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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

P. 604: Mardi Gras 2021: International Flavors of Carnaval announced

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I like how they build a roller coaster in the same time it took them to built new lockers for Harry Potter.   

On Sunday I ventured out to the Universal Orlando Resort for a chance to see the new holiday offerings at the two parks. This year is a little different thanks to COVID-19, but Universal has still man

The Universal Orlando Resort has put out a press release announcing this year's modified Mardi Gras event, Mardi Gras 2021: International Flavors of Carnaval.  Universal Orlando Resort cele

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Whoops! Honestly, shame on UO for not seeing this coming and at least having a better plan in place. I get that HP stuff is popular and has a rabid fan base, but for a ride to have 8-10 hour waits, that's more than just an issue with popularity. It seems to have inherent capacity limitations right off the bat, then you factor in weather issues which....I mean central Florida, those aren't going away any time soon...on top of the technical glitches you're going to have with any new attraction. Granted, I don't know all the ends and outs by any means, but just seems to me like one big operational screwing of the pooch IMO.

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As others have said, this is why I do not do the "OMG, Gotta be the first ones on" . I am more than willing to go to other parks to ride their rides and come back later to the current OMG ride when the crowd dies down. With those goofy wait times, I could have rode how many other rides at another park in the same time period ?

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Was there a reason why they didn't soft open this to try and work some of the operational kinks out? I know some of it might be secrecy, and trying not to spoil some of the unique elements of the ride... but they gave us some press releases with information regarding the creatures, etc. so it wasn't like they were trying to hide the entirety of the ride.

 

I know it often gets recognized at how quickly Universal builds and opens attractions compared to Disney... but at what cost? We all saw the debacle of Volcano Bay when it opened and they hadn't entirely worked out all the issues with the virtual queue system. If you went onto TripAdvisor and read reviews of Volcano Bay those first few months, it wasn't pretty. Yet it almost felt like Universal set an opening date to try and counter-attack Pandora, and come hell or high water that date was not going to change. It almost feels the same here - "let's date this shortly after SW:GE opens at DL, but weeks before it opens in DHS" to try and take as much heat away from SW:GE as possible.

 

I know Disney has operational issues opening some of their attractions... but I think they demand such a high level of performance before they open it, they would rather set the opening date later to a realistic timeframe, or they delay it if necessary (which is what I've heard about Rise of the Resistance). I don't recall there being many major issues with Flight of Passage upon opening, outside of normal hiccups from daily operations that occur with any attraction... and that was an extremely technical ride using newer ride systems and processes. I'm sure they tested the hell out of it before they opened it.

 

Hagrid's looks great, and I'm sure it will be a huge hit for years... it's just interesting to see the circumstances around it's opening and how Universal has chosen to handle it.

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Legitimate question: If most people don't remember that Test Track had a pile of disasterous delays, why would anyone recall that this motorbike coaster had some downtime opening day?

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I've posted this elsewhere but I kind of feel like it's weird that they didn't just do a virtual queue from day one with this thing.

 

They've done a virtual queue with the stupid Fallon ride but not the one with a 10 hour wait on opening day? It's almost like they just want the visual and news story of having biblical wait times for their new ride.

 

Even if someone just buys ONE one day, one park ticket plus parking they're up over $150 to spend half of their day standing in line for one ride. It seems like they could dramatically improve the guest experience by offering return times and they could avoid having to run the ride all night to run out the huge lines too.

 

People would still bitch, but I feel like it's better than having a ride that opens at 12:45 every day with a 3 hour line plus an inevitable storm delay because it's Florida in June.

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^ I'm on board with the virtual queue in the sense that it prevents you from having to burn all that time in the queue, but on the other hand, I think people should have the opportunity to ride it if they are willing to wait however long it may be.

 

I wish they did the system I've heard about at Efteling for Python. You get a return time in the middle of the day, but they make it standby only at the end of the night so it gives everyone a chance to get on it if they missed out on a return time.

 

I realize we're talking about a brand new coaster themed to one of the most popular IPs at one of the most popular parks versus a retracked Vekoma, but I still think that queue model is a nice compromise to at least save some from a queue line from hell.

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Even if someone just buys ONE one day, one park ticket plus parking they're up over $150 to spend half of their day standing in line for one ride. It seems like they could dramatically improve the guest experience by offering return times and they could avoid having to run the ride all night to run out the huge lines too.

 

Are they doing that and not just passholders?

 

People would still bitch,

 

People bitch about any and everything. Would a bunch of buy in events have been better? I guess it would be if it worked consistently, otherwise you would have spent $XXX for nothing. It's a new complex ride - from Intamin, no less - why expect Day 1 perfection? Isn't this TPR where we all call people morons for planning to go to opening day and then getting mad there's a big line and the ride doesn't work right (or gets pushed back a month because of technical issues)?

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It's a new complex ride - from Intamin, no less - why expect Day 1 perfection?

Not to mention a ride that had it's date moved forward when Disney announced that Star Wars would be opening early. From what I've heard the ride was supposed to open much later, but Universal changed that date, and some people working on the project only found out from what they read on Twitter.

 

I personally would have rather they spent a bit more time testing the ride and opening it later when it was working better, but there's shareholders, right?

 

Didn't this same thing happen with Gringotts... Volcano Bay... there is a pattern here...

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It's a new complex ride - from Intamin, no less - why expect Day 1 perfection?

Not to mention a ride that had it's date moved forward when Disney announced that Star Wars would be opening early. From what I've heard the ride was supposed to open much later, but Universal changed that date, and some people working on the project only found out from what they read on Twitter.

 

I personally would have rather they spent a bit more time testing the ride and opening it later when it was working better, but there's shareholders, right?

 

Didn't this same thing happen with Gringotts... Volcano Bay... there is a pattern here...

 

Avatar, IIRC, didn't run at full capacity for several months after opening. No one is gonna care in 3 months, much less a year unless the ride is dog s#it (which apparently it isn't by all accounts).

 

We could just as easily look at the supplier for Gringotts too, since (allegedly) they had to refabricate a bunch of track that didn't fit S&S Sansei style.

Edited by DirkFunk
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Isn't this TPR where we all call people morons for planning to go to opening day and then getting mad there's a big line and the ride doesn't work right (or gets pushed back a month because of technical issues)?

 

I still feel like those people are morons but I also feel like Universal is handling this in a really weird way and not doing themselves any favors either. I mean, they do a virtual queue on Jimmy Fallon... come on.

 

At the end of the day though it's not my problem. I'm excited for the ride but I'm not going near the place until at least October.

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It's a new complex ride - from Intamin, no less - why expect Day 1 perfection?

Not to mention a ride that had it's date moved forward when Disney announced that Star Wars would be opening early. From what I've heard the ride was supposed to open much later, but Universal changed that date, and some people working on the project only found out from what they read on Twitter.

 

I personally would have rather they spent a bit more time testing the ride and opening it later when it was working better, but there's shareholders, right?

 

Didn't this same thing happen with Gringotts... Volcano Bay... there is a pattern here...

 

 

Gotta love when a park takes shortcuts to try to get a leg up on the competition I guess.

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I still feel like those people are morons but I also feel like Universal is handling this in a really weird way and not doing themselves any favors either. I mean, they do a virtual queue on Jimmy Fallon... come on.

 

The whole thing is a virtual queue there. Kinda tough to replicate the same system if you have 5000 people waiting unless you have a spare Orange County Convention Center to have them fiddle around at....especially since the ride kept faulting out. Fallon's just a simulator, after all.

 

At the end of the day though it's not my problem. I'm excited for the ride but I'm not going near the place until at least October.

 

Maybe I'll go in February or something? I haven't gone in 2015 and have an exceptionally hard time caring about going to a park where I'm gonna go through TSA style security each time I want to ride Hulk.

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Avatar, IIRC, didn't run at full capacity for several months after opening.

Oh, it absoultely 100% did. I can tell you that one of my close friends worked on that opening and they ran all four theaters on Flight of Passage and full capacity on boats for River Journey.

 

They were also cycling vehicles SIX MONTHS before the ride opened and had lots of cast member and passholder previews.

 

But 100% those rides and that land was running full capacity the day it opened.

 

Star Wars land here in Orlando has been cycling ride vehicles on their attractions since January. When was the first time we saw Hagrid's test?

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I also mourn the loss of Dueling Dragons, especially when it dueled. It was a great roller coaster, and surprisingly intense.

That said, I actually do understand why Universal / Rowling apparently thought it was out of place in Potter land, both thematically not quite fitting in with Potter land (although they could have done more to theme the ride area itself), and, maybe more importantly, perhaps being a bit too intense for the Potter demographic (which I am guessing is younger and more focused on theme than pure intense thrills -- just a guess here, not a Potter fan?).

 

I think if they are focused on wanting to create one expansive, cohesive, thematic Potter area, this was smart from a *business* perspective to have a small cluster of rides more closely connected and themed to the movie and having similar ride intensities. And then put in the Jurassic Park coaster to make sure those who want more intense thrills can get them there.

 

Not saying I like it, but I understand the thought process behind it.

 

And to expand on this idea a bit: It's a ride that parents and kids can do together, no matter the kids ages. We are coaster enthusiasts but also Potter fans. I rode Dragons several times and liked it (although I could never "marathon" it because that would make me sick) but when you look at any group of regular suburban moms and dads in their 50's, most of them are not "coaster enthusiasts" and aren't as willing to ride something THEY consider big and intimidating like Dragons. All the Potter rides are now rides that almost anyone can do, so parents and kids can go together instead of mom and dad sitting on a bench waiting for the kids. And several of those parents are fans as well so there is something they can share with their kids. That makes the whole area attractive to the majority of families. After all you have way more vacationing families at UO than your local regional theme park or even a lot of Six Flags parks where kids are just getting dropped off for the day or Mom goes and hangs out at the water park while kids ride because it's just a day trip. They are making a sound business decision based on their demographics.

 

Agreed that the Jurassic coaster will potentially be much more intense.

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Avatar, IIRC, didn't run at full capacity for several months after opening.

Oh, it absoultely 100% did. I can tell you that one of my close friends worked on that opening and they ran all four theaters on Flight of Passage and full capacity on boats for River Journey.

 

I've heard drastically different things about how it performed opening year (and that they've had issues with theaters being down well past that) but ultimately having separate theaters means the attraction can only fully go down if all 4 theaters are non-functional. Hagrid's only has one track.

 

Star Wars land here in Orlando has been cycling ride vehicles on their attractions since January. When was the first time we saw Hagrid's test?

 

Two months ago?

 

I just don't get the indignation about all this. No one is gonna care soon. No one cares about any of the attractions that have a tough time opening over the long run so long as they work consistently. It's when they don't like Dragster or Kingda Ka (or when they still existed, Hypersonic or Shoot The Rapids) where we all relitigate these decisions. Universal is maybe a little less good than Disney at opening stuff. Big whoop. If you don't run a blog as a business that supports you, don't go opening day. And if you do, shouldn't you be getting into the media event anyhow?

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EDIT: Never mind. I forgot for a second that I don't actually care.

 

Let's talk about stuff that matters. How do you think Universal Creative is going to get 3D glasses and water sprayers to work with a Blitz coaster? Their innovation in spraying me with water makes me think many of them were classically trained clowns.

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No sure what you've heard about Flight of Passage but Robb is right all theaters were working on opening day and are actually reliable. The reason they go down the most and stay down because people vomit and it takes quite a bit to clean the vehicles.

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And to expand on this idea a bit: It's a ride that parents and kids can do together, no matter the kids ages. We are coaster enthusiasts but also Potter fans. I rode Dragons several times and liked it (although I could never "marathon" it because that would make me sick) but when you look at any group of regular suburban moms and dads in their 50's, most of them are not "coaster enthusiasts" and aren't as willing to ride something THEY consider big and intimidating like Dragons. All the Potter rides are now rides that almost anyone can do, so parents and kids can go together instead of mom and dad sitting on a bench waiting for the kids. And several of those parents are fans as well so there is something they can share with their kids. That makes the whole area attractive to the majority of families.

No one is arguing against any of what you just said. In fact, the park NEEDED a ride like Hagrid. The question really is: "Did Dragons really NEED to go for that ride to be built?"

 

There is an entire huge section adjacent to Hogsmede with a whole bunch of either closed or dying attractions: Sinbad, Poseiden's Fury, and that whole left over Lost Continent marketplace area. Why couldn't the two rides have co-existed similar to what Magic Kingdom is doing with Space Mountain and Tron? Allowing something for both a family audience and thrill-seekers?

 

What I find interesting about this whole decision though is in the SAME YEAR that Universal removed Dueling Dragons they ran these ads basically saying "Come to Universal... we have 'bigger kids' rides..." focusing more on thrills and basically "making fun" of more kiddie rides like what they have a Disney.

 

 

So which is it? Are you focusing on families attractions like Disney or are you trying to be the "next level" like they show in these 2017 ads? I've just always felt that Universal keeps changing who they are targeting and have never been quite sure what they want to be. And that's been an issue with the park since day one.

 

How many of you remember when the completely rebranded themselves as "Universal Escape?"

 

I rode Dragons several times and liked it (although I could never "marathon" it because that would make me sick)

EDIT: I would actually argue that Forbidden Journey makes just as many people sick as Dragons did. Maybe more.

Edited by robbalvey
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Did Dragons have to go....no, there's no arguing they had room elsewhere, but for whatever reason they decided it was best for their bottom line. Maybe so, maybe no but it's done now.

 

As far as the ads, I always took that more to be we aren't catering to the stroller crowd so much as Disney. Maybe I interpreted that incorrectly. Disney sells nostalgia, Universal was smart to go a different route. Now exactly what that route is may still be in the formative stages. Having areas families can enjoy together is not necessarily the same as what Disney offers, where most teens are going to be bored most of the time. I for one was not unhappy when my son quickly outgrew most of the Disney rides, I can do without the super aggressive stroller brigade on my heels. However, Star Wars land may entice another visit from us in the future.

 

As an aficionado of motion sickness (which seriously pisses me off) I will have to respectfully disagree on the Forbidden Journey vs Dragons barfing issue. Although I certainly have no numbers to back that up, lol. Inverts are very hard on those who get motion sickness. I am guessing more people with a potential issue try FJ than Dragons though. Just my 2 cents.

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As an aficionado of motion sickness (which seriously pisses me off) I will have to respectfully disagree on the Forbidden Journey vs Dragons barfing issue. Although I certainly have no numbers to back that up, lol. Inverts are very hard on those who get motion sickness. I am guessing more people with a potential issue try FJ than Dragons though. Just my 2 cents.

 

To each his/her own... but I've tried several times to ride Forbidden Journey w/out getting sick... and I get motion sick nearly every time. And I'm fine on other rides with motion and screen-based effects (Spiderman, Gringotts, Flight of Passage, Star Tours)

 

I have yet to ride a B&M invert that has made me sick... including Dragons (R.I.P)

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I guess it's one of those things that just affects each individual differently. I've never even felt queasy on FJ, but inverts often make me sick, flying coasters more so..... So for totally selfish reasons hoping the new Jurassic coaster is not flying like some have hypothesized!

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I almost pushed back my May Orlando trip so I could experience this coaster. Truth be told, after watching the POVs I don't think that the new ride would've been worth the effort. I keep hearing on social media about this ride's amazing theming but for the most part it looks as though you go by the theming far too quick to really appreciate it!

 

Also they've been referring to this as "the world's first story coaster." How is this more of a "story coaster" than Gringotts? (Of course calling Gringotts a coaster could be a stretch to some.)

 

The one thing I'll say I'm impressed by is the lack of reliance on screens which is a nice change for Universal.

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