Did Universal Wake A Sleeping Giant?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

There’s never been a better time to be a theme park fan. It seems like a day doesn’t go by without a new rumour or news breaking about what’s being built next. Its a far cry from ten years ago when the Florida market was totally dominated by the mouse.

Don’t get me wrong, Disney are still the powerhouses in Orlando as last years attendance figures show but competitors have made ground mostly in the shape of Universal Orlando Resort.


Writing this  in the aftermath of the success of recent years it seems funny to write that Universal was once consider a 1 day visit, but a string of successful introductions has helped change peoples perceptions and change Universal into a resort rather than an afterthought.

The major change came with the introduction of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal’s runaway success at one point could have been a Disney IP if reports are true. The word on the street is that JK Rowling decided not to work with Disney due to their reluctance to give her final approval. Disney’s loss has vey much been Universal’s gain.

Although not a one trick pony Universal continued their growth by introducing Diagon Alley at Universal Studios, doubling up on their Potter product. The attention to detail at both Wizarding Worlds has set a new standard in theme park theming and now along with Transformers, Minions and the future launch of Skull Island, Universal is easily a 3 day plus option.

Has this new found success though awoken a sleeping giant? In my opinion, for years Disney had it a little too easy, Universal’s new found success is probably something that Disney needed, a little kick in the bottom. Their recent announcements of the planned introduction of a dedicated Star Wars Land and a Toy Story Land while also building Pandora the Avatar Film inspired land shows Disney mean business.


A dedicated Star Wars land is clearly the standout product, with the introduction of the new films, the first set to open at cinema’s in December, a Star Wars Land will appeal to Mum’s, Dad’s and children! Its the perfect trifecta.

Competition is good for everybody and in this case the real winners will be the guests, better attractions, better technology and better value for money. You can purchase Disney Passes at Orlando Attraction Tickets from as little as £262.00 for 2015.

Smiles included…


Orlando Attraction Tickets

What To Do About Harry Potter?

Afternoon Thrill Seekers,

With 2013 in its penultimate month most people are turning their Diagonalleyattention to 2014 and when we think about 2014 in regards to Orlando Theme Parks our first thought is the opening of the expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley.

The expectation and excitement around its opening is set to even dwarf the original frantic scene’s  and we for one cannot wait! However there are a few things that even though we’re sure the guys at Universal have thought of if giving us pause to think.

Today’s post we’re going to take a quick look at some of the dilemmas Universal must struggle with when considering phase 2 of Potter Land.

Hogwarts Express

The announcement of the Hogwarts Express and the first photo’s of it being lowered on to the track got the internet talking. The idea of connecting both parks by train is genius and I for one can’t wait to ride it…. but here lies the problem.

Everyone is going to want to ride the Hogwarts Express, so this leads me to my first concern.

How will Universal deal with the queue’s? Islands of Adventure to Universal Studios is at most a 2 minute walk, so they can’t really have too many carriages attached to the main train, granted you can stretch the track further but this leads to a longer wait time between stations. We know there will only ever be 2 trains running at any time (Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley and vice versa) how many people will the train carry? Based on perhaps 2 carriages, each carriage holding 32 people, I estimate they would be able to shift 1920 people per hour one way basing the ride time on 2 minutes. Islands of Adventure at full capacity can take 40k people!!!

Universal are not stupid they’ve encountered queues before but how do you keep everyone happy while queuing?

Multi day tickets

Not really an issue for our customers as our standard Universal 2 Park Bonus Ticket includes 14 days unlimited access to both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios but if you’re looking to purchase tickets on the gate your going to have buy a ticket for both parks costing approx. $200.00 per person.

Living up to expectations

How much are you looking forward to the official opening? Yeah me too… and so is everyone! Are Universal on a hiding to nothing?

How do you keep everyone happy, when the original Wizarding World was opened no one knew what to expect. With this new expansion there is a level of expectation when it comes to the look and feel of the park.

Hogsmeade’s flagship ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has been met with both critical (continues to win industry awards) and public praise. The ride introduced new technology to theme parks and I would expect the same level of detail at Gringotts Bank. A template for this ride has already been put down both in the Potter books and most recently on screen. Can they produce what we expect?

The rest of the park

A major puzzle for Universal, how do you make sure that the rest of both parks still get some visitor love?

Transformers the Ride has proven to be a very popular draw at Universal Studios this year but in reality 2014 will be ruled by Potter and only after the euphoria has died down can Universal realistically expect to see the parks return to normal patterns…

How Universal deal with these factors will be key to if the new expansion is a long term success… we know in the short term its going to be HUGE!!!

On a massive plus side, if you’re not a fan of Potter the queue times on the other rides will be minimal 🙂

Smiles included…