no matter how you slice it, universal will do just fine and I am excited for whatever could come next.
I'm not going to do my long "it's going to be Potter" rant that I posted a few days ago in a different thread, but it's going to be Potter.
Don't forget that just because Universal hasn't recycled buildings in the past, they won't in the future. Potter is throwing off tons of cash, something that Universal hasn't alweays had available in the past. Also, they now know how much a really killer E ticket can add to the bottom line.
If I ran the zoo:
1) Tear down Jaws (and associated fun fair), fill in part of the lake in the middle of the park, tear down Fear Factor and build Potter II connected by a Hogwarts Express (which could use LCD windows to give whatever views you want while the train runs thru the backlot). This would balance demand for the sort of short term.
2) Tear down Posiaden, Sinbad, and associated stuff. Drop in a Lord of the Rings section with Mines of Moria and some other experience. If more space needed, slay the Dragon and take over that space. (I have yet to be in the park when the wait for the Dragon was over 10 minutes...) LOR bring along merch opportunities and a huge fan base. (Plus a new movie in the fairly near future).
I'm not sad to see Jaws go. I like Jaws. But... the ride has been in need of a lot of work for some time and the number of riders is way down from 10 years ago. I happen to agree with Universal's call on this one.
I also realize that while E tickets rides can add to the gate, the big bucks are in merch. Look at all fo the folks drinking butter beer and buying wands, gowns, etc. I'd bet that Potter adds at least $20/person to merch sales (and possible 3 or 4 times that). Ted and Bill aren't going to add that amount nor are many other possible ideas.
Anyway, that's just my thoughts on that. I honestly think they're just going to fill in what they need to and build Transformers. A much simpler and probably way less expensive project than laying down track and using that space to rise a Diagon Alley from scratch, or something.
I personally was not impressed when USF closed Back To The Future in favor of the Simpsons, as I felt the ride was actually rougher than BTTF. They will have to do something "unique" to win me over after closing another one of my favorites!
This way we get two rides (at least) for the price of one!
IOA has a perfectly good 2000 seat amphitheater for Bill and Ted that mostly goes unused. All they would need is to move the sprung tents over to the field between Dudley and JP.
And I'm pretty sure they can't have Bill and Ted at the animal actors stage since the pyro and loud music would freak the crap out of the animals.
It really could be a fresh build, if a good portion of the site is leveled out (Ride area and ride buildings) they would easily be able to re-theme the existing area around JAWS. Most of those are just simple structures with siding, easy to remove and change to fit a new themed area. Depending on what the plan is, some of those could be leveled off but in the long run I'd suspect they may keep the pathway open just blocking off the JAWS side with construction walls.
So now that the BIG VOICE of reason has spoken up, who've got suggestions on what JAWS could be?
Maybe 25 years ago.
That's why Universal padded Earthquake, Jaws and the original Kong when they built them in Florida. They could do the same with the new Kong, I suppose, and I think that the Skull Island boat tour is a brilliant idea. The trick would be reworking the animation to include the boats, since the Universal Studios Hollywood trams appear in the Kong 360 3D film, and wouldn't be present in the Florida version.
Other option: Piranha; the skipper gets into the water and a few seconds later a skeleton comes out.
I guess the best sign is their plans for the Lost Continent. Will it be a retrofit or will they do something more ambitious?
But, Potter part 2 in USF would be a game changer, at least for me. And I think it could work well. It would split up the mass Potter crowd, it would force Potter fans into both parks (which is what Universal wants), and it would give them the room to do another major attraction (like a Gringott's indoor coaster.)
Plus, it gives them the chance for something that I don't think has been done in a US theme park, and please correct me if I am wrong. The Knight Bus/Hogwart's Express concept could be wonderful if done right, with the windows being digital screens making it a ride. But, what it would really be is a transport from one park to the other, like the monorail at Disney (though, I think the best spot for this would be underground, so a subway thing.)
Like I said, my guess is that it will be another attraction, or 2 if they finally ditch Fear Factor, that will be completely unrelated to Potter, but I can dream a dream of dreaming about dreams. Or something.