Universal on Attack

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Universal continues to improve its offerings for guests and thereby also encroaching Walt Disney World in what it believed in the past was its very own territory … now they just added a cruise experience! But let’s not get into this story head over heels. So from the start…

Andy already made several posts in the recent months regarding the slow or even non-existing reaction of Walt Disney World to the additions that the Universal Resort as well as the SeaWorld Resort have been premiering in the last year (in particular the outstanding “Simpson – The Ride” at Universal and SeaWorld’s new water park) and are about to premiere this year (in particular the flying coaster “Manta” at SeaWorld as well as the new coaster at Universal Studios), not to mention the upcoming Harry Potter land at Islands of Adventure in 2010 as well as numerous small but guest friendly concepts such as the free option for guests staying at the official Universasl Hotels to use their room key as unlimited “Universal Express” pass to bypass queues at the major attractions or the all “all you can eat” options valid for a full day Universal or SeaWorld. Now the pressure keeps mounting as Universal decided to go head to head with WDW in one more area: cruises! (more…)

When Will Walt Disney World Have an Answer?

Monday, January 19th, 2009

wdw-nice-castleThe news or even a rumour of a new attraction is always something exciting. We love to hear about it, write about it and dream about it. But it has been a while since we got some exciting news lately. The excitement came from other parks. Seaworld is getting “Manta”, Universal Studios is building “Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit” Roller coaster and Island of Adventure has plans to stun the audience with their Harry Potter park. All this is happening while Walt Disney World announced… well, nothing much.

OK, that wasn’t totally fair. Walt Disney World is getting Idol! It is also updating Space Mountain to Space Mountain Mission 2 and a new Stitch attraction has just entered the rumour mill.


Happy Birthday Mickey Mouse

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Mickey Mouse turns 80 today as he celebrates his very first oficial appearance in the Steamboat Willie short released on 18 November 1928. While this day will be remembered as Mickey’s Birthday, it wasn’t his very first short he appeared in. Before Steamboat Willie there was Crazy Plane and The Gallopin’ Gaucho, however it was Steamboat Willie that found its first distributor, hence making it the debut of Mickey. It is only after showing Steamboat Willie that the two previous works got the attention they deserved.


Happy Halloween Everybody

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Halloween; I love it. It is my favorite holiday. So I am a little sad I can’t be at Mickey’s not so scary Halloween Party or at either Universal Halloween Horror Night and Bush Garden’s Howl-O-Scream. Unfortunately I will not be there next Halloween either. The reason for that is I will be at Walt Disney World in August (So I shouldn’t be to sad about it) and going back that early in October wont happen (unless some miracle happens). For all those who are enjoying some Halloween in the parks; have fun and let us know how you liked the festivities.

Happy Halloween Everybody!

Harry Potter; the Dragon Killer

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

While adding Harry Potter to Islands of Adventure will be a goldmine for Universal Studios, I never liked they idea of it being added to the park. I loved the park how it was and will miss the “old” Lost Continent land. The land will be changed a lot, including the Dueling Dragons. If rumors are indeed correct Universal has now destroyed the dragon statue… The news isn’t 100% verified so I hope this rumor is incorrect. Please somebody come and tell us here Harry Potter didn’t kill the Dragons. (via screamscape)

Universal Studios Hollywood Backlot Devastation

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Yesterday a devastating fire has destroyed a mayor part of Universal Studios Hollywood‘s backlot area. While firefighters did a tremendous job trying to control and save some of Universal heritage, the losses are still big. The King Kong attraction is destroyed as well as most of the sets from New York and New England Streets. The cause of the fire will be investigated. So far the news speaks of an explosion, but no further information is know yet. However, the famous Clock Tower Building from the Back to the Future fame has not been burned down as earlier news reported.

You can see a full news report, including a video of the flames tearing down the buildings on ABCnews and a collection of pictures on the BBC website. If you visit Screamscape you’ll find a “before and after” picture of the backlot area.

Harry Potter is No Disney Fan

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

ioa-mapcutout.jpgIt looks like it that Harry Potter is going to go to Universal after all (even with the rumor that floated the webs a couple of weeks ago that Disney might still have had a hand in it). If the rumors are correct Universal is planning to add Harry Potter in an unused area, both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure have possible free areas, with the second one being the top possibility (if rumors are indeed correct).

So did Disney lose on this deal? Some might think so but I don’t. I admit, the following might be a bit of a personal look at the situation, but I can’t help myself thinking that this was the best deal for Disney. Yes you read this right; I did say best deal for Disney.


Universal Studios wants their own Everest

Thursday, April 5th, 2007

expeditioneverestpeak.jpgIf you want more visitors in your park only one thing will help; build a one of a kind new experience! Just look at Expedition Everest and what it did for Animal Kingdom. This park was considered to be not even a day filler by many and for some not there would not even be a reason to visit it at all. It would not have been the first time I read a forum or even talk to somebody who has been to Walt Disney World without adding a visit to Animal Kingdom. (I’ll never understand as I think this park is an Imagineering masterpiece – but that is a story for another time). Since Expedition Everest opened this has changed!

Animal Kingdom attendance rose 8.6 percent to 8.91 million paid visitors in 2006, according to estimates contained in a theme park attendance report released Wednesday by TEA (formerly called the Themed Entertainment Association) and Economics Research Associates. That was the biggest gain among the 20 most popular North American theme parks. (Florida Today)

I’ve always said it, build something new, never seen before and make sure it is something amazing and the visitors will come to your park. (But who listens to me). Universal Studios is surely listening (not to me, but to the numbers). They see what Expedition Everest did and now they want to build their own “Everest” so to say.


What project will be in the spotlight?

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

aquaticaorlandosentinel.jpgThe big Walt Disney World news we just talked about (and everybody is talking about) are the 2 new projects related to the Four Seasons resort and a second Disney Village style area with shops and more hotels. While this is big news and will bring big changes to the Walt Disney World Resort, it is not something I am wildly excited about. Maybe it is big to others, I am sure the Four Season Resort will be great, an attraction or new park would have excited me a lot more (I know, The fifth gate will never be out of my head even if it is not something that we might see anytime soon) …

While Disney did add some great new attractions like Expedition Everest or Soarin’, it are the other parks in Orlando that are now getting into the spotlight, stealing Disney’s thunder. Seaworld for example has just announced there new Water Park called Aquatica. (See article Orlando Sentinel)


“Built for families. Made for memories.”

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007


It doesn’t happen a lot you get to see Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld in the same advertisement like the new Orlando “Built for families. Made for memories.” advertisement videos that are shown on TV right now…

I must admit that I like the “turning young” story they use in the videos. This describes what many of us fans feel when we visit the theme parks…

You can see the ads on Orlando Sentinel’s Tourism Central Florida Blog

Three Miles South of Disneyland

Friday, December 1st, 2006

threemilesfromdisneyland-latimes.jpgA group of Korean investors is looking at building a new Theme Park just three miles south of Disneyland.

After years of failed efforts to land some sort of tourist attraction, the Garden Grove City Council has agreed to let an investment firm move forward with plans to construct a $4-billion amusement park in a city best known for its annual strawberry festival. (Source LA Times)

While they say it doesn’t look to compete with Disneyland in Anaheim they must hope that visitors of the resort would hop over for a visit. They are taking Islands Of Adventure as an example of what they want to have in place in California.

I must admit that I love Islands of Adventure and every Walt Disney World visit has brought me to the Universal Studios resort for a visit.


Halloween! (Part 2: Scares not at Walt Disney World)

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

HHNweb.jpgWhenever I go for the “sweet” Walt Disney World Halloween experience I will not miss another Haunt when I am in Orlando. Like I said it the first part; I love Halloween, so it is impossible to celebrate without a visit to some really scary haunts. The best place to do this when visiting Walt Disney World (in my opinion) is going to Halloween Horror Nights in Universal Studios. (starting 29th September)

Now the last thing I would do (as the Disney fanatic that I am) is lure away people from WDW to visit another park, but admittedly there is a lot of fun out there that will tempt me to get off Disney property and enjoy it.

Halloween Horror Night is one of those and one of my favorite events. I go to Mickey’s not so Scary Halloween party, but I will make sure to go to some (multiple) Halloween Horror Nights too during a “Halloween” visit


Disney Travels (Part One!)

Monday, September 4th, 2006

MuseumSusan and I have spent pretty much all of the last 6 weeks or so on a major travelling adventure (as goes with the job) around parts of the USA, looking at new writing projects and coming across some unique insights and attractions along the way, some of them Disney-related and some not.

We’ve been in theme parks (notably Cedar Point, Ohio, Hershey Park, Pennsylvania, and Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Virginia), along the coast, to historic sites (notably Gettysburg, Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown and the Shenandoah Valley), scenic sites (The Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive and Natural Bridge, all in Virginia) and even on a Caribbean cruise (with Carnival, not DCL, but still with positive results). And it has to be said, Disney and Co have a LOT of competition nowadays, especially from the likes of the cruise lines.


Missed chances: Advertisement before the Movie!

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

PiratesScene.jpgGoing to the movies is something I love to do; the atmosphere, the BIG screen, the awesome sound effect… It is all part on the experience that makes seeing a movie in a cinema special. My last Disney movie was Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man’s Chest (I guess that counts for a lot of us). I loved the movie, and also loved the new Walt Disney logo at the beginning of the movie. It makes me want to go to the parks. But isn’t this a missed opportunity? Could they not add, before the movie starts, a nice beautiful advertisement of the Disney Parks? Including information on how and where to book. If they would add this before every movie as an attachment would this not have a very positive effect on the people in the theatres? How many people went to see Pirates but have never been to a Disney park? Many for sure! (I talked to people who liked the movie but never seen the ride it was modeled after) So before the movie start they should show the park and get the people interested for a visit. Show the link even more as they did with the small intro before the movie starts.


Detour … in Anaheim

Saturday, July 8th, 2006

Psst … I need to tell you a secret … there is a world full of wonders outside the Disney resorts as well. But shhhh … don’t tell anyone, we don’t want them to run all over the place ;-)

Enough of the kidding – but there is something true about that, after all when we as Disney fans finally get to a Disney resort there is a certain urge to enjoy as much of the offerings from Disney as possible, which also means there is less time for the famous tourist highlights and especially the hidden gems in the vincinity. That (and the fact that I realized that I tent to not post as much here as I originally promised) has prompted me to come up with a new series which I hope to publish more or less regularly every Saturday or every other Saturday: DETOUR

For the inauguration part I thought I bring something up for all of us visiting the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. After all with the 50th Anniversary celebrations still going strong their is already a strong urge for us fans to drop by Anaheim..