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Universal Orlando Resort (USF, IOA, Epic) Discussion Thread

P. 625: Dark Universe revealed!

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Yep...there are several factors why DCA failed, and many analysts cited its prevalent use of "off-the-shelf" carnival rides as one of them. Obviously they arent going to take them out as they're already a sizeable part of the park. Thats the simplistic thinking. If you were to actually think about it, DCA's growing success has been proportionate to its addition of non-flat rides (Tower of Terror, Little Mermaid, Radiator Springs Racers). Is it really that hard for you to understand?

 

No, I understand it clearly. Crystal. Having a wave swinger wasn't what cause DCA to have low attendance. The reasons are myriad and books could (and probably have) been written about them. But yeah, they were such a miserable failure that several flat rides were brought in for the re-theme of Bountiful Valley Farm and two were put in place for the new Cars Land. You know, like this:

 

 

No one is arguing that a wave swinger can carry or act as a D-ticket attraction in a major theme park intended to draw 8-9-10 million people. But to say that they absolutely have no place is to basically deny reality. They have a place. They always have. Always will.

 

And yes, there is definitely a place for flat rides in theme parks...theme parks that host significantly less people than Disney and Universal. Im not a pixie dust 'free-baser', I recognize that non-Disney parks with a focus on story will shy away from flats as well. Instead of saying its ridiculous to think one of these parks could not reasonably fit in a large scale flat ride while maintaining the parks themes and aesthetics, why dont you come up with a way for them to fit? Propose YOUR idea. I guarantee it wont be easy.

 

Put it in a box. Kings Island did it and had the ride not been garbage it would have worked fine. Big European parks that host plenty of guests have done it successfully. If you're worried about the aesthetics of the show building:

 

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^again, youre making incomparable comparisons. The Mater flat ride works...its highly themed, blends into its surroundings, and makes sense in the context of its place.

 

However, a Frisbee themed to Thors hammer, for example, would stand out as a garish steel structure that wouldnt blend in; furthermore, while you can theme the Mater ride to tow trucks, what exactly could you disguise a Frisbee as? The bigger flat rides are pretty much stuck as they are, due to their complex mechanics.

 

As far as putting it in a box, that becomes redundant and still doesnt lend itself well to good storylines...is Spider-Man better told as a simulator or a top spin? At this point, youre arguing for flat rides just for the sake of flat rides. While that may work at second-rate seasonal amusement parks to increase capacity, it doesnt work in the Orlando parks. They dont order rides and then come up with the theming...its the other way around. Universal COULD have made Harry Potter an indoor top spin if they wanted to, but they chose to go the innovative route, and I personally prefer that than to having rides just for the sake of having them.

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Yes, we're not talking about huge flats here, but smaller, well-themed rides for kids and families (as Universal also did with Kang and Kodos). Disney also replaced Orange Stinger with a Silly Symphonies-themed Wave Swinger (looks much better), but removed the Maliboomer Shot Tower (which was a bit of any eyesore and had those wretched "scream shields"). I also believe that a good, well-themed "flat ride in a box" (especially something like a Vekoma Mad House) would fit well a Disney or Universal park.

 

This has been an interesting discussion, although it has wandered a bit afield from Universal Orlando (at least in particular).

Edited by cfc
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^again, youre making incomparable comparisons. The Mater flat ride works...its highly themed, blends into its surroundings, and makes sense in the context of its place.

 

Lots of money was spent decorating a modern day Cuddle Up. Because of that and thanks to a soundtrack consisting of Larry The Cable Guy singing, it is "immersive". Yes.

 

However, a Frisbee themed to Thors hammer, for example, would stand out as a garish steel structure that wouldnt blend in

 

Because Hulk Coaster and Dr. Doom's Fearfall don't stand out at all as being garish. I mean, god forbid, you build something crazy and garish at an amusement park! Lemme guess; Space Mountain being visible from Splash Mountain makes total sense.

 

furthermore, while you can theme the Mater ride to tow trucks, what exactly could you disguise a Frisbee as?

 

Make up some stupid story and spend 10-20 million on decorative foam. Is this because we already discussed how you could do a Top Spin?

 

As far as putting it in a box, that becomes redundant and still doesnt lend itself well to good storylines

 

Rides don't lend themselves to good storylines. That's why Marc Davis intentionally didn't put a story into Pirates of the Caribbean or Haunted Mansion. But you knew that already.

 

is Spider-Man better told as a simulator or a top spin?

 

Would Expedition: Everest be told better as a mine train or a very expensive high ropes course? What kind of question is this?

 

At this point, youre arguing for flat rides just for the sake of flat rides.

 

I'm arguing for a thing that exists and will continue to be built, yes. You're arguing they either don't exist or that they only exist within the realm of "narrative" which, LOL @ Dumbo's narrative. Did they clone him?

 

While that may work at second-rate seasonal amusement parks to increase capacity, it doesnt work in the Orlando parks.

 

Absolutely not, except when it does because you approve of the level of decoration done in fiberglass.

 

They dont order rides and then come up with the theming...its the other way around. Universal COULD have made Harry Potter an indoor top spin if they wanted to, but they chose to go the innovative route, and I personally prefer that than to having rides just for the sake of having them.

 

That strawman is as dead as my future participation in this thread.

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^:lol: I dont think you know what you are talking about anymore. If you would like to keep grasping at straws trying to form the slightest bit of a coherent "argument", you can PM me...but lets not derail the thread any more. Theres actually lots of exciting stuff happening at Universal to discuss right now!

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^I agree. This started as an interesting discussion, but it's devolving into a ridiculous flame war.

 

Perhaps you two should take this to Thunderdome or WrestleMania and let the rest of us get back to discussing Universal Orlando. Thank you.

 

Now back to the Universal Orlando Discussion Thread, which is already in progress . . . Hey, how about that Diagon Alley?

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Yes, back to Diagon...

 

Word around the water cooler is that employee previews will be toward the end of the first week of June, with limited softs happening the week after...if everything goes on schedule. At least thats what I have heard. Barring employee previews, I would suggest anybody in the area try to hang out in the park around the second week of June...could be a very good chance you get to go inside.

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Can we just take a step back for a second and admire the fact that Universal built and entirely new gigantic immerse park section including a transportation ride system linking two parks in essentially 18 months? 18 months from the time they started to demo Jaws ( ) until they are planning soft openings for London and Diagon Alley? Pretty amazing construction project.

 

How long did the New Fantasyland take to fully open? 3 years or something like that? Doesn't really matter, Universal has been pulling off some seriously impressive projects lately! 18 months not to mention building a new hotel, Transformers and re-theming the Simpsons section in the same time-frame, pretty amazing.

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^Comparing Fantasyland to Universal's project is a little unfair. Universal is basically throwing all this extra money at construction/new projects in order to catch up to the infrastructure Disney already has in place. Disney doesn't have the need to rush their projects, since they already have so many developed hotels and theme parks.

 

Regardless, it's just real nice to see Universal has an owner again who gets the theme park business and is making such a huge investment in both properties!

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I certainly agree that the Universal theme parks, under Comcast ownership, are really showing what can be achieved in short amounts of time. Very, very happy that the old way of thinking was swept away. I love that they are pushing forward at such a rapid rate. It is not like they are even stopping with Daigon Alley, dusting off Kong for yet another attraction. I appreciate their efforts in trying to bring in either new or modified tech to present their attractions.

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I remember reading something recently that Universal had a killer plan for the next 5 years AFTER Diagon Alley this year. A major water park (not a Wet -n- Wild partnership), Skull Island, a monorail type system, and a 4th park (after the water park), all by 2020?!?

 

Disney has lost about 6% of its market share in Orlando over the past 5 years, while Universal gained a little more than 7% market share in the same time. Attendance for all of the parks has been going up since 2009, but market share percentages give the growth to Universal. With both groups opening up new stuff this year, but Universal really making major changes, I could see that tread continuing even more.

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I remember reading something recently that Universal had a killer plan for the next 5 years AFTER Diagon Alley this year. A major water park (not a Wet -n- Wild partnership), Skull Island, a monorail type system, and a 4th park (after the water park), all by 2020?!?

 

Disney has lost about 6% of its market share in Orlando over the past 5 years, while Universal gained a little more than 7% market share in the same time. Attendance for all of the parks has been going up since 2009, but market share percentages give the growth to Universal. With both groups opening up new stuff this year, but Universal really making major changes, I could see that tread continuing even more.

 

 

Plus more hotels and more rides along with a Universal Studios Park entrance.

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http://blog.universalorlando.com/whats-new/entertainment-interactive-experiences-wizarding-world-harry-potter-diagon-alley-revealed/

 

Hi. I’m Jimmy, and I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan. So much so, that I even dressed up as a “wizard” and hurried to the bookstore for the release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban back in ’99. Although my junior high dating life may have suffered as a result, my fascination with the stories only grew throughout the years. That’s why I’m PSYCHED to be able to reveal the amazing entertainment and interactive experiences you’ll find when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley opens this summer at Universal Studios Florida.

 

Imagine catching a live performance by a popular singing sorceress; seeing The Tales of Beedle the Bard come to life with a goose bump-inducing show performed by a troupe of four from the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts; seeing the banter between the Knight Bus Conductor and a shrunken head; and exchanging your Muggle currency for Wizarding Bank Notes while meeting a Gringotts goblin. If all of that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will!

 

It begins when you step through the archway in the brick wall into Diagon Alley, take a right at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and enter the bustling shopping area called Carkitt Market. That’s where you’ll find two live shows performed daily that will captivate fans of all ages.

 

The first show will bring to life two fables from The Tales of Beedle the Bard – “The Fountain of Fair Fortune” and “The Tale of the Three Brothers” (which was featured in the seventh film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1”). Performed by a troupe of four from the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts, this trunk show uses scenic pieces, props and puppetry fabricated by Emmy-award-winning designer Michael Curry.

 

The second show features a musical performance by the ever-popular singing sensation of the wizarding world and one of Molly Weasley’s personal favorites, The Singing Sorceress: Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees. With a whole lot of soul, this swinging show will feature never-before heard songs including “A Cauldron Full Of Hot, Strong Love,” “You Stole My Cauldron But You Can’t Have My Heart” and “You Charmed The Heart Right Out Of Me” – all titles created by J.K. Rowling. The lyrics also contain never-before-revealed information about Celestina’s wand – written by J.K. Rowling for Pottermore.

 

And that’s not all! You can also check out a variety of cool, interactive experiences during your visit to London and Diagon Alley.

 

In London, you’ll happen upon the Knight Bus and its two permanent occupants: a shrunken head and the Knight Bus Conductor, who will be more than happy to chat, joke around and take photos with you before you begin your journey into Diagon Alley.

 

Before you do your shopping for all the wizarding essentials in Diagon Alley, make sure to stop by Gringotts Money Exchange. Here you’ll be able to exchange your Muggle currency for Wizarding Bank Notes, which can be used within both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade (as well as the rest of our two theme parks) to purchase snacks and items from the shops. And there will be a Gringotts goblin who will be overseeing your transaction…

 

And, of course, Diagon Alley wouldn’t be complete without Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC, where you can step inside the small, dusty shop to experience firsthand the magical moment when a wand chooses a wizard, reminiscent of one of the most iconic scenes from the Harry Potter books and films. You can also experience this awe-inspiring moment at Ollivanders in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure.

 

So grab your robe (or in my case, your mom’s college graduation gown) and prepare to geek out. But first, tell us which entertainment you’re looking forward to the most by commenting below or using #DiagonAlley. See you this summer!

 

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And here is the official press release about some new experiences coming to Diagon Alley:

 

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT REVEALS EXCITING ENTERTAINMENT AND INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES FEATURED AT THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER – DIAGON ALLEY

 

Guests Will Enjoy New Entertainment and Shows in Diagon Alley, Featuring Puppetry from Emmy Award-Winning Designer Michael Curry, and Other Interactive Experiences

 

ORLANDO, Fla. (June 4, 2014) – Imagine wandering up the cobbled street of Diagon Alley, turning into nearby Carkitt Market, and enjoying a live performance by one of the wizarding world’s most popular singing sensations or seeing stories from The Tales of Beedle the Bard come to life right before your eyes.

 

Today, Universal Orlando Resort revealed the exciting details behind the unique entertainment and interactive experiences that will debut as part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, the all-new, magnificently themed land opening this summer at Universal Studios Florida.

 

While exploring the streets of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, guests will be able to enjoy the following shows:

 

· The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a new stage show taking place within Carkitt Market, a covered, outdoor shopping area inspired by London’s famous markets. The show will feature a troupe of four from the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts who have set up to perform a trunk show using stylized scenic pieces, props and puppetry fabricated by Emmy-award-winning designer Michael Curry. Curry is best known as the production designer on projects including the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony and the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show.

 

The performers will retell two of the famed tales of Beedle the Bard, a 15th-century author of wizarding fairytales. The show will feature “The Fountain of Fair Fortune”, in which three witches and a knight meet in their attempt to reach the Fountain in an enchanted garden, and “The Tale of the Three Brothers” – featured in the seventh film “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1” – in which three wizard brothers come face to face with Death.

 

· The Singing Sorceress: Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees, a musical performance featuring the ever-popular singing sensation of the wizarding world, known from the books as Molly Weasley’s favorite singer, who she listens to on the Wizarding Wireless Network. The swinging show will feature never-before heard songs including, “A Cauldron Full Of Hot, Strong Love,” “You Stole My Cauldron But You Can’t Have My Heart” and “You Charmed The Heart Right Out Of Me”. These titles were all created by J.K. Rowling and the lyrics also include never-before-revealed information on Celestina’s wand from Pottermore.

 

There will also be various interactive opportunities for guests to enjoy while visiting London and Diagon Alley:

 

· The Knight Bus, which provides emergency transport for the stranded witch or wizard in the Harry Potter books and films, is located in the London area of the new land. Guests will be able to meet and chat with the Knight Bus Conductor, and witness his rapport with the shrunken head hanging from the rear-view mirror. The iconic three-story, purple Knight Bus was inspired by its first appearance in the third film, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”

 

· Gringotts Money Exchange, a place where guests will be able to interact with a Gringotts bank goblin and exchange their Muggle currency for Wizarding Bank Notes. These bank notes can be used within both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade (and throughout the rest of Universal’s two theme parks) to purchase snacks and items from the shops.

 

· Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC, one of the wizarding world’s premier wand shops. Visitors to Ollivanders will step into the small, dusty shop and experience “a wand choosing a wizard” firsthand, reminiscent of one of the most iconic scenes from the Harry Potter books and films. This interactive experience is also available at Ollivanders in Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

 

"Bringing The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley to life has allowed our team to create show content and experiences that will take guests further into the fiction than ever before,” says Michael Aiello, Creative Development Director for Universal Orlando’s Entertainment team. “Nowhere else in the world will guests be able to enjoy these unique experiences – from watching a stage show based on the popular wizarding stories from “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” to enjoying the music of Celestina Warbeck, a character from the fiction.”

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Hi. I’m Jimmy, and I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan. So much so, that I even dressed up as a “wizard” and hurried to the bookstore for the release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban back in ’99. Although my junior high dating life may have suffered as a result, my fascination with the stories only grew throughout the years. That’s why I’m PSYCHED to be able to reveal the amazing entertainment and interactive experiences you’ll find when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley opens this summer at Universal Studios Florida.

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Anyone know if there's anything more to the rumor that Universal is only planning to allow guests to ride one time, one way on HE in a single day? Apologies if this was discussed several pages back.

I haven't heard this, but I doubt my random speculation will hurt anyone. I think it sounds fair, as long as they're very clear about it to minimize potential complaints, and are careful that all employees handling it treat everyone politely and the setup isn't confusing or inconvenient. But experimenting with this doesn't seem like a bad idea to me.

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Anyone know if there's anything more to the rumor that Universal is only planning to allow guests to ride one time, one way on HE in a single day? Apologies if this was discussed several pages back.

I haven't heard this, but I doubt my random speculation will hurt anyone. I think it sounds fair, as long as they're very clear about it to minimize potential complaints, and are careful that all employees handling it treat everyone politely and the setup isn't confusing or inconvenient. But experimenting with this doesn't seem like a bad idea to me.

 

I read about it on another forum that I don't normally frequent (and don't recall offhand). Their biggest issue is that because the ride experiences are supposed to be different for each direction, people would necessarily have to buy a 2-day park hopper pass to be able to experience the entire attraction.

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The fast pass/reservation machines are already up for Diagon Alley. Universal learned from Potter 1.0, with Diagon Alley being fairly tiny and park being PACKED, it would be criminally cruel for people to line up 3 plus hours during the Florida summer months.

 

From what I've heard, Gringotts and Hogwarts Express will not have Express or any Fast Pass (along with Forbidden Journey). HE forcing people to buy 2-park tickets won't be a deterrent, I heard from Touring Plans that most of the hotel rooms at Universal were booked this summer which they said should indicate huge crowds.

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