Universal Orlando Resort Attendance Up 20 Percent and New Attraction Plans

Written by Eric Davis. Posted in Features, Orlando Parkhopper, Universal Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Orlando, Universal Studios

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Published on September 17, 2013 at 12:01 am with 36 Comments

We have news from all around the Universal Orlando Resort, with updates for Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios and CityWalk.  And we also look into the future for both Orlando and Hollywood as we get confirmation on incredible plans for both coasts!  So lean in, because we have a lot to share in today’s update!

Steve Burke Speaks to Investors

Steve Burke, President of NBC|Universal and former President of Disneyland Paris, spoke to investors on the 11th of the month, and gave an overview of the current state and future plans of the Universal Parks and Resorts business.  During the conference call Burke confirmed that, for the foreseeable future, Orlando AND Hollywood would be receiving a new attraction EVERY year, and that NBC|Universal will continue to invest around $500 Million a YEAR into both resorts.  During the Call, Steve also shared that more hotel rooms are on their way to Orlando. They currently have 2,400 rooms with another 1,800 coming online with Cabana Bay Beach Resort.  Burke would like to see Universal with 10,000 – 15,000 total hotel rooms in the future.

Burke also said that since Transformers opened the Orlando resort had seen a 20% increase in attendance.

Burke’s plan is to turn Universal Orlando into the leading Orlando resort destination, and not a side trip.  We can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Universal Orlando Resort.

Hogsmeade Station

At Islands of Adventure, construction continues at the Hogsmede station as they begin close up the building. Exterior themed elements will be added soon.





Island trading sign

On March 2nd, 2013 signage for the Island Trading Company fell down during park hours.

On the date of the incident, Universal’s security team sprung into action, and the sign was quickly removed to prevent any additional letters from falling.  However 6 months have passed since the sign was removed, without any indication that it is returning, and bare metal bars.  While safety always comes first, it would be nice if the sign was replaced or the ugly brackets removed, especially since this is one of the first things you see when you enter the park.




Jurassic Games

Across the lagoon from Port of Entry, Jurassic Park is receiving some of it’s first additions since the park opened.  With the games of chance soon closing in the Lost Continent, they will now take place over in what was part of the Jurassic Park Rive Adventure’s extended queue.





From the looks of the structures, they have been nicely themed, and like the Simpson’s games they should be designed to fit the Jurassic Park aesthetic.

Port of Entry Starbucks

At the end of Port of Entry, where Arctic Freeze once stood, the building has been completely gutted as IOA makes way for its first Starbucks.




Triceratops Signage

The Triceratops who once guarded the entrance to the Triceratops Encounter’s blank sign is now sporting general Triceratops facts and information.  While this attraction was beloved by Universal Super fans, it never really found an audience with daily parks guests.




Diagon Alley

Next to Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios is hustling to get Diagon Alley ready for a 2014 debut.  With windows and other elements being added, guests are getting a peek at what will soon be a beautiful London facade.
















Halloween Horror Nights Prep

Halloween Horror Nights begins September 20th, both MiceChat and the Unofficial Universal Podcast will be onsite opening night to cover what is turning out to be one of the most anticipated years for Halloween Horror Nights in a long time.  Universal’s entertainment department has been adding props to fill the streets of the Studios with items familiar to fans of The Walking Dead television series on AMC.



























Temporary Items Set Up for Halloween Horror Nights

This year Universal has brought out the temporary games which were used when Amity was demolished.  they has been placed in a non-scare zone area and should provide an escape to those who don’t want to become part of the hoards of the Undead.





New Despicable Me 2 Merchandise

More Despicable Me 2 Merchandise has begun to show up around the resort.  The minions, both yellow and purple, are incredibly popular with guests. I’d suppose that we’ll see even more of these guys showing up soon.





Buy one of these drink mugs and the first fill is free.Additional refills for less than a dollar.


New York Facade Work

More facade work is happening in the New York area of the Studios, with Finnegans under a full wrap.  What makes this wrap so special, is that unlike the wrap for the Priscella Hotel, which was recently completed, this wrap has the full facade for the buildings it covers printed on the wrap, allowing guest to not notice the intrusion of the facade work. Magic Kingdom has been doing this for year and we hope Universal keeps this up. Certainly nicer than green scrims or construction walls.





Latin Quarter

The site formerly known as Latin Quarter continues to be gutted as it prepares for a full remodel into a new Mexican dining concept.






We recently learned that some of our information was a bit off.  While Pastamore’s quick service location was recently gutted and removed, this location is not becoming the new Starbucks, this location is going to become a more upscale quick service location, that should have an improved menu and offerings that will entice more families to stay on property as they are leaving the parks at the end of the day.






While Starbucks is currently upstairs at CityWalk, we have heard that they will be moving downstairs into the current location of the Endangered Species Store.  This will improve foot traffic and guest satisfaction, as people who want to grab their coffee on the way to the parks have never enjoyed the slow escalator ride to the 2nd floor.





But wait there’s more!  Get prepared for Halloween Horror Nights as the Unofficial Universal Podcast team take you on an audio journey with interviews with the Universal Orlando Entertainment team to give you a sneak peek of what is in store for Halloween Horror Nights 23 at the Universal Orlando Resort.

Please share your comments about the updates, and what you think of the $500 million a year investment into Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood?

About Eric Davis

By day, Eric is in Marketing and Social Media. But on the weekends, he's a theme park addict. Eric is a frequent contributor to MiceChat's Orlando Parkhopper columns and tends to focus his efforts on what's new and what's news at Universal Studios and SeaWorld.

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  • CaptainAction

    How’s that 3 year old kiddie coaster in New Rockland coming along, WDW?

    • KingEric

      It will be a sad comparison when this kiddie mine train opens against Diagon Alley with Gringotts and the Hogwarts Express

  • Malin

    At the moment with a 20% increase in attendance at Universal, Disney must be starting to see Guests leaving its Resort and heading down to Universal. Not good news when your seeing money leave your property and see it being spent else where. Steve Burke’s claims of spending $500 million each year might work out well in Disney’s favour. Wall Street is likely to question once all these new attractions are in construction at Disney if its spending too much on the Parks. This now gives Disney much more of an excuse to start funding new projects for its Parks. Which we keep hearing is happening soon… The only Park that stands to lose in all of this is SeaWorld. SeaWorld has proven with Antarctica that it lacks the creative ability to match what both Disney and Universal are able to do with new attractions. It doesn’t own the rights to any major Characters or brand names. And more importantly it lacks the funding. And its latest financial results are concerning. Even if the Orlando park was up if the rest of the chain was down then cuts would need to be made across the company.

    • WDWorldly

      That’s right-SeaWorld just doesn’t and will probably never have the resources to compete on a level playing field with Disney and NBCUniversal, two major media conglomerates

      • Tielo

        Still I think it’s impressive what they are doing and offering but you are right, they will have it rough.

      • KingEric

        @Tielo I agree with you I am impressed with what they are doing, but in this marketing with Universal and Disney trying to land knockout blows to each other, I do fear for SeaWorld… but heck, that is why I started the SeaWorld Podcast so people could know what is happening at that amazing resort! lol

  • Lee Mallaby

    Having just got back from a three week trip to Orlando and spending a day and a half less than planned at Disney to spend more time at Universal speaks for itself.
    I am, admittedly, a complete universal fanboy, but Disney feels flat and will take more than a new coaster in magic kingdom to make me spend more than 5 days on wdw property, even a star wars land isn’t enough to extend my time there.
    We made 9 visits to Universal Orlando and felt we could have spent a lot more.
    Spending $500 million a year and guaranteeing a new attraction every year, must get wdw fans looking to the other end of office in envy. Instead of lining their pockets like Disney are, nbcuniversal are pumping that money back into the parks and in my opinion, islands and studios are better than any of the wdw parks.

    • Malin

      If what Dusty has been saying is correct and I have no reason not to doubt it! We’ll be seeing more then just Star Wars coming to WDW. Like I say with the above I’m not concern about Disney or Universal. Its the other parks like SeaWorld and Legoland that need to be worried. I’m more of a casual Universal Parks fan and right now even with Transformers I can’t imagine spending more then a couple of days here.

      • Park Hopper

        The unfortunate thing about unannounced plans is that they are notoriously easy to cancel or postpone indefinantly as Disne has proven on many occasions. Fire mountain anyone? And even when they are announced… Anyone remember how long ago they announced Avatar? I sometimes wonder if I’m going to live long enough to see these Disney expansions – if they actually happen at all.

      • StevenW

        It wasn’t that long when Avatar was announced. I think Disney is holding their plans close to the vest. There’s nothing for you to worry about except when their execution sucks like the New Fantasyland. I do think they have bold plans for Animal Kingdom and DHS. The issue is how much they are willing to spend. They burned $1 Billion on DCA. They will need to double that for the two parks at WDW.

      • KingEric

        StevenW – September 17th represents the 2 year anniversary that Avatarland was announced. It is now 2013, and major construction has still not begun. So we still wait and see.

        Malin – I also worry, but at the same time, if more people decide to skip Disney, it is my hope that the smaller parks like SeaWorld and Legoland will see more business.

      • Tielo

        @ KingEric November 18, 2010, Walt Disney World Resort announced a project named Hyperion Wharf (looked amazing), and it went away to make place for a open mall hybrid called Disney springs (looked awful) they finally are going to build now.

      • KingEric

        @Teilo you are right, but to take 6 years from the closure of Pleasure Island to the start of construction is really unacceptable. Just think about that. Pleasure Island has been sitting closed for 6 years. SIX YEARS.

      • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

        Disney is absolutely moving forward on an aggressive and impressive slate of attractions for WDW. However, they aren’t in any hurry and aren’t able to react as quickly as Universal. The momentum is with Universal for a change and there’s not a lot Disney will be able to do about that until the big stuff starts opening 3 years+ from now.

        Unfortunately, many guests WILL notice that there’s more new stuff at Uni than Disney. It’s a shame that Disney didn’t take the Harry Potter threat more seriously when it first opened. They’d be better equipped to deal with Uni’s upcoming onslaught of new attractions!

      • ericg

        Dusty- said with respect, but I’ll believe the future you’re speaking about when I actually see it. There is no reason why Disney cannot move as fast at Universal with regards to opening new attractions. It’s a choice they’re making, not some inability to execute. Frankly, the mouse has become complacent especially with regards to the Walt Disney World theme parks and Universal is kicking their butt.

    • CaptainAction

      Lee, speaking of WDW feeling flat; isn’t WDW starting to feel like a theme park museum? I still love Haunted Mansion, Pirates, Peter Pan, and looking around a bit but then I’m getting ready to go. New Fantasyland is like a museum of rockwork and is much worse than I had heard. Epcot is a museum of countries and future world doesn’t have a ride I am interested in. Tired of Soaring, Mission Puke, Imagination, Spaceship Earth, Living Seas, etc. Isn’t it very easy to walk right passed all of them?
      Almost everyone agrees that Disney Studios is in need of a complete makeover.
      Animal Kingdom is the ugliest, cheapest major theme park created in the last 20 years. It’s like a swamp with overgrowth everywhere. I think it was a cheap rush of a park WDW threw together to combat Islands of Adventure. One good ride with the broken Yeti and a $25 strobe light. I do like Tough to Be A Bug very much though. Dinosaur is one of the cheapest, thrown together rides at any major theme park.
      WDW is increasingly becoming a park for 70′s and over and 4 and under.

      • MickeyFickey

        Ouch! So true…I love it!

  • Marko50

    Interesting. You’ve got a (positive) column about Universal and more than half of the responders take the opportunity to bash Disney.

    • KingEric

      Well Marko50 I think it has to do with the fact that most of us are Disney fans who now feel taken advantage of and jaded! lol

    • CaptainAction

      WDW is begging folks to bash Disney. No one can compare the efforts of WDW to Universal objectively.

      Disneyland was built in ONE year with 1950′s technology. Dwarf Coaster is closing in on year THREE. WDW could have built 3 Disneylands during the time they have worked on, still not completed, the Dwarf Coaster.

      • MickeyFickey

        Disney is raping the wallets of their visitors by investing BILLIONS on convoluted and unnecessary technological products that are designed to do nothing more than create even MORE revenue for the company, instead of investing BILLIONS on theme park and resort improvements. Can you imagine what they could have done to just the monorail system if they’d sunk the NextGen/MyMagic+ funds into that? They’d have a fleet of new trains and an expanded line that connected more resort properties/parks to the current line. If they’d spent that money on the theme parks, they’d have a revamped DHS in place, or a slew of exciting new attractions built at EPCOT, MK, and Avatarland all on their way, or even OPEN!

        Disney deserves every lick of the bash that they’re taking. I’m spending one day at Disney World this year. ONE DAY, instead of 4 like I usually do. Why? Because I’m so desperate to see something new that I’m going to waste (yes, waste) $95 for a day at Magic Kingdom just to go see the new Fantasyland Expansion and get my fix on Space Mountain. The rest of my trip is being spent at Busch Gardens Tampa, Seaworld (both need it), and Kennedy Space Center, as well as the obvious 3-4 days at Universal Orlando. Yes, I prefer Universal to Disney, but in the past, I’ve always spent 4 days at WDW and 2 at Universal. No more! I don’t see myself returning to WDW for another 3-5 years. I KNOW that I’m not the only person who’s thinking this way.

        When Disney stops seeing me as a walking ATM who will blindly return every year just because they’re “Disney” and starts giving me incentive to return–in the form of new, exciting and NON “value-engineered” attractions–I’ll return. Not until then.

        /rant off

  • StevenW

    In order for Universal to truly compete with Disney, it has to offer family rides and more characters. Universal doesn’t have anything to compete with the Haunted Mansion and Pirates. While Disney has removed its Fantasyland dark rides, Universal can offer to compete in this area by offering more classic dark rides if it can go beyond Dr. Seuss. These are much cheaper to build than the more elaborate Pirates rides. They should offer a combination of the two types of dark rides.

    The lack of animated characters is a problem. Some are outdated and no longer appeal to the public. There isn’t enough meet and greet opportunities. The Harry Potter characters don’t offer any character encounters. The tone of the characters is off. Disney is all warm and fuzzy. Universal is bold and edgy especially with the cynical Simpsons. I would prefer Universal to offer something that young kids would love. Give them a reason to dress up like a Princess or Buzz or Woody, but a Universal counterpart (Sorry Spiderman, Disney owns you now).

    Nonetheless, the future has endless possibilities. The only constraint is money.

    • Tielo

      True, if you want it to be a clone of Disney. Universal chose not to do that. Disney is/was very good at what you are mentioning but Universal adds to that pallet and builds a brand of it’s own.
      They are opting the meet and greet with the minions at Dispicable me and all the characters of the floats make appearances in the park. Transformers also has a popular meet and greet as do Donkey and Shrek. True these are a bit more edgy and don’t contain princesses with rainbows coming out of their asses. And the Simpsons isn’t cynical at all.
      With the latest addition of Whirl ‘n Hurl they are slowly adding smaller rides at the studios and IOA already has a tea cup, one fish…, and carousel rides and both have kiddy coasters.
      When I was in the low, low season at Universal a few years ago I saw many people dressed as wizards and people wearing scarfs. Not only small kids but also teenagers and I think that’s impressive.

    • CaptainAction

      I think the problem isn’t that WDW has Pirates and Haunted Mansion, which are very good, but that they are very old. Universal and Islands are winning with all the new them park rides. I do hope Universal adds more dark rides including some for kids. If Universal can add these then they can win the past, present, and future. All the new Universal rides kick WDW’s rump all up and down main street with the Mermaid and Dumbo next to the other Dumbo.

      WDW wins the rock making contest in New (Rockland) Fantasyland, building more stores without rides, and building restaurants without rides, and snack stands without rides, and replacing rides with photo ops.

  • dsmith3373

    Another excellent update Eric, thank you.

    So again Eric’s feature starts the Disney vs Universal debate, so I’ll weigh in my opinions again..

    Money spent on the Orlando Parks is good news for all Orlando park fans, regardless of where you allegiances lie.

    Since my first visit in 2001 Universal spent about 10 years falling into disrepair, they papered over the cracks with overlay/refits, Hannah Barbera became Jimmy Neutron, Wild West Show became Fear Factor (they didn’t even bother to change the set), the animal show has just deteriorated year on year, Alfred Hitchcock became Shrek (pretty big refit this one to be fair), the only major update I recall is Kong being ripped out for Mummy.

    During this time Disney built Mission Space (move it or loathe it, it is a great piece of tech and will have been a serious investment), Soarin, Lights motors action (again love it or loath it!) Midway Mania and probably biggest of all was Expedition Everest (I know, the Yeti, the Yeti, I personally could care less about the Yeti, its a great ride!). Of course not everything in the Disney garden was rosey, they did their own share of refits, they have allowed the parades to become a shadow of their former selves and they allowed an entire pavilion in Epcot to closed and be replaced with nothing.

    Everything changed with the Harry Potter deal and it has all snowballed from there.

    HP gave them the push they needed to invest and increase attendance but if you look at attendance numbers (if wiki is to be believed) Disney has nothing to sweat from Universal for a long time, and it’s taking its time to consider its response, whats the rush? Universal is talking of $500m to be invested each year but if they plan to more than treble the hotel rooms, a fair bit of that is going into hotels.

    As long as the money keeps flowing, everybody wins (and that has to mean money flows to the investors as well as from them)

    Here endeth my essay!!

    • KingEric

      And your points are valid @dsmith3373 the one big difference is that Universal Orlando is under radically different management from those dark years.

      Steve Burke is ushering in a new era for the Universal Parks globally, and I am really excited to see what will transpire!

      Also to your point of allocating funds, you are right a good chunk of that $500 million a year will go towards building resorts. But if they are like Cabana Bay Beach Resort with wave pools, lazy rivers, bowling and other resort attractions, there will be a lot to write about in the coming years!

      • dsmith3373

        I too am a excited to see what happens. With investment in the parks, the visitors win (if they can get over, investment in the parks means prices go up!).

        I don’t agree about resorts as attractions, I know I’m in a minority but a hotel room is a place to lay my head, I like a quality hotel with nicely appointed rooms but facilities such as pool, spa’s, bowling etc mean nothing to me, but I know they do to most and it makes business sense.

        Looking at up to 15000 ‘on-site’ does worry me a bit, undoubtedly there would be no benefits anymore I cant imagine opening an hour early for upwards of 50000 potential guests would offer much advantage! I can imagine that many rooms give Disney a bit of worry but it could decimate the I Drive hotel businesses.

    • MickeyFickey

      So…Many…Great…Points…in this “essay!” Bravo, and true.

      • CaptainAction

        Great points Mickey. WDW is reaping what they have sown the last 10 years.

  • Tielo

    Wow $500 million a year, for 2 resorts I guess, is a lot. A new attraction each year is a lot. We all know that Universal can do much more with $500 then Disney. Like (I think it was) Bob Gurr once explained one wooden sign costed $1000.
    It shows investing in attractions is a good thing and is what pulls people to the parks. I love new experiences, being wowed. And looking at the list dsmith3373 is spelling out for us Disney hasn’t done that well. I haven’t been on Midway Mania because I stopped going but the rest were really underwhelming. Take for instance Mission Space, the building looks amazing and the advertising promised a lot but when I went in there the movie looked like it was from toy story 1 and the ride was underwhelming. No one coming out of that ride was impressed and no one for the next 30 minutes was (I had become a bit nauseas of the spinning and had to wait a bit).
    Anyway, I hope Disney will step it up a notch and will create an amazing Star Wars land. I love the first 3 movies and I hope for a respectful recreation of the fun and excitement the movies gave me. I hope Avatar will end up being amazing and a bit more unique then Soarin over Pandora and I hope Epcot and Tomorrowland will eventually get’s back a unifying theme. But until then I’ll not visit the mouse.

  • Country Bear

    Thanks for the great article(s) Eric (keep them coming!). I always look forward to your reports as this subject matter is particularly intriguing from all angles. This report is particularly exciting due to Universals now spoken commitment.

    I really enjoy the different perspectives from people who are very pro-Disney or pro-Universal or somewhere in between. I think of myself as both. It seems that every conversation about Universal has become a Disney bash-fest or vise/versa. I love them both, but I believe the reason we compare them so closely and passionately is because they are in the process of switching places. Even if this is only happening in true fan’s minds. Here’s my reasoning:

    Universal had very dark days years ago (operationally) and they earned the reputation they garnered. Disney worked hard to maintain its reputation and was leagues above anyone else in the industry. They earned this because they worked at it. My how time has changed things. Universal is now clearly the one making the headway and doing what Disney used to be a master of…improving on the guest experience every time you visit. I can’t imagine that even Disney would today argue the point that they don’t try very hard anymore (in Florida). They certainly don’t aggressively go after your loyalty like they used to. I went to Disney every year (international tourist) because they were forcing me to visit with the newest, most innovative attractions on the planet, almost every year. I did Universal because they were fun too, just not vying for my attention as strongly. Universal was always the strong second choice on our vacations and that never wavered. Now, Universal clearly wants me to prioritize their parks every year and they are backing this demand up with the newest, most innovative attractions on the planet, every year. I am only too happy to accommodate that for them (and me!).

    I believe that everyone has largely different levels of expectation of Disney, Universal, Sea World & Busch Gardens (as well as other attractions). I believe they are all worthwhile attractions and they will all get some of my money when I visit. The defining factor will be who gets more of my money, and how often.

    People visiting Disney EXPECT to have a premium theme park experience when they enter their parks. These are the people who wrote the book on the subject and by God, they better deliver. They earned this reputation by building it over 40 years (the last 10 have largely been a disaster for Disney’s fan based reputation). Disney trained me in what to expect from them and they delivered it consistently, so why wouldn’t my expectations of them be the highest standard attainable? That is no longer the case. They have become so out-of-touch with what created their passionate fans, that they are now sending them away screaming mad at the betrayal. They did this to themselves and they did it to me. To quote an old saying…Lead, Follow, or get out of the way!
    Universal is now the one who wants their fans to become more passionate about their product and they are backing this up with a serious commitment. My expectations for Universal are now rising as my expectations for Disney are dropping below the leadership level. Universal is proving, every year, that they want me to make them a priority, every year. They are dangling the carrots in front of me that make it hard to do anything but listen to them.

    I know that many feel that any improvements to any attractions works to everyone’s favor, as all neighborhood attractions benefit from the increased visitor counts. I agree with that thinking. But I think what really matters here is where you go first and how long you stay there. This is the defining point of where your money is being spent. It used to be Disney would get me straight off in their hotels, restaurants and theme parks because they had the attraction to do that. For me, it is Now Universal who will get me first and they will reap the benefits of hotel stays, restaurant sales and multiple days in theme parks that are trying very hard to keep me happy. Disney and the third and forth tier attractions will get their time too, just not as much as Universal. Not that may years ago, Universal got 2 days out of me in Florida. In the last three trips it has gotten 5+ days out of me. Where did those days come from? Disney.

    Sorry for the long rant. I feel better now.

    • CaptainAction

      My family of 5 has skipped WDW for 2 years now except for waterparks. We stay at Universal, eat at Universal, buy our stuff at Universal, and oh yeah, ride new rides at Universal. Really great to feel appreciated again.
      We love that Hollywood Coaster is now on our room key to skip the line. We love the new Despicable Me. Love the new Transformers ride. Love the new Simpson’s theming in their new land. Love eating at Mel’s and Monster Cafe. The Theming to WWOHP is only going to be matched or surpassed by new London and Diagon Alley in the world of theme parks. We are really excited about the new Hogwartz Train and Gringott’s Coaster. My kids really like the walking Transformers characters too.
      This along with our standard favorites of Spiderman, Hulk, Mummy, Jurassic Park update, ET, MIB, Cat in Hat, Suess Trolley, etc. just doesn’t leave a lot of room to miss WDW.
      Riding a cool boat to the front of the parks instead of standing on an old full bus doesn’t suck either.
      WDW should have at THE LEAST, used the billion $’s they spent on the stupid armband (boss of your vacation) on connecting resorts and parks with monorails.

      • Eric Davis

        I didn’t even go into Rasoulo’s response to Universal which was him explaining that … if people spend more time planning their vacations months in advance, they will plan to spend all their money at Disney.

        To me that was kind of my last straw.

    • Eric Davis

      The long rant is more than welcome. I feel that I am in the exact same boat as you. I desperately want to be a WDW fan boy. I want to be like “wow how did they do that?!” I want to be blown away, I want to feel like I am getting my money’s worth.

      But I don’t, and I feel that Universal is earning my hard earned money.

  • AaroniusPolonius

    If Universal Orlando builds out their 15000 hotel rooms and begins vacation capture strategies, it’s a whole new ball game in Orlando.

    And if they add a new attraction to each park per year, each year, they’ll mos def surpass attendance at the non-MK parks.

    I don’t think they’ve significantly eaten into WDW attendance yet (I think SeaWorld and Busch Gardens are suffering, the latter being a tragedy as it’s a pretty great park,) but unless they get in the game at all their parks (which is to say a $750-$1.5 billion investment per year at WDW,) the paradigm will certainly shift.

  • DisneyHokie

    The biggest issue, is that Disney hasn’t really been negatively affected by the expansion at Universal. They set a record for attendance last year. In fact, Orlando had its highest number of visitors ever last year. So Universal is drawing more people to the area, but I’m sure that has helped Disney’s attendance as well. Ironically, WDW has ridden Uni’s coattails to drive attendance higher, without expanding that much. They’ve added new hotel rooms, New Fantasyland, and refurbed Test Track and Star Tours. MyMagicPlus is meant to take advantage of all their inventory of hotel rooms and drive guest spending. But you can’t blame them for that. It’s smart business, plain and simple. Like it or not, Disney is not in the business of pleasing all of us online, their business is to make money. Period. And they’ve been doing that better than ever.