One wonders if the serious dollars Comcast (UO's parent company) is investing in the Harry Potter land to open in 2014 at Universal Studios Florida will pay dividends in Universal finally moving ahead in overall attendance at the Central Florida theme parks.
Might at least one of Disney's Orlando parks fall behind Universal? That remains to be seen. However, what's crystal clear right now is Disney's offerings are looking mighty stale next to Universal's considerable construction efforts.
Brian, if Universal ever becomes as popular as Disney when it comes to yearly attendance, you won't be able to walk in either park. Universal was PACKED on our last day this July. I had never seen anything like it in all the years we have gone.
Maybe even more importantly, the Disney brand worldwide is, and will be for the forseeable future, unbeatable. The name Disney has stood for family entertainment for 90 years. Just the name brings an association for people that name Universal cannot. And internationally, Disney is much, much better known than Universal. European, Asian, and South American tourist make up a fairly significant portion of Disney's attendance compared to Universal.
And as far as IOA or USF overtaking at least Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios in attendance, I don't see that happening either. Most families who visit Magic Kingdom and Epcot get park hoppers and visit all four parks. Very few tourists at least just go to Magic Kingdom without visiting the three other parks. So as long Magic Kingdom leads the world in theme park attendance, the rest of the WDW parks will never be far behind.
As for Animal Kingdom, I still prefer it to Busch Gardens. The lands are much better themed and more immersive. Busch has nothing like Kilimanjaro Safaris (at least not for free). The shows at DAK are much better. And while Busch has some great thrill rides, they are mostly not much better than a Six Flags coaster in terms of theming. Cheetah Hunt is the best themed, but it doesn't compare to Everest in themeing, even with Disco Yeti. The one advantage Busch has is a much wider variety of animals, and many more walk through animal exhibits. Oh and Howl-O-Scream is amazing too. But DAK still wins for me. Just wait til Avatar: World of Pandora opens!