Is Universal Studios Hollywood on the Right Track?
Universal Studios Hollywood:
Universal will start introducing new attractions in Florida and Hollywood simultaneously next year. Is that the right move for USH? Should the Hollywood flagship park become more like its younger sibling in Orlando?
So USH is going to open its Shrek 3-D clone on the same day as USF opens theirs. Cool, right? Then 2004 is likely to bring Mummy coasters to both parks. Is USH cloning too much?
The way I see it, Universal Orlando is trying to get me to visit them by opening Jimmy Neutron and Shrek in 2003. Then the Mummy coaster in 2004. Well, if I can get two of those rides here in California, why should I fly out there? For a new motion simulator, which won't be in USH? Not likely. And don't get me started on how there is still nothing on the slate over at IOA except getting Sylvester McMonkey McBean going. Yes, I would like to see it running, but I ain't gonna fly out there for just that!
Shrek isn't the type of attraction that will encourage vacations, so I don't have a problem with it going in both parks. But the Mummy coaster does sound like something that would have me booking a flight. So why dilute it? Shouldn't Universal retheme it for USH? Same track, different movie. That would be great!
We kinda went over a lot of this stuff over here, so this can be sort of a continuation of that also. What do you think USH needs?
Also, check out all the USH rumors and proposals here. There are lots of good ideas there. Rate them and maybe someone will listen to us!
Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.
From Ben Mills
Posted January 6, 2003 at 12:38 PM
I couldn't agree more. Having thought of the idea of same track, different movie as well, I think it would be pretty good, but for us to make any sort of judgement on that, I think we would need to know a bit more about the ride.
For instance, the ride might start with the story told as you are in the queue, and then move into a coaster on it's own, with no heavy scenery (a la Dueling Dragons), just relying on the thrill. Alternatively, they could have scenery effects all through the ride (like Thunder Mountain).
Either way, they would have to chose the film carefully, and decide which one would be the easiest to theme. I'd like to see what would have happened if Hulk was an indoor coaster. However, as they are likely going to want to theme it around yet another film for maximum publicity, maybe one of the newer Vin Diesel films. As much as I hate him, either FATF or xXx has potential for a great coaster, with stuff like screeching brake sounds and explosions. They would probably make better coasters than the Mummy.
However, it's a possibility that they may use a Vin Diesel flick for the BttF replacement. So...
How about something a la Marvel. If they could pull off an X-Men coaster, that could well be the final straw needed to get me down to SoCal.
Or, if Stan Lee doesn't want to give them the rights for another Marvel ride, what about Small Soldiers? That ride would surely kick ass, and they're talking about a sequel too. Maybe I'm just dreaming with that one. Okay that's enough ideas for now. I don't want to get too excited about what will probably end up being a clone.
But just think of the possibilities...
From having visited USH for the first time recently i will say of the parks i visited in CA(dl,dca,sfmm,knotts) this park was the most disappointing. I had high hopes(probably based on FLA's parks) but felt their was little to do at the park. The park IMHO needs many new attractions to give the guests alot more options. I would say the additions are a postive but for the amount od admission the park needs to incrase its offerings greatly for me to think i received my money's worth.
If you read my trip report and that link I posted up there, you will see that everyone USED to get their money's worth from just the tram ride. But that is no longer such a signature attraction, and it really should be. Shrek and the Mummy coaster are certainly steps in the right direction... I just wish they weren't the SAME STEPS that USF is taking.
I read the link for how to fix the park and found it very interesting. But i couldnt find your trip report???
Thanks for the link and i will read it soon!!!
Kevin i read your report and really enjoyed it, escpecially having been their myself. I would agree with most of your comments/thoughts.
Parts of the studio tour were nice but not as informative as i would have liked and the kong/jaws parts were boring!!
I liked Waterworld and thought it was better than the shows at US FLA. We also liked the Special Effects stage and agree Twister was better than Backdraft.Now i went thru the Mummy walk thru several times and thought it was alot of fun!!! Cant say i was scared but my kids were, and they had a funny midget scaring people!!
But the park had parts open later than others, shows ran infrequently and overall there wasnt alot to do and i would guess would be horrible on a busy day(we went on a weekday first week of dec.) The park needs alot more attractions to have a full days worth of activites and be worth the price of admission(i thought it was the worst value of the parks i went too). But at least their were no lines for the characters Spiderman/Sponge Bob etc,
ps, by the way do you have liknks to your trip reports for knotts/sfmm/dl??
Just type in "Kevin's Trip Report" up there in the search box. All four start with that.
With the recent hike in price, I'd say they're on track to gauge patron's eyes out, and rob them blind!
Universal is merely keeping pace with the trends set by Busch, Disney, Cedar Fair, and Six Flags.
In other words, Blind leading the Blind!
Kevin, did you do a trip report on SFMM????? If so i couldnt find it.
Nope. Went there last year, but not on this trip. We'll probably go in a few months, since we haven't been on X yet. Not that I couldn't give one now, but I will wait for X.
I wouldn't say Busch or Six Flags are setting any standards. Busch only rarely plops clones down into their parks. Now there may not be a whole lot of things that are different in the SeaWorlds, but then the majority of what they offer is exhibits and shows so what can they do? But Busch Gardens Tampa and Busch Gardens Williamsburg are two completely different parks that have remained different parks. Kudos to Busch!
As for Six Flags... yes, they do clone a lot. But it works for them. How many of us actually visit more than one SF park? I've been to a whopping three and I haven't been to Six Flags over Texas since I was 12. It's not like their building the same floorless coaster in Ohio, California, New Jersey and Georgia will have thousands of us saying, "Well I'm not going to those other parks NOW!"
Universal and Disney are different species. They both only have parks in SoCal or Orlando. So all those people in the middle of the country have to choose between the two. Why make the choice easy by making everything the same??? If all three parks were significantly different, then people would instead have the choice of which coast to do THIS YEAR and which NEXT YEAR.
Revenge of the Mummy will be a boost for Universal Studios. This is suppose to be a big hit for them ever since JP opened in 95/96 (Jurassic Park) As of right now, they'll still got a long ways to go to attract people to visit their park. But this is a good start!!
Fortunately, it does sound different enough to make both experiences enjoyable, but if people are checking out what each park has to offer, won't the names keep people away? Maybe one should have been called Return while the other was called Revenge. Just a thought.
Seems to me that Universal and Disney could take advantage of the movies that have sequels and have one ride in one park focus on the first movie in the series and then have the other ride in the other park focus on another movie in the series. The same technology and ride design could be used with relatively minor changes in the details. If they did that I would be planning a cross-country trip to California in no time!
I don't think the storylines of either ride are so complicated that almost anything couldn't replace them. I had suggested making one a Scorpion King coaster, which wouldn't even require too much retheming. Or totally rework it into an X-Men theme for Hollywood. The differences they have now are a start, but how many people will know they are that different?
From Ben Mills
Posted May 26, 2004 at 12:04 PM
Yeah, Brian Singer has stated before that he would be interested in co-working on an attraction. Is Universal missing out on a good opportunity here?
OMG, yes. How about turning Men in Black, a license that has lost its luster after the last crappy movie, into an X-Men shooter? Instead of guns, everyone could wear armbracelets that shoot, making us unofficial X-Men. Instead of alien invasion scenes, we could enter various battles. A laser-filled room where we help Cyclops defeat some baddies. A lightning-filled room where we are assisting Storm. Instead of aliens, we discover the other car is filled with evil politicians! Throw in non-special-effects-needing associates like Wolverine into the special effects rooms and you've got a clone that isn't a clone.
I also once floated the idea of an Alien Encounter type ride featuring the X-Men, which would also work, and would be cheaper. With a third X-Men film on the horizon, they need to get to work on this now.
From Ben Mills
Posted May 27, 2004 at 10:06 AM
To expand on that even further, how about giving riders a choice of weapons to take on board? Not just wristbands, but I think Cyclops style visors should be available too. I would just adore being able to blast random stuff from my head. And let's say that each weapon has another special feature. Wearing the visor, you'd be able to see hidden targets on certain enemies. The wristband could include a side screen letting you know when enemies were about to popup, and include a map of the room.
With such a great license like the X-Men, its wierd that the only ride Universal have put in has been a crappy spinner in IoA. Shame. And I'd agree with you about the X-Men Encounter Kevin, but that attraction should be reserved solely for our classic monster scenario.
And I still wanna see a "classic Westerns" shooter, we we join forces with the Magnificent Seven...or, err, however many were left alive by the end of the film. I suppose it's just not as mass market as X-Men... sigh...
From Ben Mills
Posted May 27, 2004 at 10:21 AM
Or how about an X-Men Mad House, as you guys still haven't had the pleasure of experiencing one yet? The format is just waiting for Universal to do something spectacular with it.
Ben, let's make someone give us some money and we'll create a kickass park. Though you tried to explain that madhouse thing to me, and I still didn't get it. But if you are high on it, I am interested.
Glasses which make you see invisible stuff is a good idea. I'm sure that could be worked into its own concept.
Universal has done a great job with hybrids lately, so how about this one: an Alien Encounter DARK RIDE. Instead of sitting there and letting stuff happen around you, you move through rooms, kind of like an advanced haunted house. Universal has wanted to use VR glasses, which could work great on a slow-moving ride like this.
From Ben Mills
Posted May 28, 2004 at 12:54 PM
I've got it! I've got it! We take the Carousel of Progress and add some Alien Encounter style effects! If it needs to tie in with a movie release, then let's make it Alien vs Predator. Not only have you got some kick ass enemies to get involved with, but it would also draw a hee-uge fan base. It would encourage me to go, at least.
But hey, I'm losing track of reality again. Time to pull myself back.
I would explain the way a Mad House works but it would be a bit of a shame, and spoil it for when you eventually ride one. There's nothing quite so cool as when the lights are turned back on and you realise that something isn't quite right...
I thought of the Carousel/Alien Encounter thing too. Frightening. But wouldn't that be a better use of space in Disneyland's Tomorrowland than the moronic Innoventions?
From Ben Mills
Posted May 28, 2004 at 3:53 PM
Hmm...how close are CoP and Innoventions? Maybe you could work in the CoP as a preshow. Hollow out the centre and turn it into a set of a science lab, like in Jurassic Park, where you are told about research work that Disneyland's scientists are doing on alien life forms that have been found. One moment you're looking at a research lab, and then a wall covers your view, and you hear screams. The wall disappears and you can see the lab again. Only this time there are no scientists, just scattered limbs and a hell of a lot of blood. And, of course, flickering lights. You then proceed into the haunted house bit - set in the Innoventions building - to escape from the lab. Unfortunately, something
is waiting for you...
Oh wait...we were talking about Universal, weren't we? Never mind.
In an ideal world where I get what I want all the time, I'd give your Alien dark ride a Metroid theme. That'd be sweeet. It'd probably hit a large audience, too, what with the movie that's coming out in 2006 by John Woo. He may have made his fair share of sucky movies, but at least they're well known.
Whatever the theme, the VR headset would open up a whole new set of possibilities for sure. An in-built infra red feature would look pretty cool to look through, and the headset could also include earphones which some military guy could shout orders at you through. But I guess I'm just rambling now.
Innoventions at Disneyland is in the old Carousel of Progress/America Sings building.
Was it originally a CoP? I only remember it as America Sings. Which, by the way, I am STILL mad they removed.
Let's see if I remember my Disney University training here... Carousel of Progress debuted at the 1964 World's Fair in New York (along with It's a Small World and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln). All three moved to Disneyland following the fair, but in 1971 CoP was sent to Orlando as Disneyland's "gift" to Walt Disney World for the park's birth.
Okay, because I know I saw America Sings as a little kid. Why did they get rid of that show??? WHY?????
From Ben Mills
Posted June 2, 2004 at 6:27 PM
Oh man! The best idea EVER for a shooter dark ride would be to have a balloon as an alien's body. Every time you blast it with your laser, water is squirted into the balloon. Then, when you've shot it enough times, there is so much water inside the ballon that the alien explodes and everyone get covered in what would seem to be splattered alien insides! How cool would that be!
Off-topic, I know, but I just had to say it. It seemed like a great idea in my head, anyway.
From John K
Posted June 24, 2004 at 3:57 PM
Let me put it to you this way, none of the park are coping eachother. They both work together. Practically there is no reason why people from Cali should travel all the way to Florida to visit a place they have at home. Same thing for people in Florida, they should not travel out here to visit a place they have at home. Waste of money. When it comes to Six Flags parks, some parks have rides that they have at others. And then there are some that'll have a ride that only exsist there, like Marine World's "Zonga." But visiting a simialr that you have at home is a waste of time.
As for both Universal parks catching visitors..well first Universal Studios Hollywood got to lower their prices. $49.75/adult is ridiculous, I thought SFMM was bad. As of adding the new mummy ride, sure its way of turning it around, I'm hoping this is the first of many new thrill additions to the park. When my father worked for Security, I went to the sneak preview of JP river adventure. That was the only thing that I liked at the place. There was nothing much else to do there, and that was way back in 1996, and I haven't been there since. We were there for 5 hours, which is nothing compared to when I visit Six Flags Magic Mountain or Disneyland. When I o to SFMM or to Disneyland, we spend all day there (open-close), because I find a lot more things for me and my family to do there, unlike USH.
so this could be the starting point of the turnaround
So basically your entire argument is that USH isn't on the right track, yet it is on the right track. Whatever...
And why is it "stupid" to go to Florida if you have a Universal park here. Obviously you have never been to UO or you wouldn't say something so ridiculous. Many of us on this site have been to both parks and they are not the same experience. So why should Universal keep trying to make them the same experience? All they are doing is creating more people like you, who think an apple tastes just like an orange.
I don't think it was a good idea to open revenge of the mummy at Hollywood and Orlando at the same time. When Jurassic park opened in Hollywood first it did so good that they decided to build it in the Orlando resort. They should of done the same thing with the mummy. Opened it in Orlando or Hollywood first and if it does good then they could build it in both but it didn't even do that good so they should of built it in one universal park first. The reason why I say this is because if they did it in Orlando then they wouldn't break down E.T. because that was a fun ride.
The biggest problem is space and noise ordinances. The reason that there aren't any outside thrill rides is that people live around, so therefore, screaming would commence ticking off many tenants. Secondly, it's a real studio. They can't expand without taking part of the studio, which is not something universal wants to do.
Listen You guys dont know anything about this!!
I studied the pros and cons and decided to run for owner of this universal studios hollywood.
Let me make this relly simple.
Gotta go rides/shows/attractions
Back to the Future
Special Effect Stages
Van Helsing (of course)
The Blues Brothers
Revenge of the Mummy
I know T2:3d is off the charts and everything, but they should put a better 3d movie. How bout' a Fast and the Furious 3d ride. Exactly like Back to the Future, but in sweet, kick ass cars. It should be about street racing cars running away from police cars and helicopters. with many special effect (gun shots, brake and motors sound, crashes, and fire explosions, THIS WOULD BE THE BEST SHOW/RIDE EVER!!! Better than Bttf piece of trash. (P.s. LIVE ACTORS TOO! AND REAL CARS LIKE WHAT THE TERMINATOR USE FOR THE MOTOCYCLES)
Back to the future should go for The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman.
Backdraft- Universal cant afford rollercoasters right now so how bout a King Kong 3d show! King Kong is coming to theaters soon, so how bout' the story should be about King Kong has 2 missions, destroy the helicopters to save the woman from the dinosaur. The show should start with Live actors. And its a woman and her husband in the streets of new york. King Kong invades and destroys the city, but not only king kong comes, the dinosaur comes too, he kills the womans husband. and takes the woman away. king kong goes to get the woman (cause king kong is gonna be the good one in the story, not killing anyone) the they have a 3d fight! I will be loving this show!!!!
Special Effect Stages- Cat in the Hat
Revenge of the Mummy- It is a 7/10, And if I was owner, then i would think about the people. I want to put a Incredible Hulk coaster!! Loops, foward and backwards!!
Van Helsing should go in for Men in Black: alien attack, dont think im a nerd but Men in black can fit in to my caculations of the primeter and area.
Blues Brothers- Their is Jay walking with Jay leno how bout' wen-fri, their will be jaywalking with jay leno, with his own set. That will be cool where everyone could meet him.
now if universal did that, that will destroy sfmm and kbf(knots berry farm)
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