Healthy Criticism or Spoiled Nerds?
Where is the line for you?
As we all know, Transformers-The Ride 3D opens in the coming months at Universal Orlando Resort. Now remember this---Not even a year ago we were all blasted with the permit that filed for the destruction of Soundstage 44. Speculation ran wild for the next few months but one rumor proved true; that in fact Transformers was indeed coming to Florida. Excitement grew and the only thing left to do was to wait and watch the building rise. But one question that remained prominent on people's minds was this..."What's the outside going to look like?" I, myself, was bewildered at the process of construction going on (not much of a construction buff) much less try and imagine the exterior theme. And in my mind I never was able to come up with a complete picture. Others had their wishes and desires but we could only wait.
Then the day came...
Themeing began going on this building with the large "E7" being painted on the Monster's Cafe side and more speculation arose. Over the next few days and weeks we saw more and more arise along with rising hatred towards the theme. One thought that ran through the optimist's mind was "Just wait and see" and so we did. But as the building became more prominent, so did the negative opinions.
Photo Courtesy of Hatetofly at Orlando United
Now we are where we are today. The building almost finished, and this exterior queue just idly standing in the middle of no man's land. Now on boards I have seen the comments that their needs to be themeing to this and a cover because of the heat; to which I agree. But I get the feeling that some of our attitudes are stemming from what I like to call...Spoiled Nerds.
I understand pushing Universal to do it's best, and I believe they absolutely are. But where is the line between healthy criticism and cynical finger pointing? I agree with the majority that while the building may lack in some areas, the overall fact that the ride is coming soon makes me forget that the flaws exist. So, where do you stand? Where is the line for you?
COMMENT below and give your side of the story.
Sometimes there is just simply "more than meets the eye".
Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.
I still don't get why people hate this building. When it's right in the middle of the freaking park of course it's not going to blow you away! The complainers need to understand to be glad you're even getting the ride. I like the building myself since it's a different approach from USS and USH.
It's a movie studios park just like Disney's Hollywood Studios. The theme is that of a backlot & the buildings at both parks reflect that. To compare either park to Magic Kingdom or IOA is using an incorrect measurement stick. Both Univ. Studios & DHS have areas that are themed to a degree but they are parts of a whole. Just as various period movie sets are adjacent to each other and large box like soundstages at a real movie studio, so are the attractions at both Universal Studios Orlando and DHS. The building looks fine to me. I don't really know what people would expect a Nest HQ building to look like if not similar to this.
From David L.
Posted March 31, 2013 at 12:46 PM
I can't wait for the ride, but this is a step back from making the park less of a "studio" park. Universal is continuing to ruin the NY area with intrusions like this, Rip Ride Rockit, and the Mummy while they could have kept the NY area theme if they put forth a little more money. However, I really like how HP2 will be a themed land and how Simpsons is also becoming more of a themed land.
I agree with David's above comments.
I am definitely a 'spoiled nerd'. I was up in arms at the ugly intrusion of Rip Ride and Rock-It. I will always favour walking into a park and seeing something fantastic - I think the Transformers building is a bit of an eyesore so I do hope they 'cover' it up in some way.
I adore Universal Orlando - I love the Port of Entry at IOA. For me walking into Universal is exciting as a total movie nerd, but if we were to view Universal as a theme park (minus the 'Studio' concept) then its a little disappointing - Shrek and Despicable Me as the 'Opening'? Meh.
Although despite all of this, I am more than happy to enjoy Universal throwing money at the park even if the landscape isn't up to my nerdy theme park standards.
Ashleigh, the building is unoticeable when you enter the park so it shouldn't be much of a problem.
I think it looks "good". Some views it seems a little out of place, such as the view from the streets of New York. However, it's a massive E-Ticket located in a small section. If anyone thought that it wasn't going to stand out, they are crazy.
And personally I thought that Universal Studios has never tried to theme as a movie studio. Except for Production Central, the rest of the park doesn't say "movie studio" to me. The streets of New York make me really feel like I'm in New York and not a movie studio (except maybe the flats), Hollywood feels like Hollywood, San Francisco feels like San Francisco, there is soon to be London and Springfield, and Men in Black transports you to the Worlds Fair, not a movie studio. To me, Production Central is the only area of the park that focuses on movie production, and the rest of the park transports you to real places with great theming, which is the difference between DHS and US (except for Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard).
From James Rao
Posted March 31, 2013 at 8:50 PM
Yes, us spoiled nerds are offering healthy criticism. ;)
I never really felt that the Studios park tried to offer immersive, "whole-area" theming. However, with the addition of Potter 2.0 and the expansion of the Simpsons area (which I personally think will look okay but offers very little of value to me and mine - midway rides and games, seriously?), some folks could say USO is getting a bit disjointed. I am not sure I agree. Regardless, I am fine with the Studios park just having a collection of great attractions, even if some folks think the overall appearance is underwhelming.
And, you never know... Universal has been turning over attractions at a fiery clip (very few still exist that were in the park ten years ago), so the long term blueprint may be to add a sci-fi theme to the entire Transformers area (like Singapore). If so, the new ride would meld into the landscape much better, and not look like it was just plopped down where there happened to be space.
Ibkind of think that Production Central can be kind turned into an Animated Zone. Kind of like toon lagoon, but with no water and less comic book/traditionally animated content if Universal really wanted. Kind of cheesy but I think it would be a decent idea. Sort of.
I see no problem. The actual ride is the only thing that matters. Y'all buggin'.
It's an eyesore.
Look the other way.
My sense of taste makes your suggestion more of a reflex than a choice.
Love that "Hatetofly" guy ... Anyone heard an update on that Amber Mine coaster (part of an IOA Jurassic Park expansion) that he reported was "scheduled to open in Summer 2014"?
From James Rao
Posted April 2, 2013 at 4:15 PM
^That "reflex" comment was very funny, TH. =)
Too often we look the other way when it comes to some theme parks - but with Universal we are beginning to hold them to a higher standard, largely because they charge such exorbitant prices for admission. If you charge like Disney, then expect to be scrutinized like Disney!
But in this case, shouldn't we at least wait until the darn thing is completely done before we rush to judgement? Maybe when the queue is complete the thing won't look so out of place? Maybe...
Besides, other than Harry Potter, Universal Orlando has never really been known for their extensive EXTERNAL theming. Maybe Potter is going to continue to be the exception, not the rule, when it comes to the show buildings and queue areas of UO attractions. Maybe we should temper our expectations a little bit and remember that Universal is known for great attractions, not for immersive, whole-park theming. It really is not their purview.
J-Rao: "Besides, other than Harry Potter, Universal Orlando has never really been known for their extensive EXTERNAL theming."
I Respond: Oh sir ... HUGE swing and a miss. 'Men In Black: Alien Attack" boasts one of the most extraordinary themed exteriors in theme park history. The World's Fair towers (with one saucer missing because Edgar tried to use it to escape -- in step with the film). The "Universe and U" posters around the queue. The pulse neon and twinkle lights at night.
I would suggest the city scape of Super Hero Island and the comic strip world of 'Toon Lagoon are examples of exceptional exterior themed work.
The gates of Jurassic Park, the continuity of a New York museum for 'Revenge of the Mummy' ... all of these show more than a fair share of consideration regarding exterior themes.
While I concur that final judgement on 'Transformers' should be based upon final product, currently the building looks like a big metal box dropped into the middle of ... well, a space between Hollywood and NYC.
At this point it is devoid of grace.
Then again (to quote one of my pals) "giant robots kicking each other's asses ... I'm there."
From James Rao
Posted April 2, 2013 at 5:11 PM
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I was never all that impressed with Universal Studios from a themed perspective. Everything is just sort of jarring as it goes from one attraction abruptly to the next. IOA is a little better, but (Disney's) Marvel's Super Hero Island is NOT a good example. Those cardboard cutout backdrops are a disgrace.
I guess if your comparison is to Six Flags theming, then yes, Universal Orlando is amazing, but if you are comparing to other destination theme parks in the world, or just the Harry Potter stuff in IOA, then my swing and a miss is at least more of a bloop single.
TH Creative said:
"Love that "Hatetofly" guy ... Anyone heard an update on that Amber Mine coaster (part of an IOA Jurassic Park expansion) that he reported was "scheduled to open in Summer 2014"?"
He's saying a Jurassic Park expansion is still well underway, yet the rumor has gone nowhere. After some digging around he's wrong often. He claimed an IOA lagoon show would be coming this summer and that's not happening. He said Mummy's new enterance would be pretty bad, then said it was nothing like he was told. Not to mention he was pretty rude to me :/
Universal is not known for its external theming? Sorry James Rao, but Port of Entry? Seuss Landing? The Lost Continent? Islands of Adventure is known for its exterior theming (just look at Poseidon's Fury!), though I can see where you're going with Marvel Super Hero Island, but it's a comic book city. The 2-D characters help to represent that. If you want to see a disgrace when it comes to "cut-outs" I think that Chester & Hester's DinoRama or the "cut-outs" of Tomorrowland are far more "disgraceful".
Even the Studios has some gorgeous theming. New York? Hollywood? San Francisco? Men in Black? You just cannot deny that exterior theming is second rate at Universal, when its themed environments are just as good as Disney's, and, actually quite a few times, better.
Yes, each park has their weak spots, but what park doesn't? Sorry, it just irked me once I read what you posted about exterior theming at Universal...
And I do see where you're going with the show building thing. It works in Production Central, but certainly not with Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
The show building works in Production Central, New York, and San Francisco. World Expo, Hollywood, Kidzone (minus E.T.), Springfield, and Diagon Alley go (or will go) away from the soundstage look.
Someone is still bitter lol. Just keep digging the hole.
As for JP and the show at IOA are still happening, everything is just pushed back due to a Potter priority.
Not at all Bryce and thanks for the heads up via PM, wink wink...
From N B
Posted April 2, 2013 at 7:29 PM
I think the building looks fine. It is supposed to resemble a sterile military warehouse. Get over yourselves, haters.
It fits the theme perfectly, as does everything else at Universal and Disney for that matter.
I find myself on the side of TH when it comes to the supposed expansion at JP. I think it was just a wild rumor.
How am I digging a hole? You know what, just forget it, don't want to start a fight.
From James Rao
Posted April 2, 2013 at 8:23 PM
In defense of myself, I have tried to "stick up" for Universal this entire debate. Furthermore, I did say IOA had better theming than Studios which by and large is just a hodge-podge of attractions. Not saying that a hodge-podge is bad (Disney's Studios park has the same "problem"), just that people shouldn't expect it to be different overnight.
Once HP 2.0 and Simpsons are done, the Studios park will be more cohesive. Plus, if the area around Transformers becomes more like SciFi City (just a rumor I am starting) the the whole park will be more aesthetically pleasing.
I for one am not complaining... and if you reread my posts, you'll see I am on Universal's side...as has ALWAYS been the case!
--> "We stayed at Universal for four days at the Royal Pacific and could not have been happier." James Rao, post from 2008, before Universal Orlando became popular. <--
About Jurassic Park, Screamscape reported that some people from Universal were scouting out an area about a week ago. Some of you may have heard that. However. There are now blue markers down in that area. Seems like it could be progress.
Could not agree more about the Studios becoming more cohesive after all of the expansions! I'm so glad for Springfield, because that area of the park was horrible looking.
Now just praying for something to happen with Fear Factor and KidZone...
From James Rao
Posted April 2, 2013 at 8:42 PM
As for JP expansion, there's nothing wrong with the current version of the area, imho. Maybe replace Pteranadon Flyers with something good and fix all the River Adventure's broken effects and animatronics. That's really all that needs to happen.
The real changes need to be made over in the Lost Continent which is barren right now. The feature attraction is Mythos, which is great, but otherwise, the area is dead real estate.
Bryce: Yes, Fear Factor, perhaps the worst show in major theme parkdom, needs to go. Except for that show, and a few minor areas, Universal is doing a great job creating an exciting, entertaining resort complex.
I still think Sindbad is the worst theme park show ever.
Yes, Jurassic Park isn't really that bad in terms of attractions. There are plenty of things to do; just not ride-wise. Though, any expansion is welcome and I will be wholeheartedly excited for a JP expansion.
And yes, The Lost Continent is officially... "lost". Mythos is wonderful, the theming is gorgeous and I love the fountain. However, Poseidon is sub-par at best and Sinbad is just... Not very good. Again, the theming and Mythos (and the fact that its not IP based!) are really what still holds my love for this land, but it is in dire need of a new attraction.
Dom, TP4L, TP4E...whatever you wanna be known as let me clue you in on a little something.
You being removed from OrlandoUnited is not the end of the world. You keep coming out and here and attacking that website and its members all because you got your feelings hurt. When in all actuality they never did anything to you, you ran your mouth on twitter, you ignored their kind requests to limit the amount of posts.
This is theme park discussion. We are in all actuality a bunch of nerds filling our time with something we love. Dont get your panties in a knot when someone disagrees with you. HTF has been right 98% of the time, you were only around a few months so you wouldnt know.
Take your whining elsewhere and lets talk theme parks.
I like the building...As I stated above it has its flaws but overall I like it. Production Central was never a cohesive theme. I dont see people complaining about the soundstage look with shrek and despicable me? Much less that if were talking theme then how in the world does shrek twister and despicable me all fit together?
I would love to see Uni turn that area into a sci-fi city but I think they could do better with that back by MIB.
Thanks for all your responses! Keep em comin!
Yeah, I know it's not the end of the world. I have nothing against them, I'm just a little PO'ed about the whole post deleting thing (I'm known for having a short temper at times). High post counts in a short amount of time is actually common on alot of sites. HTF and the rest of the OU staff, I'm really sorry about this whole mess in the past week or so. Hopefully you can forgive me, and I'll try not to mention The Matrix too much ;)
From James Rao
Posted April 2, 2013 at 9:25 PM
You're right, Matthew, those attractions DON'T have a cohesive theme. Again, USO is a hodge-podge of attractions. Which is why I think the new Transformers building, in a way, fits right in with the rest of the mess!!
I think the big issue is that its one of the first thing's we see in production central. But in all reality its located in New York. I think if Uni had the space they would have simply distinguished the locations more appropriately.
Speaking of that, will the ride be listed in the map in Production Central or NY?
I would assume in New York.
I'm torn between this. This building would technically be in Production Central but the entrance is next to NY. Hmm...
Yes, Production Central is a hodgepodge. They might as well put Transformers there, because I don't think it would fit thematically with New York.
While we're on topic, I would like to see better integration of lightning rods on facades (Disney, Universal or otherwise). It feels so painstakingly clear that the placements are getting lazier and lazier (looking at you Beast's Castle). They should at least be put somewhere that they can be coherent with the the rest of the building, ie Tower of Terror . Then again, I'm probably making something out of nothing.
From Eli G
Posted April 3, 2013 at 9:59 AM
The Sorcerer's Hat - Healthy Criticism
Monorail passing through Buena Vista Street - Spoiled Nerds
Transformers - Healthy Criticism
Hogwarts (at IOA) is an "eyesore" from the rest of the park - Spoiled Nerds
DCA 1.0 Paradise Pier: Walt Disney didn't want a carnival - Healthy Criticism
DCA 2.0 Paradise Pier: Walt Disney didn't want a carnival - Spoiled Nerds
That's where the line is for me...but probably not other people. Don't get offended if I called you a spoiled nerd.
Uhh, I don't think anyone has said Hogwarts is an eyesore.
From Eli G
Posted April 3, 2013 at 9:58 AM
I heard it once...yeah
If you're talking about the show building, yeah that gets complained about alot.
Please accept my apology ... There were Universal employees spotted in a Universal theme park and now there are "blue markers" in the area .... Well that changes everything ... Clearly a major marquee attraction is in the works ... I mean, "blue markers," come on!
TH, are you just being sarcastic? ;)
I am NEVER sarcastic about "blue markers." Now had they been pale yellow markers or maybe off-white or burgandy markers then that would be another story. But you have to understand: these markers were blue! Do you understand? BLUE!!!
Well if you say so, ZOMG THIS MEANS AN EXPANSION IS COMING!!!!!!!!!!
From James Rao
Posted April 3, 2013 at 8:04 PM
Two by two, markers of blue... this means something...
And somewhere in the darkness
While J-Rao's assertion contains a degree of validity it should be acknowledged that .... wait, what?
Does this "Hate To Fly" person post here?
He's Andrew Jackson on here, TH. Look up a few posts and you should see him.He's only posted those two, though.
That explains the backpeddling -- ("As for JP and the show at IOA are still happening, everything is just pushed back due to a Potter priority."
Ugly, ugly stuff.
^I think Transformers looks good from some vantage points, and not so good from others. The lighting on the building looks nice though.
And yes, Mummy and MIB are freakin' awesome!
Oddly enough TH, I was there too! I agree, they need better crowd control.
At least Transformers is movie based, I think Rip Ride Rocket is a much bigger eye sore.It has nothing to do with a movie and out of place in the studios. And for me personally, I only like to ride it at night. While the studios park does have areas like New York, the worlds fair and Hollywood, It has always had more of a movie studio feel to me, and like I said Transformers is movie based unlike the coaster. IOA is the more immersive themed park, unlike the backlot feel of the studios. New York is supposed to feel like you are on a set of New York, while at IOA you feel like you are in Hogsmeade.
^When I'm in New York, Hollywood or San Francisco at Universal Studios, I actually feel like I'm there, and not on a movie set... Though there are some aspects in New York that hint to a movie set, such as the flat facades at the end of the main road. Still, New York truly feels like New York, to me at least.
Agreed. Universal did a good job on all three areas. Lots better than the NYC/SF area at DHS.
Young women. Provocatively dressed. Walking around your theme park selling $5 Jello shots.
Stay classy, Universal.
That's it, I've got to get out to Florida again!
When's the next flight for a bachelor from Chicago? :)
According to HTF, the rest except Optimus is going up as I type
Universal Orlando surely knows how to rock. As Homer Simpson would say, "more Jello shots".
Another possible point on the building's design...Perhaps Universal did not want the building to blend in with the adjacent areas. They may have wanted to have the building stand out and be a focal point, located where it is, near the center of the park. If that is the case, they certainly achieved their goal. I've spoke to some general public tourists that were in the park a couple of weeks ago. They said they thought the building looked awesome. On a lot of points, opinions of the general public are quite different than the views of hard core theme park fans, who tend to be more observant & critical of details.
Orlando Informer has pictures up on Twitter,
@Dominick D: The way they packed people behind the bicycle racks was tacky. ... No space or opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere that comes with a theme park like Universal.
Of course the reason they do this is to prevent from chasing after the beads being thrown from the Mardi Gras floats (a practice park operations might want to re-think -- just give evryone beads as they come through the gate).
Finnigan's was about eight deep all the way around the bar. Twenty-five minute wait for service.
But yeah ... It gets pretty ugly when it comes to proper crowd control.
TH, there's tons of negative comments about the concert on Universal's Facebook.
The concert sounded pretty cool to me. I live in Louisiana and that sounds pretty normal for mardi gras.
Shannon, I guess terrible security sounds fun? XD
@Dom I didn't read the whole story about bad security. I was referring to th's comment about women handing out jello shots, which sounds pretty typical for a mardi gras celebration.
Jello shots may be typical for a Mardi Gras in New Orleans ... Not so much for a family theme park ... But hey, whatever.
There is so much wrong with Universal that I hardly know where to begin. Oh yeah the prices. The poor quality merchandise and food. The general uncleanliness of the park, God help you if you go in the bathrooms. The I don't know or care attitude of the workers from parking attendants to top brass. Really without Harry Potter I think the whole operation would have collapsed under the weight of it's own incompetence. That said, well, I still go there out of habit I suppose.(Perhaps out of masochism)
As an aside I was privileged to have spent some time on the construction site of the new Potter ride at US last week. PCL is the GC and at least they know what they are doing. For now it is in it's early stages but the coaster track is partially up though covered with plywood. There is reason to be optimistic that it will be a hot new ride. It had better be, Universal is one flop away from becoming Great Adventure.
^"Universal is one flop away from being Great Adventure"... I respect your opinion and all that, but that is sort of an absurd thing to say, especially comparing two theme parks, three resorts, and CityWalk to a single day amusement park.
And especially since general park maintenance all that has been on an extreme rise since Comcast purchased the parks. Both IOA and USF look great, in my opinion, and all attractions are constantly functioning at top quality.
Really at this point I would be happily surprised if I could get through the gate without having to wait while they scan my pass over and over and over.
Mr. Clark: It appears you have been on this site for several years, but don't appear to post much. That's a pretty condemning statement of Great Adventure, saying that's what Univeral is one flop away from being. I'd bet dollars to Homer Simpson's donuts that you haven't been to GrAdv anytime recently, if at all..prove me wrong, please. Great Adventure has come a long way. And if you look at attendance figures..which, admittedly are tough to find for Six Flags parks..you'll see that GrAdv is one of the top attended SEASONAL parks in the country.
I'd like to take a moment and welcome additional credibility to the discussion.
@Mike Did you really just say that SFGA is in the same league as Universal? Someone get this man some help, please!
If that's what you got out of my post, Matt, I think you should read it again. Maybe twice more. Then get back to me. 'K? Thanks. Bye, now.
(Laughing Out Loud)
Actually I have been to Great Adventure many times having been born and raised in NJ. It used to take me an hour to drive from Maplewood down the Parkway to the Turnpike and get to Jackson. It is a considerately longer drive now that I live in Orlando however. But yeah, I was there in July 2011 and they have some good coasters there no question and I had a good time there to be sure. It's not Universal though.
Hey, did anyone else read Mike's post in the voice of Agent Smith from The Matrix?
No, Great Adventure is not Universal. It will never be Universal. Remind me again why they are even being compared?
Though, Great Adventure looks to be the cream of Six Flag's crop. I'd love to visit, and ride me some El Toro. Seems like a fun park!
They're being compared because someone said something to the effect of, "one more flop from Universal and they'll be on the level of Great Adventure." To me that sounded awfully derogatory toward GA. But never did I attempt to compare the parks.
Ah, I see where you're coming from. Like, they think Great Adventure is the lowest of the low.
Universal and Great Adventure do have a few things in common. A main source of concern for me is the simple fact that both parks, and too many others, pay their employees less than a living wage. Now I could offer this topic up for discussion on it's own as I feel it is worthy of a proper discussion. A lot is asked and expected of these folks who are really the face of the park for most of us. Disney of course excels in customer service but does Universal? Great Adventure? Worlds of Fun?
This is really a call for the management of these parks to pay their employees a wage they can support there families on. I feel that this lack of a living wage directly and in most cases negatively impacts upon my park experience. This is especially true in the case of Universal.
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