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Is Universal Putting the 'Theme' in theme parks?

Universal Orlando: Now this is just strictly to allow our minds to run wild with crazy ideas but what is Universal thinking?

From Matthew Malin
Posted April 3, 2013 at 10:43 AM
We all know that Universal is in the midst of 3 huge projects spanning the entirety of one park. Transformers, the worst kept secret Wizarding World 2, and Springfield. Now 2/3 of what I just described are attempts at capitalizing on the one massive success that this theme park rolled out in 2010- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Now what made this section so popular? One could say it was the rides, one could say it was the simple fact of being Harry Potter; but most would say because it brings to life one's dreams like never before. A land full of immersive theming, interactive experiences, and stories that sprung from pages and screens to real life. Now Universal has learned from their success and are beginning to take steps towards overall cohesive themes by making lands as authentic as possible. But then Transformers came.

Such a spur of the moment thing for us fans turned out to be something that they planned for a while. So why is it in the place it's in?

One member brought up the idea of a Sci-Fi makeover to the area around it. Let's say that our complaints of an industrial sci-fi building sticking out is playing right into their hands and really they've known what they're doing all along.

Now this is just strictly to allow our minds to run wild with crazy ideas but what is Universal thinking?


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

From Brian Emery
Posted April 4, 2013 at 6:42 AM
Harry Potter has the Best Theming ever done in any Theme parks anywhere… Great detail, Butter Beer, FJ, Magical wands…… Ahhhhhh – I love it…

From Rob Pastor
Posted April 4, 2013 at 8:21 AM
Matthew: Excellent thread....I agree with Brian that Harry Potter is the best themed area to date. I'm not even a Potter fan and I greatly enjoy the land and attractions. Hard to conceptualize, but HP2 may be even better.....Concerning Transformers, that may have been more of a last minute decision. Referring back to TPI's interview with Thierry Coup, he indicated that Transformers was probably not coming to Orlando. But from everything I've read, the tremendous successful opening of Transformers Hollywood changed Comcast Universal's mind and, as we now know, they fast tracked the building.Some insiders are speculating that the placement of Transformers and the new Springfield land are to help siphon off the huge crowds expected to descend on Universal Studios Harry Potter 2 area. That speculation makes sense to me. As many have said, Production Central is a hodge podge of attractions and buildings with their only common denominator being a movie studio look. Your concept of a redesigned Sci Fi City is interesting and probably doable. But with so many other rumored projects on the boards at Universal, will there be money available?....It appears Universal is trying to become more like Disney, with lots of theming, but perhaps more thrill oriented attractions aimed at an older demographic than Disney. Whatever it may be, its great news for us Orlando tourists.

From Brian Emery
Posted April 4, 2013 at 8:57 AM
Robert Pastor and I agree on something… Oh no Anarchy – The world in ending….. Here comes the Locust… Hahahahahaha

Rob you should see Orlando Informer on Twitter, Great updates…

From Rob Pastor
Posted April 4, 2013 at 9:11 AM
Brian: Yes, I follow Orlando Informer. Excellent website for Orlando Universal info. And the owner Dan Hatfield, who also posts on Orlando United forums,another excellent site, seems like a quality person. .

From Formula 40
Posted April 4, 2013 at 9:25 AM
Universal is, to me, right up there with Disney in terms of theming in regards to the attractions. If you're talking about the areas and themed lands than there are some areas that can be improved. But Islands of Adventure's lands are all exceptionally themed. Universal could use some improvement in Production Central and some of the other areas that don't seem to have any real identity.

From Bryce McGibeny
Posted April 4, 2013 at 1:10 PM
Agree 100% Formula 40. The themed lands at Islands of Adventure seem to be underrated ever since The Wizarding World moved in. I mean, you cannot deny that Port of Entry, Seuss Landing, The Lost Continent, etc. are some of the best themed lands out there.

From Rob Pastor
Posted April 4, 2013 at 2:02 PM
No doubt. IOA has excellent theming.

From Dominick D
Posted April 5, 2013 at 10:20 AM
Sure, but Disney's been doing it since 1955.

From Bryce McGibeny
Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:30 PM
It isn't really fair to use that comparison, because (if we are strictly speaking of Uni Orlando) Universal has only been around since 1990.

From James Rao
Posted April 5, 2013 at 5:49 PM
If Universal is putting the theme in theme parks, who took it out? Six Flags or Cedar Fair? If someone doesn't confess I will be forced to blame everyone!

From Dominick D
Posted April 5, 2013 at 6:52 PM
From a 1990 point of view, WDW would win. In today's point up view, it's pretty neck and neck. Technically, Disney put the theme in theme park.

From Matthew Malin
Posted April 5, 2013 at 9:19 PM
Universal I feel is coming into their own when it comes to finding who they are as a theme park. You can tell that Universal Studios is in a awkward place because here they are trying to place elaborate themed areas into what used to be and still is in some ways, a 90's theme park. Universal Studios has always lacked in the overall cohesive theme of lands and now that HP success has shown them what to do, they are fixing their old wrongs. Things have to get ugly before they get pretty. With Creative's mindset and lessons learned, I would not be suprised to see Production Central take a turn in a new theme in the coming decades. As long as HP money is flowing freely...so will the upgrades.

Disney is lacking and Uni is catching up. Though (as much as I hate to admit it) Universal will never match Disney. Like Dom said, theyve been around since the 50's and Universal, albeit a home name in the theme park industry, does not have name recognition like Walt Disney World.

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