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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

P. 606: Velocicoaster Officially Opening June 10!

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I'm loving that they brought Neville, Fred, and Luna into the video to help announce it. That was a nice touch. But I wish that Universal would just announce all of the things about the coaster. I don't like being left to guess...

 

Ok. Brilliant idea time. When you're on the Hogwarts express, it breaks down and stops. And then the room gets cold and the glass freezes. And then a holographic dementor comes in. How cool would that be!?

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Two weekends ago I made my way back to the Universal Orlando Resort to experience the new Mardi Gras offerings, but also to get a chance to see Velocicoaster testing. I'll have photos from Mardi Gras

It’s official: On Thursday, June 10, thrill-seekers will have the opportunity to soar 155 feet in the air and catapult up to 70 mph alongside a ferocious Velociraptor at Universal Orlando!  

Imagine having no desire to ride a perfectly decent coaster lol.

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I wholeheartedly disagree on two things:

 

1. We did learn new stuff: Knockturn alley should have some killer new villainous merchandise for everyone. Not to mention the renderings of what London facade/diagon will actually look like. I grow more excited.

 

I disagree. We really didn't hear anything that wasn't "known" before. This has been one of the worst kept secrets in theme park history. Nothing was announced that had not already been widely discussed for the last year. Sure, the concept art looks nice, and I'm sure the area will look great, based on how the other one looks. But there wasn't anything new announced here.

 

2. The coaster name ain't bad. Stop complaining. It is perfectly in line with anything from potter and is also descriptive for the average guest. Puhleeze.

 

The name is fine. It sounds like one of the books names, which is a good pattern to follow.

 

How could anyone not be excited about this?

 

Because they're not fans of Potter? There are people out there that have zero interest in this IP.

 

They debuted (at worst top 3) the best dark ride in the world, arguably the best and most detailed themed land in the world (and unarguably best in the USA), and some of the very best unique merchandising items in the world with the last HP expansion, and now they're completing the whole thing with a bigger phase 2. I'm so excited to still have my seasonal status from HHN 2013 attractions so I can go to any employee previews for this.

 

Totally disagree with the ranking of the dark ride. There are so many better rides out there. Sure the technology is cool, but the story is horrid for anyone that's never read any Potter or seen one of the movies. Compare it to something like Spiderman, which even if you've never seen a movie or read one of the comics, the story still makes sense and you can easily follow it. There is way too much "insider" stuff on the Potter ride for it to be really enjoyable for everyone. No attraction in a theme park should ever require you to be a pre-existing fan and knowledgeable about all the backstory for it to be enjoyable for everyone.

 

The area is well done, but again, there are some stunning things in parks around the world that are just as nice if not better, and don't rely on you having to read seven books and/or watch a number of movies to understand why they're impressive. Plus the area has a really poor layout for crowd flow, making it hard to get to the merchandise. From the artist renderings of the new area, it looks more of the same, with narrow alleys that will serve as choke points for the crowds that are going to be wanting to visit. Whether it's "accurate" to the IP or not, this is not a good idea.

 

I applaud Universal for putting this together and making money off of it. It would be nice if they'd make the new area a bit more open and enjoyable for the non-fans, but I have my doubts. But I really haven't seen anything from this announcement that tells me that it will be anything but Pottertown in a different park.

 

I still say they should have gone with a Game Of Thrones land. Watching a kid get tossed out of a castle window every hour would certainly draw a crowd...

 

dt

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When The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Diagon Alley™ opens Summer 2014, you’ll be able to board the train back and forth between both Hogsmeade™ and London via the Hogwarts™ Express* with a Park-to-Park ticket or an Annual Pass.

 

This confirms it. I'm guessing they'll have a deal on park hopper tickets next summer, but who knows

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I'm loving that they brought Neville, Fred, and Luna into the video to help announce it. That was a nice touch. But I wish that Universal would just announce all of the things about the coaster. I don't like being left to guess...

 

I'm the opposite - perfectly happy to remain ignorant until I get to ride the actual ride. I enjoy POVs of outdoor coasters but much prefer to wallow in ignorance when it comes to dark rides.

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The concept arts looking great.

 

I'm still eager too see - and in some years experience - the finished deal. Mostly as the London magical streets in the movies are quite cramped - at how Universal keeps the movie-like feel while making it wide enough for tons of visitors.

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I suspect I will have the same reaction to this expansion as I did the initial land: I will be impressed by the detail and technology, but have no idea what is going on.

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That's sad to hear about folks who haven't followed anything about Potter in the last two decades. The movies are all quality films (RT scores: 80, 82, 91, 88, 79, 84, 78, 96) with good to great acting and script, and are on ABC family every single weekend. Having zero interest is a little much Bah humbug to me. I HATED Avatar as a movie, but I am still extremely interested to see what they do with that land and can at least read a Wikipedia page to understand some of the nuances.

 

If it's about storytelling i CAN understand knocking the ride and I do agree that Forbidden Journey makes no sense the first time even for a fan...but the freaking huge vertical whomping willow sequence...and the queue line...and the dementors sucking your soul, and the combo of motion/high tech animatronics/moving screens . It's just too crazy and unique. Nothing like it. And I'm a script matters deeply kind of guy anyway. I think there's enough there.

 

And knocking the place because of crowds and not what it offers...yeesh it's Orlando...How about MK fireworks in the hub every night, or the horrible strollerfest in Frontierland? Or BGT's entirely annoying park layout? Or HHN in late october vs mid September? Or like, TDS/TDL/Half of Disneyland Park?

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I am a coaster geek but do like potter.I Did Orlando last year and i had no plans to go back for a couple of years having seen the scale of the new land in the flesh and online coverage. I am doing what i can not get a day in Orlando pre cruise which will include 2 nights in a universal hotel to get the extra hour (never stayed on property before)plus that's a one day hopper pass x2 , 2 night meals on city walk + spends and car parking extra they going to get just from me, lol think they are on a winner. Go's without saying will hit fun spot for a few hours on route from airport lol .

 

Stu K

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Those expecting a full out coaster experience will be disappointed... From what I have been told, expect something more along the lines of Mummy... More dark ride then coaster. I was told that it should be more impressive overall than Forbidden Journey, FWIW. I am looking forward to this expansion myself!

 

I did not follow/watch any of HP stuff until the first area at IOA opened up... A month prior to going, we watched all the DVD's so we could enjoy the area more. The films are fantastic, IMO... Worth a watch if you have not.

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^I would prefer something along the lines of Mummy, rather than Forbidden Journey.

 

I would prefer something along the lines of journey to the center of the earth more than anything else in the whole world

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And knocking the place because of crowds and not what it offers...yeesh it's Orlando...How about MK fireworks in the hub every night, or the horrible strollerfest in Frontierland? Or BGT's entirely annoying park layout? Or HHN in late october vs mid September? Or like, TDS/TDL/Half of Disneyland Park?

 

But the WWOHP's layout ensures that even on a "slow day" the place will be jammed. As beautiful as the area is, this is a big problem.

 

And, yes, people here have complained about the "annoying" layout of BGT and how Disneyland tends to be crammed. But park design has come a long way since those parks were built; I offer the Tokyo Disney parks as an example (they are built to handle huge crowds well).

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Exactly what Chuck said. You should be able to tell from the concepts and knowing how much control J.K. Rowling has over this expansion, that the design will be the exact opposite of what most park's try to do for crowd control.

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I'm looking forward to this although I'm not a huge Harry Potter fan. I think the story could have been improved upon if it weren't for the author's intervention. Oh well, we should be there in the fall to check it out. Funny how our next trip is starting to line up with HHN.

 

I do love the money Comcast is pumping into the parks. They've caught our attention and some of our budget.

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^Same for me. I'll probably enjoy the ride, but I won't be buying any of the Harry Potter stuff--unless they sell good beer.

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Went to IOA/USF today for the Harry Potter Celebration. Unfortunately, nothing starts until this afternoon at 4pm.

 

But we did head over to Diagon Alley where you can now sneak a look at the construction site in two areas.

 

Enjoy!

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The view from the near side

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The sign

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The cleverly disguised viewing area with a lower window for kids

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From the far end

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Curious to see if this will be open in late May/early June when I'm there... but I kinda doubt it. "Summer" seems to mean July/August.

 

Here's something that bugs me- when we're going down, we're allowing two days for Universal (which is actually twice as long as we've EVER spent down there). We plan to do one day in IOA and one in USO. Assuming that Diagon Alley is actually open (which I doubt), I will be more than a little annoyed if they will not let us ride the train just because we don't have park hoppers.

 

Honestly, it's not that hard to figure out. You just have turnstiles on either end (which you would need anyway) and make sure the patron's ticket matches the park you're walking into. Disney handles it just fine with the Monorail. There are many parks out there that share a ride between the park and the water park (Worlds of Fun's Monsoon, for example). If this is meant as an upsell item, well, it had been be bloody amazing.

 

More interesting is this- since the train will have to go in both directions, will the experience be different each way? Will there be a "going to Hogwarts" and "going home for holiday" experience? Right now I'm expecting a dynamic somewhat similar to the Jurassic Park river ride... except that JP has only one load/unload point. A show building would be optimized for one direction only. I suppose they could easily work out a track configuration wherein both trains could enter a show building at the same place... or perhaps there will be no show building at all... maybe all the effects will be housed on the train itself.

 

Is it bad that I'm more interested in the train than in the thrill ride? LOL...

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