Universal Studios/IOA Orlando: General Discussion

Maelstrom

TS Member
I'm also going to Universal in a few weeks time and really looking forward to these, Terminator was always super so will be interesting to see if Bourne is as good.

I'm expecting to get some night rides on Hagrids just to try and avoid the queues too!
Be careful with night rides as on Sunday night the queue has already shut by 7.30pm and the park was open until 9pm. Although will continue to quieten down as most American schools starting back this week and next week. It’s already quieter than end of last week.

Have done all three of new rides/show again today. The Bourne show was even better as noticed more things this time. It really is an incredible show.

Asked for a back row on velicoaster today which they allowed and again was simply incredible especially the second launch and being pulled over the top hat, plus that final inversion of the water is just insane. It’s a relentless ride from start to finish. Definitely my top coaster. I think when Alton add their next thrill coaster something like this would perfect- obviously can’t do a 150ft top hat but a multi launch coaster with compact start and then a second high speed launch into some similar crazy elements. Will see how Iron Gwazi is tomorrow and which I prefer.

Hagrids is also faster than I realised from the POV I had seen. 12 years on and the Harry Potter areas are still packed and Universal making a fortune with merchandise and butter beer. I can see why they would want to add an additional area at Epic Universe.

One thing I was thinking about is how they will differentiate the Mack launched coaster going in at epic universe well I know it will be a Dueling coaster I still think It will need something to ensure different experience- I initially thought it could be a Mack extreme spinner but they are know meant to be adding a standard Mack spinner so don’t think it will be that, I suspect it could be a one of the new Big Dipper wing coasters like europas new coaster. Would also be Florida’s first wing coaster.
 

Burbs

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Iron Gwazi
Be careful with night rides as on Sunday night the queue has already shut by 7.30pm and the park was open until 9pm. Although will continue to quieten down as most American schools starting back this week and next week. It’s already quieter than end of last week.
Is this new? How does it work, is it an advertised queue close or will it just close on a whim based on the current wait time? Is this just Universal or are other parks implementing it out there, as I am aware before it never used to be a thing.
 

Maelstrom

TS Member
Is this new? How does it work, is it an advertised queue close or will it just close on a whim based on the current wait time? Is this just Universal or are other parks implementing it out there, as I am aware before it never used to be a thing.

It must have been a one off tech issue as just come back into the park for the final hr and queue still open with 110 min wait (20 mins of opening) left as typing this. I have choose to wait in the 45 min velicoaster line for another night ride.

Only prob I have seen with later rides this time of year is due to shut downs due to storms in the afternoon- lots end up with an express pass (both velicoaster and hagrids don’t except express as standard). Universal are very slow at reopening hagrids after a storm- this means the main queue can move very slowly in the evening due to the express pass guests who got evacuated earlier from the queue. From watching this week midday/lunch time the wait often is at its lowest. I have managed to wait 60-70 mins for both my rides-Once early entry as staying onsite and second caught it as reopening after a storm as walking past (was a complete scrum with people pushing and shoving etc as reopened though!)
 
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IDB

TS Member
Just booked an Orlando trip for the end of November. Not been for 10 years, so any hints & tips for my visit would be appreciated. Hoping to make use of single rider queues to get more rides in.
 

Maelstrom

TS Member
Single rider lines are generally great. Universal have loads, Disney had 4 but this week started trialing on sourin as well.

Disney-

Rock n roller coster
Millennium falcon
Everest
Test track
And now sourin

Don’t start the Disney element of trip I tom Friday but in the last Disney single rider queues been great. Generally for everything except rock n roller you can virtually walk on it have 5 min queue even when 60+ normal queue. Rock n roller can take a bit longer 20-30 mins but beats the 120 min standard queue.

Universal

Rip ride rocket
Transformers (1 min vs 60 mins standard queue
Mummy
Gringots (5 mins vs standard queue)
Men in Black (virtually walk on, 30 min standard queue)
Hulk (10 mins vs 70 min standard queue)
Dr Doom (5 mins vs 20 min standard queue)
Spiderman (2 mins bs 60 min standard queue)
Kong (5 mins vs 45 min standard queue)
Jurassic park river adventure (5 mins vs 45 standard queue
Vilocicoaster
Forbiddon journey (took 30 mins yesterday as was raining so all outdoor rides closed and main queue was 2hrs but normally this is only 5 mins)
Hagrids

Generally these are great however I wouldn’t prob do for. Elucidated or hagrids as normal queue can be quicker and everyone been past the single rider line closed due to being full TL capacity and announcement stating longer than normal queue. Some examples above of my waits this week vs normal queues
 

jon81uk

TS Member
Absolutely mad that Hagrids is still commanding those kind of daily wait times by now. It really has been the biggest hit in Orlando in years.

I think its because its family thrill in a park that doesn't have many of that type of ride.
It doesn't invert like Velocicoaster, Hulk and Dueling Dragons did. Its based around a popular franchise. It offers a fairly unique seating position and some unique trick elements.
 

jon81uk

TS Member
Just finished my third day at Universal, mostly in Volcano Bay which was a lot of fun but finished the evening in IoA with a second ride of the trip on Hagrids which is a lot of fun and a third ride on Velocicoaster. Got in a 75 minute wait for Hagrids at 7.45pm and were off by 8.45 so after a quick walk to Velocicoaster we managed to get that as a last ride of the night.
They are both awesome coasters and personally I can’t choose between them as although Velocicoaster is probably better overall the sudden acceleration several times on Hagrids is amazing.
 

Excalibur

TS Member
Couldn’t find another topic so thought was best placed in here;

It looks like Universal/Comcast could be looking at another merge as follows;

Warner Bros. Discovery and NBCUniversal Could Merge in 2024​

Analysts think that a Warner Bros. Discovery and NBCUniversal merger could be in the near future, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Warner Bros. Discovery has been struggling, specifically as CEO David Zaslav searches for a Kevin Feige figure to head their DC franchise. Analysts think that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts could take advantage of the situation and purchase Warner Bros. Discovery to merge with NBCUniversal.

An executive with knowledge of both companies told THR, “Obviously Peacock sucks. There are some good synergies. I’m sure [Roberts] is licking his chops because the [WBD] stock is so low. And I think that’s Zaslav’s endgame. Get the place sold.”

Meanwhile, a Warner Bros. Discovery spokesperson has said, “We are building Warner Bros. Discovery for the long term.”

As ComicBook.com notes, this merger couldn’t take place until April 2024, when Comcast has the right, but not the obligation, to sell its remaining 33% stock of Hulu to Disney. Roberts did suggest at the Goldman Sachs + Technology Conference that he would be open to instead buying Hulu outright.

“I believe if Hulu was put up for sale, Comcast would be interested [in buying it],” Roberts said. “So would a lot of other tech and media companies. You would have a robust auction.”

More interesting times ahead if given the green light! Especially with more IPs potentially available!

Also read that Simpsons is meant to be up in 28’ however people seem to think there’s a back door clause allowing them to leave early?

People also seem to think that Six Flags are getting ready to give up DC when it finishes as they’ve already start rethemeing rides associated with the brand coming to an end.
 

jon81uk

TS Member
I don’t think a Warner Bros Discovery NBCUniversal merger would be a good thing overall though, it would basically mean that Disney and Waner Universal would then control most of the media.

Probably won’t even result in any decent theme park changes as Universal already have the Harry Potter license from Warner and I doubt DC would cause them to add much.

I can’t see Disney wanting to use Simpsons in their parks so I expect Universal will be able to negotiate an extension on that license, the ride needs replacing but the food court and overall area is worth keeping.

Six Flags and Waner Movieworld (Australia) does have a Justice League dark ride, that would be the hardest thing to lose if they get rid of the DC license in the Six Flags parks, but on the coasters it doesn’t add much.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
One interesting thing I did ponder is; if this were to happen, could we see Marvel Super Hero Island rethemed to DC?

When IOA was in the early planning stages, I remember reading that that land was planned to be DC, and it would make a lot of sense to change that land to DC, if they did eventually change it, for numerous reasons, including:
  • I know the MCU is a hugely popular franchise, but DC also holds its own as a fairly popular franchise. Having a DC land at Universal could appeal to those superhero fans who aren’t so into Marvel.
  • The land would require fairly minimal aesthetic changes. The Amazing Adventures of SpiderMan would require quite a substantial change, but other than that, the general aesthetic of the land could remain fairly similar, particularly if they went for a DC Comics style a la Six Flags rather than a DC film style. I’d wager that it wouldn’t require an awful lot of money to retheme Marvel Super Hero Island to DC, relative to some of Universal’s other projects at least.
  • It would eliminate “The Contract” and give Universal far more options in terms of future expansions and changes to the land. I get the impression that “The Contract” regarding Marvel is quite a bone of contention for both Universal and Disney, and a situation where neither party really wins; Disney is forbidden from using a fair contingent of popular Marvel superheroes east of the Mississippi (the impression I get is that it’s the ones that Universal uses that Disney can’t use, so The Incredible Hulk, SpiderMan, The Fantastic Four and The X-Men are all ones that Disney can’t use), while Universal also can’t really expand upon Marvel within IOA or change the land much at all. So both parties are somewhat stunted by “The Contract”, therefore removing it from the equation would open up greater opportunities for both Disney and Universal.
  • It could allow Universal to capitalise more upon the current superhero film fever while still keeping the spirit of the existing land fairly intact. It would still be a superhero themed land, but it would have more relevant source material (if the DC films were used; the current Marvel land is based on the old comics rather than the wildly popular MCU), and it would also allow Universal to do a modern superhero movie-themed land to compete with Avengers Campus or whatever similar Marvel projects go to Disney without cannibalising any of their other, non-superhero lands; unlike something like Avengers Campus at DLP, it would be a relatively like-for-like replacement.
What do you guys reckon? Am I onto something here, or do I sound insane?
 

Maelstrom

TS Member
From what I have read in recent years currently there are no immediate plans for Universal to give up the Marvel rights, not that it won't happen. I understand it more likely they will give up the Simpsons rights by 2028 and has been talk from insiders that say Universal consider that by 2028 they will be ready to change the Simpsons area to something new and not continue to pay the licensing fees for another 10 years, as popularity declines and the ride system will likely need replacing or significantly changes by that time.

Disney do make money every time someone buys marvel merchandise from Universal, although I am sure they would like control of the characters to their parks. I understand Disney can use characters that were not part of the original agreement between Marvel and Universal which is why we have seen Guardians of the Galaxy at Disney World and where they have been able to add the other marcel characters in California and Paris they uses the Avengers Campus name as even in those parks they can't use the Marvel name for a land or ride names.

A change to DC would probably be Universals easiest option, but I assume all depends on the agreement that Sixflags have with DC and I am not convinced they will give up those rights, as although someone mentioned they have started to retime some rides (I am not sure which) recent additions have still been using the DC theme and have recently retimed some rides to the flash character. But who knows with six flags as they are trying to change their image and move to a more premium product, which so far isn't working, but this type of strategy is going to take a lot of investment and time to get right, so will all depend on how their finances hold up, so we could see them give up the licence for DC if this strategy doesn't work and they continue to get in more of a financial mess.
 
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John_P

TS Member
Six Flags opened a new Wonder Woman themed coaster this year as well as updating a number of other parks DC areas.

If Universal did want a DC area wouldn't it being an expansion to Epic Universe make more sense, then they've got Marvel at Islands of Adventure and DC at Epic. So comic book fans would need to visit 2 parks, same reason why they'll have Potter stuff at all the parks.
 

jon81uk

TS Member
One interesting thing I did ponder is; if this were to happen, could we see Marvel Super Hero Island rethemed to DC?

When IOA was in the early planning stages, I remember reading that that land was planned to be DC, and it would make a lot of sense to change that land to DC, if they did eventually change it, for numerous reasons, including:
  • I know the MCU is a hugely popular franchise, but DC also holds its own as a fairly popular franchise. Having a DC land at Universal could appeal to those superhero fans who aren’t so into Marvel.
  • The land would require fairly minimal aesthetic changes. The Amazing Adventures of SpiderMan would require quite a substantial change, but other than that, the general aesthetic of the land could remain fairly similar, particularly if they went for a DC Comics style a la Six Flags rather than a DC film style. I’d wager that it wouldn’t require an awful lot of money to retheme Marvel Super Hero Island to DC, relative to some of Universal’s other projects at least.
  • It would eliminate “The Contract” and give Universal far more options in terms of future expansions and changes to the land. I get the impression that “The Contract” regarding Marvel is quite a bone of contention for both Universal and Disney, and a situation where neither party really wins; Disney is forbidden from using a fair contingent of popular Marvel superheroes east of the Mississippi (the impression I get is that it’s the ones that Universal uses that Disney can’t use, so The Incredible Hulk, SpiderMan, The Fantastic Four and The X-Men are all ones that Disney can’t use), while Universal also can’t really expand upon Marvel within IOA or change the land much at all. So both parties are somewhat stunted by “The Contract”, therefore removing it from the equation would open up greater opportunities for both Disney and Universal.
  • It could allow Universal to capitalise more upon the current superhero film fever while still keeping the spirit of the existing land fairly intact. It would still be a superhero themed land, but it would have more relevant source material (if the DC films were used; the current Marvel land is based on the old comics rather than the wildly popular MCU), and it would also allow Universal to do a modern superhero movie-themed land to compete with Avengers Campus or whatever similar Marvel projects go to Disney without cannibalising any of their other, non-superhero lands; unlike something like Avengers Campus at DLP, it would be a relatively like-for-like replacement.
What do you guys reckon? Am I onto something here, or do I sound insane?

Universal have the rights to those Marvel characters forever as long as they don't let the rides fall into serious disrepair, there is no incentive for them to give them up. DC doesn't have the same brand power, converting Spider-Man to Batman might work, but there isn't the same all-ages appeal really.
Can't see any reason why Universal would make the change.

Also its not like Disney have really made a decent use from the Avengers characters in California!
 

havaska

TS Member
If NBC Comcast do merge with WB Discovery it would open up the opportunity to put some rides into the WB Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter.

Currently Universal hold exclusive theme park rights to that franchise.

Also worth noting that NBC Comcast own Sky TV and all their IP.
 

geo4chg

TS Member
I get the impression that “The Contract” regarding Marvel is quite a bone of contention for both Universal and Disney, and a situation where neither party really wins; Disney is forbidden from using a fair contingent of popular Marvel superheroes east of the Mississippi

This is exactly why it is a complete win for Universal. By keeping hold of the license they stop Disney being able to use the world's most popular film franchise in the world's most popular theme park resort.
 

John_P

TS Member
This is exactly why it is a complete win for Universal. By keeping hold of the license they stop Disney being able to use the world's most popular film franchise in the world's most popular theme park resort.
Probably a good thing for both Universal and the consumer when you see Disneys attempts at creating themed areas so far with those campuses.
 

geo4chg

TS Member
Probably a good thing for both Universal and the consumer when you see Disneys attempts at creating themed areas so far with those campuses.
I was at DLP last month and think Avengers Campus is much better than most people seem to think - it is well designed, full of detail and bursting with life, and the Spider-Man ride is really good fun and don’t really see why it has gotten criticism (other than the “upgrades” you can get in the shop).
 

jon81uk

TS Member
I was at DLP last month and think Avengers Campus is much better than most people seem to think - it is well designed, full of detail and bursting with life, and the Spider-Man ride is really good fun and don’t really see why it has gotten criticism (other than the “upgrades” you can get in the shop).

I think it’s more in California that the area got criticised, mainly as people had high expectations and the area as a whole didn’t really meet them. In DCA it replaced a whole kids land with several small rides and a 4D show yet only added one new attraction in Spider-Man. Whereas in WDSP only one attraction was removed (Apocolypse) and the area overall was improved as a result.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Hurricane Ian has gone through Orlando (though it downgraded to a tropical storm before it hit Orlando, thankfully), and it has torn quite a considerable hole in the side of the main drop building for Jurassic Park River Adventure at Islands of Adventure:

Oh dear… I wonder how long the ride will be closed for, and I also wonder whether anything else was damaged in the storm.

Although of course the main priority is that all people in the immediate area were kept safe and out of harm’s way.

I know some members on here are in Orlando at the moment; is everything OK for you? I hope you’re staying safe.
 
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