"Never before have we created this many new experiences across the resort in a single year," said Mark Woodbury, President of Universal Creative during the invitation-only webcast (embedded below) to announce the resort's plans for the year. Here's what's coming to the resort, which we first told you about earlier this month:
We asked about down-time in preparation for the new show, but Jim Timon, Senior Vice President of Entertainment, didn't give a specific answer, saying only that there would be a "brief" closure and to check Universal's website for specific dates. Currently, there is no closure for Spider-Man listed. Update: Reader in the comments hears from guest relations that the ride will be closed starting Feb. 8.
Also in spring, Universal will debut its new nighttime show, Universal's Cinematic Spectacular - 100 Years of Movie Magic, a "World of Color"-like lagoon show narrated by Morgan Freeman, with screen projections, fountains and lights.
So what will be the best place to see the show?
"It's designed to be see from anywhere around the lagoon, so there's not a bad place to see it," Timon said. "It's the last kiss goodnight at the end of the day."
In addition, Woodbury confirmed that Hollywood Drive-In Golf will open in February, and he plugged a new water play area at Wet n' Wild, to open this summer.
Universal told reporters before the webcast that there would be no announcements about the new Harry Potter land, but make no mistake. This announcement very much was influenced by Potter. Universal's trying hard to impress visitors with everything else the resort has to offer - to encourage people to visit this year, instead of waiting several years for the new Potter land.
Update: Domenik was out at Universal today and took these shots of the lagoon. Coupled with the concept art, it looks like we're talking about actual physical screens for the lagoon show, and not the mist projections we saw in World of Color.
And here's the webcast, now available to all:
Question: Will Universal be extending USF hours for this new nighttime show, or will it be a seasonal offering only during the peak times of the year?
Light Magic, anyone?
This is the first I had heard of this closure. When I called Guest Services a couple of weeks ago, they said they did not know if there would be a closure.
Letting the public know two weeks before a closure for enhancements is very disappointing. Even more disappointing is withholding closure information from the public and the evasive approach to answering customer's questions.
As you can probably tell, I had planned to visit (all the way from Washington State), and my 5 and 9 year olds will be very disappointed to hear that they can't see their favorite character on their first trip to Universal.
IOA has been the attention hog for a while, which is why I would think the new HP expansion should be at Universal, but I could be wrong.
Here is the most relevant excerpt: In the planning stages for the park, Universal sought out a partner to help minimize its financial risk – one of the company’s it approached was Paramount Studios, and one its most promising executives – Michael Eisner. While Eisner passed on the project, he remembered what he saw. Once Eisner took over the reins at Disney, he was determined to beat Universal to the punch. Plans for the Disney-MGM Studios were hurriedly assembled, and despite Universal’s year long head start – the Disney MGM Studios opened before Universal was able to open its gates. How you ask? Easy – it’s called the Reedy Creek Improvement District – a quasi-governmental agency that Disney controls that issues all the building and zoning permits that Disney requires when it undertakes any kind of new construction. Not having to go thru the usual channels for permits, it was able to open up its movie-inspired theme park ahead of Universal.
Regardless, these announcements are all just placeholders for the next iteration of Harry Potter, anyway. No one is going to plan a trip to Orlando to see the things Universal announced today.
But after many years of stagnation at USO it warms my heart to see them at least trying to keep things fresh while the Harry Potter coffers burst at the seams.
Anyway, I'm happy to hear these announcements even if they are minor. Theme parks should engage with their fans - such as ourselves. I think BGT has had the best approach for that in recent years though.
P.S.: the only people who are excited about this show are the ones who've never been to Disneyland Resort.
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