The focus on Universal Orlando is squarely aimed at Epic Universe. The massive project site south of the existing resorts and parks is very active. However, at the existing parks, there doesn't seem to be a lot of activity. There is the upcoming 'Villain Con' attraction, but there are no major projects under construction at the existing parks. There was the announcement that the KidsZone area would be closing but there seems to be no real information that it will become the site of another major E-ticket.
Meanwhile, at IOA, there don't seem to be any rumors or whispers regarding any new developments at that park.
If this is the case, and Universal doesn't get started on a new attraction sometime soon, the next major addition to the resort would be UEU -- which is (assuming a July opening) about 27 months away.
WALT DISNEY WORLD
Disney has an E-ticket opening next month ('TRON: Lightcycle Run') and will be launching its 100th anniversary marketing campaign. This will follow the opening of the new 'World Discovery', 'World Nature' and 'World Celebration areas at EPCOT. That carries them into 2024.
For Disney, 2024 becomes really interesting. Appointing Bruce Vaughn as WDI's Chief Creative Officer, is the first of what will be many c-suite changes -- the biggest of which will be Mr. Robert Iger's successor as CEO. I suspect, that the September 2024 D23 Expo will have a ton of announcements related to parks and experiences -- aanouncements that maybe made by Mr. Josh D'Amaro, Mr. Vaughn and the company's new CEO.Tweet
I largely agree with what Russell said and the only real note I have is more of a question than a statement: Is Tron an E-Ticket? Because it seems to be a pretty solid D-Ticket. But curious what everyone else thinks.
@Jacob - Considering that most guests view 7DMT as an e-ticket (and the continuous demand would back that up), I think Tron is probably an E-ticket. I think it will be interesting to see how long it remains an E-ticket. The unique riding position certainly gives it some cache, far more than the barely swinging carts of 7DMT, but will the height restriction and locker situation suppress guests’ interest after the initial hype wears off?
I don't know if that's supposed to be sarcasm but Tron is most definitely an e-ticket. If that does not qualify as a super-headliner attraction I don't know what does?? And what do the lockers have to do with anything? Every major coaster at UO has lockers and that doesn't hold them back from being considered major attractions?
Anyway I think WDW's priorities need to be
1: Fixing the affordable housing and public transportation problems in the region. The longer they don't address this the harder it will be expand because lack of staffing.
2: Fixing Epcot again because what they did was half a**ed and a joke. Personally I would add Greece with a restaurant, quick serve, and attraction...but Greek food is my favorite so I might be biased haha.
3: Putting more family attractions at DHS and replacing the old shows that are way out of date.
4: Replacing Dinoland
5: Adding another e-ticket and another dark ride to MK for added capacity.
6: Put money into the two waterparks because they are way outdated.
That's what I would focus on over the next decade.
In regards to Universal I think Epic Universe is a cash grab and the stuff they are putting in there could have easily been added to the two existing parks while saving that spot for future expansion...but what's done is done. I think after Epic opens Universal needs to look at replacing the Fear Factor/Simpsons/Men in Black/Barney/Kid Zone areas (which is what I would have done with a lot of the Epic Universe stuff). I think Toon Lagoon is overdue to be re-made with more relevant IP.
Sea World struck major gold with Sesame Street Land, TBH probably the most profitable addition they ever made.
On the other hand they are trying to brand themselves as the roller coaster capital of Orlando however Ice Breaker may have been one of the worst additions they ever made lol (taking out the horsecollar restraints will help at least).
I think Pipeline is a giant waste of space. We won't know until after it opens but IMO if you're going to brand yourself as the roller coaster capital of the theme park capital of the world, it would have made more sense to save that spot for a world class coaster than a mediocre standup.
What I would have done was completely re-do the parking situation by building a giant garage where the current HR plot is, re-configure the entrance area with a new entrance/security etc, and put either a giga or 4D at the front have make the entrance like Cedar Point or Carowinds. While that sounds crazy we are talking about Orlando here, if you are marketing yourself as the coaster capital of Orlando you need to go big or go home, Pipeline doesn't fit the bill. If Busch Gardens could afford to do it almost 30 years ago with Montu I don't see why Sea World can't afford to do it now. Now sadly because of the Pipeline coaster there is virtually no chance of this ever happening.
I don't understand Russell's response. I offered up a post that lays out a timeline narrative presenting the facts surrounding developments at the two Orlando majors. I don't see how Russell's post interfaces with what I offered up.
'Villain-Con Minion Blast' will open in summer 2023.
expedition everest is an e-ticket, tower of terror is an e-ticket, rise of the resistance is an e-ticket.
in a world where those attractions exist, I'm not sure tron is an e-ticket. that's why I asked!
Here's how I see it at this point in time...
Universal has confirmed small/medium sized projects lined up for 2023 & 2024, then a massive project for 2025. With the size of Epic Universe (which, according to my sources, is aiming for a May 2025 opening with a month of passholder previews prior), I don't expect the resort to have anything of note in 2026, but expect they'll go back to adding something new annually beginning in 2027. With Universal rarely announcing anything more than two years out, it's hard to say what exactly might be coming, but my guess is that the focus points will be on replacements for F&F and Simpsons at USF as well as Lost Continent and Toon Lagoon at IOA, followed by expansion of Epic Universe (a new park should be able to go at least five years without major expansion).
WDW has a confirmed medium/large project for 2023, a couple small/medium projects for 2024, as well as some new shows mixed in. After that, however, all we've heard about is the blue sky stuff from D23, which I would say is a minimum of five years away. Using that, I think it's safe to say that the next big ground-up project at WDW will probably be a Dinoland replacement with Moana and/or Zootopia, but I'm thinking 2027/2028 as the soonest possible timeline for that. If something happens before then, it will likely be a small project like a retheme of an existing attraction (given Inside Out 2 releasing next year, I'd put redoing Imagination with that IP as the top candidate). I think we will know more about what WDW may be up to after the next D23, but I still don't expect any surprise headliner projects to come before the tail end of the decade.
Lastly, regarding Tron and it's E-ticket status...IMO, if you don't count Tron as an E-tickets, Thunder, Space, and RnRC no longer qualify as E-tickets. The ticket designations are based on scope and scale of an attraction, not ride quality, and as far as I can tell, Tron being one of the largest attractions at Magic Kingdom absolutely qualifies it as an E-ticket.
Well done AJ
'Tiana's Bayou Adventure' opens in late 2024.
Although I don't know what he means by "Universal has confirmed small/medium sized projects lined up for 2023 & 2024."
If you don't mind please explain and source.
TH, the projects I'm referring to are Villain Con & Minions Cafe opening in 2023 and DreamWorks Animation Land opening in 2024. Both are similar in scale, consisting of a new interactive attraction in a repurposed space, a new dining location, new retail offerings, new meet and greet opportunities, and a thematic overhaul to an existing area of the park. I consider something of this scale to be a medium sized project as it is more involved than a simple touch up and does include new elements, but is not something that will be seen as a headliner. There are also rumors that a new parade is in development for USF for next year, but I omitted that due to a lack of evidence and not counting new live entertainment offerings among WDW's projects.
For a comparison with confirmed WDW projects over the next couple years, I consider Tron a large project, Tiana's a medium-sized project, and Journey of Water a small project.
@ AJ - I am not seeing an announcement from Universal about Dream Works Animation Land opening in March 2024.
@TH - That's one of the many rumors to replace KidZone. Considering that Universal wants to publicize and open VillanCon, and the rumored Dreamworks Land would target a similar audience, they wouldn't want to officially announce the KidZone replacement until this year's addition is open.
It does seem like a plausible rumor, but given the former KidZone area's proximity to Springfield - an IP on thin ice - I'm not buying a like for like replacement. Maybe it's me being hopeful that Universal has grander plans in store with both Springfield and KidZone going under the knife together and producing a more substantial addition to USF.
@ Russell - Okay, since we are relegating DreamWorks Animation Land to the category of "plausibe rumor" we will change the timeline and go with what we know:
2023 - USF - Villain Con & Minions Cafe
2025 - Universal Epic Universe
WALT DISNY WORLD
2023 - MKP - TRON: Lightcylerun
2023 - 100th Anniversary Celebration (Marketing Platform)
2023 - EPCOT - World Discovery, World Create, World Nature (Featuring 'Moana Journey of Water')
2024 - MKP - Tiana's Bayou Adventure
2024 - D23 Expo
2024 - New Disney CEO
TH, there has been no official announcement from Universal regarding Dreamworks Animation Land, but due to visible construction on the site at the park, theming on work walls surrounding the project area, and permits that specify a work period of winter 2023 to spring 2024 on that property, I feel there is sufficient evidence to consider the project confirmed for 2024 at this time. The exact elements going into the land may be slightly different than expected, but to me that does not change the scale of the project (it's not going to feature a surprise E-ticket dark ride, for example). See Theme Park Stop's YouTube if you want analysis of the permits that have been filed and the work currently going on.
I'd also say that from your list, the 100th Anniversary Celebration, D23 Expo, and New Disney CEO are not legitimate listings for Walt Disney World as none are intended as permanent theme park attractions. By my count, between now and 2025, WDW has three confirmed projects in development, and UOR has three confirmed projects in development, with only one in each group being something most would consider trip-worthy.
I absolutely hate the fact that Zootopia is being considered for DAK where the whole purpose of the park is to promote conservation and celebrate the natural world. Zootopia is a big city and the whole story revolves around human problems, the characters are animals but really the movie has nothing to do with animals. Just a bad idea all around.
@ AJ ... First of all, you posted "Universal has confirmed small/medium sized projects lined up for 2023 & 2024".
Have they? Can you send me a link to that press release, please?
AJ (regarding the unannounced Universal Orlando 'Dreamworks Animation Land'): "I feel there is sufficient evidence to consider the project confirmed for 2024 at this time."
Me: Take it up with Russell. He has relegated the project to the "rumor" mill, not me.
AJ: "I'd also say that from your list, the 100th Anniversary Celebration, D23 Expo, and New Disney CEO are not legitimate listings for Walt Disney World as none are intended as permanent theme park attractions."
Me: I'm sorry but "a permanent theme park attraction"? So do you imagine the the "Minion Cafe" (that you offered up and I gladly accepted) will have a virtual queue or a standby option? Using your Minion standard, should I add the to soon to open, re-designed Space Mountain/TRON gift shop to the list?
I established the context of the timeline from the get-go. You've waited until your third post on this thread before you decided to unilaterally set standards/requirements about what should or should not be offered up for consideration. But the 100th anniversary marketing platform (that started with a Super Bowl ad that won all kinds of praise), the introduction of the company's new CEO and the probability of big announcements at D23 2024 are substantial events the will affect WDW. And by the time D23 happens, we will have spent another 17 months gazing at the unending barrage of Epic Universe drone shots (which are kind of spoilers) posted by fanboys and girls across social media.
And when Disney does unveil those future plans (September 2024), Epic Universe will still be be approximately nine months away. Eleven months if doesn't open until mid-July.
Oh, so we're back to the old ways of twisting words again, are we, TH?
If you need an official press release with all the details of something to consider it confirmed, I guess your definition is way stricter than mine. For me, it is sufficient when there is enough evidence surrounding a construction project inside a park that an observer would reasonably believe it is for a new attraction of some sort. That criterion is absolutely met with Dreamworks Animation Land, and while we might not know all the details, it is absolutely reasonable to conclude based solely on what Universal has released that they are building some sort of Dreamworks attraction on the site of KidZone in the next couple years. Don't try to hide behind Russell on this one...you're the one who asked about the project, then decided to consider it unconfirmed despite the evidence I listed.
I would not call Minion Cafe an attraction on it's own, and if you look at my posts more carefully, you'll notice I am treating both Villain-Con and Minion Cafe as a singular medium-sized project. If it's more convenient, call it all Minion Land. Regardless, a restaurant has far more permanence than half the things you've got on your WDW list. If I'm not going to be able to experience Disney's 100th anniversary celebration, D23, and Universal's Epic Universe on the same trip to Florida, it's not reasonable to give them all equal prominence on the same timeline. If you want to play that game, you've got to add three seasons of Halloween Horror Nights to Universal's corner as well, because with a new lineup of mazes each year, it's pretty much a new experience every iteration. I can guarantee you a heck of a lot more people are going to plan trips to UOR for that than are going to go "Hey, Disney has a new CEO, time to get planning that next WDW vacation." Plus, if we're talking about a WDW timeline, shouldn't we be focusing only on things that are exclusive to WDW rather than something company-wide?
I get it, you're a Disney loyalist, and you want to take every opportunity to hype WDW up whilst trying to make their competition look seriously flawed. Nothing wrong with being a devoted fan of the mouse. But I've gotta be honest...I think it's pretty wild to portray taking five years to build an entire new theme park that is expected to contain more attractions than any non-MK WDW park as poor form when WDW themselves just took that long to clone a single E-ticket.
AJ: "Oh, so we're back to the old ways of twisting words again, are we, TH?"
Me: How am I "twisting words"? You wrote "Universal has confirmed small/medium sized projects lined up for 2023 & 2024." Unless you have an announcement from Universal that a Dreamworks Animation Land is opening in 2024. They have not confirmed it. As Russell said it is a credible rumor.
AJ: "That criterion is absolutely met with Dreamworks Animation Land, and while we might not know all the details, it is absolutely reasonable to conclude based solely on what Universal has released that they are building some sort of Dreamworks attraction on the site of KidZone."
Me: Or they met to discuss Epic Universe's projects. Or they met to discuss the Texas project. To immediately conclude that KidsZone is going to get Dreamworks Animation Land is a bit of a stretch. Time will tell. I hope they do.
AJ: "I'm not going to be able to experience Disney's 100th anniversary celebration, D23, and Universal's Epic Universe on the same trip to Florida, it's not reasonable to give them all equal prominence on the same timeline."
Me: Dude it's my thread. I welcome comments but I feel like I should be able to include what I want. The timeline can be updated as things get announced. Why are you stomping your feet and demanding that I recognize the DreamWorks thing immediately? If you go to the Discussion Forum home page you'll find a button that says "Start a Discussion". Click on it and create your own timeline. You if there's a Minion souvenir cart opening at CityWalk make sure you add it to your timeline."
Regarding his HHN, AJ writes: "I can guarantee you a heck of a lot more people are going to plan trips to UOR for that than are going to go 'Hey, Disney has a new CEO, time to get planning that next WDW vacation.'"
Me: I'm sorry, but where did I ever indicate that the 2024 announcement of a new Disney CEO would have an impact on attendance?
AJ: "I get it, you're a Disney loyalist, and you want to take every opportunity to hype WDW up whilst trying to make their competition look seriously flawed."
Me: I presented an accurate timeline, based on confirmed projects. It's benign information. I have never once said that WDW is better situated than UO. I have never said that Disney's attractions are better than Universal's. I absolutely never posted anything close to contending "taking five years to build an entire new theme park that is expected to contain more attractions than any non-MK WDW park as poor form."
Swing and a miss.
Universal Epic Universe is worth a lot more than just 3 words on a list. Once the attraction list for Epic Universe is known, if those attractions are listed individually under the Universal side, it would dwarf the Disney list which is already inflated with a bunch of fluff.
Not one single thing on that Disney list excites me, let alone would it inspire a trip to WDW. A brand new Universal Park on the other hand, absolutely is going to warrant a trip to Orlando.
Get it right, TH, UOR is opening 15 attractions (including 6 E-tickets), 15 restaurants (including 4 signature restaurants), 5 immersive themed lands and 2 new resort hotels in 2025, plus Villian-Con later this year and DreamWorks Land in 2024. WDW is opening TRON (2 years late), a Moana walkthrough (a year late) and a Splash Mountain redo over the next three years.
TH (Total Hyperbole) Creative is at it again, fawning over Disney for sh!t. It’s no secret that Disney sucks, everyone knows it and Universal is handing them their a$$, with more to come over the duration of this decade.
Universal has officially blown open Orlando (without LotR) and Disney has been left in the woke dust. Good night, Sleeping Beauty.
Keith Schneider: "Universal has officially blown open Orlando (without LotR) and Disney has been left in the woke dust."
Chopper31: "Universal Epic Universe is worth a lot more than just 3 words on a list."
Me: You don't need my permission, but (FYI) if you go to the TPI Discussion Forum home page you can click the "Start a Discussion" button and write thousands of words about whatever park or attraction you want. I encourage you to go for it!
Chopper 31: "Not one single thing on that Disney list excites me, let alone would it inspire a trip to WDW."
Me: Okay. But again, as it relates to this thread, I never said anything in the timeline would "excite" anyone, or increase attendance or improve financial performance.
Incidentally, I have to give my best friend Keith Schneider some love as it relates to timelines. Four years ago, on February 2nd, 2019, KS wrote, "If built, Universal’s Fantastic Worlds will open in 2025 at best. That’s when Kirkman is expected to be done, as said in the video."
Granted this was pre-pandemic, which caused UO to press pause on construction, but still ... PROPS!
I smell nothing but panic & fear from the Disney loyalists.
Thank you, TH! I do get where you’re going with this thread, but to be fair, Universal’s 2025 listing should have at least 15 lines for each new attraction they are opening at UEU (and that’s not including the immersive lands, restaurants and hotels also opening). That’s an impressive list of attractions for a new park. Not sure if any Disney or Universal park started with that many opening day attractions at its grand opening, definitely not with EPCOT Center, Disney-MGM Studios, DAK, USO or IOA.
I’ll go out on a limb here and say that WDW is primed and ready for a 5th gate and should plan for a target date of 2030 to open. The Orlando workforce (and Florida’s population) is growing, there will be plenty of qualified GCs, construction workers and craftsmen in the area after the UEU build (good time to ride on Universal’s coattails for Disney’s own benefit), Disney has plenty of recent and relevant IPs to draw from (if they chose to go the immersive lands route in designing a new park), and the current parks are packed to the gills (the demand is there). The only real obstacle in the foreseeable future that could slow down the process would be a recession, but that can be managed.
Reach for the brass ring Disney!
2023(?)-New Night Show
Seems to me that Universal Orlando has plenty of upcoming projects to draw guests in and get excited about.
Ok TH, I’ll play your game…
I do find it strange that Universal announced the closure of KidZone, but seemingly replaced those attractions geared towards a very specific demo with a single attraction (Villain Con). What doesn’t seem to add up is that Villain Con technically replaces Shrek 4D, meaning the closure of KidZone is a net decrease in park capacity in addition to the loss of appeal to those families with smaller kids. I understand Universal’s need to remain focused on Epic Universe, but it does seem like that focus is coming at the expense of the existing parks. Maybe Villain Con is a blockbuster, but even if it is, it represents more of a “treading water” move because of the KidZone closure and the recent duds that have failed to generate interest (F&F and Jimmy Fallon). Add that to attractions waning in popularity like RRR, and those with uncertain licensing fate (Springfield), and USF is still on unstable ground.
Don’t get me started on IOA. That park as so much untapped potential despite the recent coaster additions. Obviously if you look from a financial perspective, Universal has heavily invested in IOA over the past 10 years, but because development was idle for over a decade after it opened, there are plenty of areas that could use improvement. Epic Universe has further compounded IOA’s issues, and unfortunately after getting 2 massive coaster (though after removing 2 in the preceding years), Universal probably won’t have the appetite to add anything new until after 2025.
That leads us back to Epic Universe. There are still so many questions surrounding this park, not least of which is how many attractions and lands it will have, and whether it will even operate the same way as other theme parks. I would expect Epic Universe to also debut with room to grow, and how guests receive the new park may impact whether Universal immediately expands/tweaks it or devotes resources to the 2 older parks.
As far as Disney is concerned, I don’t consider a marketing campaign something to write home about. Anniversaries, birthdays, and celebrations are what parks do when they don’t have any new attractions to market. Also, the long delay EPCOT openings consist of a walkthrough and taking down of construction walls. Very much a “nothing really to see here” kind of move. While Tron is certainly something to look forward to, there’s nothing else in the pipeline to justify a trip to WDW if you’ve been in the last year or 2.
That leads me to your suggestion that announcements are afoot. Well, duh!!! Of course Disney will need to announce some big projects later this year, because there simply isn’t anything else on the horizon (no, I don’t count the DVC expansion of Poly). If Disney doesn’t get projects in the works now, they’re going to get crushed by the wave of interest in Epic Universe. In fact, if Disney doesn’t announce anything at D23, it’s unlikely anything of note would be complete by 2025 given typical Disney development and construction timelines. Certainly there are plenty of directions they could go, and have offered some Blue Sky ideas over the past couple of years, but I have a suspicion that they’re going to go with a lot of smaller, incremental improvements and C/D-Ticket level attractions over trying to rush an E-ticket in such a short timeline in an effort to beat Epic Universe to the punch. The delays caused by the pandemic pretty much caused that ship to sail.