I completely agree with the topic of this thread that the two resorts cannot be compared. They are very, very different experiences, resulting from very, very different environments. I am fortunate to be able to visit both very frequently, and I enjoy both very thoroughly, but my excessive time in these places makes me very critical, and I can find pluses and faults in both.
For me, Universal never feels immersive like Disney. As much as i want to feel I'm in a fantasy world, I never feel like I leave Orlando. The Wizarding World is great, but part of me will always feel that they didn't do a complete job. Seeing the big obvious show building from relatively commonly passes vantage points is disheartening, and honestly, I feel a bit embarrassed for Universal in that regard. Disney has its moments too, but it takes more effort to find their lapses. When I'm at Disney, I truly feel away from it all.
As a young adult, it is clear that Universal has been building more to meet my demographic, and I am excited for that. As a lifelong Disney fan, I want to see them take the helm once again. However, part of me has to wonder, what would a Disney spending/building spree accomplish? Universal is going to build an addition to a highly successful franchise. Disney could build an equally amazing area, but to what end? If the goal is to keep people away from Universal, there is nothing they can do that would achieve it. People will go to Diagon Alley, it's a done deal. What would Disney hope to accomplish by building something equally grand at the same time? Look at the film industry, do you think Disney would have ever let the Avengers come out on the same weekend as the Dark Knight Rises? To do so would have been a huge mistake! Let me be clear, I want Disney to do something extraordinary, but I have to admit, I cannot come up with a logical reason for them to do so at this time in Florida. I don't know about many of you out there, but my family's vacation time was finite. If Universal builds something that attracts us, we would have to take a Disney day, and make it a Universal day, we can't miraculously create another day.
When I look at the diverging approaches between the two resorts, I similarly see pros and cons. Disney is building an infrastructure that will allow them to not only generate more revenue (trust me, it will), they are establishing a foundation that will allow them to better prepare for the technologically savvy audiences of the future. The downside is, it doesn't appear much is being done for the money supposedly being funneled into the project. This gives Disney the outward appearance of being stale. Universal, in my opinion, is going to find themselves with the opposite problem. They are banking on short term gain. I think Universal might find themselves with a "give a mouse a cookie" problem. They are investing a ton of resources in the here and now, but they are creating an expectation among their audience that no company can live up to. Potter will be big, but the fervor will die down. How many years can they afford billion dollar projects? The bigger question I have is, how long will and can Guests expect those investments? For all we know, Universal might be on the verge of their own Euro Disneyland. There is such a thing as too much, too quickly.
I really don't mean to come off as a Disney apologist, but every once in a while I find it refreshing to look at things from a different perspective. I desperately want Disney to build more in Florida, I want Disney to be proud of what they have to offer down here. I have exhaustive lists of things that I feel desperately need to be improved, but even I have a hard time making a solid business case for them right now. To my mind, Disney going full blast in Florida now would be nothing but reactionary, defensive. My thoughts, use the popularity of Potter to try and attract new audiences to Disney, don't directly complete, let the wave of popularity play out. Then, once the market settles to a degree of normalcy, which it will, hit back with something epic! Wait for the right moment, and then go right back on the offensive.
I'm sorry I never saw this, as it is an extremely well written as well as informative response, almost an article! You did make me think about something I hadn't before. ... that Disney can hold itself up with everything it has already...for now! They have an incredibly talented group of people who don't only make great attractions, they know when to place them. You have got my head spinning with new thoughts! Awesome read, I would love to see a weekly blog from you!
Also, they don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I think you're underestimating how much Comcast is willing to spend.