Magic Kingdom Moat filled and Mine Train Prepares for Soft Opening

Written by Cory Disbrow. Posted in Dateline Disney World, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

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Published on April 16, 2014 at 3:00 am with 102 Comments

About Cory Disbrow

Cory likes Walt Disney World so much, he recently packed his bags and moved to Orlando. Cory is a photographer and writes MiceChat's Dateline Disney World columns every Friday.

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  • blondiemouse72

    In all fairness when our American cousins bring up the story around Disney not going all out and acquiring Potter what they may not know is the political affiliation of the lady in question had as much to do with Disney not having the theme park rights as other issues .Unfortunately Miss Rowlings progressive leanings give her a natural aversion to the WALT Disney Co (for an example of where she Stands one might wish to check out the words of one Meryl Streep and what names she was calling Mr Disney in January). Hopefully this is not deleted for being political, I,m not trying to be political just trying to point out Miss Rowling wouldn’t want to do business with Disney

    • AaroniusPolonius

      BlondieMouse72, Potter going to Universal is entirely related to money and control. Universal pays a fortune for the franchise use, a fortune that Disney, for whatever reason, didn’t want to pay.

  • KCmike

    I really hope for WDW sake that this Dwarves Coaster is a hit. The Magic Kingdom is so overdue for something good. For the life of me I don’t know why they didn’t add more rides like Disneyland’s Fantasyland along with the Coaster. Instead of dueling dumbos they should have added dark rides and some like Casey JR Circus Train and Storybook Canal Boats. I personally love Disneyland’s Fantasyland.

    • AaroniusPolonius

      …because if it’s not a hit, they’ll just have to “settle” with being the most visited theme park in the world. How will they ever cope?

      • solarnole

        Just like Microsoft had the most wildly used operating system in windows.

        When companies become arrogant and rest on their laurels it never ends well.

      • AaroniusPolonius

        Has. Microsoft has the most used personal computer operating system in the world. Still hasn’t ended badly yet.

      • Cory Gross

        “…because if it’s not a hit, they’ll just have to “settle” with being the most visited theme park in the world. How will they ever cope?”

        I always wonder where doomsayers are coming from when I look at actual park attendance. As of 2012, Islands of Adventure needs 10 MILLION more visitors a year to equal Magic Kingdom. They are #10 of the 10 most visited theme parks in the world. If you look “also-ran” up in the dictionary, you see the Universal logo.

      • billyjobobb

        But at the pace Disney works at, they need to start planning now for their reaction to the fact that in 2020 Universal will have more visitors than Disney. If they want to open a new ride or 2 by 2025, they need to start building them today.

      • AaroniusPolonius

        BillyJoeBobb, both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure would be unbearably crowded with 10 million visitors per year. There’s just not enough walkway space in either park. Heck, IOA is hitting critical mass at 8 million per year (which, for the record, places them about 2 million visitors less than AK and DHS, and puts USF at 3.5-4 million less.)

        While I hope to the theme park victor goes the spoils, I think it’s wishful thinking to think that UO will surpass WDW in attendance, and certainly not without their own “hub expansion” to ease up on crowding up International Drive if they do.

        Now, where UO could really start to hurt Disney is in the integrated resort model, which is to say that if they can convince their guests to stay for a week and spend like they do at WDW, it will be proof positive that UO’s version of that business model is working. And they don’t need to beat WDW in attendance to prove that (nor can the facilities handle that. Do you really want what is arguable the most advanced and invested upon theme park complex in North America trampled on like JFK Airport?)

      • CaptainAction

        Yes, everything in the world today just remains the same. WDW can slap guests in the face as they enter and kick them in the rear as they leave and the guests will just keep coming. Maybe?
        Some of us just don’t agree Aaronius that trying to “capture” customers with Magic Handcuffs and “free” buses is genius.
        Universal is breaking ground on the 4th E Ticket attraction in some form of construction since WDW built the still not open Dwarf Mound (and yes WDW used to build E Ticket Mountains but now builds C ticket Mounds which I’m certain no guests will notice).
        Universal just completed a genius value resort which is lower priced than WDW, sleeps 6, multiple family members can get ready at the same time due to the design of the bathrooms and 3 sinks, and has WDW level of Moderate – Delux amenities lazy river, water slides, table service, themed bowling, new food truck area to mix it up each day, etc.
        Universal is about to break ground on a true waterpark theme park which has never been seen before and will really make Blzzard and Typhone look dated.
        Universal is adding a 3rd theme park.
        Universal is adding at least 2 more resorts.
        Then they are connecting ALL resorts, theme parks, and waterparks with a “monorail” type system! No more buses anywhere!
        Let’s see if Universal can beat Typhon, Blizzard, AK, Dis Studios, or Epcot in attendance in the next few years.
        Or we can compare all I’ve listed to “free” buses, 3 years to build c ticket attractions, Magic Handcuffs, and Avatar (maybe) in the next 5 years.
        I’m not a marketing expert like you but a lot of guests might just be more excited about Universal.

    • CaptainAction

      Yes KCMike, I agree.
      The public is soo stupid that we won’t notice the “best theme park in the world” parks a new Dumbo next to the old Dumbo – how’s that for imagineer creativity!?!
      We also won’t notice that WDW is putting up a 3 year in the making 60 second long kiddie coaster up against Universal’s E Ticket Hogwartz Train,E Ticket Gringott’s Escape, New LAND of London/Diagon Alley/Knockturn Alley and all the related stores and restaurants with animatronic windows.
      We also won’t notice that WDW used to build E Ticket Mountains but now builds C Ticket Mounds (in 3 years, maybe?).
      We will be so in love with the WDW of old and their marketing that we won’t notice we just spent $500 a day for the same vacation we did 5 years ago.
      Way too early for anyone to tell us Universal won’t beat AK, or Dis Studios, or Epcot in attendance in the next few years.

      • CaptainAction

        Let’s watch for the EARTHQUAKE if Universal beats attendance of any WDW park in the next few years.
        That will be very interesting and fun to watch.

      • billyjobobb

        What amazed me with my last trip to AK was just how many people were leaving the park in the middle of the day. And with the park closing around 6, it wasn’t that they were heading back to the hotel for a little R&R so they could come back around dinner time to stay late.

      • Cory Gross

        It seems overstated to call the Hogwarts Express an E-ticket… if Disney built it, you would be complaining about it being nothing more than an overdone monorail with too much reliance on computer screens.

        I’m interested to see it when we go to Florida, but as I do my pre-trip research, the thing that strikes me most about Wizarding World of Harry Potter is how FEW attractions it has. When it opened, there were two rollercoasters – one a mere “kiddie coaster” and both were simply redecorated coasters that were already there – and the Forbidden Journey. Everything else were stores. Shopping, restaurants… Those things that frothy fans hate when Disney builds.

        What is most fascinating is how they have turned these stores into theme shopping experiences by having interesting props in the them and selling stuff that are virtually replicas from the movies. Of course, you guys aren’t complaining about them selling $50 resin wands, are you? I will totally grant that people who merchandise Harry Potter stuff know exactly what they’re doing though. In December we went to Harry Potter: The Exhibition and they still got $80 out of me for scarves and ties and chocolate frogs even though I’m not even a particularly huge Harry Potter fan. They’ve made shopping into an intrinsic part of the Harry Potter experience.

        Diagon Alley is looking like more of the same. One actual ride, and a glorified monorail, the rest all shops and restaurants. Great, well-themed, immerse, but I have the feeling that from an objective perspective you may be letting Universal get away with more than you’re letting Disney get away with.

      • CaptainAction

        Cory, Despicable Me, Transformers, Springfield, Whirl and Hurl, London, Hogsmeade Station, Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley, Hogwarts Train to London, Hogwarts Train to Hogsmead, Escape from Gringots, Cabana Bay Resort, all built in the same time as 1 kiddie Coaster at WDW.

        Forbidden Journey and Gringot’s are unique attractions unlike anything guests have experienced before, unlike a mini Thunder Mountain w swinging cars.

        How can we complain about Universal and give WDW a pass? It’s difficult to imagine a theme park doing more for it’s guests than this, isn’t it?

        Please remember that the area between MIB and London is about to become the Ministry of Magic with another ride and ground just broke for a new Skull Island from King Kong with another E Ticket attraction.

      • Cory Gross

        “Despicable Me, Transformers, Springfield, Whirl and Hurl, London, Hogsmeade Station, Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley, Hogwarts Train to London, Hogwarts Train to Hogsmead, Escape from Gringots, Cabana Bay Resort, all built in the same time as 1 kiddie Coaster at WDW.”

        And? A lot of that is just capacity building anyways, which WDW already has. Also, I don’t care about Despicable Me, Transformers, or The Simpsons, which was part of my point from another comment. Rides for the sake of rides isn’t the benchmark by which I judge a theme park.

        “Forbidden Journey and Gringot’s are unique attractions unlike anything guests have experienced before, unlike a mini Thunder Mountain w swinging cars.”

        I’ve never experienced a runaway mine car through the Seven Dwarfs mine either. Again, this is the form vs. content confusion I talked about in another comment here. The CONTENT of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster is not a mini Thunder Mountain with swinging cars. The CONTENT is entering the world of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

        “How can we complain about Universal and give WDW a pass?”

        My point was not that you were giving WDW a pass… It’s that you were giving Universal a pass. It would not take much to eviscerate Universal the way you guys eviscerate WDW.

        “It’s difficult to imagine a theme park doing more for it’s guests than this, isn’t it?”

        It’s hard to imagine Universal doing LESS for guests without closing entirely. My one experience in a Universal park was Hollywood, and I was quite underwhelmed. The Studio Tour was very cool from a film-lover perspective, but it would have been awfully nice if, I dunno’, Jurassic Park worked. It wasn’t even a half-day park, and them installing Harry Potter is my only conceivable reason for going back.

      • AaroniusPolonius

        First, CaptainAction,

        “The public is soo stupid that we won’t notice the “best theme park in the world” parks a new Dumbo next to the old Dumbo – how’s that for imagineer creativity!?!”

        So, let me see if I have this correct: you’re criticizing Disney for taking one of their most iconic and generational rides, one that encourages generational visits and imbues nostalgic feelings in their guests, one whose ride vehicle is on display as a centerpiece in one of the wings of the American History museum in DC, no less…you’re critiquing Disney for doubling it, for creating a more pleasing way to wait for it, and for trying to keep on keeping on with the whole “I rode this with my kids, they’ll ride it with their kids and their kids will ride it with their kids” ethos? The public that Disney is catering to with the Dumbo ride is no doubt pleased with the added capacity, shorter wait times, and interactive, indoor virtual queue. In that case, Disney looked at a market need in both a micro and macro eye, and answered it.

        It has nothing to do with the public’s intelligence or stupidity, nor to do with the Imagineer’s creativity. Double Dumbos is a much better way to experience one of Disney’s most iconic rides, a “first” experience for many a young Disney guest, a “family tradition” experience for generational visitors, and a key brand building block for the Disney company as a whole. I’m certain legions of parents will be thrilled that they no longer have to wait outside for an hour to go on what amounts to be a spinner with water with their young kids.

        “We also won’t notice that WDW is putting up a 3 year in the making 60 second long kiddie coaster up against Universal’s E Ticket Hogwartz Train,E Ticket Gringott’s Escape, New LAND of London/Diagon Alley/Knockturn Alley and all the related stores and restaurants with animatronic windows.”

        Again, we, as theme park geeks, aren’t the primary “we” that Disney is going after. Disney is hoping to steal some attention away from the very big opening up at Universal by touting “the final piece in the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history” via focused and intelligent marketing spin. Moreover, they’re hoping that the “book now at a Disney Park” ads running in heavy rotation (in the Northeast, at least,) will get enough of the public to call in or go online, and then they’ll be able to hook them for a week via multiday offerings. Remember, on the surface, a family is “giving up Harry Potter” but gaining two “entirely different additional theme parks,” or, for that matter, “half a week on a Disney Cruise Line and half a week in the most Magical Place on Earth!” It’s why Disney marketing and sales are so feared and admired in this industry, ANY industry.

        (Don’t misunderstand: the last time I went to Orlando, I spent a day in Epcot [drunk,] and a day in IOA [thrilled.] I’m not saying that Disney is “right” in relying on long-term visitors, packages and their strength in the market as the leader to capture and isolate guests in their theme park kingdom, nor should they not invest as UO has done in superior attractions [Harry Potter 1.0 is easily one of the best, if not the best attraction, that I've ever experienced.] I’m just saying that Disney has many, many, many, many tools in their cynical marketing shed with which to detract, deflect and generate spin for their comparably meager efforts up the street.)

        “We also won’t notice that WDW used to build E Ticket Mountains but now builds C Ticket Mounds (in 3 years, maybe?).”

        Considering how Disney is marketing the Dwarf Coaster, which is a premium experience that the entire family can enjoy, no, I’m betting that they won’t. Considering how many family members in one party can go on the coaster, versus sitting out a “mountain” ride for a spell, I’m betting, no, they won’t. Critique the absurd time scale here as much as you want (willfully ignoring the obvious delay to detract from UO’s big opening up the street,) but the coaster looks to be a really complete, well-themed, final addition to an entire expansion focused on children and families. Do I think their should be one more piece to the land? Yes. But I’m not Disney.

        “We will be so in love with the WDW of old and their marketing that we won’t notice we just spent $500 a day for the same vacation we did 5 years ago.”

        Well, considering that WDW specifically and Disney Parks generally just posted record attendance and profits, and is currently generating more than a billion dollars a MONTH in revenue, yes, I’d suspect that their brand strength and astonishingly good marketing plan is paying off for them quite handsomely.

        This “Disney’s lack of investment in the things that I want should result in decreased attendance and revenues” thought is just not backed up by hard data. Worse, it muddies that actual conversation one should be having with regards to Disney, which is WHY that lack of upfront, E-ticket investment doesn’t seem to remotely harm Disney attendance or revenue generation in the least. It’s like listening to a right wing nut talk about how gay marriage will end society, and, of course, it hasn’t.

        So, AGAIN, focus on the WHY, as in WHY has Disney continued to be so successful with their targeted investments while competition has been throwing money, hand over fist, into massive expansions? How has Disney not just retained guests, but GROWN attendance with less investment? Answering that might provoke a better, deeper and more important debate.

        “Way too early for anyone to tell us Universal won’t beat AK, or Dis Studios, or Epcot in attendance in the next few years.”

        You’re probably right, although I’d suspect that as they ramp up to start hitting those numbers, UO will have to start doing their own version of an expanded hub project. As it stands now, UO can get really, unforgivably crowded with their current capacity regarding paths and such. And so, in order to not create a situation for their guests where the success of their investment results in a trope that “Universal is too crowded,” they’re probably going to have to lay some cement out for wider, vaster and more effective traffic flow through and around the resort.

      • AaroniusPolonius

        “Let’s watch for the EARTHQUAKE if Universal beats attendance of any WDW park in the next few years.
        That will be very interesting and fun to watch.”

        Agreed. That will be kind of a ‘moment’ for both fans and the company…except for, of course, from the perspective of the corporate bottom line. Which is to say that lemonade stand A spent billions to finally beat lemonade stand B, who merely watered down Kool-Aid for years and made billions without spending it.

        I’d also suspect that Disney will do anything and everything to keep that from happening, and that when or if that numerical date approaches, we’ll see some pretty interesting packages enter the market, along with investment, to either delay or end the possibility of that happening.

        Because, you’re right. That’s kind of a psychological barrier that Disney-as-company just can’t cross, I’d suspect.

      • AaroniusPolonius

        “What amazed me with my last trip to AK was just how many people were leaving the park in the middle of the day. And with the park closing around 6, it wasn’t that they were heading back to the hotel for a little R&R so they could come back around dinner time to stay late.”

        Yeah, AK sucks. Even with Yeti, there’s not enough to do there.

        But, again, at present at least, AK isn’t really purposed as a stand-alone park. AK fits into Disney’s multi-day or multi-week Catskills with characters strategy. You go to AK later in your visit, as a restful, relaxing, half-day stroll (that you got for a “deal” considering your hotel/park package.) I’d argue that at least 5 million guests for AK, DHS and Epcot are package folk.

        Now, do I think that Avatar plus glow tree is their first, real, viable attempt to alter that dynamic? Absolutely. Do I think that Star Wars Land at DHS is their attempt to alter that dynamic? Yes. Do I think the company is being measured as to how they dole out investment, considering how many people go and spend even without said investment? Duh.

      • AaroniusPolonius

        “I’ve never experienced a runaway mine car through the Seven Dwarfs mine either. Again, this is the form vs. content confusion I talked about in another comment here. The CONTENT of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster is not a mini Thunder Mountain with swinging cars. The CONTENT is entering the world of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

        Cory, I love this.

        However, IF Disney is going to attempt to detract attention from Harry Potter 2.0 up the street by putting up their orange to Potter’s apple, then we should critique the FORM and the CONTENT of said orange. I’d be perfectly OK with looking at Dwarf Coaster/New Fantasyland and Harry Potter 2.0 as separate, distinct experiences looking to appeal to different audiences in both their FORM and their CONTENT…but, at least from a marketing perspective, Disney is plainly, obviously delaying the opening of this final chunk of ride waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay past the expiration date for some public thunder. To put this another way, Disney is holding out an orange for the public and calling it an apple.

        You know, it’s one thing for Disney to delay something like Test Track or Mission:Space, as both were new or newish tech, and needed more time and more money to get right (well, that depends on how one feels about Mission: Space, anyway.) It seems that the Dwarf Coaster isn’t really more than an well-themed coaster with audio-animatronics. The swinging cars are really, truly nothing new. By all rights, this should have opened last year, if not earlier.

        It’s marketing and public buzz that caused this delay, to give WDW “news.” Thus, their orange is going up against Potter’s apple. While I think it’s smart marketing, it’s also a poor comparo between the two that Disney is itself encouraging.

    • Bartattack

      Will King Kong be another motion based ride in front of (3D) screens? like: Simpsons, Spiderman, Transformers, Despicable Me, Forbidden Journey, …

      • Kenny B

        No one knows yet, but there was a electrical blueprint that leaked,and the show building was HUGE. If I remember correctly, it was a little bigger then the forbidden journey building.

    • CaptainAction

      KCMike, man we love Disneyland Fantasyland too.
      We love everything from Casey, Storybook, Alice, Pinocchio, Snow White, Matterhorn, Mr. Toad, Castle Walk Through, etc.
      We were really thinking WDW meant something to do with rides when they talked about something called New Fantasyland.
      All that land and they tear out the Snow White ride like they are landlocked!
      Then they put in THE WORST – CHEAPEST forced perspective we have ever seen at a theme park and never mind that it’s Disney (Beast’s Castle and Rapunzel dollhouse on a stick)
      Such a disappointment!
      We didn’t think copies of existing Disneyland rides was really expecting that much either.

  • CaptainAction

    So Cory, You have never visited Universal Orlando!

    You need to go check in to the 4-5 star Portofino. Get an annual pass discount on a room of $190-$240 per night and get the free upgrade to a 900 square foot suite with 2 full baths that our enjoys with Loew’s First Club (it’s free). Get a complementary plate of GIANT cookies and pitcher of milk, or fruit basket, or chocolate Tuxedo Dipped Strawberries, waiting in your room, for free, with a CD of the Italian music played throughout the Portofino resort. You also get $100 credit at check in to use at any of the Portofino Restaurants.

    Then take a beautiful boat from a dock just outside your room through the mile long wonderfully landscaped canals to the front of the parks. Enter one of the parks an hour early and then use your key from the Portofino to skip 99% of ALL LINES as often as you like from the day you check in until the day you check out.

    Ride unique attractions like Spiderman, New Updated Jurassi Park Ride (2015), The Mummy, Forbidden Journey, Hogwarts Train (both trips are unique), Escape From Gringot’s, Enjoy the most immersively themed lands in the USA in the Potter areas of both parks, Transformers, Walk through Hogwarts, have a butterbeer, etc.

    You’ve got to try this for 2-3 days and enjoy Portofino, relax, and soak it all in. Then you’ll see what we are all talking about. My wife dragged me into these parks from WDW and I changed my mind. You might too.

    You have to admit that what I just described above sounds like wonderful perqs at a great value. Just a suite with 1 bath at a moderate WDW reost can run $750-$1200 per day (and they aren’t 900 sq ft or 4-5 stars either).

    And coming soon Skull Island w E Ticket Kong Attraction (the show building is larger than Forbidden Journey), New Ministry of Magic just outside of London. New 3rd THEME PARK coming (They’ve bought the land), New Waterpark theme Park (never before seen).

    Aaronius, now what I just described is great marketing that customers notice and appreciate.

    I don’t think everybody is stupid enough not to notice what Universal is doing and it will take time. Can’t rule anything a win today for the future. Universal has these GIANT plans of which you seem unaware.

    WDW is trying to trick and hold guests if they are uninformed. (fast passes to Muppet Movie they saw 15 years ago).

    Universal is drawing guests with value and unique, new experiences.

    I’m betting that at some price point between $500/day and $1,000/day the moms and dads are going to drop AK, Dis Studios, and Epcot for Universal.

    I also hope it’s true, because I want the company that’s TRYING HARD to earn my vacation $ to win!

    • Cory Gross

      All of that sounds great, except that I genuinely don’t care about half the stuff you mentioned.

      Let me give you a quick background of what I do and don’t like. Of the three Disney resorts I have been to thus far, my top 3 parks are Disneyland USA, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneysea. Disneyland USA, I admit, is mostly a sentimental favourite because it was both my first and THE first Disney park. It has historical cachet that transcends any specific critique of rides and attractions. That said, while I acknowledge the technological superiority of something like Indiana Jones, I don’t consider it one of my favourite attractions. Amongst my favourites are the Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan’s Flight, DLRR, Mark Twain Riverboat, Enchanted Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise, Main St. Cinema, THE PENNY ARCADE, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough and Snow White’s Scary Adventures. Disneyland Paris is an incredibly beautiful version of a Magic Kingdom-style park with a wonderfully European sensibility, and my top-5 favourite attractions were Pirates of the Caribbean, Mysteries of the Nautilus, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Adventure Isle, and Alice’s Curious Labyrinth. Four of those are walkthroughs, and I love their PotC so much because of what HASN’T changed about it… No Jack Sparrow, no squid monster, no movie soundtrack. Tokyo Disneysea is an aesthetically stunning park, but in the day I spent there I didn’t have time to ride everything. My favourite attractions were 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth, followed by Fortress Explorations (a walkthrough), Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage (a boat ride), and their Tower of Terror (which is all about the queue, because otherwise you couldn’t pay to get me on a drop ride). I could wax about Disneysea for hours, but it’s not the ride mechanics I’m waxing about. It would be the story and thematic elements, and a whole land based on Jules Verne. For WDW, the things I’m looking most forward to are New Fantasyland, Animal Kingdom (BECAUSE ANIMALS ARE AWESOME!), and the Country Bear Jamboree.

      Now I acknowledge that I have weird tastes, but my reality is that I go theme parks for how they immerse me in a realization of a fictional or historical world that I feel some kind of emotional connection to. So Universal can have the most amazing, brilliantly conceived Spiderman ride on the planet, and you know what? I don’t care. To be fair though, I don’t give a flying you-know-what about Avatar or Cars either. I really hope that any expansion to Jurassic Park involves fixing it. That, to me, really said everything I needed to know about Universal Studios Hollywood: they were still running the ride even though half the stuff didn’t work, INCLUDING THE RIDE’S CLIMAX. What a disappointment that was. I bet that Wizarding World is amazing… So far everything I’ve heard about it is great. Not great like “this destroys WDW!!1!” great, but “This actually gives me a reason to go to Universal” great.

      You know what WOULD get me genuinely caring about Universal? A Monsters land in IOA. Give me a Dracula’s Castle dark ride, and a Creature from the Black Lagoon version of the Jungle Cruise, and a Mummy ride based on Boris Karloff, and a This Island Earth simulator. THAT would give me the impetus to go to IOA for the sake of going to IOA. Right now, Harry Potter and the possibility of a working Jurassic Park ride has made IOA a place to go for a day because we’re already going to WDW. Does the Jurassic Park ride in IOA work? I hope it does.

      So yeah, you can talk about all these wonderful things that Universal is trying to do to woo you, but it’s not what I’m interested in buying. It’s not that I hate Universal, they’re just also-rans. Again, form and content. The ride mechanics are form, and by itself the form doesn’t sell me. If you stripped away the theme, most rides are boring. Watching a 3D movie while sitting in a moving cart is, in principle, boring. A drop ride or a roller coaster are not merely boring, but something I would legitimately not care to go on. For the price of an annual pass and a week at this hotel you’re talking about, I could go to Yellowstone or Grand Canyon or somewhere else interesting.

      However, when you add the CONTENT of what that ride is about, that changes things. If it is done really well, it can change my opinion about something drastically. For example, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is fundamentally a drop ride, which I wouldn’t go on, except the theme was SO strong in it that I ended up becoming a fan of the Twilight Zone TV show. That is impressive. I love 20,000 Leagues and Journey to the Center of the Earth and Mysteries of the Nautilus because I love Jules Verne and want to enter his world. I love Main St. USA and the Mark Twain Riverboat and DLRR because I love old timey things and the Victorian Era and outdated forms of transportation.

      So, if you wanted to see this issue of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster from my perspective, the question is not whether it is a kiddie coaster. Remember, whether they are big or small, for kids or adults, and have a 3D movie playing or not, roller coasters are BORING. The question is whether it is a SUCCESSFUL kiddie coaster. And by “successful,” I mean, does it suspend your disbelief and make you make-believe, even for a second, that you really are in the world of Snow White, careening through the mine of the Seven Dwarfs? If the answer is “yes,” then it works.

  • CaptainAction

    You are assuming that Mummy, Spiderman, Forbidden Journey, Hogwarts (walk through), Transformers, etc. don’t suspend your disbelief. They do, and so “yes”, they work. You would probably like ET, too. You will believe, for more than a second (for certain) that you are in another world with a great story. By your own definition there are MANY rides that work at Universal and IMA. You won’t like The Hulk and Dueling Dragons so skip ‘em.
    Hogwarts, Hogsmead, London, Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley, Hogwarts Express, and Gringot’s Escape are more immersive than anything at any theme park in the USA.
    There is nothing more immersive at WDW than the Potter areas or The Mummy, or the inside of Transformers, and you haven’t tried them yet.
    I’ve been to and love Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. Haven’t made Disney Sea yet. That’s why I say those things at Uni and IOA are more immersive than anything in the USA.
    I don’t give a flip about Spiderman but when my wife talked us into visiting IOA, all the castmembers kept telling us we had to ride it. After we rode it we became fans of the ride. It’s so immersive, so creative, has a fun story, great practical and 3d effects, and fun characters.
    These attractions are not “also rans”.
    Quite a broad stroke to wash all these things away because Jurassic Park in Hollywood wasn’t working when you rode it.
    You gave Tower of Terror a chance and look what happened.
    I feel like I’m writing to Sam I Am.
    You say you don’t like Universal and IOA?
    Try them, try them, and you may
    Try them and you may I say
    You may just find immersive rides and great story telling at Universal and IOA
    You need to try Universal and IOA
    Before you write them off, I say
    Everything can’t be 50 years old today
    Try them, try them, and you may say,
    “I did find immersion and great story telling at Universal and IOA,
    Thank you, thank you, Captain A”

    • Cory Gross

      Oh, we are going to IOA. I’ve said that repeatedly. We’re not not-giving-it-a-chance. I’m just honestly not expecting much. I’m sure those rides are quite good, for the most part, I just don’t care about them. Saying I’ve written it off before going isn’t quite the right frame of reference. Think about a place you don’t care about… a country, a town, a destination resort, a cruise, a museum, whatever. Do you at all feel a need to justify why you don’t care about it? Maybe IOA will totally blow my mind, but as it stands, Jurassic Park and Harry Potter are our only reasons for going.

      My main point was twofold 1) Disney is WAY more than the sum of its rides, and 2) you guys aren’t being as objectively critical of Universal as you are of WDW.

      • blondiemouse72

        Stay there a week Cory do as you’re told-you get a fantastic view of the ugly concrete parking structure whilst travelling along the “wonderfully landscaped canals”
        Sorry I know that’s prissy but it’s hilarious they don’t hold Universal to account the way they do Disney…

      • CaptainAction

        Hey Cory, I know you mentioned a week in your earlier comments. I know you are just talking about 1 day on your honeymoon and I understand it’s mostly for Potter.
        Really, I am not suggesting a week. If you were able to spend 2 days there that would probably be enough to give you an idea if you would like to return.
        Just to make sure you know that I am not suggesting a week.
        If you could swing a night at 1 of the 3 Universal Resorts; Portofino, Royal pacific, or Hard Rock though it would really help your then bride, to experience all the Potter offerings. You might real enjoy Olivander’s Wand show experience as well. Then you could relax and skip lines and try whatever you guys desire.
        In about 4 years Universal will have a weeks worth of stuff. Third park, waterpark theme park, and 2 more resorts all connected by boats and monorails.
        Just so you know, you and I share the same love for Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. We even enjoy a lot of the same attractions. I love the walk throughs at the Disneyland Castle, the fantasyland rides there including Matterhorn. My last name is Prince and I asked my wife to marry me at the Disneyland Castle. Had a music box with “Someday My Prince Will Come” and the ring inside.
        We’ve been to DP about 5-6 times since we went 2 months after it opened. We love the Castle walk through, Caves under Swiss Family and Adventure Isle, and the Nautilus walk through. I love the retro look of Discoveryland at DP.
        We use DP for our Europe base and take day trips from there on the train.

  • CaptainAction

    Ah oh, it has begun.

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/os-universal-orlando-market-share-20140419,0,2260547,full.story

    Read the full story from Orlando Sentinel yesterday.

    Uni and IOA park attendance up 39% 2009-2012
    WDW parks up 2% 2009-2012

    Ah oh! The second and third shoes haven’t even dropped yet.

    Epcot was flat. Uni can beat Epcot, AK, or Dis Studios after the Potter London and Cabana Bay takes off.

    After this comes Skull Island w E Ticket Kong, Jurassic update, Third Theme Park, 2 more resorts, new Waterpark Theme Park never before seen, all connected by monorail with no more buses needed.

    Exciting times.

    • WookieCookie

      Is this new “never before seen” waterpark going to have a different liquid flowing throughout it than chlorinated water? Is it going to have sentient slides and float tubes that serenade you with a synchronized soundtrack and 3D visuals? Is it going to hover in the clouds above Orlando as opposed to being grounded? Is it going to completely redefine and reinvent what you expect to experience at a waterpark, to the point that there will be no discernible comparisons to other waterparks?
      If not, then this never-before-seen water park has been seen plenty of times before…

      • CaptainAction

        Uh no. Imagine a waterpark with animatronics and rides like Jaws and Pirates of The Caribbean, waterslides, etc. A Theme Park in the water.
        You’ve got to keep up with the times.

    • blondiemouse72

      Misleading article (typical spin journalism).
      Has Universals investment paid off and turned its fortunes around from its miserable 2009 (Studios Park a massive 5.5 mil ,IOA 4.6 mil)….duh well yeah
      Has it added these people by taking them away from Wdw ..well no they are seeing higher numbers,record attendance themselves
      It’s a great headline Market Share Down..but it’s akin to taking mlb rising attendance numbers and writing some dramatic article with the headline Red Sox Market Share Down.So what happened teams like the Orioles and the Twins got more folks to come see them the Red Sox continued to sell out their 37000 seats as the had in previous years SAME numbers lower market share.
      When Wdw numbers go DOWN AND Universals go UP in a year that’s the time to say uh oh it’s happening….then maybe the theme park war you crave where we all benefit will happen

      • CaptainAction

        Keep lowering the bar for WDW. That will help.

        You may be riding the Jungle Cruise in da Nile.

  • fnord

    Man, there are some long winded folks on this
    thread. My fingers get tired just reading them.
    I’m totally on board with Diagon alley, even
    Springfield, to the point where I’ve put Disneyland resort on hold, even with the new
    Carsland and buena vista st., and especially the rethemed and enhanced log ride and mine ride at Knott’s. All this based on my visit to the original wizarding world. Best immersive themed environment I’ve ever seen, although Disneyland in 1963 was mighty damn cool, but rough around the edges.

  • Jabroniville

    Oh good! They’re mostly cleaned up by the time I get there later this month! That’s good to hear- I was worried that I’d see an empty moat and tarps all over the place.

    • danielz6

      No, that would be Disneyland.

  • danielz6

    The article is not misleading at all. Disneyworlds market share has decreased due to the massive success of WWOHP. That’s a fact. The article specifically reports Disney world’s 2% attendance increase and Orlando’s tourism increase overall. It offers numerical attendance gains, and percentage gains for the resorts and the coinciding effect on market share. Anyway you look at it universal orlando is growing faster than anyone else in Florida, in terms of attendance.