This week on the Universal NOW! Podcast, we talk about the latest news, the grand opening of Diagon Alley, and a rumor about the San Francisco area of Universal Studios Florida. For our main topic, we each give our least favorite attractions in Universal Orlando.
This week's episode of Universal NOW! features: HHN 23 News and a rumor discussion. The main topic: Best of the Best. We give our favorites of each Universal theme park category (restaurants, snacks, attractions, shows, etc.) and argue over which is truly the best.
This week on the Universal NOW! Podcast, we are joined by Seth Kubersky of TouringPlans and Orlando Weekly and Matt Roseboom of Attractions Magazine. They give their review of Diagon Alley from the media event Universal held a couple weeks ago. We also have the latest news from CityWalk and Halloween Horror Nights 24.
On this week's episode of Universal NOW!, we share some old news and go over another trip report from Brian. We also have a new contest where you have a chance to win our t-shirt! To enter, send your guess as to which attraction we played in this week's show to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week on the Universal NOW! Podcast we have news to catch up on. Also we get a trip report from Brian after his family's visit to Walt Disney World for the first time in a long time, and a few surprising twists along the way. Our main topic this week are things we want to see come into Islands of Adventure over the course of the next 15 years.
Let me paint you a picture with some watercolors. Comcast is looking at its current line-up of attractions and infrastructure and saying, how can I expand my base of visitors and market share in Orlando?
The Orlando market is watching SeaWorld with far less resources being able to attract 1.5 million guests and Disney pulling in around 1.9 million through their Waterparks. In Universal’s pocket they have a popular water park Wet 'n Wild with an average attendance of 1.2 to 1.3 million. But the price point and income stream is lower then Disney, smaller land lot than the competition, and not tied to the Universal Orlando premium brand they are expanding.
On top of all these factors, Universal is planning to add a resort room inventory of about 15,000+ hotel rooms in ten years. How can UOR keep them in this resort for as long as possible while increasing guest spending on your products?
Well, looking at Aquatica being able to build attendance with far less resources, infrastructure and opening in a down economy, Universal sees a great opportunity to fill hotel rooms for an extra day while cross promoting the water park to hotel and UOR Parks large and expanding guest market share. As Aquatica has shown the world, word of mouth and cross promotion can strike gold for water parks.
Now you may be asking, what will this new water park be like? Well, rumor is it will not be any ordinary water park but filled with IPs to draw guests in, along with some dry, wet rides and dark ride elements. This Park will push the envelop for theme entertainment and create unique experience not seen anywhere else. The talk is the budget is being finalized, but if plans stay where they are it may cost over four times Aquactica’s investment! Although I personally have no sources, all of these rumors can be found throughout Universal message boards and twitter and getting stronger by the day.
So, what may the name of this waterpark be? Universal trademarked Wonder Sea Island but this name may not be the final name for the project.
In Part III I will go over where this Water Park may be located, more challenges and advantages this park will face for USO, and my personal thoughts on a USO Waterpark and its effect on the market itself.
This week on the Universal NOW! Podcast, we have a little bit of a slip-up on the recording. But that's OK! We have a special live weekend report from Brian and Kyle who visited Universal this past weekend, and they give us their reviews on Cabana Bay, Fast Food Boulevard, and more. Wondering why this is a "Super Show"? Well, this week in our main topic we are joined by Jay from ThemeParkInsite, Ken Storey, and James Carter from Creepy Kingdom. We discuss a lot of random topics!
By Kyle Gary
It’s hot right now in Orlando and I am not talking about the weather. As you may know by now Universal is in the middle of an extreme expansion of its resort. Today we will examine the feasibility of a Universal Water Park and its possible effect on the Orlando market. Would this investment cool down the local competition, raise all tube floats in the local market, or have many different twists and turns?
But first let's look at another story, when SeaWorld Orlando was looking at building Aquatica they took a gamble in the marketplace, which paid off big. They built a highly themed waterpark to go head to head with other options in Orlando. With the investment needed to build such a place they needed to hit attendance numbers comparable to an Orlando tentpole, Wetn’Wild, without the years of word of mouth and an established brand.
Although water parks are cheaper to build than Theme Parks and require less attendance, Aquatica was facing many unknown variables. See, unlike theme parks the average tourist willing to visit a water park will only visit one. Also, how can SeaWorld effectively siphon off their 5+ million visitors to this waterpark while the Anchor Park itself was siphoning off visitors from other resorts in the market? Can this 50+ million dollar investment be a draw in itself with hotels to feed from which none are fully owned by your company? (Blackstone does have an interest in Hilton Hotels).
Well, as we all know by now Aquatica Orlando was a smashing success, which built a brand. Aquatica’s attendance is comparable or higher than Wet 'n Wild, and SeaWorld is using the Aquatica brand in two other locations. This popularity showed the market that if you build compelling themed areas for Orlando ‘s rich 59 million visitors there is room for success and market-share to be had.
Now this brings us to Universal Orlando. For years we have been hearing rumors of a Universal water park, but with Universal owning Wet 'n Wild Orlando this created a steady and reliable income source. Why spend millions on a park when you already have one? Well, there are many reasons and as Aquatica has proven there is market-share to be had!
In Part II and III I will go over the Universal’s hotel resort expansion factor, rumored ideas for this park, land transitions (public record) and advantages and challenges this Park will face. So stay tuned to Universal-now.com for more information.
This week on the Universal NOW! Podcast, we introduce a new generation of podcasters! We cover the latest news from the past week, including Universal's new blog, Antojitos lunch, TODAY Show, and more. We also give 3 cheers and 3 jeers to theme park news over the past two months.
Universal Orlando has posted a new video to their YouTube Channel with a behind the scenes look at Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, opening this summer in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley.