry Potter, you can see this flip side of theming - twice.

Islands of Adventure's Marvel Super Hero Island continues to draw visitors for its outstanding Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride and Incredible Hulk roller coaster. Marvel's lost no popularity with its millions of fans across the country and around the world. So that's not the problem threatening this land.

The problem is... Marvel's now the property of arch-rival Disney, which last year bought the comic-book publisher and its characters. Universal's retains the rights to keep the Marvel characters in Islands of Adventure, but Disney's got the rights to the characters everywhere else.

And, according to several sources, Universal can't add any new Marvel characters to its land, beyond the ones it's using already. Nor can Marvel incorporate fresh designs and plot elements from new Marvel movies, books or comics. Simply, the land's stagnant, with little legal room for thematic or narrative improvement.

If we've learned anything about the theme park business over the years, it's that you have to stay fresh, renovating and updating attractions to keep them relevant to new generations of visitors. Even Disneyland's classic dark rides, Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion, have seen multiple changes and upgrades over the years. Creating revisions that work is tough enough without having to run your ideas past legal to make sure that you have the contractual right to do that.

Spider-Man remains one of the world's most engaging theme park attractions - a 4-D dark ride romp through Spidey's New York. But like many other rides developed a decade or more ago that us film technology, it needs an upgrade to high-definition. Today's 3-D shames the 3-D used for Spidey, whose images suffer in comparison to the sharp new Harry Potter images featured in Forbidden Journey.

Universal does have a fresh "2.0" version of its Spider-Man ride in the pipeline, though - but one based on the Transformers franchise, not Spider-Man. That ride will debut in Singapore next year, coming to Universal Studios Hollywood in 2012.

Could Universal bring Transformers to IOA as a replacement for Spider-Man? The Hulk coaster could be rethemed with relative ease, as could the other two rides in Marvel Super Hero Island - the Doctor Doom space shot ride and the Storm Force spinner.

Sure, all that could be done, I anticipate some of you saying, but why would Universal voluntarily surrender the rights to the Marvel characters, especially when they remain so popular?

Here's why: To elicit a multi-million dollar buy-out from Disney, that's why. Think about it: A top-to-bottom refurbishment of Marvel Super Hero Island, to another theme, one that would allow Universal the complete creative control it can't have with Marvel. And paid for by a budget funded entirely (or at least almost so) by the Walt Disney Company.

Tantalizing, isn't it?

A payday from Disney for the Orlando theme park rights to Marvel becomes even more compelling when you consider that Universal will need to renovate not one, but two lands in IOA. Around the bend from Marvel Super Hero Island stand an even more thematically-troubled land, Toon Lagoon.

Toon Lagoon's top two attractions, Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges and Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls, remain popular with fans. Both enjoy a relatively strong history in television and movies, despite the lack of recent, successful works. But take a look at Toon Lagoon's main drag:

Toon Lagoon at Universal's Islands of Adventure

Comic strips. It's all comic strips - a medium that is dying as surely as the daily print newspapers which published these strips. Take a look at the characters in that photo. How many of them enjoy any traction with visitors under 20? Or 30? Or 40? Beetle Bailey? Hagar the Horrible? Shoe? Blondie?

Give me a break.

Theme park attractions can overcome weak or dying source material. Universal's Waterworld show connects with audiences more effectively than the Kevin Coaster flick it's based upon ever did. Disney's revived Brer Rabbit, et al, as characters in its Splash Mountain ride, even as it keeps their original source, Song of the South, buried in the Disney archives, with private promises never to release it again.

But can Universal do anything to revive a gallery of newspaper comic strips that haven't connected with anyone nearly a generation? And even if it could, should it try?

Dudley Do-Right needs some love: Too much of its flume isn't themed, and badly cries for some decor, even within its visually minimalist Jay Ward style. While I love Ward's work and the snarky humor of Dudley (the "Duck Crossing/Double Crossing" gag made me laugh just now, simply thinking about it), I could accept a new theme for this ride if it that's what it took to get Universal to fill in all the ride's empty spaces.

While Universal's done a reasonable job of maintaining the main walkways through Toon Lagoon, some of the areas off the main path need substantial renovation. Too many of the seats and tables in the land's eateries are chipped, scratched or broken. Universal's going to have to refresh this area if it is to protect the reputation that Harry Potter is building for this park.

But why throw good money after bad? Why renovate an area with a dying theme, when you could spend the money to change to a more engaging theme instead?

What would that theme be? That's a challenge for Universal Creative. As a theme park fan and critic, though, simply allow me to suggest that Universals going need to make a change here, because newspaper comic strip characters from generations ago aren't convincing anyone to visit the Universal Orlando Resort.

Readers' Opinions

From 69.78.133.80 on August 18, 2010 at 8:49 PM
I understand why they did it, but when they took away the Nick Studios it broke my heart. When i think about it still i want to cry.
From 76.216.174.3 on August 18, 2010 at 10:39 PM
I got three words for you:
Skull Island, Baby!
From 66.234.211.241 on August 18, 2010 at 10:50 PM
Toon Lagoon definitely needs to go and it needs to come back as another family centered land. I'm 15 and as much as I'd like another whiteknuckles thrill ride I recognize that the most lucrative demographic, families area little underrepresented at IOA with only one of the lands specifically focused on them. WWOHP has got their attention and a new family land could help keep it. Theres plenty of source material they could use such as video games. Theres a lot of unused space http://www.scribblemaps.com/maps/view/jyXPlKp5Rk
From Michael Owen on August 18, 2010 at 10:55 PM
I may be wrong, but doesn't Universal's right to use Marvel characters in the parks have an expiry date? If so that would naturally give Disney an advantage in the fact they could hold out and develop a solid Marvel themed attraction/land whilst the contract runs down.

The other thing is no one knows if Disney have any plans to use Marvel at Walt Disney World. A single attraction would be hard to fit into the current parks whilst anything more substantial would be extremely costly.

Whilst Marvel would be a big draw for Walt Disney World everyone would compare the success of Disney's attempt at Marvel to what Universal did at Islands of Adventure. It puts a lot of pressure on Disney as Universal set the bar very high.

Universal are in somewhat of a tricky position at the moment in the fact they have to ensure the quality of new attractions lives up to what they have done in the last decade whilst also keeping the quality of their older attractions high.

Of course I'd expect nothing but the best from the best from Universal Creative, but it's still a very interesting time for both Disney and Universal.

From Rob P on August 19, 2010 at 12:53 AM
While I largely agree with Robert's view that the cartoon angle at Universal has lost touch with it's younger audience there's one nagging thought that won't go away.
"Retro" appears to be a term I hear a lot these days. Whether it's music or fashion or theatre. It seems that the "old days" do still have a place with the current generation.
In fact the past is almost boom industry. Maybe it only goes back to the 60s and 70s. But it is there.
From that standpoint I wonder if completely dispensing with the tabloid cartoon characters might be a bit premature.
Don't get me wrong. I entirely agree that the whole area at IOA needs some serious TLC and some degree of re-branding to make sure that it doesn't completely disconnect with it's target audience. I just wonder if there was a way that these changes could be made so that the newer ideas embrace the nostalgia of the older ones.
A funny cartoon face still makes kids laugh whether it's one they're familiar with or not.
Maybe they could re-brand a part of IOA as" Retro Land "
From TH Creative on August 19, 2010 at 3:25 AM
I'm wondering what makes Robert believe Disney would be willing to "buy-out" the rights to the Marvel characters -- especially if it means that the money would be used to add attractions that would draw more people to a competitor's (for lack of a better word) theme park?
From Robert Niles on August 19, 2010 at 4:50 AM
Disney needs the Orlando theme park rights to fully "activate" the Marvel characters - deploying them across all platforms: publishing, television, movies and theme parks.

As it stands now, Disney's efforts to activate some of the most popular Marvel characters on its various platforms have the effect of promoting its rival's theme park in Orlando, the world's largest theme park market.

If Disney could secure those rights, it could solve its "boy" problem in Orlando by having the full cast of Marvel characters at its disposal, and clear opportunity to bring back some theme park fans from Universal, as those characters would be moving to WDW.

Disney's becoming too girl-focused with its princess obsession, and writing a check to Universal might be the quickest, and in the long run, least expensive way to balance that.

From Rob P on August 19, 2010 at 6:17 AM
Please correct me if I'm wrong but I thought that Disney passed up on Harry Potter because it felt that it wouldn't affect it's market share. No point investing if there's no profit to be made. Besides Universal will attract more visitors to Orlando if they have it so Disney will derive some fallout benefit from that.
So will having the Marvel opportunities in the Parks be that relevant ?
Universal will , undoubtedly, adapt and introduce something fresh to ensure no loss of positioning in the market should they lose Marvel.
Will Disney look like " Second Hand Rose " if they pick up that mantle ?
Very interesting point about Disney recently focusing more on girls than boys. Hadn't given it much thought before but it does appear that way doesn't it. Very odd.
From 63.76.51.1 on August 19, 2010 at 6:24 AM
Universal could score another huge success by grabbing up the only major large set of ever green characters that does connect with the younger crowd...the Nintendo character set. Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Donkey Kong, Bowser, Yoshi, et al, and use them to replace the Toon Lagoon section without having to completely wipe out and start over with what they already have. Redoing Spiderman with Transformers seems like a logical decision too.
From Tyler Bell on August 19, 2010 at 7:21 AM
Michael, Disney could fit a Marvel attraction at DHS. They could base it off of how the movie was made.
From 99.37.175.224 on August 19, 2010 at 8:04 AM
I argee with Robert N. Disney should buy them out early and move on. Universal is paying Disney.Marvel and I wouldn't like to pay my rival down the street. It's a win-win for everyone involved! They know they have an issue promoting too many girl things which is why they are re-thinking the plans for the new fantasyland projects.
From Pyra Dong on August 19, 2010 at 8:19 AM
AGREED! The clock is ticking for both those islands. No matter how great the rides are in each one... the writing is on the wall.

I've heard TPI readers mention it before-- A VIDEO GAME THEMED ISLAND!!!! I can see it taking over Marvel eventually.

From Dan Babbitt on August 19, 2010 at 8:45 AM
If I was Disney I would let Universal break the contract with Marvel instead of the reverse. Right now Disney is making money from Universal without having to put any money in marketing there products to the public.

With the economy how it is companies are looking to increase or at least keep steady there cash-flows and revenue streams. So millions of people still visiting the Parks both at Universal and Disney, Disney would make a mistake by pulling Marvel out of Universal.

I would keep Marvel in Universal until Disney has a concrete idea on what they are going to do. Whether it going to be a land, rides, or what not. I wouldnt just pull it just because you can but to have an idea that could be steller!

Disney passed on Harry Potter because they were only willing to build 1 ride while they wanted a full land dedicated to HP. Universal has only a 7-9 year contract with HP and if Jk Rowling doesnt like what Universal is doing she can either pull HP out of Universal after the contract is up or add another 7-9 years.

From Daniel Etcheberry on August 19, 2010 at 8:55 AM
It would be terrible if Universal gets rid of Marvel Island; if they get rid of Spiderman it would be like Disney getting rid of Pirates of the Caribbean.

I don't mind if Toon Lagoon goes away as it is the only section of the park that I never liked.

It's not good that Disney is becoming a monopoly of the theme parks by buying the rights of everything. Competition is good.

From Eric Malone on August 19, 2010 at 9:20 AM
Personally, I'm not sure what could replace Marvel Superhero Island. I have to admit that MSI is one of my favorite places in IOA (next to Potterland now, of course), and Spidey is indeed still an awesome ride, even if there's been advances. Simply put, Universal should have scooped up more theme park rights before Disney got their grubby mitts on everything Marvel to insure they could expand and refresh.

Ah, well. Maybe when Disney waits for Universal's contract to expire (because they sure aren't gonna buy it from Universal), they won't completely destroy the franchise. Here's hoping.

From Anthony Murphy on August 19, 2010 at 9:46 AM
I would totally end Marvel and cut my losses if I am Universal. The guests have enough problems understanding how the rides can be at Universal, but the toys are at Disney. Transformers might do ok or perhaps a "Monster Island" harkening back to the old monsters of yesteryear.

I absolutly hate Toon Lagoon with a passion. I think it is the worst in food, themeing and attractions as well. I absolutly HATE Dudley Do Right, but LOVE Popeye. Keep Popeye and demolish the rest of the land and start over.

However, I think that Jurrasic Park is a bit of a weak land as well. I feel that it needs a couple more attractions to strenghen it, but it has decient theming and food.

To me, IOA got two lands right from the start (and the two most people start in): Dr. Seuss and the Lost Continent which they now sliced and diced for the betterment of Pottermania.

As for Disney buying Marvel, under what thought process is that a bad or even evil idea? Disney needs something to entertain the boys. They have their foothold with Hannah Montana and High School Musical, but for boys...............Phineus and Ferb? Also, I do not feel bad for Universal one bit. They are the one that had that dumb comparision on their website about how they were "cool" and Disney was "out of touch". They still use Spiderman in their ads. I wonder if they have to pay Disney for that one? In my opinion its Karma for making fun of Disney World on their actual WEBSITE for years.

From Joe Brown on August 19, 2010 at 10:01 AM
Who owns Looney Tunes? Retheme the tune area with Looney Tunes if available. Give me Bugs over Mickey any day
From Rod Whitenack on August 19, 2010 at 11:49 AM
I said pretty much the EXACT same thing (less words) regarding Marvel Island and Disney in the comment section on the Theme Park Boards under a topic about "The Next Attraction to Close at Universal" a couple of months ago. I still agree.
From Anthony Murphy on August 19, 2010 at 12:27 PM
Loony Toons are at the Six Flags Parks so I highly doubt it.

Here's me crossing my fingers for Monster Island and Video Game Lagoon!

I want to see a Zelda attraction!

From 74.233.138.179 on August 19, 2010 at 1:01 PM
I feel that the Marvel Superhero Island is still the thematic heart of Islands of Adventure. I know that there are probably tense negotiations behind the scenes every time that Disney considers marketing or expanding the Marvel properties into their own park, but I feel that they should adapt a live and let live attitude. Universal does a great job with Marvel, and their relationship should be allowed to continue.

As far as Toon Lagoon, I agree with the earlier "retro land" idea. I had the opportunity to stay at Disney's Pop Century last year, and feel that the qualities of Toon Lagoon are very similar. They harken back to a simpler time, and the comic strip is still clever, even if it is a "dying breed." I think that the WU store in Toon Lagoon is an attempt to cater to a younger demographic who may not be entirely up on their comics, but who like the parks.

I think that Universal should use some of their new found fortune they have made off of HP and continue to spruce up the park. It was much cleaner this past weekend than it was when my wife and I visited in the spring. Everything was busy, and all the bells and whistles seemed to be working. They have a new opportunity at renewal, and should not squander it.

From Helena Polansky on August 19, 2010 at 1:52 PM
I think the Mario, Lugie... ect... is a good idea!
From 97.104.72.219 on August 19, 2010 at 2:44 PM
Here's my 2 cents:

1. Retheme Ripsaw Falls to Rocky and Bullwinkle. Those characters used to have a strong presence at Universal Studios and are more well-known than Dudley.

2. Retheme Marvel Super Hero Island to DC. Hulk Coaster becomes Green Lantern coaster with minimal changes (and just in time to bask in the upcoming movie's popularity). Make Spider-Man a Batman ride, with similar technology at the core of the design. Marvel Island was originally going to be a Batman section anyways.

3. Move Storm Force Accelatron to Seuss Landing and re-theme it. Nobody rides the thing because it's out of view behind the Hulk. Also, make it easier to spin, like the teacups at Magic Kingdom.

From Honor Knight on August 19, 2010 at 2:51 PM
Don't be surprised to see the entire Marvel Superhero Island rethemed to Transformers in the near future. A Cybertron Island of sorts. Every attraction there can easily be switched out with the Transformers, and all those superheroes battling in the streets would become Autobots and Decepticons instead.

If there's a good reason why Universal has been dragging it's heels on upgrading Spidey and cleaning up The Hulk, this would be it.

From 166.204.139.206 on August 19, 2010 at 5:09 PM
First, I don't think it would be a great business move to give Universal money to buy out something Disney owns already. Instead, Disney should use that money to build in their own parks. Eventually Universal will let go of whatever Marvel stuff they have left if they can't improve upon it..... and especially if Disney is compition because they are building the new Marvel attractions that Universal can't.

The main thing about IOA I would want to visit is the water attractions in toon lagoon.... so I can't relate to those who feel it is the least interesting island. I did think the poster saying to retheme it to DC comics had an interesting idea. I also think the Nintendo charachters would be relateable to most people.

From Nick Markham on August 19, 2010 at 6:05 PM
What about a Sci-Fi Island idea? It would not involve changing to much of the architecture in the area and you could then have Transformers into Spider-Man, a Star Trek themed Hulk coaster, and then some other sci-fi themes for Doom and Storm Force.
From steve lee on August 19, 2010 at 7:35 PM
To the anonymous poster above re: trading out Marvel for DC. I would love to see the folks at Universal come up with new concepts using the DC characters, but Time Warner owns DC and uses the characters in their Six Flags parks, with whole areas in many parks themed (or as themed as you'll get from Six Flags) to Gotham City.

I can't imagine how insanely awesome Spiderman could be if it was retrofitted to Batman in Arkham Asylum. But I just don't see it happening.

From Will Chilcote on August 20, 2010 at 2:55 AM
Popeye and Dudley could be re-themed very easily but, I don't know what would be good. Part of the fun of that area of the park is that its "light-hearted". Going scary wouldn't really work. Does Universal own the rights to any cartoon characters?

As to the marvel area, just about anything would work all that is over there is Spiderman, Hulk, the drop tower and that flat ride. And Spiderman is due for a new movie. Placing Transformers in there would be a great idea. The movie is already filmed or in the works since its going in LA.

From 71.176.50.56 on August 20, 2010 at 4:43 AM
Maybe Universal can study the Sci-Fi City area at the Singapore Park and re theme Super Marvel Hero Island at IOA to that theme and improve upon it. I think that would be the easiest way to go. The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman (As much as I would hate to lose that attraction) could eventually be re themed into the Transformers attraction. I also like the idea posted earlier of using Nintendo characters to freshen up the Toon Lagoon area. I always wondered about how Universal would deal with the Disney's ownership of Marvel (ie. That part of IOA remaining stagnant, revenue going to Disney, etc.)
From Mark Hollamon on August 20, 2010 at 6:59 AM
Maybe it is just me becuse I am (relatively speaking) a Disney purist, but I just don't think the Marvel chracters fit at Disney. They weren't created at Disney and I think it would have a sliver effect.

I would rather see characters for the boys created and developed by Disney. I am not 100% sure the characters have the same affect on boys as they do girls anyway. Give the boys Monsters Inc, Toy Story, Cars, etc and I thing they would be just as happy.

From Jay Glenn on August 20, 2010 at 7:42 AM
No Toon Lagoon is fine. When it opened the characters weren't familiar to that generation neither it wasn't a problem. Put it this way, if the rides have good stories and deliver people will ride. And that's what they've been doing for over 10 years now. Delivering. Toon Lagoon is a great themed island. I would hate to see it go. Retro is the new thing now anyway. The island will inspire young kids to look into such stories as Popeye and Dudley. They are fine. The land does need some work however.

Now about Marvel, it's my understanding that the contract is getting ready to be expired. So Disney should just wait it out for Uni to be finished and then create a Marvel Studios at MGM. All will be well then. Well except for IOA. But honestly I thought Uni had rights to continue to use these characters in Orlando exclusively and Disney was suppose to respect that.


Am I right about my last sentence?

From Jay Glenn on August 20, 2010 at 7:47 AM
Mark H there aren't a lot of characters that weren't created by Disney. So should Marvel be any different? You have Cinderella, Snow White, Pinnochio, The Jungle Book, Marry Poppins, and the list can go on.

Marvel does fit Disney. Those stories listed above weren't always Disney. Disney made them popular.

Marvel fits Disney better than a lot of Miramax Films when they were owned by Disney ;).

From Flavio de Souza on August 20, 2010 at 8:36 AM
Now that HP is the anchor of IOA, keeping marvels island is doing free advertising for Disney.

Universal should substitute both islands with a Middle Earth island, with atractions based on Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit.

From Brandon Mendoza on August 20, 2010 at 12:48 PM
I'm gonna have to respectfully disagree that Marvel Characters fit in the Disney Parks. The comic books generally don't have a "Disney" feel to them... who am I kidding, they don't have a Disney feel at all! Wolverine is extremely violent if you get down to the depths of his character. Iron Man... make that Tony Stark is an alcoholic playboy. And Ghost Rider? I'm not sure you wanna touch that... I only mention these mainstream Marvel characters rather than more obscure ones like Longshot, Cloak & Dagger because they're recognizeable, yet have baggage that you don't want your 4 year old to read about. Not to mention that the majority of Marvel Heroines are drawn with "perfect" bodies in a more realistic manner than Disney Princesses.

Don't get me wrong, I've been a huge fan of Marvel and Disney since I was a child. I just don't think it fits what-so-ever in a Disney Theme Park. I don't think the drunks in Pirates of the Caribbean are the same as Tony Stark/ Iron Man. Sure, actual pirates pillage, plunder, and even rape... but most of the Disney pirates don't have a history beyond the gates of Disneyland. And I don't think Stitch is the same as Wolverine despite being little and destructive. I don't think Stitch's world involved rape or brutal death.

What I'm trying to say is that even though ghosts and pirates exist in Disneyland, they don't have the same fleshed out history and characters of Marvel characters... Marvel traditionally isn't as cartoony if you will. And bringing out the kid versions of Marvel characters won't appeal to the teens and adult fans of Marvel.

Basically, I say it still fits in Universal more than Disney.

From Joshua Counsil on August 20, 2010 at 2:23 PM
In a way, I'm a Disney purist, too. On that note, with the exception of the Pixar films, nothing Disney has created has been "Disney-esque" in at least a decade. Disney's pop stars are irritating and largely talentless. In terms of technology, Disney hasn't had an American attraction rivaling Universal's newest creations since Tower of Terror. Disney has transformed their original characters, namely Mickey, Goofy, and Donald, into sappy, Brady Bunch types with gumdrop eyes and lollipop smiles.

Disney, at one time, had edge. Mickey had edge. In fact, he could be a real b@stard, albeit a lovable one, pushing Minnie out of a plane for not kissing him, swinging a cat by its tail to produce music, and getting into all kinds of trouble. As soon as Mickey's eyes were converted from dots to scleras with pupils, he became an ordinary, overly sweet character with no gusto. Even Walt disliked the new Mickey. Pinocchio (the film) had edge. It was moralistic and unafraid to show children the dangers of being bad. The villains were terrifying, not lovable and idolized like the villains in new Disney films.

Today, Disney's programming, movies, and general message towards children are reminiscent of Barney: "You're special, you're smart, you're a good person." Ever watch House of Mouse? Awful, awful stuff. The Mickey from 1928 would pummel the new Mickey, or, at the very least, swing him by his tail in an effort to produce music.

On that note, Disney needs edge. Its acquisition of Marvel was a smart move. As to Robert's question, I'm going to throw in the old engineering perspective: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Hulk and Spiderman are still enormously popular and well worth visiting, even if the effects aren't as mind-blowing as they were ten years ago. Marvel Island's walkways have never impressed me, though the two headliner attractions more than make up for that. Spiderman and Hulk opened in 1999. They've been around for over a decade, yet they're still pretty amazing. Let them ride out their popularity for at least another five years before making any changes. As for Toon Lagoon, I applaud Universal for using the comic strip theme in the first place. I'm a little nostalgic, which is part of the reason I love attractions like Tower of Terror so much. Keep the comic theme for a while - I really enjoy walking through the comic strip lane. Popeye & Bluto is brilliant. Dudley Do-Right needs a serious paint job and effects refurbishment, but is still a major draw and worthwhile attraction. Fix up Dudley, give the land some love, and let the attractions stay put.

From James Leonard on August 23, 2010 at 9:11 AM
I love the idea of turning Toon Lagoon into "Monster Island". You could incorporate themeing around the edges of the island (fog, creature bones, an animatronic kraken in the water) similar to King Kong's Skull Island. On the island you could have Dracula's Castle (3D dark ride), the Wolfman's Forest, the Creature's Black Lagoon water ride, even the Revenge of the Mummy and the Horror Make-up Show could be moved here (opening up space for new things at Universal Orlando). This would be a great Halloween Horror Nights hub as well. What do you think?
From Marc Flothe on August 24, 2010 at 1:46 AM
In my opinion, Universal Studios needs to completely overhaul Islands of Adventure & take advantage of the popularity of Harry Potter & the loss of Marvel.

Here's some ideas how....

#1 Dreamworks Parade (Competitor: Block Party Bash/Pixar Parade): Take advantage of the characters from Madgascar, How to Train a Dragon, Despicable Me, Shrek, & Monsters vs Aliens

#2 GOONIES!! Take advantage of the popularity of this classic movie. Change the layout of Dudley's Do Right.

#3 FAST & FURIOUS FRANCHISE: Change Incredible Hulk Coaster into a Fast & Furious Coaster

#4 PARAMOUNT FRANCISES...Take advantage of the absence of Paramount Parks. Mission Impossible, Top Gun, Days Of Thunder, Star Trek) (STAR TREK THE EXPERIENCE AT KENNEDY SPACE CENTER IS NOT SUFFICIENT..Plus now Star Trek: Experience is no longer in Vegas)(Another idea: Work with The Kennedy Space Center by offering packages)

-Universal needs Star Trek to combat with Star Wars Weekends & Star Tours II @ WDS...

#5 Get rid of Posideon's Fury!!!: Make a Tomb Raider Based Show to combat Indiana Jones Adventure @ WDS. Another Paramount Francise...

#6 Aliens/Predators Francise!!! Other than a simple laser tag adventure @ Dreamworld Australia...there is nothing out there.

#7 James Bond Stunt Show: Taking the place of Sinbad's show. Again, why not take advantage of a notable francise!!! Something that will compete directly against Lights! Action! Motors! Stunt show @ WDS

#8 Pleasure Island is no longer around...So take CityWalk to the next level even with Hard Rock Live! Build a bigger venue @ Citywalk with the cooperation of MTV (Paramount...once again)

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Previous article: The good, and very bad, food at Walt Disney World



Planning a trip to Walt Disney World?

Family vacation

Insider's Pick: Don't try to do Disney without the ever-entertaining and informative Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2014. Save time and money with these tested tips and strategies for getting the most from a Disney World vacation. It's a great investment in happiness for you and your family.

Get it! In paperback | For Kindle | For iBooks