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NYT: "Universal....Takes Aim at Disney"

DisneyFan 2000

Well-Known Member
Is it me or does Universal just specialize in a very specific type of dark ride and doesn't have too much to offer besides that. Both spider man and transformers use the exact same dark effects and type of ride, potter's dark ride is a little different, but what they seem to try to draw people in is with this one type of ride. All of their other rides such as Jurassic park, coasters and what not are definitely getting older.
Kinda like Disney has PotC and Small World side by side, or Dinosaur and Indiana Jones at different parks, or Haunted Mansion, Buzz Lightyear, Spaceship Earth and TLM? No one's really invented the wheel (n the last couple of decades at least) so your point is kind of irrelevant.
 

El Grupo

Well-Known Member
As some have already shared, I also find this article very encouraging. The competition between Disney and Universal will be good for everyone.

Assuming a successful relaunch of CA next month, I wouldn't be surprised to see attention quickly turned to some additions/refurbs. at EPCOT and DHS, along with further expansions in Anaheim.

The next 3 - 5 years could be very exciting in Orlando.
 

td1129

Well-Known Member
The war will start in CA. Shame it still refuses to spill over to Orlando. The next 5 years at USF could be amazing. And at Disneyland.

So a $450 million and $500 million expansion, as well as at least two new nighttime spectaculars, and a massive addition to Potter doesn't equal war? Got it.
 

danlb_2000

Well-Known Member
Is it me or does Universal just specialize in a very specific type of dark ride and doesn't have too much to offer besides that. Both spider man and transformers use the exact same dark effects and type of ride, potter's dark ride is a little different, but what they seem to try to draw people in is with this one type of ride. All of their other rides such as Jurassic park, coasters and what not are definitely getting older.

Not sure what you are trying to get at. Spiderman, Forbidden Journey, ET, Revenge of the Mummy, Cat in the Hat, and Men in Black can all be considered dark rides, and they all use different ride system. I think Universal has quite a bit of variety in their rides.
 

prberk

Well-Known Member
The most important words in the whole article were these three, near the end: "former Disney employee," referring to the show producer for a new ride. They also apply to the Comcast division manager placed in charge of theme parks. (That one is the same man that they were going to put in charge of the "Disney division" of Comcast if they had been successful in their bid to buy Disney a few years back.)

Roy E. Disney got it right a few years back when he lamented that the Walt Disney Co. had become a training ground for expatriates who went on to bring their creative talents and ideas to other companies; when the company should have been more encouraging of their creativity and thus kept them. People would learn the trade at Disney and move on to people who would actually let them create or innovate.

And that is the case here.

The answer is to let the imagineers and others be freed up to imagine again... before they leave and do it for someone else.
 

dcibrando

Well-Known Member
If you're a family, and you have kids, WDW is the place for you - because you simply couldn't do more than about 2 things at Uni. But if you have teens, or are a couple of young adults, and you go to Uni....you might start scratching your head when you head back over to WDW and wonder where all the thrills and immersive experiences are.

the solutions: Beastly Kingdom or a Villans Park (either in place of Avatar) with a darker tone and more high end thrill rides for the teen/adult crowd
 

PhilharMagician

Well-Known Member
I visited Uni once when I was young (early 90s - it was a newborn). Since then, I hadn't been until a few weeks ago (May 6). Wife and I were in Orlando for a conference. Stayed on WDW property using certain discounts, and rented a car for the first time ever.

And since wife is a travel agent, we went to Uni to complete her "Certification" program. I'm glad I went. It opened my eyes in more ways that one.

Caveat: I suffer from severe motion sickness. But since we needed to ride as much as possible, I doubled up on my Dramamine and kept my stomach full. The heat didn't help, but I got through the day with my eyes closed a lot. Thus, my opinion of some rides is a bit skewed, only because they made me want to :hurl:

In one way, I quickly realized that Uni is CURRENTLY leaps and bounds beyond Disney in utilizing ride technology and integrating numerous types of effects into one attraction. I'd only heard of all these rides and attractions, and had seen some YouTube videos. But after experiencing things like Simpsons, Spiderman, Mummy and a few others, it quickly became apparent to me that the top dogs at Uni are investing in themselves, instead of the stockholders.

But on the flip side, Universal felt cheap and run down. That park is old, but is in worse overall shape than DHS. Plus, it's like walking through a Midway or down a beach in Jamaica, where people are literally hawking stuff non-stop.

Now, my visit to IoA was overwhelming. The attention to detail is incredible. It's sensory overload. I liken it to the MK, where there's theming and atmosphere no matter where you look. I've never read or seen anything "Potter", but that area of the park was simply awe inspiring. I can see why it drove attendance through the roof. And being the end of our day, I popped some more medicine and braved the new Potter ride (whatever it's called). Ignoring the fact that only 1% of the world's population is healthy enough, or in the perfect condition to ride it....it's simply awesome. Again, my eyes were closed a lot, and my forehead was sweating profusely, but I opened them enough times to appreciate what they had built. Beyond words.

So then I step back and look at my beloved WDW, which I have gone to the defense of for years. And now I'm second guessing myself. Sure, I love the classic rides, and I love the immersive theming of a couple of the parks (my favorite, MK and my least favorite, AK), but if someone who's into amazing rides and thrills goes to Uni first....they're going to be disappointed with WDW.

If you're a family, and you have kids, WDW is the place for you - because you simply couldn't do more than about 2 things at Uni. But if you have teens, or are a couple of young adults, and you go to Uni....you might start scratching your head when you head back over to WDW and wonder where all the thrills and immersive experiences are.

I'm playing Devil's Advocate, of course, because my heart belongs to WDW (obviously). But having experienced Uni/IoA myself, in 2012, I can see where WDW is going to have to step up their game to compete with Uni...who seems to be more in tune with today's youth and society.

Universal definately has it's rides that truely shine! Then it has it's maintenance issues at both parks. Like you said it has a really run down feel in many areas. The one thing that stick out to me was the Jurrasic ride boats which had torn seats and were sooooo faded!

If universal keeps moving forward on it's current path then Disney will have something to really be concerned about.
 

Tom

Beta Return
USF is thankfully going to get worked on heavily in the next few years. I wouldn't say it feels cheap and rundown, but it definitely needs some facelifts.

But I'm surprised you thought people were hawking things nonstop. I've never got that feeling in USF.

It was hit and miss on the run down-ness. Uni far moreso than IoA, obviously. I felt like I was at my local city zoo, which is a joke. Asphalt paved park roads with so many cracks you can't take a step without breaking your mother's back...while WDW has concrete everywhere. It's like the whole parks looked like DinoLand :lol: only not intentionally.

People selling novelties and trinkets were behaving like the "ball" people used to in the Innoventions tunnels, where they'd "involve" you whether you wanted to be involved or not. And they had booths similar to DVC, except to sell tickets to Blue Man Group or other activities....and they'd stand out in the sidewalk and literally yell at guests as they walked by. It was like being in Gatlinburg, TN and having the time share and tee-shirt hawkers in your face. Disney may have a DVC booth every 8 feet, but they don't say a word to you unless you approach THEM. Quite respectful.

Great article.

I agree with quite a few posters on this thread (and many others around here:lookaroun) that Uni has been doing some amazing things lately that basically blow away what Disney has been doing LATELY.

The empahsis has to be on lately, because over all Disney doesn't have anything to worry about right now.
However myself and others are starting to spend days (and money) away from the parks. Last year was our first time taking a few days at Uni and this coming year will be no different. Harry Potter is ther reason we started going but it opened up all the other great things to see at IOA, and few cool things at USF too.

So until Disney really starts feeling a real impact they'll continue to build spinners and omnimovers.....

LATELY is indeed the key word. Today's society has a very short memory. Sure Disney had awesome stuff until yesterday, but what has it done for me TODAY?

People are overstimulated and spoiled by technology. In the 70s, when Disney was literally inventing ride systems, it was during a time when technology evolved slowly, and when something happened, it was a BREAKTHROUGH! Now, you can't get all your settings the way you like them in your smartphone before the next model is out, with one more feature available. The people who are growing up with smartphones are the same ones who will prefer Uni because everything is in-your-face and new and exciting and bold and OVER stimulating.

They'll go to WDW and get bored. Disney may have held all the cards for 40 years....but they're running out of Aces and I don't see them trying to slip any extras up their sleeve.

Not sure what you are trying to get at. Spiderman, Forbidden Journey, ET, Revenge of the Mummy, Cat in the Hat, and Men in Black can all be considered dark rides, and they all use different ride system. I think Universal has quite a bit of variety in their rides.

Uni does indeed have a nice variety. Disney is getting heavy in dark omnimovers. Excellent for families, and perfect for the MK....but the time has come to go bold in Epcot and DHS.

The most important words in the whole article were these three, near the end: "former Disney employee," referring to the show producer for a new ride. They also apply to the Comcast division manager placed in charge of theme parks. (That one is the same man that they were going to put in charge of the "Disney division" of Comcast if they had been successful in their bid to buy Disney a few years back.)

Roy E. Disney got it right a few years back when he lamented that the Walt Disney Co. had become a training ground for expatriates who went on to bring their creative talents and ideas to other companies; when the company should have been more encouraging of their creativity and thus kept them. People would learn the trade at Disney and move on to people who would actually let them create or innovate.

And that is the case here.

The answer is to let the imagineers and others be freed up to imagine again... before they leave and do it for someone else.

So sadly true. Disney hires an Imagineer, trains them, teaches them all the secrets, uses them for a project, runs out of money, and kicks them to the curb. Said ex-Imagineer is looking for a job in a very small industry and Uni grabs them up for a steal, and doesn't have to spend a penny teaching them how to think of and design blockbusters. Then when they do, Comcast writes a check to "just do it" while WDW is finding ways to scale back their only new investments.

the solutions: Beastly Kingdom or a Villans Park (either in place of Avatar) with a darker tone and more high end thrill rides for the teen/adult crowd

Yeah.

Universal definately has it's rides that truely shine! Then it has it's maintenance issues at both parks. Like you said it has a really run down feel in many areas. The one thing that stick out to me was the Jurrasic ride boats which had torn seats and were sooooo faded!

If universal keeps moving forward on it's current path then Disney will have something to really be concerned about.

I agree. And I would have never said that before 2 weeks ago. :(
 

the-reason14

Well-Known Member
It all sounds good to me. Never was a fan of Uni and I'm still not even though I haven't been in years. But from what I've read in this thread, I hope a lot of people are doing what most of you guys are and that is cutting days from Disney World and spending them elsewhere. Maybe this will show Disney that instead of wasting money on infrastructure for a fastpass that's pretty useless, that they will spend money on new rides and stuff and then think about adding that later when the ride count goes way up.
 

tl77

Well-Known Member
To me the really interesting thing about the article is how many Universal employees are former Disney people, especially since the old "20,000 Leagues" area sat vacant for over 10 years and it wasn't until Harry Potter-land came along that Disney did anything

It's the exact same situation as with their feature animation department in the 70's; they were so content to just coast along making mediocre movie 'till one day their head guy Don Bluth got tired of it and left to start his own studio. Only then did they get serious about the animated features again

t's as if being the best in the world at something isn't enough to motivate them, Disney seems to need some kind of rival otherwise they'll just kick back and tread on their name and let the empire fall down around them
 

Buried20KLeague

Well-Known Member
I visited Uni once when I was young (early 90s - it was a newborn). Since then, I hadn't been until a few weeks ago (May 6). Wife and I were in Orlando for a conference. Stayed on WDW property using certain discounts, and rented a car for the first time ever.

And since wife is a travel agent, we went to Uni to complete her "Certification" program. I'm glad I went. It opened my eyes in more ways that one.

Caveat: I suffer from severe motion sickness. But since we needed to ride as much as possible, I doubled up on my Dramamine and kept my stomach full. The heat didn't help, but I got through the day with my eyes closed a lot. Thus, my opinion of some rides is a bit skewed, only because they made me want to :hurl:

In one way, I quickly realized that Uni is CURRENTLY leaps and bounds beyond Disney in utilizing ride technology and integrating numerous types of effects into one attraction. I'd only heard of all these rides and attractions, and had seen some YouTube videos. But after experiencing things like Simpsons, Spiderman, Mummy and a few others, it quickly became apparent to me that the top dogs at Uni are investing in themselves, instead of the stockholders.

But on the flip side, Universal felt cheap and run down. That park is old, but is in worse overall shape than DHS. Plus, it's like walking through a Midway or down a beach in Jamaica, where people are literally hawking stuff non-stop.

Now, my visit to IoA was overwhelming. The attention to detail is incredible. It's sensory overload. I liken it to the MK, where there's theming and atmosphere no matter where you look. I've never read or seen anything "Potter", but that area of the park was simply awe inspiring. I can see why it drove attendance through the roof. And being the end of our day, I popped some more medicine and braved the new Potter ride (whatever it's called). Ignoring the fact that only 1% of the world's population is healthy enough, or in the perfect condition to ride it....it's simply awesome. Again, my eyes were closed a lot, and my forehead was sweating profusely, but I opened them enough times to appreciate what they had built. Beyond words.

So then I step back and look at my beloved WDW, which I have gone to the defense of for years. And now I'm second guessing myself. Sure, I love the classic rides, and I love the immersive theming of a couple of the parks (my favorite, MK and my least favorite, AK), but if someone who's into amazing rides and thrills goes to Uni first....they're going to be disappointed with WDW.

If you're a family, and you have kids, WDW is the place for you - because you simply couldn't do more than about 2 things at Uni. But if you have teens, or are a couple of young adults, and you go to Uni....you might start scratching your head when you head back over to WDW and wonder where all the thrills and immersive experiences are.

I'm playing Devil's Advocate, of course, because my heart belongs to WDW (obviously). But having experienced Uni/IoA myself, in 2012, I can see where WDW is going to have to step up their game to compete with Uni...who seems to be more in tune with today's youth and society.

The "awakening" you experienced is very very close to what I went through 3 or 4 years ago. We decided to get crazy and went to Tokyo Disney. TDL and TDS are Nirvana for Disney Parks fans. Which is great... Until you go back to your home resort of WDW and it just doesn't measure up, in so many ways. Since then, we had to see DLP. And decided to become AP holders at DL and have made a handul of trips out there. Instead of our past 10 trips being to WDW, we've made one or two there, and gone to other parks instead.

The stance I have on WDW and the way I talk about WDW nothing to do with gloom and doom, or hating WDW parks, or any of that stuff that guys like me get accused of... It's about having my eyes opened up to everything else that's out there, and wanting that same thing for WDW.

You really want to mess with your own head now that you've starting thinking this way a bit? Head to Tokyo.
 

jt04

Well-Known Member
Avatar confirmed again despite some doubters in our midst.

Most important point of the article though is this, "Although it has publicly dismissed a Potter-enhanced Universal as being even a remote threat, arguing (accurately, analysts say) that a rising tide in Orlando lifts all boats"

This is what I call the "potter effect"/ Disney could afford to allow Potter to be the big event in town for a couple years because the land had limited ability to hold guests for more than a half day and many of those folks found there way to Disney.

That does not mean that Disney can rest because Universal will reach a point that it will start to hurt Disney in the wallet. I have explained how Sea World and Legoland and other options make this a real possibility.

Which is why Avatar may just be the first of several new projects.
And I'd guess the very first project we will see under construction will be at DTD. Just a hunch though.
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
The war will start in CA. Shame it still refuses to spill over to Orlando. The next 5 years at USF could be amazing. And at Disneyland.

It's interesting they chose a headline photo of Cars Land, but then only interviewed Universal folks mainly about Universal Studios Hollywood.

No one from Disney was interviewed, although the Times' photographers were clearly let into Cars Land to get that shot of Radiator Springs Racers. What an interesting article that tried to set up a competition, but only had quotes from one team. :lookaroun
 

disney fan 13

Well-Known Member
To me, I am loving this competition ( At least in California, since i'm making a trip over the winter out west. ) Because it can only be good news for us. Universal has really upped the ante in the past couple of years. such as Harry Potter, Refurbishments, Better staff attitude, new rides every 1-2 years, Citywalk expansion and with even more in the works. And don't forget Seaworld with Manta, Turtletalk, and Antarctica

But sadly I am thinking that Disney will be late to the game. I mean i am not saying they are doing nothing Star tours,TT refurb ( Even though there not footing the bill on that one which makes me think that if GM did not want a refurb for the next 20 years...I think that Disney wouldn't argue. ) but these things do little to attract a older audience. since the only expansion that COULD have a older audience in mind is still 5-6 years away (If ever!)
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
The stance I have on WDW and the way I talk about WDW nothing to do with gloom and doom, or hating WDW parks, or any of that stuff that guys like me get accused of... It's about having my eyes opened up to everything else that's out there, and wanting that same thing for WDW.

You really want to mess with your own head now that you've starting thinking this way a bit? Head to Tokyo.

Oh my gosh, isn't that the truth?!?

I did the exact same thing you did, after being a typical American fan of Disney parks that only visited either WDW or Disneyland (depending on which coast I was living on at the time earlier in my career), and I figured there was nothing more to do than obsess over that missing drop on WDW's Pirates of the Caribbean and watch standards and practices slowly devolve and get sloppy with the devolving American service culture. (One coast is devolving more quickly than the other, but that's another topic).

And then about eight years ago I went to Tokyo Disney Resort for the first time and WOW! I can never look at the American theme parks the same ever again. I've visited both Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea repeatedly since then, and it just gets better.

If you are purely provincial and only go to WDW or only go to Disneyland and just assume that's as good as you will ever get, then that's all you will get as their standards slowly trend downwards with each passing year. But if you actually visit someplace extraordinary like Tokyo Disneyland, then your eyes will be opened wide.

Be warned however, after a visit to Tokyo you will NEVER be able to look at the American parks the same ever again. And as an otherwise patriotic American, that has been a tough thing for me to deal with. :eek:
 

jt04

Well-Known Member
It's interesting they chose a headline photo of Cars Land, but then only interviewed Universal folks mainly about Universal Studios Hollywood.

No one from Disney was interviewed, although the Times' photographers were clearly let into Cars Land to get that shot of Radiator Springs Racers. What an interesting article that tried to set up a competition, but only had quotes from one team. :lookaroun

This is the way Disney always plays it. I think Universal is simply attepting to get Disney to reveal some of its cards before they decide how they want to proceed and where they want to prioritize.

I was very encouraged to hear they are bullish on the theme park business. I think this is an especially wise conclusion to reach for Orlando over the long term.
 

misterID

Well-Known Member
I visited Uni once when I was young (early 90s - it was a newborn). Since then, I hadn't been until a few weeks ago (May 6). Wife and I were in Orlando for a conference. Stayed on WDW property using certain discounts, and rented a car for the first time ever.

And since wife is a travel agent, we went to Uni to complete her "Certification" program. I'm glad I went. It opened my eyes in more ways that one.

Caveat: I suffer from severe motion sickness. But since we needed to ride as much as possible, I doubled up on my Dramamine and kept my stomach full. The heat didn't help, but I got through the day with my eyes closed a lot. Thus, my opinion of some rides is a bit skewed, only because they made me want to :hurl:

In one way, I quickly realized that Uni is CURRENTLY leaps and bounds beyond Disney in utilizing ride technology and integrating numerous types of effects into one attraction. I'd only heard of all these rides and attractions, and had seen some YouTube videos. But after experiencing things like Simpsons, Spiderman, Mummy and a few others, it quickly became apparent to me that the top dogs at Uni are investing in themselves, instead of the stockholders.

But on the flip side, Universal felt cheap and run down. That park is old, but is in worse overall shape than DHS. Plus, it's like walking through a Midway or down a beach in Jamaica, where people are literally hawking stuff non-stop.

Now, my visit to IoA was overwhelming. The attention to detail is incredible. It's sensory overload. I liken it to the MK, where there's theming and atmosphere no matter where you look. I've never read or seen anything "Potter", but that area of the park was simply awe inspiring. I can see why it drove attendance through the roof. And being the end of our day, I popped some more medicine and braved the new Potter ride (whatever it's called). Ignoring the fact that only 1% of the world's population is healthy enough, or in the perfect condition to ride it....it's simply awesome. Again, my eyes were closed a lot, and my forehead was sweating profusely, but I opened them enough times to appreciate what they had built. Beyond words.

So then I step back and look at my beloved WDW, which I have gone to the defense of for years. And now I'm second guessing myself. Sure, I love the classic rides, and I love the immersive theming of a couple of the parks (my favorite, MK and my least favorite, AK), but if someone who's into amazing rides and thrills goes to Uni first....they're going to be disappointed with WDW.

If you're a family, and you have kids, WDW is the place for you - because you simply couldn't do more than about 2 things at Uni. But if you have teens, or are a couple of young adults, and you go to Uni....you might start scratching your head when you head back over to WDW and wonder where all the thrills and immersive experiences are.

I'm playing Devil's Advocate, of course, because my heart belongs to WDW (obviously). But having experienced Uni/IoA myself, in 2012, I can see where WDW is going to have to step up their game to compete with Uni...who seems to be more in tune with today's youth and society.

Wow, this post was just as good as the article.
 

dreamscometrue

Well-Known Member
The war will start in CA. Shame it still refuses to spill over to Orlando. The next 5 years at USF could be amazing. And at Disneyland.

Martin, do you not think the FLE (and the change to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train from Pixie Hollow) and Avatarland are in any way a response to what Universal is doing? I appreciate that WDW might have it's own agenda for the next 10 years, but is it not impossible for Disney execs to not see what's going on at USF, and perhaps feel a sense or urgency?
 

prberk

Well-Known Member
Good article. What an amazing photo of Cars Land - looks incredible in that photo.

As I noticed on America's Funniest Home videos last night (which featured Cars Land and Aulani), the track looks very familar. Sort of a "test track," so to speak.
 

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