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IOA is my home park. I have been a season pass holder since the beginning . It has been a disappointment for a long time. I go out for a coaster fix from time to time but don't stay for more than a few hours. I used to love to take people who had not been, but not anymore. I find myself saying stuff like, this used to be real cool, or, I wish you could have come 6 years ago. The staff has gotten bad. I wont blame some kid for not creating a fun atmosphere, I will blame their boss. I am probably in the minority here but I think both of the recent additions to UO and IOA have been a disappointment. The overflow line for Potter( which goes all the way to Toon Lagoon) is actually marked with masking tape on the ground. That's just tacky. The ride is good and obviously popular, It's just not great and I was expecting great. When I went to Potter it seemed like they didn't have quite enough space or quite enough money. The Dueling Dragons queue is a joke, there I said it, you took something iconic and made it suck great job. I can't believe they didn't change the bodywork on the trains, or at least paint the track. The audio is just lazy. Mentioning the Qudditch world cup in the queue for Dragons is just dumb.

 

The good: The events at The Studios are what keep me a pass holder. I love Mardi Gras and HHN. The summer concert series was cool too. Train was just awesome. If you ever have a chance you should see them.

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Until Mr. Potter showed up, they hadn't built any major attractions in a very long time.

 

I think if they were to add another coaster in the next few years they could keep up the momentum of Potterland.

 

And I must say this: 4.6 million visitors is a LOT of people. Most parks would kill for numbers like that. Just because Disney gets whatever they get, it's not a fair comparison. They are different types of parks.

 

Six Flags Great America, Magic Mountain, and Great Adventure combined don't even equal the amount of attendance they receive. All of these parks are in extremely populated areas, or the outskirts of.

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Six Flags Great America, Magic Mountain, and Great Adventure combined don't even equal the amount of attendance they receive. All of these parks are in extremely populated areas, or the outskirts of.

 

Just to keep everyone using similiar data, using the 2009 attendance report:

 

MAGIC KINGDOM 17,233,000

EPCOT 10,990,000

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS 9,700,000

ANIMAL KINGDOM 9,590,000

SEAWORLD FL 5,800,000

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS 5,530,000

ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE 4,627,000

BUSCH TAMPA BAY 4,100,000

6 FLAGS GREAT ADV. 2,634,000

6 FLAGS MAGIC MOUNT. 2,500,000

6 FLAGS GREAT AM. 2,500,000

 

So to the above statement about IOA doing more than the top three six flags combined that is not true.

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I don't know if this is the right place to ask, but i'll give a try!

 

I'm going to Orlando next week (July 31-July4).

I'm staying 4 days, and I'm arriving at 1pm.

I am doing 3 full days at Universal Studio.

Here's the dillema :

Considering the lines at Universal Studio, should I buy a Sea World ticket (The After 3Pm Ticket), or should I go half a day at Universal.

I really have no clue on which option to chose, because I don't know how will be the lines at Universal & IOA but I wanna be real sure on doing all the rides.

 

So can you please help me on this one?

Thanks

 

Jp

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The fact that most people think the Harry Potter area is a separate theme park is a bit of an eye-opener into the public perception of IOA.

 

Why people visit what attraction fascinates me. I can never work out why families who clearly couldn't care less about fish, for example, visit aquariums with children so tiny they barely can say more than DORY. I've been to Georgia and Baltimore aquariums recently, and I feel like the only person who came to see the fish...

 

Theme parks, along with zoos, museums and other various attractions, are one of those places that people go for an easy answer for something to do. And they go with the expectance that it's going to be amazing and they won't have to do anything other than be there to have a great time. The fact that these places get busy, are exhausting, that your enjoyment is often dependent on weather conditions and require you to engage with your surroundings to have a good time is beyond the average visitor.

 

Islands of Adventure is an amazing park with some fantastic rides. I enjoyed SeaWorld more, personally, but that's because I really like aquariums too... lol. If I was going to recommend one park in the world that everyone should visit, it would be IOA.

 

Perhaps it is perceived that IOA is aimed at young adults (which I guess it primarily is) and few families, who are most of the holiday makers to Orlando, have young adults going on holiday with them. I mean, I certainly stopped holidaying with my family like 5 years ago.

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I said it before and I'll say it again...Disney is full of charm and IOA is not. The rides are really cool and I had a good time, but Stormforce(which may be for very young kids, but I dont know the height) unicorn, cat in the hat, the fish, the carosel and Seus tranm things and the flyers in jurrasic park(I dont want to spell that things name) are the only kiddie rides at IOA. Also, to add to that IOA has few "middle ground attractions" meaning you either go on something very kiddie or something very intense. The water rides are both more intense than either of the two variations than Disney.

 

Also I work at a disney park as a cashier and Disney is so family themed I interact with kids, and Im a casier. I work at Taste pilots Grill at DCA and if a kid is in a stroller I'll say something like "Thats a nice little plane you've got there." I'll stay in character and ask kids if they are having a high flying day. I talk to them and ask them about there favorite rides and stuff while I am waiting for their food if I am being a host. Why? Thats just the Disney way, but I dont think its the universal way. Also IMO Universal is not NECESSARILY a destination, and the main reaason I say this is I think the park feeds off of Disney. How many people would really go to Orlando if WDW was not there?

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Also I work at a disney park as a cashier and Disney is so family themed I interact with kids, and Im a casier. I work at Taste pilots Grill at DCA and if a kid is in a stroller I'll say something like "Thats a nice little plane you've got there." I'll stay in character and ask kids if they are having a high flying day. I talk to them and ask them about there favorite rides and stuff while I am waiting for their food if I am being a host. Why? Thats just the Disney way, but I dont think its the universal way. Also IMO Universal is not NECESSARILY a destination, and the main reaason I say this is I think the park feeds off of Disney. How many people would really go to Orlando if WDW was not there?

The Disney way? I thought that was just the standard American Pretending They Care way?

 

I dunno If I like it, either. It's false and cheesey and I don't like strangers talking to me simply because it's polite.

 

But I guess that's just The British Way?

 

I think a minority of people go to Orlando and not Disney due to the extortionate cost of the Disney Parks, but you're right that few go for any reason other than Disney. I don't think it has anything to do with charm, though. It's predominantly to do with reputation and brand. Disney is a brand in itself. Universal not so much. I suspect that most people can identify Disney movies, but fewer can identify what's made by Universal and fewer still for other companies (who's parks do worse on the scale still). So you go to a Disney park with no knowledge of their rides, but an expectance that it's going to be about Micky and Cinderella... even if when you get there, it's actually far more varied. Islands of Adventure? It just sounds like the theme for most theme parks, doesn't it?

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I'm American and I consider it rude for some random creep at Disney or any other place to talk to me (no offense the ghost). I might be a bit antisocial but that's just my view.

 

I think that Disney started a major redevelopment of Florida in the 70s because of the increase in visitors from all over the globe. I think that any tourist destination or major transportation company (planes & trains)in central Florida feeds off of Disney to an extent. Think about it, over 20 million people visiting per year, I can't see why you wouldn't want to take advantage of it. When more tourists started showing up, other companies had their try in that location (Universal, Sea world, Wet 'n Wild, etc) and some had success, others didn't but obviously enough people go through those gates at IOA to keep the lights on. And with this, more companies try out and more and more people show up and decide to live there, becoming repeat customers and all. Then new technologies come into use and more people decide to fly down to Florida and their No. 1 stop: Walt Disney World. They have so much success that it is nearly impossible to find someone who has never heard of it. People then expand upon what they're told by their friends in their minds and decide that they should go sometime. Then, when they actually get there, and come home with bunches of stories, even more people flock to Disney and groups like Blackstone don't get quite as much chance but they do very well in the minds of other companies who would kill for that many visitors. Companies then feel greedy for more guests and money that they spend, spend, spend to try and attract more but their reputation doesn't build up quickly. It takes time and patience. Universal Orlando at the very most 20 years old. Disney has been around for 55 years and has many destinations and options to choose from. In the meantime Disney keeps rounding up more and more guests. Word of mouth is a powerful thing indeed.

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When comparing Six Flags parks to IOA, you must also consider the fact that while some of the SF parks operate all year, it's not everyday that they operate like IOA. Numbers can be twisted to however which way you want them to go to help back your point and/or give it a little more pazazz.

 

Bottom line, I can run through all major and semi major attractions at IOA and UO in one day (of course I go in the off season, Feb/Mar) and honestly didn't plan on going back on my last visit to Orlando (no, I didn't go for Disney, went for a Shuttle Launch and went to BGT and Sea World, had a much better time at those parks than IOA) had it not been for finding a hotel in the area that I wanted that was cheaper than anything else I could find AND included tickets and transportation to Universal. (59.00 per night) Had it not been for that, I wouldn't have gone as there are only three rides worth getting on, Hulk and the Dragons. Potter may be cool now that it's open, and should I go back I will try it out, but still, they have fewer thrill and flat rides there than the crappiest CF or SF park. Hey, but it has great theming!

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we are 2 days back in Scotland after a 2week holiday in Orlando - so been fascinating to read this thread.

Deals for the UK meant we had hoppers for both Disney and Universal - 14 days in each case! (Disney 14 for price of a 7 and the Universal was about the price of 2 days entry I think).

 

The original poster and friends thinks IOA best park in world - I think you have some more parks to visit

 

My opinion it is a nice park, but best in world - too many failings to get close to that. Disney park on Sunday - ride operators doing a brilliant job. IOA the next day - you realise what a great job the ride ops were doing the day before. IOA felt cramped and less relaxing. We thought the number of rides and attractions was more like a good regional park than a destination park. Harry Potter was great.

Now USF, it felt nicer to walk round, more relaxed. We actually wanted to do more repeat rides in there than in IOA.

 

We had 3 days in the plan left blank - to choose the parks to visit based on where we wanted to go back to. All ended up in Disney again!

 

One thing I have not seen mentioned - Express v Fastpass. At Disney all are equal - Universal it is a burden cost. 2 adults, 3 kids, it adds up quick!

Smart use of Fastpass meant 4th July at Magic Kingdom we got in more attractions that we did in same time at IOA midweek.

 

While I have been to a number of parks now in UK, mainland Europe and USA - prob not enough to declare what is best in the world, but IOA would not be in our top.

 

Outside Disney, Europa Parc (visited 2009) is the top on our family list of places and all would prefer a return there before IOA.

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Just out of curiousity, is there any room either within the park or an expansion area where they could build new rides/attractions? I am unfamiliar with their land situation so I do not know if they are landlocked. I understand that it would not be anytime soon as they will ride the Harry Potter momentum for a while but I am just curious as to what their land situation is.

 

Both parks are landlocked making it impossible to expand without moving or removing some rides/attractions. Looking at Google Maps, there's a housing development and a high school bordering two sides of the resort and City Walk/parking garage/hotels in front.

 

There seems to be a large, empty tract of land where Universal can expand right behind where Toon Lagoon sits, but Universal would have to find a way to get people across (what looks like) a four lane roadway.

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^The park was still landlocked in the past and they put in a giant harry potter ride!

 

They don't have to remove stuff to add more. They'll find a way. Look at parks like Blackpool and Indiana Beach.

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Regarding all the talk of general upkeep of the park, I'll agree wholeheartedly. The good thing is that the Islands have gotten a gorgeous rehab in anticipation of Potter, so everything at the park (with the exclusion of the Hulk) looks amazing right now.

 

Hulk also got a new effect's package for the launch tunnel. But it's track is in dire need of a paint job or a little bit of that magic rust remover they used on Kumba at BGT. As for the employees' at the park, they seem to have all been re-trained fairly recently, cause I've noticed the decline of customer service in the past few years, but as of my last trip (last month), they have never been more courteous. I got great customer service at IOA and the Studios. Especially by the Potter TM's. They're amazingly nice and courteous, and always in character I must say.

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They don't have to remove stuff to add more. They'll find a way. Look at parks like Blackpool and Indiana Beach.

Tbf, Blackpool doesn't ever add anything new.

 

 

I don't think IOA not adding things is an issue. Universal Studios is insanely outdated and people still flock there.

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^The park was still landlocked in the past and they put in a giant harry potter ride!

 

Couldn't you argue that Potter was put on the long rumored "jeep" ride for Jurassic Park land? Early concepts had it there. As well as a Helicopter simulator(?) of sorts...

 

Even then, most of the stuff they added amounts to strangely small and pointless shops with lavish fronts and facades.... but little else in the land. I mean, honestly.... the "joke" shop with its $10+ price tag for Dollar store items?

 

On the topic of Fast Pass vs. Express Queue, I'm of the same mindset. I think that clever use of FPs can really make a day at the Disney parks. Paying a sliding scale in the case of Universal to jump ahead of everyone is just a huge money grab IMO. I get that a lot of the ones that do use it are those whom are staying on property, and you know, giving something extra like that isn't a bad thing. But averaging $50-60 per person, if not more if you wish to go park to park.... a bit ridiculous.

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On the topic of Fast Pass vs. Express Queue, I'm of the same mindset. I think that clever use of FPs can really make a day at the Disney parks. Paying a sliding scale in the case of Universal to jump ahead of everyone is just a huge money grab IMO. I get that a lot of the ones that do use it are those whom are staying on property, and you know, giving something extra like that isn't a bad thing. But averaging $50-60 per person, if not more if you wish to go park to park.... a bit ridiculous.

 

This is what I was alluding to when speaking of the Premier Pass. You get free fastpass after 4pm. At this juncture, I'm not sure why anyone would really pay for fastpass. At night, there were never lines a couple weeks ago, probably due to the Potter affect. We used the passes mainly for less walking. All the lines were at the rides that don't offer it including Potter, RRRokit, & the flying dinosaur (can't spell it, but it's had a line for 8 years). The exception may be the water rides during the day, but I'm not paying $200+ (2 adults, 3 kids) to skip a line once. The ticket really is the single rider line. With the normal Potter line being 120+ at times while there, the single rider would take less than 30 minutes.

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Since we are on the topic of cost, I just looked at UO's website. I see they are right in line with Disney as advertised that they would be earlier this year. 1 day two park = 100.00, 2 day two park - 122, 3 day two park = 125 and for 25 you can add wet-n-wild (I must have missed something on Wet-N-Wild, did UO buy them out or is it marketing to add value to attract people?) Then you add on the Express Pass which please, correct me if I am wrong, and I hope I am, that depending on the operating day 26-70 extra gets you 1 shot to bypass the line and not unlimited and then add this

 

NOT AVAILABLE ON THE FOLLOWING ATTRACTIONS:

 

Universal Studios Florida

•Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit®

 

 

Universal's Islands of Adventure

•Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™

•Pteranodon Flyers®

 

It becomes not worth the extra money. Bottom line, if you have a family of four and don't have an annual pass or have access to discounted passes, to attend Disney for three days and UO/IOA, could easily set a family back a grand just on entry tickets/parking/taxes and add ons. And of course the kids will want to go to sea world, so add another 300. People today are frugal with their money, myself included, so when the kids prefer Disney, they go to Disney, as they get older and understand the IOA concept and are extremely familiar with and fanatics about Potter, the family could switch over to IOA, but again, it's only good for two days tops, or 1 day in the off season to hit up both parks.

 

Bottom line, IMO, UO/IAO and Disney court two different markets. Disney - 12 and under and those reliving memories or enjoy the Disney experience. IOA/UO is hitting the 14-30 crowd with rides geared towards the tween crowd and nightlife geared toward the 21 and up crowd. If you do the math with attendance, formulate out the season pass holders who go once a month or more, and calculate revenue, they are doing just fine. If they weren't, they wouldn't be able to build potter and make other needed improvements to IOA. UO, needs to update their "movie" based attractions, twister is long gone, lasts about 2 minutes, and takes 10 to hit all the pre shows. Jaws has lived it's life and in all honesty IMO, its now become cheesy. MIB is still realitivly in the minds of the current generation, ET is past it's prime, and the Simpson's ride is so so. Much like the carousel of progress, you must update with the times and build attractions in a manner that they can be re-themed/recylced once the novelty has worn off and people have forgotten about the movie the ride/attraction was based off of.

 

I am glad to hear customer service is improving, it sucked major in Feb of this year at the hulk. I did get the crew at the Dragons to open up and be friendly which allowed for an almost unlimited amount of re-rides, however, the UO folks clearly were more interested in capacity and people herding. For the money we pay to attend these parks, I expect a level of courtesy beyond what you get at the local gas station.

 

The flood gates are now open to shoot holes in my humble opinion on IOA/UO

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I think the economy is a major factor in this issue. When I went to WDW back in 2005, I had a lot more money than I do now. The job situation here in Upstate NY just isn't good at all, and I don't see it improving anytime soon. This is why I've been restricting my park visits, in recent years, to places like Knoebels and HersheyPark, which are closer to where I live. I think the same thing goes for a lot of the people in this country now. Be it WDW, IOA, or Sea World, they feel they just can't make the travel expenditure at this point, and are visiting regional parks in their area for the summer instead.

 

Another factor for IOA, I think, is the lack of new material, save for when Harry Potter world showed up. Unlike WDW, space is at a premium for Universal, which is a problem. WDW has the luxury of being able to add new areas, parks, and attractions as they please. As cool as Dueling Dragons, Hulk, and Spiderman are, Universal can't rely on them forever to bring in guests, especially thrillseekers, which I think are the demographic this park appeals to the most.

 

If this park wants to survive in the future, it's going to have to stay fresh. One possible option, do what Disney did with Epcot, and replace/change some of the attractions. No, I wasn't a fan of all the Epcot changes at first, but when I actually visited in 2005, I saw and appreciated how they helped improve the park's popularity, kept it fresh and exciting, and thus gave Disney more reason to keep it open. The survival of the park itself is the most important thing.

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Personally - I much prefer the Universal Resort experience to the Disney Experience. BUT - I am certainly much more a member of the Universal Demographic than the Disney demographic. I have seen Universal go down a bit over the years, and am happy to hear that there is a reversal in that trend. I love the place (both sides, and City Walk.)

 

To me - Disney is just WAY TO EXPENSIVE! I don't have kids and am an adrenaline junkie, so Disney doesn't do it for me. I will say that it is an absolutely GORGEOUS place and the staff has always been exemplary to me, but I prefer the thrills and atmosphere at Universal and IOA.

 

Therin, in my opinion, lies the reason for the discrepancy. Two completely different markets to date, and although they are adding things like Potterland, I don't think Universal will ever really try to compete with Disney for the family market share. Disney freaking wrote the book on it and do it VERY VERY well.

 

Thanks for this topic, I like all of the responses and it makes me look at the "Orlando Situation" in a different light.

 

David "I'm fairy princess enough without all those other ho's" McCollum

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I live all the way in Indianapolis Indiana, and multiple times a day I see Islands of Adventures commercials for Harry Potter. I actually see just as many IoA commercials as I do CP, KI, and HW! I do agree though that they need to advertise the whole entire resort rather than just one single thing at one of the parks.

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Personally - I much prefer the Universal Resort experience to the Disney Experience. BUT - I am certainly much more a member of the Universal Demographic than the Disney demographic. I have seen Universal go down a bit over the years, and am happy to hear that there is a reversal in that trend. I love the place (both sides, and City Walk.)

 

To me - Disney is just WAY TO EXPENSIVE! I don't have kids and am an adrenaline junkie, so Disney doesn't do it for me. I will say that it is an absolutely GORGEOUS place and the staff has always been exemplary to me, but I prefer the thrills and atmosphere at Universal and IOA.

 

Therin, in my opinion, lies the reason for the discrepancy. Two completely different markets to date, and although they are adding things like Potterland, I don't think Universal will ever really try to compete with Disney for the family market share. Disney freaking wrote the book on it and do it VERY VERY well.

 

Thanks for this topic, I like all of the responses and it makes me look at the "Orlando Situation" in a different light.

 

David "I'm fairy princess enough without all those other ho's" McCollum

 

The thing about Potterland for me is that apart from Flying Uni...er....hip....ogryph what really is there for the young kids? Forbidden Journey is a 48" height requirement so you're knocking out a lot of kids in the 5-8 demographic... hell even some small 9 and 10 year old. It is a great ride, but its existence is not an immediate counter-point. The idea of Harry Potter's world is a step in the right direction, if only it were expanded upon further...

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I just have to think in the back of my mind that HRRR should have been put over at IOA instead of Universal, but I suppose being as it's placement is by the concert facility at UO it sort of fits. OR they are getting the point that they need to update a bit with more thrilling rides, problem is, the thing breaks down all the time, even when I took a survey the lady asked if there were any rides that were broke when I arrived to the line queue and she already was marking the Rockit on the sheet before I got it out of my mouth. That and they are still advertising it as being new, which I suppose it might be to a point, but for me, you only get 6 to 9 months out of the new claim before people start laughing at it.

 

They just need a woodie. Theme it to rambo weaving in and out of the forest with bombs and gun fire, dipping below ground multi times to avoid getting blown up, and then you have a good, somewhat current feature ride. That or they just need an Achmed the Dead Terriost attraction where you can blow S#%T up. Now that would be cool.

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