Another Universal Layoff Shows the Uncertainty in the Industry

July 31, 2020, 3:15 PM · The Universal Orlando Resort confirmed another round of layoffs today, one day after reporting a 94 percent revenue loss in the previous quarter.

The parks have reopened during the pandemic, but crowds remain slow to return, with daily attendance consistently below their lower-capacity limits. Universal laid off an undisclosed number of team members last month, making this the second round of dismissals since the Orlando parks reopened in early June.

"We have again made the difficult decision to reduce our workforce to reflect current priorities and needs. As always, we are aware of the impact this will have on those affected by this decision and their families," a Universal spokesperson said in an email provided in response to press inquiries.

"We are prioritizing daily operations and shorter-term projects and continuing our pause on longer-term projects, such as Epic Universe, as we allow the tourism industry to recover."

In its second-quarter financial results presentation yesterday, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell reiterated that the company has paused development on the planned third theme park for the Universal Orlando, which company, state and local officials announced one year ago tomorrow. Epic Universe has been in development south of the current Universal Orlando property, just north of the Orange County Convention Center.

Fans have been speculating whether NBCUniversal parent Comcast would cancel the Epic Universe project, given its cost (estimated in the billions of dollars) and the uncertainty of a return in the current tourism environment.

No matter what ultimately happens to the project, Universal's Epic Universe - in the form announced one year ago - is dead. That's because the market for which Universal designed it no longer exists. The trouble is that no one - at Universal or any other theme park or attraction business - knows what will replace it.

I know that many readers, fans, and people covering the industry have been questioning whether the Orlando-area theme parks should be open now, given the continuing spread of Covid-19 - especially in Florida, which has the third-most number of cases per capita among the United States and the second-most number of cases overall. Ultimately, the public will answer that question if the state does not step in to close the parks. And so far, the public's answer seems to be trending toward "not now."

That's frustrating for Orlando-area park leadership and employees, who - frankly - have established the nation's best health and safety standards for people going outside their homes. Universal and Disney went beyond the vague and too-often inconsistent advice to "wear a mask" and instead provided detailed instruction on what that meant.

Want to get into Disney or Universal now, you'd better be wearing a double-layered, solid cloth covering that loops over the ears or ties around the head, and that covers the nose, month, and chin. Masks can come off only while people are safely physically distant from one another, either in a designated rest area or while seated or standing still to eat and drink. Combined with physical distancing in queues, on rides, in shops, and at shows and character meets, Universal and Disney have taken a familiar leadership position in showing how crowds can be accommodated safely in even the most trying environments. Earlier this week, Orange County health officials reported that they had traced no cases to an infection that happened inside the parks.

But that track record isn't moving fans to book trips. Now parks must lay off employees, reduce operating hours, close locations within the parks and leave hotels empty in response.

This isn't the public's fault. Despite all the efforts made by Disney and Universal, the safest place for people remains their own homes. By staying home now, millions of theme park fans believe that they're doing the right thing to get this industry back on its feet as quickly as possible, because staying home offers the best way that the public can help subdue this virus most rapidly.

But what happens next? What happens when a vaccine or containment strategy finally ends this threat? How many fans will be able to afford theme park vacations like they did in 2019? Will people be eager or reluctant to be in the big crowds for which a park such as Epic Universe was designed to accommodate? Will the lingering health damage of Covid infections disable enough of the populace that Universal and other attraction designers must reconsider the physical requirements they create for rides and shows?

Universal would be foolish to keep spending to build a billion-dollar theme park it designed to open in 2023 based upon what it knew about the market in 2019. Yes, fans want a Super Nintendo World in the Orlando market. They probably would love to visit lands based upon "How to Train Your Dragon," "Fantastic Beasts" from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Universal's classic monsters, too. Universal should now trash any of the designs that it has created for Epic Universe, and it won't.

But until Universal has a clearer vision for what a post-pandemic market is able to support, it can't responsibly go to investors and ask their blessing to continue with capital spending at the level that a project such as Epic Universe demands.

When Universal's spokesperson talks about "allow[ing] the tourism industry to recover," it's not in the sense of getting back to 2019. This pandemic has had too much effect upon the world for that to happen. It's about getting the industry back to some stable equilibrium, from which business leaders can begin again to make accurate forecasts that allow them to justify major capital investment again.

I hope that Universal someday soon builds new lands based upon the themes it planned for Epic Universe. I hope that it builds a new theme park on its planned South Campus. I hope that Universal calls that park Epic Universe and that it opens in 2014 or as soon after as possible.

Yeah, I'm an optimistic theme park fan. I believe that other fans will continue to pay for world-class, immersive, out-of-home entertainment as soon as it's safe to leave home again. But until parks can be certain of that, expect to see more layoffs, more delays, closures, and even more cancelations in the industry's immediate future.

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Replies (57)

July 31, 2020 at 3:42 PM

Right now, MLB is in jeopardy of axing seasons with more infections in teams due to foolish idea of letting each team in their cities while MLB/NHL are a "bubble." In Chicago are, they tried to have theaters open in July but shut down a week later by the chains as folks weren't coming. The simple fact is, it's obvious Florida is a total mess on this and folks are wary just stepping foot in the state, let alone a theme park, no matter how well Disney and Universal are handling it (much better than Sea World).

July 31, 2020 at 8:28 PM

Anouncements they could not find anything from tourism authorities are unforunately not particular confidence enhancing. In this case the first thing to question is not if they lied, or if they just not tried - the question is if they could do any tracing targeted enough to find a theme park infection if they tried. Test results are notoriously late, case numbers are notoriously high and just too many people are running arround infected.

If you think the first version (lied) could not happen, there is the Ischgl example. When Icelandic authorities told Ischgl in no uncertain terms their skiing resort was responsible for infections, health officials responded publicly with an implausible "no not true not us, must have been on the plane" even so there must have been numerous other indications besides the Icelandic holiday returners positive test results at that point. They just kept going in full party mode with no restrictions whatsoever for another two weaks or so. Ischgl ended up being the major transmission spot for covid 19 arround central Europe. An antibody study among locals found the highest infection rate anywhere in the world.

The other issue i got with "no infections at theme parks" is that the cynic watching for marketing spin translates that into "lots of infections among tourists that can be tracked to other activities". Suppose there is always the one or other local that drives in a car only with other household members directly to the park from home and returns straight, not even using a public toilet on route. In that case in park infections are all that counts, otherweise not so much.

Not that Theme parks would e the first to apply this not our sphere logic. The very same logic is applied (and was also applied at the worst point of the pandemic) to even the most vulnurable populations all the time in my hometown, even so the ones organicing the save activities know full well that almost every participant is in a very high covid risk group and induced to do a long trip in a crowded public bus to get there. That is lazy legalese logic.

July 31, 2020 at 4:52 PM

If we can call it tangentially relayed, as Queensland is Australia’s theme part Capital, there’s a developing story of an emerging outbreak that was entirely avoidable. Three girls traveled to Melbourne, attended a party of 20-30 people, and came home with Covid-19. They lied to get through the stare border.

How do we know this happened? Over the next few days they lived their lives as normal, and infected someone else at restaurant. That person was socially distancing, and others have also tested positive linked to their movements.

That moment of selfishness has lead to not only moral guilt, but criminal charges.... and a further tightening of travel restrictions, so Dreamworld, Warner Bros Movie World and Sea World Australia (No Relation) can expect their off season to be even harder now.

If we all don’t do the right thing, then we just make the situation worse for everyone. Your communities best interest is your best interest too.

And if you don’t think you’re sick... Neither was Typhoid Mary.

August 1, 2020 at 12:23 PM

I don’t think the entire state of Florida is a mess. It’s mainly the southern areas. Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties have been accounting for nearly half of the Florida cases during the surge. Orange County health officials reported that they had traced no cases to an infection that happened inside the parks. The Orlando parks are under a microscope right now, so that is likely true.

July 31, 2020 at 5:52 PM

“I hope that Universal calls that park Epic Universe and that it opens in 2014 or as soon after as possible.“
I know time is meaningless in the pandemic, but that timeline is going to be tough :-).

July 31, 2020 at 7:28 PM

Two bits: “And, as Disney has states, there is no evidence that any more cases have been spread from the parks.”

Me: Did I miss something? When did A Disney spokesperson “states” (sic) that?

July 31, 2020 at 10:32 PM

Going to take this opportunity remind everyone a few months ago when I said there was no way Epic Universe was still going to be built and everyone jumped on me ...

August 1, 2020 at 6:41 AM

If the USA was run by the Disney or Universal corporations, everything would be fine in regards to CoViD-19 - taking sustained precautions, delivering clear, intelligent, information, and making decisions based on evidence and expert advice, with the best interests off all persons being the ultimate goal.

Unfortunately it is being run by the Trump Corporation.

And, well, there you go.

Sorry Disney/Universal, that's the situation you got stuck with, despite all your best intentions. However, I can think of a certain anamatronic in Liberty Square that could be moved to being dunked in the Pirates of Caribbean town well that might bring some satisfaction.

August 1, 2020 at 6:45 AM

@the_man Not like there was any recent precedence for a project to be put on hold for a decade following the decimation of the tourist industry. Oh wait, there was ... Disney's Pop Century Phase 2. Epic Universe is Pop Century 100x.

August 1, 2020 at 4:45 PM

This is bigger problem for several reasons. I think the Theme Parks have done an outstanding job and don't appear to be far safer than going to the super market or the post office...they are safer and infinitly more hygienic.

Transparency is the issue and until all politicians back off and hand the microphone directly to the scientists....nothing changes.

We've turned a non political issue into a "political issue".

Next reason, Theme Parks do not have a way to trace to the source whether they have an a-symptomatic guest or have been exposed to someone on route to the parks and resorts. The temperature tests have only proven to be 1 variation of 6 unique patterns of symptoms. As I have said previously, this turns the temperature check into a another form of TSA. What I refer to as "Security Theather".

People don't want a false sense of security, they want security. People by nature contribute to the problem by not changing their own behavior. To me, this is evidence that behavior is finally making that paradigm shift. Attitudes have finally changed and people are taking personal responsibility.

These are good things... fix the transparency issues and people will return sooner rather than later.

I have said this many times and have been shouted down. Require proof of an anti-body test OR have a private testing site set in the resorts or outside the parks that can perform quick tests. This is not theater, this is "You contracted COVID, or you have not contracted COVID. Those that test positive can be assisted.

August 1, 2020 at 10:42 AM

Note to Jer-Gar: A theme park and a hotel would be different, wouldn't they?

August 1, 2020 at 12:11 PM

You need neither if guest demand doesn't justify the capitol investment. Comcast wouldn't be the first company in Orlando to sell land before dumping a theme park division, should they choose to do so.

August 1, 2020 at 12:27 PM

@TH: I misread Robert’s article. It was Orange County health officials making that statement, not Disney. It has since been corrected as well as my iPhone’s incorrect autocorrections to appease the grammar Nazis.

August 1, 2020 at 12:34 PM

@TwoBits: That's okay. Try and be more careful next time.

(Chuckle)

August 1, 2020 at 4:25 PM

If Comcast does not build Epic Universe ... They've lost ... They ABSOLUTELY surrender the Florida market to Disney ... And, by the way, if Comcast ever announces the cancellation of Epic Universe, Brian Roberts should resign or be fired on the same day.

August 1, 2020 at 4:27 PM

If they don't build Epic Universe ... UO will be fighting with Sea World for (a distant) second place.

All Disney has to do is finish Guardians and TRON -- two e-ticket attractions that are under construction and WILL add to the entertainment featured in two parks whose attendance dwarfs that of USF and IOA. Of course next year Ratatouille and the new EPCOT night show WILL drop. And of course there is the captive DVC audience. And the Star Wars hotel -- which has until 2022 before it needs to welcome guests.

And then there's the 2021 50th anniversary. And the 2023 100th anniversary of the Disney Company.

Yeah ... Brian Roberts can either build Epic Universe ... Or he can quit, parachute and spend his retirement trying to determine exactly when he became a business leader who could never come close to the modern standard established by Robert Iger. At least in the arena of themed entertainment.

August 1, 2020 at 4:51 PM

@TH Creative, always love hearing your thoughts. Collectively, what is your overall opinion of Iger's stewardship of the House of Mouse? What is his "legacy accomplishment"?

August 1, 2020 at 4:53 PM

I mean Brian Roberts built Comcast. He turned a company making $600 million a year into one make $94 billion a year. So I don't think he'll lose a lot of sleep over not building Epic Universe. Nor will his reputation be tarnished as a business man. Lmao.

August 1, 2020 at 5:04 PM

AndreL: "So I don't think he'll lose a lot of sleep over not building Epic Universe."

Me: Got it. He won't lose sleep over surrending the opportunity to be a real competitor in the biggest themed entertainment market on the planet. I'm sure he has no problem admitting his grasp on the second (or is it third) place finish. Ahhhhhh ... What could have been.

August 1, 2020 at 5:08 PM

Mr. Whatever writes: "Collectively, what is your overall opinion of Iger's stewardship of the House of Mouse? What is his "legacy accomplishment"?

Me: I would say I have no reason to believe Brian Roberts would have done a better job. And "you're welcome" for answering you obviously troll question.

NEXT!

August 1, 2020 at 5:18 PM

We went to lunch at Cooper's Hawk today ... Between the Orlando Hyatt (Peabody) travelling north on International Drive to Sand Lake Road ... On a Saturday ... We counted 9 pedestrians.

August 1, 2020 at 5:22 PM

@TH Creative,

Wow! What a thrill! You actually think I'm a "trolling". I was asking you because I want to know your opinion. It wasn't a criticism or a clap. Why do you look at everything like its a snipe? Nor was I asking for a comparison, I want to know how you think Iger will be remembered.

Now, would you like to revise your statement? BTW: thanks for the complete lack of faith.

August 1, 2020 at 5:23 PM

TH, I’m not sure what makes you think Universal is competing with SeaWorld for second place. They’ve been way ahead of them for the past decade. Not sure why you need to gaslight Universal now when people from the company are clearly in a lot of hurt at the moment.

August 1, 2020 at 5:28 PM

@leastblahblahblah: Could you repeat the question? I only ask because I want to see if you actually do it.

August 1, 2020 at 5:30 PM

@TH Creative *** JERK ALERT *** ***JERK ALERT***

I never really though of you that way until today. Congrats. Please continue being bitter and jaded.

August 1, 2020 at 5:35 PM

James, I am.not gaslighting anyone! Check it, last August, Disney was opening Star Wars and Disney+ and the 50th was on the horizon like a tsunami and the numbers were thermonuclear.

And in the face of it, Comcast drops its counter punch.

And NOW, regardless of the sick, Disney is gonna drop four MAJORS on the market ... And Comcast presses pause?!

If Roberts caves and walks away ... He's a guy running an attraction that gives discounts with coupons downloaded from FB ... With a can of Diet Mountain Dew.

I'm saying BUILD EPIC UNIVERSE!

August 1, 2020 at 5:37 PM

@ Random Person: Imagine how upset I am that you never "though" of me that way

August 1, 2020 at 5:39 PM

@TH Creative:

Multiple Choice:

A.) Who hurt you
B.) I forgot to take something this morning....
C.) Too busy gaslighting

August 1, 2020 at 5:49 PM

@leastinteresting ... Are you really still here?

August 1, 2020 at 5:50 PM

@TH Creative:

So it's B?

August 1, 2020 at 6:19 PM

If Comcast does not build Epic Universe, it's an act of surrender.

August 1, 2020 at 7:05 PM

Not wanting to wade into yet another TPI endless/pointless debate, I think there is an competitive option that Universal can take, and still not build Epic Universe (which I would hate to see dropped):
Gut some of the less-than-stellar lands of their current parks, and build their intended lands, scaled back, there - at the fraction of the price of a whole new park.

Who wouldn't rather have a Classic Monster's Island, rather than Toon Lagoon?

Magical Creatures rather than San Francisco and New York (aka Fast and Furious: Supercharged with Jimmy Falon)?

Mario Land rather than Super Hero Island? (Just give the rights back to Disney - you're only just promoting their IP anyway).

The immediate future of Orlando Theme Parks are in limbo currently. I would hate to see Epic Universe vanish - but if economic realities make that happen, there is no reason that they couldn't work with what is already in place to create something competitive and wonderful.

August 1, 2020 at 7:17 PM

I agree with B Goodwin ... Comcast can shuffle the deck in the existing parks (not that there is any sign they actually plan to do that) and remain solidly in second or third place without Epic Universe.

You go UO!

August 1, 2020 at 7:25 PM

B Goodwin: "The immediate future of Orlando Theme Parks are in limbo currently."

I respond: No it's not. Disney is moving forward on Guardians, TRON, the new night show at EPCOT and Ratatouille. I mean, UO is in distress/limbo ... But a couple of miles down I4 they are pressing forward.

August 1, 2020 at 7:31 PM

@TH Creative. I genuinely find your views interesting, for the most part. However, you pointing out various spelling mistakes doesn’t really do you any favours. Especially as you’re not immune to making them yourself “And "you're welcome" for answering you obviously troll question.“ Even if you want to call them out on something else, perhaps cut them some slack with the typos?

August 1, 2020 at 7:37 PM

"Not wanting to wade into yet another TPI endless/pointless debate"

I Respond: All great points. However, the train already ran over that pedestrian. Wouldn't it be great if we had...

A.) Someone whose motto is: To establish a "Hitler Level" bully pulpit on a theme park blog.
B.) An organization that wants to label people
C.) Writing things repeatedly in ALL CAPS thinking that eventually, that will make it true.

I would ask that someone else not to wet themselves over whether or not a park gets built...guessing from the pause we were too late on that one.

August 1, 2020 at 7:36 PM

I find TH Creative interesting too. You cannot really fix someone with type of attitude.

August 1, 2020 at 7:41 PM

@80sman, I don't have a priblem with peeple correxting my posts.

August 1, 2020 at 7:52 PM

Leastamongus writes: "Writing things repeatedly in ALL CAPS thinking that eventually, that will make it true."

Me: How many times did you post "JERK ALERT"? Wouldn't that be a demonstration of "Writing things repeatedly in ALL CAPS"?

NEXT!

August 1, 2020 at 8:11 PM

Leastinteresting - Just because a hook is well baited, does not mean that a fish has to bite.

August 1, 2020 at 8:17 PM

@TH Creative:

"An organization that wants to label people"

TH Response(s)
"Mr. Whatever writes"
"@leastblahblahblah:"
"@ Random Person"
"Leastamongus qrites"

"Someone whose motto is: To establish a "Hitler Level" bully pulpit on a theme park blog."

TH Response(s)
"I respond: No it's not"
"Comcast ever announces the cancellation of Epic Universe, Brian Roberts should resign or be fired on the same day"
"Me: How many times did you post "JERK ALERT"? Wouldn't that be a demonstration of "Writing things repeatedly in ALL CAPS"?"
"If Comcast does not build Epic Universe, it's an act of surrender"


"Writing things repeatedly in ALL CAPS thinking that eventually, that will make it true."

TH Response(s)

"Wouldn't that be a demonstration of "Writing things repeatedly in ALL CAPS"?"
"I'm saying BUILD EPIC UNIVERSE!"
" two e-ticket attractions that are under construction and WILL add to the entertainment featured in two parks whose attendance dwarfs that of - and -. Of course next year Ratatouille and the new - night show WILL drop"


Just calling out the bully when I see him..

I see you... [insert bully witness icon]

Next...

August 1, 2020 at 8:24 PM

B Goodwin... I appreciate the kind words and advise.

I have several times offered statements of support and appreciation and while I am not asking for it to be returned he is going to respect me. If you look, I genuinely sought his opinion.

His hypocrisy is on display for all to see in black and white.

August 1, 2020 at 9:16 PM

And what does your obsession have to do with your off thread question about "Iger's stewardship"?

August 1, 2020 at 10:13 PM

Respectfully, you cover a lot of turf. So when you are discussing the impact of Brian Roberts next decisions and the impact it could have on his legacy this question emerges in comparison to Iger: If Iger does nothing from this day forward, what is his legacy? What was his biggest success, failure, & project project? To me this circles back to what happens next?

August 1, 2020 at 10:52 PM

Considering Disney dominates pretty much every industry it is in, Bob Iger will be remembered as one of the most effective CEOs of the last 20 years in any industry. I don't know enough about Brian Roberts to make any judgements but I don't think Epic Universe being cancelled because of a pandemic that caused a massive worldwide recession would automatically make anyone a failure.

August 2, 2020 at 8:11 AM

Plastic Bob's legacy is simple. He bought Pixar, Lucas and Marvel giving them so much perfect IPs to dominate the entertainment world via theme parks, films, Disney+ and merchandise. Plus 21st Century Fox. Truly, an incredible legacy.

The Eisner/Wells decade (84-94) was special in many ways but Iger has achieved so much more which lays the foundation of the company for decades to come.

I can't wait for his biography during his time at Disney. If it isn't already being drafted......it should be.

Oh, and he's set himself up with so much Disney stock he won't even need a Sunday job or direct cars at MK's parking lot with his fluorescent baton.

August 2, 2020 at 9:10 AM

Most of this conversation/bickering is pointless. Universal will build Epic Universe eventually, but in a climate where they cannot fill the two parks they have now, it isn’t economically feasible to built a third gate.

Comparing Disney finishing up attractions that were already under construction to Universal building a whole new park is comparing apples to a whole grove full of oranges. Let’s not forget that Disney has also put the brakes on developing the already-announced Mary Poppins attraction, the Play Pavillon, and the Spaceship Earth update, thus showing Disney is not immune to the current Florida tourism downturn.

August 2, 2020 at 12:28 PM

I said "most effective" not "most creative" ... those aren't the same haha. Also his autobiography came out last year and was one of Amazon's top selling books when it came out. Bill Gates wrote that it was one of the only business books worth reading.


"Most of this conversation/bickering is pointless. Universal will build Epic Universe eventually"
I still disagree. Will they build something there eventually? Probably, but I still don't think Epic Universe is a 100% lock considering the circumstances. This isn't the 1981 or 2001 recession, we are talking about Central Florida's biggest recession ever.

August 2, 2020 at 4:59 PM

Funny thing about recessions is they have always been followed by a period of economic growth. The Central Florida tourism industry will survive even if it will struggle in the immediate future.

August 2, 2020 at 5:10 PM

Twobie: "Comparing Disney finishing up attractions that were already under construction to Universal building a whole new park is comparing apples to a whole grove full of oranges."

Me: That has zero to do with my point. Disney has three e-tix and a boss night show that will drop in the next 18 months. Universal has a dino coaster which plays to a smaller demographic.

Again, I believe Comcast MUST build Epic ... Or the UO resort will sit in a DISTANT second place ... Like, forever.

August 2, 2020 at 6:13 PM

It is far less self evident one should not build a park scheduled to open in 2023 than most here make it out to be. By far the most likely scenario for 2023 is that everything, both good and bad will be back to the old normal. In the meantime, real interest rates are negative and labour is cheap.

Sidenote: Central Flroida should not worry to go the way of Detroit because....
that would mean its major industry would pay a lot better than now.

August 3, 2020 at 11:38 AM

Let's be honest here, every company in the world right now is pulling back on excessive expenses and expansion plans, and what Universal is doing is no different from what Disney is doing. The projects that Disney has chosen to cut or keep follow the same pattern that Universal has followed.

Disney is moving forward with Guardians, Tron, Ratatouille, HarmonioUS, and the Halcyon. What do all of those projects have in common? Every single one of those attractions completed a significant (>70%) of vertical construction prior to the pandemic. Any cancellation or extended delay (>2 years) in those projects would represent massive visible evidence of what could have been or an additional cost to tear these structures down. All five of those major projects were well beyond any point of no return in terms of sunk costs, so aside from making small tweaks to "bells and whistles" that fans may never know existed, Disney had no choice but to finish those projects as efficiently and expeditiously as possible. Completion of these projects say nothing about the stability of the market or financial viability of theme parks in the future. In fact, Universal is doing the same thing by continuing construction of the Jurassic World coaster at IOA and opening the Bourne Stuntacular a few weeks ago. These are projects where costs were already sunk, and major construction had already been completed or reached a point of no return prior to the pandemic.

On the other hand, Epic Universe is still in the design and development stage with very little vertical construction (much like many of the further off WDW projects that have been put on hold or completely cancelled by Disney). Also, the parcel where the future theme park was to be built is far from the peering eyes of guests. The project is at a stage where pressing "pause" on further development and spending makes sense and doesn't cost Universal anything except an idle property that they have to pay taxes on that is not generating any revenue. Ultimately, I think there's very little chance this park doesn't get built, but there may be significant changes to the design and attraction lineup (I still think Universal would be wise turning the property into a high-end, exclusive-style park similar to Discovery Cove where the price to visit is high, but crowds are extremely low).

August 3, 2020 at 1:03 PM

Without venturing too far into the weeds, I happen to agree with TH.C... Universal must, should, and will build that park. The timeline might slip by a year or two, but canceling plans altogether will set them back decades. If they build it, I will visit (and I suspect all of those "Perma-Covies" will too... whether to enjoy the park or blog-complain about health safety measures they personally feel are inadequate).

My season restarts once temperatures cool this fall/winter and wearing a mask isn't ridiculously uncomfortable.

August 3, 2020 at 1:42 PM

No disrespect but I think you and TH Creative are ignorant on how these kind of things work. UO planned to build the park based off the assumptions their attendance and profits were going to be at a certain level for the next few years. All those people working on the project: engineers, contractors, have to get paid, a lot of money, for years before Universal sees a dime from the investment. In order to pay those people they need to be making money and taking out debt. Most people will agree real estate is a good investment but if you lost your job tomorrow would you go out and buy a house just because you had planned to? Probably not. Unless there is some sort of economic miracle soon this project is dead. Like Robert said look out for Nintendoland to be built at USF and the rest of the rides to be sent to various parks around the world.

August 3, 2020 at 4:44 PM

I'll stake every Pandora Disney exclusive charm on Mrs Plum's countless bracelets that Epic Universe WILL be built. It may be deferred but it WILL be built. It may be different from the original concept but it WILL be built. The war between Disney & Universal is too personal for it not to happen. They have also invested heavily in the land so it won't go unused. We will have a vaccine in 12 months. Once that happens, just like easing of "lockdown" both sides of the pond when most people reacted like coiled springs and went OTT, locals, Americans, Brits and others will flock back to Orlando and likely in greater numbers than ever. Some sort of "social distancing" may still be operation in the parks and rides but tourism will flourish........providing we still have airlines operating. I'll throw in my signed Minions poster and say c.2025. Let's have faith people!

August 3, 2020 at 3:15 PM

Don´t think chipmakers, cloud computing, mail order and the like are pulling any investments. Others, e.g. cars or some industrial machinery builders were already in a recession before covid.

August 4, 2020 at 2:27 PM

Russell:: "Also, the parcel where the future theme park was to be built is far from the peering eyes of guests."

Me: Until the helicopter tours along I-Drive fire up again.

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