announcement press conference, Universal Parks Chairman Tom Williams cited competitive pressure for not providing more details about the park.When Universal announced that it would build Epic Universe, the third theme park at the Universal Orlando Resort, officials declined to reveal an opening date for the park. At the
"We are all battling for the time of visiting guests to come to our location," Williams said then. "And to, frankly, share the details of what we have in mind with the competition is something that we have no interest in doing."
Theme parks struggle with the question of when to start hyping new attractions. For seasonal parks, the answer is pretty easy — drop the news about next year's new stuff near the end of the season to give fans something to look forward to over the winter... and a reason to buy next year's season pass right now. That locks in revenue for the park during the off-season, when entertainment alternatives threaten to poach fans.
For year-round parks — most notably those from Universal and Disney — the calculus becomes quite a bit more complex. With visitors arriving throughout the year, parks need to provide information early enough that people can make plans... but not so early that it encourages fans to postpone a visit so that they can experience the new stuff on their next vacation.
Universal Orlando's attendance tanked in between the time it announced The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the land's opening in 2010. (A global recession didn't help, but Universal's attendance dropped more than others did during that time.) More recently, Disney cited the same phenomenon for attendance drops at Disneyland and Walt Disney World earlier this year, in advance of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opening at those resorts.
After Universal's Epic Universe announcement, I asked Theme Park Insider readers to guess when they thought the new park would open. Collectively, you guessed 2023... which turned out to be correct. Even though Tom Williams and his crew wanted to hold that news for longer, their boss Steve Burke let it slip during an investors' call this morning.
A 2023 opening made sense to many of you, given the history of Universal's prior park development. But until this morning, there was a chance that the park could open earlier, or later. That uncertainty made it difficult for anyone to plan an Orlando vacation around Epic Universe. Now, with the official word that the park will open sometime in 2023, people can start considering that when making their plans.
So, will you? Is the news that Universal's Epic Universe will open in 2023 going to change your travel plans? Are you now more likely to postpone a Universal visit, as Williams and others had feared? Or are you likely to keep visiting as planned?
Since you all were spot-on last time, let's put this one up for a vote, too.Tweet
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