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Universal expansion

Universal Orlando: What are your thoughts on the u oversaw expansion

From Mitchell Brouillard
Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Thoughts on the universal expansion? All the work they are doing is projected to be done for 2015 or so, this continues a trend that Disney has also put into place(new fantasy land and avatar land) given that. Thoughts on the new expansion and will this give universal a leg up on Disney world as a whole?


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Tasia P.
Posted December 7, 2012 at 8:48 AM
I love it I don't think they are done though I think a kids zone revamp may be done.before 2016. If universal can re do 3-4 areas in 3-4 years why is it taking 5 years for one land? Has Disney finally realized nobody is checking for avatar sequels?. Tdo must be trying to stop them from building it because they are all about the merchandise and avatar stuff will continue not to sell well. Anyway I'm excited as soon as universal announces more stuff that hasn't been leaked yet probably after d23 when Disney announces the mind train progression and the new interactive experiences!!!Disney may do some firing with cheap Tdo and give us a full theme park war when uni responds back with more than potter announced.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted December 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM
"the mind train"

Congratulations, Tasia! You win "Typo Of The Week!"

Actually, that ride sounds REALLY appealing to me.

From N B
Posted December 7, 2012 at 10:23 AM
The UOR resort will see a massive bump in attendance after Transformers and HP / London is completed, hence the new Cabana Bay hotel.

I think the fans of another Orlando park are already having a little envy regarding the scale of the new projects and the speed at which they are going up.

Avatar would be a hard sell for merchandise and the rides still have to be tame because, well, it's Disney.

From Mitchell Brouillard
Posted December 7, 2012 at 2:51 PM
Yeah I don't think Disney is sold on avatar land hence the length it's taken to do anything with it. Just speculation but maybe the emergence of the flying dragon in fantasy land is a clue to the easily kingdom actually happening

From TH Creative
Posted December 7, 2012 at 3:21 PM
Mr. Brouillard, could you explain what you mean by "leg up?"

I think Universal's plans are fantastic. But they still have not shown an interest in competing with Walt Disney World for families with small children.

From TH Creative
Posted December 7, 2012 at 4:28 PM
I love Universal Orlando. The attractions are fantastic. Universal Creative deserves the highest praise.

But where can this family with small children find so much to do and enjoy such an extraordinary (multiple day) experience at UOR?

And keep in mind, this family came in 2010, returned in 2011 and according to the comments under this clip came back in 2012.

From Dominick D
Posted December 7, 2012 at 4:26 PM
UO is lacking family dark rides, and one or two would greatly be appreciated.

From TH Creative
Posted December 7, 2012 at 5:15 PM
Somehow I don't think the folks at Disney are all the concerned about the alleged "competition."

From Skipper Adam
Posted December 8, 2012 at 3:28 PM
Just because it's at Disney doesn't mean it has to be for kids. Like ToT, or Mission Space, or Everest, or heck, even the World Showcase is mostly meant for adults.

No doubt that this will help USO, but the reality is a "leg up" over Disney isn't going to happen.

From N B
Posted December 8, 2012 at 7:17 PM
I love the Disneyphile rationale....

From Mitchell Brouillard
Posted December 8, 2012 at 11:42 PM
I think the term "leg up" is kinda getting blown out of proportion here. I just mean in terms of excitement for its fans. Disney announce plans for new fantasy land and avatar land etc years ago and is taking quite a while to establish it, while it seems universal was able to move right along with their "new" processes at a rapid pace. I get te whole non family dimension to universal. I just mean for its own fan base. When I say compete I just mean it seems as though universal has put in a lot of effort to try and compete with park sales of Disney by adding a lot of new attractions in a small amount of time

From Tasia P.
Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:28 AM
@mike it's so irrelevant I forgot the name lol.

Universal won't touch Disney until they turn kid zone into something relevant and then add another family dark ride or 2 in other sections. Kids cried so hard when they realize they couldn't get on neuton(haven't been when despicable me opened yet) Simpsons or mib and most parents walk out with crying kids before they can get on earthquake or see twister.

From Rob Pastor
Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:44 AM
One great advantage of Universal over Disney...A lot less strollers filled with spoiled 8 year old screaming kids being aggresively pushed by ignorant parents. I can never understand why children over three need strollers. Aren't they supposed to be for babies?

From Tom Cunningham
Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:51 AM
Bit of Disney agrresion on show today ;)

Sorry for finding it funny but first it was THE MAGIC then THE THEMING and now THE CHILDREN it appears that the Disney Fanboy arguments are getting a bit thin on the ground.

Funnily even the CHILDREN argument does not take close inspection. Yes MK is a childs playground with almost every ride being child friendly but take the Ears off and the Disney tinted glasses and have a look at the other Disney Parks

Hollywood Studios only The Muppets and Toy Story Mania are rides the very young can do and Honey I shrunk the kids play area

Epcot: Nemo,Turtle talk and emm Gran Fiesta Tour ???

Animal Kingdom : Triceratop Spin,The boneyard and Its tough to be a bug

Unversal Studios :ET adventure,Despiacable me

IOA :Caro-seuss-el,The high in the sky Trolly train ride,One fish etc,Pteranodon Flyers,Camp Jurrasic,If I ran the zoo,Me ship the Olive

Really if you take shows out of it and look for stuff really young children can do at Disney you are looking at well not much same as at Universal sorry to spoil the young children argument for you but hey !!!!

From N B
Posted December 10, 2012 at 2:58 PM
Tim / Todd / Rob,

Spot on......

From Dominick D
Posted December 10, 2012 at 3:09 PM
Tood Donahue said:

"I'll be leg upping on seven dwarfs all over the place when I'm back down in 2014 while eating a tasty burger at Krusty's while riding in a transformer blowing up some stuff with my wand in London."

I respond:

I'll be going into a mine where a million diamonds shine, enjoying a Krusty Burger, going into Gringotts, and riding a Transformer because I'm not a biased fanboy. ;)

From Andrew Dougherty
Posted December 10, 2012 at 3:31 PM
Who says Gringrotts is open by next year.

From Rob Pastor
Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:47 PM
Since this is turning into a Universal vs. Disney op, I'm going to add a bit. First of all, let me state that I really enjoy Disney World. And I also love Universal and am very very happy with their forward moving actions. I say that about Disney loud and clear so I don't need to be jumped on by TH, Skipper Adam, Dom and the other Disney apologists that attack any time a constructive criticism is made of WDW. Today, noted theme park columnist Al Lutz had an article on Mice Age that leveled some constructive criticism at the WDW management. His is not a voice in the wilderness. Most of the Disney, yes Disney, oriented forums are voicing the same concerns. Not just a few forum contributors, but the vast majority are saying basically the same things. Robert Niles has also been writing the same constructive criticisms, while often getting blasted by Disney apologists. Following are some Lutz quotes and talking points: "WDW needs a lot of attention physically and financially right now". "WDW needs to be freshened up with new attractions". "Current management must stop bending over to pick up pennies as dollars fly over their heads" (my favorite quote). He goes on to say that upper management has distanced theirselves from the lower more creative & imaginative employees and are not really aware of what's going on due to their isolation and distrust of anyone with creative ideas that may take their job from them. He also strongly criticizes the Avatar expansion for most of the same reasons we have read on TPI discussions. Al's column is a good read......My own observation is that Disney is acting similar to many large corporations when they become too big. Layers of bureaucracy are created that isolate upper management from the creative forces within the corporation. Then upper management becomes more concerned with their own personal fiefdoms and positions then the good of the company. That's why large corporations end up stagnating and overcome by new startups. Yes Virginia, Disney is no longer Walt's Disney, its a giant behemouth that is surviving on the hard work, creativeness and laurels of their predecessors. What's great about WDW is what has long been there.

From Dominick D
Posted December 10, 2012 at 5:06 PM
Honestly WDW has pretty bad management. Meg needs to get her act together.

From N B
Posted December 10, 2012 at 6:15 PM
The problem with Disney is attendance and revenue goes up every year, regarless of how they maintain the parks or whether they add new, cutting edge attractions.

Universal is a relative newcomer, especially in Orlando where Disney dominated since the early 70's. When Universal opened in 1990, it was plagued with ride problems and is was relatively boring.

The addition of IOA, three on-site hotels (soon to be four) and the CityWalk changed everything. I like the way they are pushing the envelope and have no fear of tearing down old rides or converting them to newer, more relevant ones.

Now for the fun stuff:

According to most of the theme park blogs, more wrecking equipment, barriers, and constructions walls are being staged to go up inside both Universal and IOA very soon....

Monsters Cafe is coming down and the entrance to the Paradise Theater (next to the Mummy) has been walled in. No official word on what they are doing in Jurassic Park or Seuss Landing just yet.

Transformers should get some exterior theming in the next few weeks and the framework for Gringotts facade should be taking shape as well.

From Dominick D
Posted December 10, 2012 at 6:42 PM
According to an insider, Gringotts will be 3D. Yay?

From Rob Pastor
Posted December 10, 2012 at 6:47 PM
The best thing to happen to Universal, besides the thundering response to Harry Potter, was the new ownership by Comcast. Previous ownership(s) were more interested in pulling every cent of profit out of the parks without a corresponding attraction investment or maintainance upkeep. Almost sounds like the present WDW mantra. Universal is now a go. The California Disney Resort execs finally got it right after trying to go the cheap route with California Adventure. Will the WDW suits figure it out before its too late? Comcast saw the writing on the wall. Investment pays off in the long run. Companies that hold short term gains as more important than long term vision and gains are doomed to stagnate.

From Andrew Dougherty
Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:35 PM
When Universal opened in 1990 Kong Earthquake, and Jaws originally had constant breakdowns. Kong and Earthquake's technical difficulties were eventuAlly sorted out although, Jaws had so many issues Universal eventually shut down the ride and sued the makers thus making to the Jaws we knew and loved. Kong had high maintainable fees and production costs leading to its down fall for the cheaper less expensive Mummy Coaster. Also, Earthquake was renamed to Disaster because the majority of people didn't know of the movie Earthquake:The Big One's Connection to the ride so they decided not to renew the ride name.

Lets also remember that E.T. was also in operation back then along with Murder She Wrote and a different version of the Horror Make Up Show. The Blues Brothers and The Ghostbusters Spooktacular also entertained guests since opening day. I also believe that the wild wild Wild West stunt show came a few years later along with a lagoon stunt show Matt Hoffman's. Questions?

From James Rao
Posted December 10, 2012 at 10:15 PM
One question on the expansion...why do you think Universal made the decision to not include Express Passes as part of a stay at the new hotel they are adding? The Express Pass perk is still the best thing going at any theme park hotel these days (despite Universal's attempts to diminish it by not allowing it to be used on any of the newer, more popular attractions), and a huge selling point for paying the higher prices of staying on site (heck, even the Royal Pacific is around $200 a night nowadays). So why the odd decision? In my opinion the price point of a room at the new hotel would have to be in the Disney Value resort range ($89, or so) to have any advantage over the other three on site options, or even a local Marriott, for that matter.

Also, do you see this move as a sign that the Express Pass perk is going away at all the on site hotels in the near future? I hope not, but you never know when it comes to money and greed.

Thoughts?

From N B
Posted December 10, 2012 at 10:22 PM
James,

The Cabana Bay room rates will be on par with some of the partner hotels in the area according to what I have been hearing.

Unlimited Express is the reason we come back year after year, and I don't think it will ever go away for the Loews hotels.

I was a bit bummed when I heard RRR and FJ wouldn't have Express, but the early entry perk definitely makes up for it.

Transformers should have Express since the Hollywood version has it as well. HP London will be an early entry perk just like WWOHP at IOA.

Word has it RRR will convert the single rider line to Express sooner or later.


From Rob Pastor
Posted December 10, 2012 at 10:37 PM
My thoughts are that the new hotel will be economy oriented. About four or five months before the Universal announcement, I was asked to do an online new Universal hotel survey that was very intricate and extremely long. It took over an hour to go through all the scenarios present. Nearly every scenario had Universal maintaining Express passes for the three deluxe hotels, and I believe every scenario did not include Express passes for the new hotel. The questions indicated that the hotel would be low cost with close access to the parks and early admittance as their only perks. Many of the hotel choices even included without swimming pools, so they were very economy oriented, though the final plans have a pool included. Room furnishings, hotel amenities etc. all indicated economy status.Since the final plans echo the survey closely, I would assume that Express passes, which are unquestionably the greatest enticement in theme parkdom, are here to stay for the deluxe hotels. The new hotel, which is fairly large, would probably create line problems for the Express system, which couldn't handle that large influx of people. And that would dilute the value of Express for hotel guests and those who pay the premium gate rates for Express. Also, if Express was offered to the new probable economy hotel, it would pull visitors away from the more expensive rooms at the deluxe hotels. Many people admit to booking Universal hotels only for the Express benefits. Yes, Jim, Express is a great benefit. And since it is the essential marketing & advertising tool for Universal deluxe hotel guests and from what I saw on the survey, I believe Express passes will be maintained for the three deluxe hotels and that there are no plans to use such a highly economic valued benefit for low cost economy hotel rooms.

From Dominick D
Posted December 11, 2012 at 4:28 AM
Todd, here's the current scheduele:

May 2013: Transformers
Summer 2013: Springfield
Late 2014/ Early 2015: Diagon Alley

From James Rao
Posted December 11, 2012 at 9:11 AM
Unlimited Express is definitely a keeper perk, and I hope you all are right about it remaining at the three "deluxe hotels". Early entry into certain sections of the park will be a nice perk for Cabana Bay visitors, but I don't see myself staying anywhere other than the Royal Pacific which is more in line with my budget (and is more of a "moderate" than a "deluxe" to be honest). Besides it has a great pool (despite not having a slide) and the proximity to all the action for the "lower" price (in quotes because the Royal Pacific runs about $215 a night when you add in a rollaway bed and parking) just makes it a no-brainer despite the small rooms (335 sq feet). It's tough for a family of five to squeeze in, but our Universal stays are generally only the two night/three day variety, so we will survive!

Hope you are right about Transformers getting the Express line like at the much maligned Hollywood park, but I wonder if that policy will change considering there are no such Unlimited Express Pass perks for the Hollywood park? Fingers crossed, but we will have to wait and see.

Finally, this Springfield change - it is just a refurbed restaurant and some midway games right? Is there a new ride as well?

From Rob Pastor
Posted December 11, 2012 at 11:22 AM
From what I've seen on Orlando United, which usually has excellent Universal info via blogger Hate to Fly, is that there will be three restaurants together plus Moe's Bar. Reportedly, the gift shop will be greatly expanded. There will also be a Dumbo type spinner alongside the lagoon. And they have already placed permanent carnival game stands themed to the Simpsons along the attraction front, which really enhances the amusement park look. It's going to be a really nice land. That will help to make up for the replacement of the lamented late great Back to the Future.

From James Rao
Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Thanks for the details, Rob!

I am not a Simpsons fan, but I don't hate the show either, so I'm all for the added immersion factor of theming that entire section of the park. It should be a nice looking land once complete. And great for the whole family. Very Disney-like... ;)

From Rob Pastor
Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Universal seems to becoming more Disney than Disney......Hey, the system works. Immersive attractions and lands and lots of on site hotel rooms. A little irony. Now, if we can only get the WDW suits to imitate Disney Resort & Universal!..... Al Lutz has a nice article on Universal Orlando on today's Mice Age.

From Andrew Dougherty
Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:08 PM
I'm thinking lack of express in the hotel to save money. Make the hotel cost less than charge them for Tue express ontop of its self.

From James Rao
Posted December 11, 2012 at 2:03 PM
Rob, I intended that Disney comment as a compliment, which is how you received it, I think.

I read both of Mice Age's recent articles. The Universal one is just the standard weekly update. It is not written by Al Lutz, as I don't think he visits the Orlando parks much. If ever.

As for yesterday's Al Lutz Disney article, I totally disagree with Al's premise that we should dismiss the Avatar expansion before we even have a chance to see something tangible. I believe the Imagineers have been set free in the last few years and have earned a chance to tackle this creative property without a constant stream of unwarranted negative press. Furthermore, people have doubted James Cameron's creativity in the past and he continually proves them wrong. I think the the potent combination of WDI and James Cameron will produce stellar work. I also believe Pandora is a great fit for DAK. I am a supporter of this work. And while it feels like Avatar is probably a better fit for Universal to undertake, I see that as a positive because everyone thinks Universal walks on water these days and Disney could benefit from some of that "magic".

Furthermore the argument that Disney should build Star Wars land instead of Pandora is just plain stupid. Disney should build both! It is ridiculous for a company with as much cash as Disney to not always be improving all their parks. So, while I like Al Lutz's columns a lot, I like his "news" pieces more than his opinion pieces which seem to be filled with the kind of flawed logic that has held WDI back for the last decade.

The fact is, even if Disney had bowed down to Rowling's demands and obtained the rights to Harry Potter, a huge segment of "true" Disney fans would have been up in arms. They don't want anything in the parks but classic Disney characters. If it were left up to the "true fan" we'd still be riding in Swan Boats and taking lame rocket rides to the moon. As more progressive fans, people like you and I have to cut through their noise and see the Avatar expansion for what it is: a $500M enhancement to a park in need of something new. And that cannot be looked at as anything other than a positive change.

Back to Universal, has there been any more news on what will eventually happen to the Lost Continent now that it really is a shell of an "Island"?

From N B
Posted December 11, 2012 at 2:10 PM
Multiple sources on Twitter are reporting some of the HP stars are filming sequences for the new Gringotts ride.

From Rob Pastor
Posted December 11, 2012 at 2:11 PM
James; Yes, I agree with the crux of your opinion. The Disney system works and I think that's why Universal is emulating it so well. I think WDW needs to do so much more as you said. Disney just used a ton of cash to prop up the always financially disappointing Disney Paris. How about some love for WDW, which should be the crown jewel of Disney. I'm not one of the Avatar haters, who are legion among Disney fans. But I do think if they are going to do it they need to get a move on. I'm one of those people that enjoy all of the little nuances of parks and greatly enjoy the shows as well. To me there are no half day parks, since I can always find something of interest or just sit and enjoy the ambiance. But once they shut down the Lion King show, even I will have trouble spending a full day at Animal Kingdom. And as you suggest, Star Wars is such a great property. WDW needs to greatly expand it's presence in the parks. But, as I said before, I think that the bureaucracy at WDW and the accountant mentality is doing a real choke on what could be a huge WDW Renaissance. Corporate Disney may need to do a WDW upper management purge.

From James Rao
Posted December 11, 2012 at 2:19 PM
No arguement here, Rob. Sometimes a company gets so big it really can't do anything anymore. Imagine how frustrated some of the creative folks must be right now! Still, I get the feeling WDW is gaining momentum. It may take a few years, but once these guys (and gals) get rolling, there is no end to the great things they can accomplish.

NB, I saw those tweets as well. Makes sense since most of the outside structural work on Gringotts is nearly complete. Time to move indoors and get the show going. Hard to believe it is still a year and a half away. Also hard to believe Universal hasn't made an official announcement yet!

From Rob Pastor
Posted December 11, 2012 at 4:02 PM
It's my opinion that the theme parks try to delay official announcements of attractions, and their estimated completion times, as long as possible so as to not cannabalize their short term attendance. I for one, am skipping Universal this spring so I can catch Transformers and the Simpson expansion in spring 2014. So, we're doing only Disney this spring (2013). 2014 will be a toss up on when we go depending on when Potter 2 is ready. If it will be ready summer of 2014, which I think will happen, we'll delay our trip to fall 2014. If not, we'll skip Disney in 2015 (Seven Dwarfs Coaster isn't a big enough attraction for us to cater our vacations to)and go to Universal for Spring 2015 . Universal is really rockin for summer 2013, 2014 and 2015. Plus, there's more stuff planned that the rumors haven't gotten a good grasp of yet......James: As you have said before, this is a great time to be a Orlando theme park fan. Might even try a side trip to Sea World, which I was bored with when it was in Ohio, but the Orlando version seems to have taken a more exciting direction.

From Dominick D
Posted December 11, 2012 at 4:10 PM
Uhh, Simpsons is opening next summer ;)

From Rob Pastor
Posted December 11, 2012 at 4:17 PM
Dom: Yes I know that. We normally go in the spring so a summer opening is too late for us. We missed Despicable Me this year due to that. That's why 2014 for Transformer & Simpsons. But Harry Potter 2 will be such a big deal that I would put off our normal spring vacation for a fall vacation if it happened to open in summer 2014.

From James Rao
Posted December 11, 2012 at 5:20 PM
You make a great point about saving the "reveal" for later so people don't cancel or delay trip plans. Honestly, most people don't have a clue about what these companies are doing with their expansions, it is just us niche theme park geeks that are "in the know".

And like you, I am essentially avoiding Orlando until 2014. Once the Seven Dwarves coaster is complete I will get to experience so many new things since my last visit in 2010: New Fantasyland, Star Tours 2, Storybook Circus, Transformers, Antarctica, Despicable Me, Cheetah Hunt, and the list goes on.... what a trip that one will be!

From Dominick D
Posted December 11, 2012 at 4:54 PM
All I know about HP is that HateToFly said the track for Gringotts will be in place and testing at least one year before the ride opens due to how advanced it is.

From Rob Pastor
Posted December 11, 2012 at 5:29 PM
Hate to Fly's info is usually right on.

From Dominick D
Posted December 11, 2012 at 6:40 PM
He's releasing some Hogwarts Express info soon, so stay tuned.

From Andrew Dougherty
Posted December 11, 2012 at 6:41 PM
I think in that year it could be open to the public from time to time for testing. But official opening will probably take a year. Hopefully it won't break down as often as the original Jaws.

From Rob Pastor
Posted December 11, 2012 at 7:14 PM
Hogwart's Express is looking like an E ticket attraction also. Three new E tickets (Transformers, Gringotts & Hogwart's Express) opening within 2 yrs. Like, WOW.

From James Rao
Posted December 11, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Perfect...one more thing to add to the list if I make it back in 2014. Orlando (and Tampa) will look like a whole new world compared to my visit in 2010!

From N B
Posted December 12, 2012 at 12:34 AM
I read a while back that Radcliffe stated he would never film anything Potter related after Forbidden Journey....

From robert morris
Posted December 12, 2012 at 9:44 AM
I'm sure all the Potter actors have a contract as regards to theme park attractions...

Heck there is also the rumored Mine Train going into Jurrasic Park

plus Grinch Coaster and/or Lorax ride for Seuss Landing

and Knightmare Bus simulator plot left open in HP's London sometime in the next decade

From Andrew Dougherty
Posted December 12, 2012 at 1:47 PM
Hm The bus simulator would probably be really neat but it would have either a terrible story or no story. And trust me. Radcliffe will be back as Potter in the new ride so don't be to worried. He's probably under contract somehow.

From N B
Posted December 12, 2012 at 5:30 PM
I am fairly sure a Knight Bus will be parked at HP London permanently for photo opportunities.

From Rob Pastor
Posted December 12, 2012 at 9:51 PM
Spins the World is reporting that credible insider sources say the KUKA technology will be utilized with the Gringott coaster.

From N B
Posted December 13, 2012 at 12:34 AM
I have a feeling Gringotts will be a hybrid coaster track and KUKA technology with a drop section of track as well. Judging from the size of the building, the screens are going to be huge (and 4K HD).

The Thief's Downfall should be incorporated into the ride and I am betting they use the see through type screen used in Dumbledore's office / Harry, Ron, Hermione (also Disaster), with a 3D effect for the dragon, somehow.

This ride should be spectacular....

The park to park express is supposedly using technology designed just for this ride to simulate the journey to / from Hogwarts through the windows to make it seem absolutely real.

Already getting hyped for our 2013 trip.

From Dominick D
Posted December 13, 2012 at 7:31 AM
KUKA will be used for ride effects and has nothing to do with the coaster vehicles.

From Rob Pastor
Posted December 13, 2012 at 7:39 AM
NB: My feelings exactly. Universal is making a "HUGE" splash for at least the next three years. Universal Studios will be "The" USA Theme Park attraction quality wise by the time HP 2 is finished. No doubt. ....Dom: I was referring to the Gringott coaster in it's context as an attraction, not specifically the coaster track portion of the ride.

From N B
Posted December 13, 2012 at 2:42 PM
I was thinking along the lines of a vehicle that rides on coaster track, but the base / platform contains a KUKA or Spider-Man type system that allows for the seating area to tilt spin and move in every axis.

From TH Creative
Posted December 13, 2012 at 6:19 PM
Todd Donhue: "Oh by the way I love how you made a Universal post about updates a universal bash fest. Way to go TH and Skip...... :)"

I Respond: This doesn't strike me as a "Universal post." The original message poses the question will the park expansion give "universal a leg up on Disney world as a whole?" Also I've never "bashed" Universal on this thread. Rather I respond to the original inquiry by pointing out that Disney plays to a family demographic to a much greater degree than Universal -- asserting Disney's parks have an advantage selling to that demographic.

Moving on to Rob Pastor: "... I really enjoy Disney World. And I also love Universal and am very very happy with their forward moving actions. I say that about Disney loud and clear so I don't need to be jumped on by TH, Skipper Adam, Dom and the other Disney apologists that attack any time a constructive criticism is made of WDW."

I Respond: Not sure where have I attacked anyone on this thread.

Rob Pastor: "Robert Niles has also been writing the same constructive criticisms, while often getting blasted by Disney apologists."

I Respond: Robert Niles wrote in a recent blog flume: "I love what Disney's done with New Fantasyland - so far." I concur.

Rob Pastor: "That's why large corporations end up stagnating and overcome by new startups."

I Respond: How do you think that will manifest itself? What condition will arise demonstrating that the Disney parks have been "overcome?" Just askin'.

From TH Creative
Posted December 13, 2012 at 6:29 PM
For the record, in my first post on this thread I wrote: "I love Universal Orlando. The attractions are fantastic. Universal Creative deserves the highest praise."

And then there's this. THCreative (9/23/11): "Seriously, there is no denying that the team at Universal Creative has consistently outpaced WDI since the opening of Islands of Adventure. Universal Creative is the GOLD STANDARD for innovation in theme park design."

Not really the kind of opinions that would be offered up by someone who would participate in a (to use Mr. Donahue's word) Universal "bash fest."

From James Rao
Posted December 13, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Not saying this statement is true of anyone in this thread, but some people have trouble with folks who like both Universal AND Disney, TH. It is an either/or proposition for them, I guess. Which is too bad, because both companies make tremendous theme parks!

From N B
Posted December 14, 2012 at 3:29 AM
I like both resorts, I just prefer Universal after all these years of vacations to Orlando. As I said in a post a while ago, I just never felt we got out moneys worth when we went to Disney.

That is mainly because the wait times for rides in all the parks were so incredibly long. MK was the worst. Over an hour and half in line so my daughters can say they rode Dumbo was just brutal.

In four consecutive years, I can honestly say I haven't ridden half of what Disney has to offer. I didn't expect much more from Universal, and we made the mistake of staying across the street on our first visit.

We were still able to ride everything in both parks and it seemed more relaxed than Disney, but the second trip is what hooked us. That was our first on-site stay (Portofino Bay).

Anyone who has done the same automatically knows what a difference that makes with regards to managing your time. You know you can go into either park an hour and a half before close and hit every ride if you like.

Disney is huge and amazing, but being the most popular destination in Orlando has it's disadvantages. I have a feeling UOR will be running at capacity (parks and hotels) more often when all of the expansion is finished.

Luckily, everyone will be so obsessed with HP 2.0, it will leave the park wide open for a good portion of the day, which is what still happens at IOA on a daily basis.

It will just require getting up and out to breakfast at 6AM so we can use the early entry perk and high tail it out of there before a sea of people arrive 5 minutes after rope drop.

I do think Universal Studios will put up similar attendance to the sister park come 2014 (60 percent increase in the first few months, but it will level off to about 30 percent after a full year), but neither park will ever touch Disney figures.

So, yes, Universal will have a leg up on Disney in regards to advanced ride technology, but Disney won't lose any sleep over a slight drop in attendance, if any.

From TH Creative
Posted December 14, 2012 at 5:23 AM
NB writes: "So, yes, Universal will have a leg up on Disney in regards to advanced ride technology, but Disney won't lose any sleep over a slight drop in attendance, if any."

I Respond: A fair perspective. Mine would be: Universal Orlando's immediate plans are to add what will likely be a series of extraordinary attractions to its parks, but Disney won't lose any sleep over a slight drop in attendance, if any.

From Dominick D
Posted December 14, 2012 at 6:52 AM
N B, keep in mind you also didn't use FASTPASS, a completely free service Disney put out. Maybe FASTPASS+ will be up your alley ;)

From Tim Hillman
Posted December 14, 2012 at 7:03 AM
Noooooo! It looks like we've reached a point of consensus. No fair! I was enjoying this thread.

Quick, Dom! Throw out one of your patented, Yogi Berra-like, I-was-in-an-alternate-universe comments and get the big guys chewing on each other again! I need entertainment! ;)

From Tim Hillman
Posted December 14, 2012 at 7:04 AM
Awesome! Dom responded before I even got my post on the board. Psychic!

From James Rao
Posted December 14, 2012 at 7:41 AM
Let the LOVEFEST begin!

Time for a Meet-up, gang??? Perhaps a neutral site like SeaWorld, and then we can visit both Disney and Universal together.... during the off season, of course, when NB can actually enjoy a few of the Disney attractions, too!

Early October 2014?

From Rob Pastor
Posted December 14, 2012 at 7:50 AM
Yes, Horrorfest at Universal would be appropriate. LOL

From TH Creative
Posted December 14, 2012 at 9:31 AM
Todd Donahue writes: "Congrats to you THCreative, I can't even rember what I wrote two weeks ago but a whole year."

I Respond: I remember the quote because I have re-posted it in the past when short-sighted people accuse me of participating in Universal "bash fests."

Todd Donahue writes: "Even so you still layed it on pretty thick when Nlies put out the article in the other thread as well as others with videos and then you put the same videos here in this thread."

I respond: As someone who has worked in construction project management and estimating for about two decades (which includes building attractions at Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World) I responded to Robert's blog post by asking him why he believed the phased opening of the Fantasyland expansion saved Disney money. It was an academic question. I never crticized his opinion.

Todd Donahue writes: "MK has no thrill rides."

I Respond: That is a subjective statement. I put the front seat of the Magic Kingdom's Space Mountain has one of the best coaster experiences in theme park history.

Todd Donahue writes: "I'm not for its all for the kids mentality, my parents were not either."

I'll respond with a quote from Walt Disney: "We believed in our idea - a family park where parents and children could have fun - together."

That has been the model. That has been the company's approach. And since the first park opened in Anaheim, that model has worked. And it has worked to a degree that even Mr. Disney probably could never have imagined. The Magic Kingdom is not Cedarpoint nor is is Islands of Adventure. But it is (and has been for years and years) the most successful theme park business model on the planet.

From James Rao
Posted December 14, 2012 at 9:11 AM
A model that, according to Mr. Pastor (with whom I agree), Universal is now copying with great success. I wish more park companies, including the Cedar Fairs of the world, would follow suit. Even an iron ride park like Cedar Point can be vastly improved with a more immersive, narrative approach to attraction building. To paraphrase Marty Sklar: Thrills are fine, but at the end of the day, a coaster is just a coaster. A good story lasts forever.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted December 14, 2012 at 9:34 AM
Todd said: "Griffon wasn't horrible,"

Please explain to this inquiring mind what that statement has to do with Universal OR Disney.

From James Rao
Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:10 AM
Think he was talking about the Hippogriff kiddie coaster at IOA. Just a guess.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted December 14, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Oh.

From Dominick D
Posted December 14, 2012 at 12:42 PM
I'm gonna quadruple this post.

From Andrew Dougherty
Posted December 14, 2012 at 1:32 PM
I thought that the majority of Universals rides and shows were very well done and nicely themed.

From Andrew Dougherty
Posted December 14, 2012 at 1:32 PM
I thought that the majority of Universals rides and shows were very well done and nicely themed.

From Bryce McGibeny
Posted December 14, 2012 at 1:44 PM
I love both resorts, but I lean towards Universal Orlando.

Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios are two of the best parks in the world, I love the close proximity of everything, CityWalk is far better than Downtown Disney, I like the Universal Express Pass much better than FASTPASS, park-hopping is easy and fun, I like how single rider lines are at most attractions, plenty of great dining options (especially with CityWalk being right there), always wonderful experiences with the staff, etc.

I could go on and on. Don't get me wrong, I love Disney, but I always feel like I'm in a crazy rush when I stay at Disney. That is never the case when I stay at Universal.

And Andrew, I think you mixed up Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Ride at Universal Studios Florida with Disaster Transport at Cedar Point. Todd definitely meant the latter.

From Dominick D
Posted December 14, 2012 at 1:56 PM
Bryce McGibney said,

"plenty of great dining options "

I respond,

Umm, ALOT of the food there is crap. Seriously, all the burgers taste like something you'd find in a school cafeteria!

From Rob Pastor
Posted December 14, 2012 at 2:30 PM
Dom: I strongly disagree with you concerning the food at Citi Walk & the Universal Parks .

From Bryce McGibeny
Posted December 14, 2012 at 3:11 PM
Uh, no better than Disney? I don't eat meat, and the Universal parks offer plenty of options for me. (Lombard's, Mythos, all of the CityWalk restaurants)

Quick service speaking, I don't see a difference. The pizza at both is alright. My mom enjoyed her fish & chips at Comic Strip Cafe at Islands of Adventure. Quick service theme park food is quick service theme park food. You can't expect much, either at Disney or Universal. Though, I heard Three Broomsticks was really good.

And what is with this Bryce McGibeny said... I respond... It sounds so condescending! Hahaha.

From Dominick D
Posted December 14, 2012 at 3:30 PM
Bryce McGibeny said,

"I don't eat meat, and the Universal parks offer plenty of options for me. (Lombard's, Mythos, all of the CityWalk restaurants)"

I respond,

That's you :P Citywalk has some pretty good offerings though.


Bryce McGibeny said,

"Quick service speaking, I don't see a difference. The pizza at both is alright."

I respond,

Be Our Guest and Via Napoli are staring at you in disgust.

From N B
Posted December 14, 2012 at 4:29 PM
Basically, this thread has turned into the usual Universal vs Disney debate, although it was posted for fans of Universal to express thoughts about the new expansion.

I am just wondering why there are so many Disney related videos embedded?

Another thread hijacked, I guess.

James, your mention of me in that post above was classic....

I respond: (as that seems to be a current and repeated theme regarding a certain fan base)

It only took four trips to Disney to visit almost half of what they have to offer... what a bargain! Could anyone honestly say they can hit every attraction at MK in a single day in June or July? No matter how you crunch the math regarding the number of average guests, ride capacity and wait times, it is mathematically impossible, even with Fastpass and magic hours if you were first in line at rope drop.

From James Rao
Posted December 14, 2012 at 4:46 PM
Yep... *yawn*... here we go again. It was a lovefest for a few minutes, though, NB. That's an improvement!

From TH Creative
Posted December 14, 2012 at 4:55 PM
Todd Donahue writes (four times by my count): "And to TH's response without the incredible theming of space mountain the ride is a little bit better than the disaster transport (now debunked at cedar good riddens) without the great theming. That's not a thrilling ride."

I Respond: I'll limit myself to a single repeat by posting (again): "That is a subjective statement. I put the front seat of the Magic Kingdom's Space Mountain has one of the best coaster experiences in theme park history."

From Rob Pastor
Posted December 14, 2012 at 5:09 PM
Space Mountain is not even close, in my humble opinion. The theming is just so so once you get on the coaster. And its thrill is not in league with the top coasters in the United States. Space Mountain is not bad, but its certainly not a great coaster.

From Bryce McGibeny
Posted December 14, 2012 at 5:18 PM
Dominick D writes, "That's you ... in disgust."

I respond, "Okay."

Minor argument about food quality = over!

From N B
Posted December 14, 2012 at 5:13 PM
Enough of this back and forth. I want to see more magical family vacation videos featuring children that aren't my own....

From Dominick D
Posted December 14, 2012 at 5:46 PM
This thread gets closed in 5 posts...

From N B
Posted December 14, 2012 at 6:18 PM
More visitors and magic trumps superior technology and thrills... in backwards bizarro world....

From N B
Posted December 14, 2012 at 6:18 PM
3....

From N B
Posted December 14, 2012 at 6:18 PM
2....

From N B
Posted December 14, 2012 at 6:19 PM
1....

From N B
Posted December 14, 2012 at 9:55 PM
(Previous and not to be taken serious 100th comment deleted)

Update: Apparently, my desire to see this hijacked thread close was met with dismay, per TPI private message. I am beginning to suspect someone was typing a small novel for closing arguments and I may have inhibited thier ability to post a retort.

This discussion has been archived, and is not accepting additional responses.

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