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  1. #1

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    When Diagon Alley opens would it be smart or foolish for Universal to . . .

    When Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express open, Universal COULD raise the price of their 2 and 3-day park hoppers to $5 or $10 more than what Walt Disney World charges for their 2 & 3 day park hoppers.

    Would this be a clever PR/financial move or a foolish one?

    True or not, it could be a statement that "we currently have a superior product,"
    but having a fresher wonders for the same or a slightly lower price might also cause millions of tourists to spread the word and raise Universal Orlando's attendance.

    Minor suggestion: if I were Universal I'd imitate Walt and his pre-Eisner followers sell some Wizarding World of Harry Potter postcards for a very low price. People don't send as many postcards these days, but why not encourage some guests to send ads to friends? And sell some lower-priced Wizarding World of HP/UNiversal Orlando clothing too.
    Last edited by jcruise86; 02-17-2014 at 09:38 PM.

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    Re: When Diagon Alley opens would it be smart of foolish for Universal to . . .

    WDW hopping is a add on at $34 for one day or $59 for any length after that. But really an option.

    Universal could make it a $40 day option but probably not over $60 for any other length ticket.

    They are making two attractions that are the only important things to see Potter and Potter 2. If they go for one day Uni could really screw them into and upcharge to see the other half of Potter. But at a high cost for multidays it becomes the price of the Howarts Express, and $60 for one ride is pretty steep.
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    Re: When Diagon Alley opens would it be smart or foolish for Universal to . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by swampymarsh View Post
    . . . They are making two attractions that are the only important things to see Potter and Potter 2. If they go for one day Uni could really screw them into and upcharge to see the other half of Potter. But at a high cost for multidays it becomes the price of the Howarts Express, and $60 for one ride is pretty steep.
    So the Hogwart's Express is the one advantage of a Park Hopper over a two or three day, one-park-per-day pass.

    The Hogwarts Express could also make a one-day park hopper more attractive. (And expensive?)

    I'd guess that some WDW visitors will just get one-day park hoppers and focus on the Harry Potter lands and attractions. If they don't stay in one of U's 3 upscale hotels or buy front of the line passes, they'll have some long Potter waits, especially I'd guess in 2014.

    To those Disney World apologists/automatic defenders/unconditional lovers who think Potter will be the only worthwhile attractions at Universal Orlando, try Spiderman, Transformers and some attractions that have closed at Universal Hollywood like ET and Terminator. The Mummy ride is a little different, and I like some other rides and shows at U. Orlando too.

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    Re: When Diagon Alley opens would it be smart or foolish for Universal to . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by jcruise86 View Post

    To those Disney World apologists/automatic defenders/unconditional lovers who think Potter will be the only worthwhile attractions at Universal Orlando, try Spiderman, Transformers and some attractions that have closed at Universal Hollywood like ET and Terminator. The Mummy ride is a little different, and I like some other rides and shows at U. Orlando too.
    You can use derogatory terms but the fact of the matter is the only attraction people rush to in Universal is WWoHP, and it always has the longest lines, and it's not new anymore. IOA is the park more people go to because of WWoHP. Now the Studios will have its draw.
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    Re: When Diagon Alley opens would it be smart or foolish for Universal to . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by jcruise86 View Post
    I'd guess that some WDW visitors will just get one-day park hoppers and focus on the Harry Potter lands and attractions. If they don't stay in one of U's 3 upscale hotels or buy front of the line passes, they'll have some long Potter waits, especially I'd guess in 2014.
    Everybody will be having long waits. Express Pass Plus will not be available on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts or the Hogwarts Express in 2014. The infrastructure will be there for possible future use like at Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

    Quote Originally Posted by swampymarsh View Post
    You can use derogatory terms but the fact of the matter is the only attraction people rush to in Universal is WWoHP, and it always has the longest lines, and it's not new anymore. IOA is the park more people go to because of WWoHP. Now the Studios will have its draw.
    Except that there has been a sustained increase in attendance at Universal Studios Florida since the opening of Transformers: The Ride-3D...

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    Re: When Diagon Alley opens would it be smart or foolish for Universal to . . .

    Large price hikes probably aren't out of the question, given they did it last time, but I think it's bad business given how they already wrecklessly speed right past the inflation rate every single year.

    Quote Originally Posted by swampymarsh View Post
    You can use derogatory terms but the fact of the matter is the only attraction people rush to in Universal is WWoHP
    By my calculation, that gives them 1 more place that people rush to than all of WDW. So not bad.

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    Re: When Diagon Alley opens would it be smart of foolish for Universal to . . .

    From a marketing standpoing I think it would be foolish for a price increase to conincide with the opening of Potter 2.0. They'll need to wait probably a year or so. However, it really depends on what their current marketing strategy is. If they're trying to siphon people from WDW over to USO then they need to keep their prices as low as possible. Remember, it only costs $5 or so to add an extra day on a WDW park hopper, so if you're a family looking to go to WDW, and you want to stay 7 days but take one day to go over to USO to see Harry Potter, you're looking at $20ish total for a family of four to stay at WDW for a day, or $350ish to go to USO for a day. Universal still can't compete in that respect.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big D View Post
    . . . if you're a family looking to go to WDW, and you want to stay 7 days but take one day to go over to USO to see Harry Potter, you're looking at $20ish total for a family of four to stay at WDW for a day, or $350ish to go to USO for a day. Universal still can't compete in that respect.
    Although the Magic Kingdom will probably continue to get its world-record level 17 million visits a year, I predict WDW attendance will be flat or only have modest increases this year (I've read that more Americans are traveling now), but Universal--which has a LONG way to go--could have impressive increases for at least the next couple of years. That's the way it's been going in recent years. Universal will benefit from positive word of mouth if Diagon Alley is magnificent.

    Pricing the Magic Kingdom $5 more might have been a bad move by Disney, because it says that the other parks--even EPCOT--are inferior to the MK. If Disney is going to do that, then maybe they should just charge $20 more for the MK to take in more $$$ from those one-day at WDW visitors. How many of those are there, btw? Another question: Given its current size, would attracting more than 17 million to the MK really be wise in the long run?

    This is anecdotal and possibly meaningless, but I know two families who've gone to Florida in the last 4 months. Though they both have young kids, they both opted to spend more time at the beach than at theme parks. One spent one day at the Magic Kingdom and the other at Universal. The other just spent two days at Universal and none at Walt Disney World. They're in the minority, but it could be a growing minority. Wall Street likes trends--though Disney stock is much, much more than just WDW parks--see the Avengers' or Frozen's billion + box office returns.

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    Re: When Diagon Alley opens would it be smart or foolish for Universal to . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by swampymarsh View Post
    You can use derogatory terms but the fact of the matter is the only attraction people rush to in Universal is WWoHP, and it always has the longest lines, and it's not new anymore. IOA is the park more people go to because of WWoHP. Now the Studios will have its draw.
    I'm not sure I get your point. Nearly every park has an equivalent of "the ride people rush to." For example, DCA has Radiator Springs Racers. Everyone rushes to it, it always has long lines, and its not new anymore. How does that say anything about the quality of the other attractions in the park? Unless you're insinuating that the other attractions at Universal have no lines and that guests only attend the park to visit Harry Potter, in which case you clearly haven't spent a lot of time in the Universal Parks.

    Universal (14mm visitors) is getting about 30% (up from 23% just 5 years ago) in attendance of what Disney (47mm) gets, and they're doing it with 3 hotels (next to Disney's 23+), 0 water parks, half as many theme parks, and significantly reduced other resort offerings (no golf courses, Downtown Disney is much larger than City Walk).

    Universal is doing all of this on land that is 3-4% the size of Disney's.

    So can we stop pretending that Universal is a one-trick pony that got lucky with Potter?
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    Re: When Diagon Alley opens would it be smart or foolish for Universal to . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by cruise View Post
    So can we stop pretending that Universal is a one-trick pony that got lucky with Potter?
    Pretending? The proof is right there that it is, a one trick pony. If it never got potter it would be doing what it was doing before it opened, withering away.
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    Re: When Diagon Alley opens would it be smart or foolish for Universal to . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by swampymarsh View Post
    Pretending? The proof is right there that it is, a one trick pony. If it never got potter it would be doing what it was doing before it opened, withering away.
    Except the change in ownership that still occurred...

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    Re: When Diagon Alley opens would it be smart of foolish for Universal to . . .

    When they open a third gate, sure:

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    Quote Originally Posted by cruise View Post
    I'm not sure I get your point. Nearly every park has an equivalent of "the ride people rush to." For example, DCA has Radiator Springs Racers. Everyone rushes to it, it always has long lines, and its not new anymore. How does that say anything about the quality of the other attractions in the park? Unless you're insinuating that the other attractions at Universal have no lines and that guests only attend the park to visit Harry Potter, in which case you clearly haven't spent a lot of time in the Universal Parks.

    Universal (14mm visitors) is getting about 30% (up from 23% just 5 years ago) in attendance of what Disney (47mm) gets, and they're doing it with 3 hotels (next to Disney's 23+), 0 water parks, half as many theme parks, and significantly reduced other resort offerings (no golf courses, Downtown Disney is much larger than City Walk).

    Universal is doing all of this on land that is 3-4% the size of Disney's.

    So can we stop pretending that Universal is a one-trick pony that got lucky with Potter?

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    Re: When Diagon Alley opens would it be smart of foolish for Universal to . . .

    I think Universal has a lot more to offer than just Potter, but that's the game-changer that can equal it with Disney in a lot of people's eyes- if there's one thing that can match Disney in terms of popularity, it's Potter.

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    Re: When Diagon Alley opens would it be smart of foolish for Universal to . . .

    I'm a Florida resident and I live an hour away from Orlando. My two younger children (ages 17 and 10) and I have annual passes to both Disney and Universal. We just spent the day at Universal, and while we also love and adore Disneyworld, Universal more than gives it a run for the money now. Both the "old" Harry Potter "Forbidden Journey" ride and the new "Transformers" ride are the BEST rides I have ever been on. Period. Disney has nothing in any of their parks that are even close in this regard. I do believe that Universal has learned a ton from Disney in that spending the $ for an "authentic" experience for a particular character and story is worth it in the long run, because that feeling you get when it is done well makes you want to come back over and over. Hogsmeade (and from what I could tell today from the outside- Diagon Alley) DEFINITELY does this in spades. If you are a Harry Potter fanatic, you will be in heaven. If you aren't , well, then I guess you might think there isn't anything else in those parks worth seeing. That's nonsense.

    Don't get me wrong- I think Disney does the overall theming of the parks better, it's a more cohesive feeling when you are there. Many of our favorite characters of all time are Disney, so it makes sense that we still love it. But I don't feel like I need to be loyal to one or the other- they both fulfill entertainment and experiences that are different. This pitting one against the other is ridiculous IMO.

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