'Discussion: Why Universal Orlando is Losing'

May 9, 2006, 8:32 AM · Theme Park Insider reader (and self-proclaimed former Universal Studios Florida employee) Brian B offers a sharp criticism of the Universal Orlando resort in a trip report on the Discussion Board: Why Universal Orlando is Losing:

"As it was getting late, we skipped Spiderman and Doom and went to Hulk. I must say, I was MORTIFIED and disgusted by the Queue line at the Hulk coaster. When we went in, the guest in front of us pointed out two small piles of what appeared to be feces on the floor. This stranger turned to us and said 'That is F----ng Disgusting. This would never happen at Disney'.."

Adding to the woes, three flatbed trucks used to launch fireworks at Universal caught fire early this morning. There were no injuries and firefighters put out the fire in about one hour.

Replies (7)

May 9, 2006 at 9:08 AM

1 Persons comments do not condem a park.

Plenty of people say things about Disney but they are not condemed.

Why does everyone have something against USF.

In regards to the faeces, are they sure it was? Maybe is was Chocolate? I find it hard to believe there would be faeces in a queue, especially as the most likely suspect would be a child and this ride is definately not a childs ride! If it were, then it wouldn't be the fault of USF.

In regards to the fires, things happen. Recently there have been a lot of brush fires in Florida (We are currently under a state of emergency because of this) I wouldn't be surpirsed if the fire was caused by the heat and lack of rain. Again, hardly Universal's fault.

May 9, 2006 at 10:11 AM

Universal is still a tad behind Disney. I went to both Universal and Disney over spring break and USH still needs some work. We stayed at the Royal Pacific Resort and did not get our room until 11:30 that night when we arrived at about 10. There was a huge line at the front desk as well with only two people working.

It seems to me Universal still may have one or two things go wrong during your visit, while at Disney nothing will go wrong.

May 9, 2006 at 10:31 AM

I agree with Gareth, Universal does not get the respect it deserves! Universal has gone through some major transitions with changes in ownership/management and granted they made some mistakes,I feel they're on the verge of a big rebound in attendance with all of the upcoming attractions.

And Mike I think that's and absurd assumption that Disney will have "nothing go wrong" during your visit, they are JUST AS susceptible to mistakes/problems as Universal.

May 10, 2006 at 5:40 AM

As far as things "not going wrong" at Disney, more than likely twice as much will go wrong at Disney. They are just much much much more experienced at hiding it from you. As far as Royal Pacific, it's not run by Universal, it is run by Lowes Hotels.

May 10, 2006 at 5:14 PM

If the doors of USF had opened in 1970, would they still be in business today if they remained relatively the same? I doubt it.
Disney is a magnet for pre-schoolers, grade school, some middle school, and the 30+ crowd. And that's where the money is. Parents will buy their five year old every stuffed "thing" at Disney in order to take a better picture. Disney characters are more friendly, more engaging, less threatening and far more understandable than the often complicated heros that keep watch over USF. When you're young you watch Disney every day all day today, tomorrow and the next day. When you're 14 you watch Spiderman a few times and hang out with your friends the rest. You can bet Spiderman doesn't come up once during those conversations. When you're 5 you go to Disney and flip over seeing the characters you watched every day. Mommy & Daddy cry they're so happy for you and so proud of being able to take you there. When you're 14 you don't go to USF to see Spiderman - you go for the ride and the blonde girl on line who's not sure if she wants to go because she's "afraid."
USF built its ship upon the thrill ride rock and waited for guests to run a ground upon it. Many of the rides were several steps up from the meek and mild WDW offerings and that was their selling point but in my opinion the park is a watering hole for 12-20 year olds. The trade off for those expensive g-force experiences are the subpar queues, the hotels, the staff training (the lack of staff needed to pull the "seams" together at this park is evident everywhere you look, if indeed you really are looking and not just running to the next thrill), and guest relations. My two teenage sons could happily spend their college funds here and never complain. (Let that say what it may). I say this also as someone who's not a huge fan of simulated rides. Maybe it's my age but I think they're a cop out. Spend the same money on a better queue and have the ride actually go somewhere. If I want to be tossed around in a vehicle that jerks back and forth until I'm ready to lose my lunch I'll get back in my minivan and hop on the interstate.

But when you've waited for two hours or more to go on a ride and there's not much else but the two minute thrill to recommend it, you'll begin to look elsewhere to spend the same dollar.
By a huge margin of comparison Disney offers much more in the way of design, attention to details you haven't even caught yet, hospitality, operations, accomodations, and no matter that some of the rides have been there FOREVER they still withstand the tests of time.

It takes more than a kicked up Six Flags to compete. And PAY half the cost of a ticket not to wait in line? Don't get me started. USF should invest more time in training and guest feedback.

May 11, 2006 at 11:29 AM

Think you hit to nail on the head without realising.

Disney is for Kids and their parents.

USF hits that bit in the middle, where you want a thrill and not a tired story that you've seen on TV from childhood, that got realeased on VHS, then DVD, then got digitally remastered and released just in time for Christmas/Easter/Mothers day or any other event thats sure to make a billion bucks or 2..

At least USF, when it brings out new rides and shows, doesn't rely on these tired film's the under 12's and over 50's like. USF bring the thrills to another level (Mummy) by investing in technolgy no one else has used.


Disney does invest more as it has more to invest and just recently they have brought out a lot more rides, to bring back the customers they lost due to lack of thrills...

Watch USF over the next few years, theres now more money to invest, a company who wants them to succeed by investing and asking their customers what they want. We all know there are big plans for new rides and thats one of the reasons Disney did what they did.

So sit back, relax, go to Disney if you want , but watch what happens! See you all back here in 3 years to Discuss

"Why Disney Florida is Losing"

May 12, 2006 at 10:16 AM

Disney will always best its imitators because it is a true theme park, not a bunch of generic thrill rides 'dressed' with a common theme. Disney continues to deliver on an immersive sensory experience, whereas other parks rely on the draw of thrill rides. Folks who do not care about service, attention to detail, or the general appearance of a park, will likely not care about the Disney Experience. I offer proof of this theory by asking a rhetorical question:
If USF is such a unique, not to be missed experience, why are they once again borrowing a page out of Disney's Book by crafting a fireworks show that bears great similarity to Epcot's 'Illuminations'?
My second point is quite simple and obvious: Even if the 20-somethings are going for the thrill rides right now, the vast majority of them will eventually have families. Guess where they are going with little ones in tow? Straight to the World.

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