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Disneyland/World and Universal parks discussion thread (where the magic never ends... until a ride you loved is knocked down and replaced with something lame)

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And on the topic queue area theming... E.T. The Ride is a such a nostalgia trip for me. I love that whole theme... and also getting E.T to say ridiculous names at the end is funny. On one ride, we chose Homer, Marge, Lisa and Bart. 

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Yes, I defended E.T in another thread recently and wrote about how much I love that forest queue, so I take back what I said about BTTF having my favourite Universal queue as E.T topped it. The ambient effects, the smells.... Just great. Apparently Spielberg is the reason the ride remains in the Orlando park, and Universal should have some gentle stuff, so I hope it isn't going anywhere once they start work on Nintendoland (it even went through rehab some months ago).

 

 

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2 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

What would freak your kids out at the Universal parks? Just the higher intensity of Universal's rides in general? 

 

Yup, things like the minions "ride" would be OK, but Harry Potter would be way too scary, especially given that they have no affinity for the brand at this point.  Things like Transformers, and even the Simpsons ride might be too intense.  Give it another 5 years or so and we'll see... 

 

The whole new fastpass system is a little strange to me actually-I don't really want to have to plan things out a month in advance.  As it stands though, I'll probably FP a few things ahead of time (e.g. the new Avatar rides), and from what I've heard from friends, the app lets you request more passes through the day, so using them up in the mornings is more efficient.  Given that we're going in the first week of December though, I'm not all that worried-it's a lower attendance week for sure, and while I'd expect some 40 minute waits, likely more in the 20 min range given experience last time we were there at that time. 

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The park apps Disney and Universal have for phones are really nice. I downloaded them just for the hell of it and it's fun to see things like the wait times. 100(!) minute wait for Rock n' Rollercoaster at Hollywood Studios at this very moment. ? Just 20 for Star Tours.

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Shortlist of some of my favourite park related Youtube feeds.

 

Disney World Resort & Universal Orlando

DIS Unplugged - https://www.youtube.com/user/DISUnplugged/videos Their best content is arguably the best/worst videos they do which could be quite helpful if you're planning a Disney World trip and want to maximise your time by knowing what to do and what to avoid when it comes to rides/shows, dining...etc.

 

ResortTV1 - https://www.youtube.com/user/jnnelson79/videos  Nice channel providing lots of construction updates, park walkthroughs, ride walkthroughs and park livestreams. The hotel tours are particularly good and a few of them brought back a lot of memories.

 

TheTimTracker - https://www.youtube.com/user/TheTimTracker/videos  Great couple with park walkthroughs, resort restaurant reviews, construction update videos and some livestream q&a's...etc. They cover both Disney and Universal parks.

 

 

Disneyland Resort & Universal Hollywood

Fresh Baked - https://www.youtube.com/user/FreshBakedDisney  Fun group of people covering Disney park update videos, videos about park history and secrets, livestream q&a's...etc

 

Misc

Defunctland - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVo63lbKHjC04KqYhwSZ_Pg/videos Mini documentaries about old Disney and Universal attractions.

 

MartinsVidsdotNet - https://www.youtube.com/user/MartinsVidsDotNet/videos A Gold mine of fan made documentaries about Disney park and old ride history (with some Universal stuff too) featuring many full ride through videos of attractions as they once were. 

 

WDWparkvids - https://www.youtube.com/user/WDWparkvids/videos Another treasure trove of park videos and ride videos from years pas, including promo videos, ride POVs, music and audio announcement spiels. 

 

 

Anyone have any favourites?

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Excellent channel. Thanks!

 

The original EPCOT always fascinated me. The Walt's Tomorrowland Disney Treasures DVD from years ago has that whole original pitch on there. 

 

 

Another good channel:

 

DisneyParkVideos - https://www.youtube.com/user/DisneyParkVideos/videos Another large collection of old Disney park promotional videos

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There was a project at one point where someone was trying to 3d model old attractions (in UE or something) where you could actually have virtual walkthroughs of them.  This is pre-VR, so that could also be an interesting application.  I remember that Kinect Disneyland game, which was terrible, but still kind of neat for letting you have that virtual park walkthrough. 

 

Another thing that comes highly recommended is the backstage tour at WDW.  We did the Backstage Magic tour a couple years ago, and while it's expensive, you get a lot of really cool access to things, including things like the tunnels under the Magic Kingdom, some of the animatronic control systems, and some of the workshop areas. 

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18 hours ago, ChrisBardon said:

Another thing that comes highly recommended is the backstage tour at WDW.  We did the Backstage Magic tour a couple years ago, and while it's expensive, you get a lot of really cool access to things, including things like the tunnels under the Magic Kingdom, some of the animatronic control systems, and some of the workshop areas. 

 

This one? 

 

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/backstage-magic/

 

Wow to the price, but I may have to budget for that whenever I do get back out there as it's right up my alley. It'll be another thing to schedule a day for, and another activity that again suggests I cannot possibly limit my stay to anything less than two weeks. Given how costly that trip would be I am definitely leaning more towards putting a little money aside here and there over the next four years and going in 2021 for the 50th Anniversary celebrations at WDW/Magic kingdom. This begs the question of whether I can wait that long to experience Star Wars land as I think I'd like to try and avoid ride POV videos/spoilers for that new area...etc (I really only watch videos like that now from time to time as I know my next visit is so far away).

 

I may see how much it would cost to fly out to California for 5 days or so in late 2019 and visit the Anaheim parks. There's so much I love about Disneyland vs Magic Kingdom I must confess, but the problem is I benefit more from a longer holiday like the Florida trip would be since I have to travel across the Atlantic to get to either of these places. That said, if I timed a California visit for October/November it could be reasonable (though God knows what the value of the £ will be in 2019. Ugh). I've never seen the Nightmare Before Christmas mansion makeover so I could do that in 2019 and then enjoy the classic version again in 2021, although if they time WDW anniversary celebrations to begin the precise month of the park's original opening then it won't be until October of 2021 that any of that stuff kicks off in Orlando anyway, so maybe I'd go to Florida in May of 2022 as I'd expect celebrations to run into the following year if they indeed began in the fall of 2021, and I need the classic mansion experience on at least one of these trips, damn it! :)  

 

 

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On 2017-07-20 at 1:55 AM, Angry the Clown said:

Literally the one thing that'd stop a September visit though is the thought of Haunted Mansion being closed ahead of its Nightmare before Christmas re-theme.

 

WDW doesn't do the Nightmare retheme for this very reason. The majority of their guests are visitors there for their "Once In a lifetime" vacation, so not having an attraction up to install an overlay for a month doesn't make sense.

 

Disneyland is much more of a locals park, so installing overlays that will draw back visitors to see what has changed makes much more sense. 

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16 minutes ago, Graeme said:

 

WDW doesn't do the Nightmare retheme for this very reason. The majority of their guests are visitors there for their "Once In a lifetime" vacation, so not having an attraction up to install an overlay for a month doesn't make sense.

 

Ah I thought they did it at the Magic Kingdom too. That's good to know. Thanks!

 

 

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On 2017-07-21 at 6:35 AM, ChrisBardon said:

Another thing that comes highly recommended is the backstage tour at WDW.  We did the Backstage Magic tour a couple years ago, and while it's expensive, you get a lot of really cool access to things, including things like the tunnels under the Magic Kingdom, some of the animatronic control systems, and some of the workshop areas. 

 

I would love to do that. I have watched Docs on the utilidors where they try to say they are just boring industrial tunnels, but I am fascinated by it all. 

 

I got evacuated from Everest on one of my trips and got to walk through the mountain. I marvelled at how this huge structure was really just a big hallow building with black tunnels.

 

Theres a VIP tour at Universal Hollywood that I would love to do one day too. 

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On 2017-07-21 at 6:35 AM, ChrisBardon said:

There was a project at one point where someone was trying to 3d model old attractions (in UE or something) where you could actually have virtual walkthroughs of them.  This is pre-VR, so that could also be an interesting application.  I remember that Kinect Disneyland game, which was terrible, but still kind of neat for letting you have that virtual park walkthrough. 

 

I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if we have attractions and full theme parks meticulously modelled for VR at some point. 

 

Defunctland could be a reality some day. 

 

Having reproductions of long lost lost attractions could take the sting out of losing them. It would be interesting to see if Disney or Universal themselves have interest in making them for old attractions to appease fans upset about losing them. 

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13 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

It'll be another thing to schedule a day for, and another activity that again suggests I cannot possibly limit my stay to anything less than two weeks.

 

I totally get wanting to go for 2 weeks, especially since it's been so long since you've been. 

 

The last 2 trips I made I had 10 days.

 

1 day at each Disney Park plus another extra day at MK. 

2 days at Universal. Could probably stand for 3 now. 

1 day off to recharge and explore other things at the WDW property.

2 travel days combined with Disney Springs or possibly a partial day at a park depending on timing and what tickets we have. 

 

I'd love to have a few more days to explore the WDW property and resorts, go back to Kennedy, or even just explore Orlando a bit. 

 

In terms of timing, I've been twice in October which was pretty good for crowds and weather is not too bad. You can also partake in the Halloween offerings if that's your thing (I've done HHN at Universal Florida and Hollywood). 

 

My my only issue with going in October is that the parks don't stay open as late as I'd like. 

 

My last trip was during August which worked out pretty good. Still pretty crowded with summer crowds, but not crazy. Still mostly summer hours, but was technically offseason, so hotels were much cheaper. I think the weather is maybe a bit rainy, but it's always rainy. 

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1 hour ago, Graeme said:

 

I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if we have attractions and full theme parks meticulously modelled for VR at some point. 

 

Defunctland could be a reality some day. 

 

Having reproductions of long lost lost attractions could take the sting out of losing them. It would be interesting to see if Disney or Universal themselves have interest in making them for old attractions to appease fans upset about losing them. 

 

I think we'd all generally accept that things always need to be moving forwards in parks like these, though in Disney's case I wish they were open to "re-imagining" rides like Horizons, or Great Movie Ride, even if it meant moving new versions to fresh buildings whilst something new took over the original structure. There is something of a tradition from Disneyland/Magic Kingdom to respect, retain and refresh the bonafide classics those parks have and I don't see why that courtesy could never have extended to some EPCOT and Hollywood Studios attractions too (in the studios case, Tower of Terror does at least seem to be revered enough within the company as a crowning achievement of imagineering that deserves to stick around and be recognised as a classic).

 

Universal, as I have written before, I think have made a mistake in abandoning attractions based on some of their most popular franchises (and IPs they actually own, no less). That's not to say I think certain old rides should still be there in their original state necessarily, but updating or again re-imagining them in new buildings to retain some sense of presence in their parks would be nice. In the Orlando studios park the only properties they actually own are E.T, Despicable Me, The Mummy and (granted the ride is not open yet) Fast & Furious. There's Fievel and Woody Woodpecker too if we want to count the kiddy play area. I think if they'd been able to predict the nostalgia boom they might not have been so keen to axe certain IPs from the parks, but they've been winning a growing slice of Florida park attendance over the years so what the hell do I know? :) 

 

Disney Studios and Universal's Studios parks seem to be in something of a state of flux in not appearing to be entirely clear about what their central theme is turning into. 20+ yrs ago both were, or at the very least wanted to give the illusion of being working studios and the core pitch was a behind the scenes/ride the movies which I always embraced. I accept that today, not only did trying to have working studios in Florida prove short lived dream, but that decades of DVDs and now online video content has given people endless access to getting an understanding of how movies are made. We know from Bob Iger addressing shareholders in the past that the Hollywood Studios park will receive a name change at some point (presumably before Star Wars Land opens), though I guess it will be primarily to drop 'Studios' from having anything to do with the name whilst still retaining a movies theme. Universal looking to add Nintendo to their studios park and not IOA is the head scratcher for me that makes me start to wonder what the hell that park really is in the company's eyes though.  

 

 

1 hour ago, Graeme said:

 

I totally get wanting to go for 2 weeks, especially since it's been so long since you've been. 

 

The last 2 trips I made I had 10 days.

 

1 day at each Disney Park plus another extra day at MK. 

2 days at Universal. Could probably stand for 3 now. 

1 day off to recharge and explore other things at the WDW property.

2 travel days combined with Disney Springs or possibly a partial day at a park depending on timing and what tickets we have. 

 

I'd love to have a few more days to explore the WDW property and resorts, go back to Kennedy, or even just explore Orlando a bit. 

 

In terms of timing, I've been twice in October which was pretty good for crowds and weather is not too bad. You can also partake in the Halloween offerings if that's your thing (I've done HHN at Universal Florida and Hollywood). 

 

My my only issue with going in October is that the parks don't stay open as late as I'd like. 

 

My last trip was during August which worked out pretty good. Still pretty crowded with summer crowds, but not crazy. Still mostly summer hours, but was technically offseason, so hotels were much cheaper. I think the weather is maybe a bit rainy, but it's always rainy. 

 

Sounds good. Ten days actually seems like a solid sweet spot, and I could probably do it all with ten days of activities (so twelve nights at a resort), but I think, given how new so much will be to me, having three or four more extra days gives me room to go back to certain parks a couple of times, really explore and just go at a leisurely pace. Something could really surprise me and leave me keen to schedule another day's visit and I'd hate to leave without that opportunity. The 14-day Disney resort passes seem to allow park hopping which is good too, as I could see myself at a park during the day, then maybe a different park at night for the evening fireworks/parades...etc. Good point highlighting earlier park closures in the fall season. I'd prefer to be there when they're open later too. I'd be turning 40 in May of 2022 so that could be as good excuse as any to go nuts spending on such a trip (in which case I would definitely try to get myself out to Disneyland in 2019 to see Star Wars land sooner...etc).

 

I think come 2021 Hollywood Studios, or whatever it is called by then, will be worthy of a full day, and all the Star Wars stuff will make it a park I'd visit twice over the course of two weeks. Jury's out on EPCOT based on whatever state it is in come four/five years, and Animal Kingdom could feel new enough of an experience for me there to want to do it twice to soak it up and become familiar with the park (Islands of Adventure is a park I'd want to do twice for the same reason, more so in fact as every ride there looks hugely appealing to me). 

 

It'll be interesting to see what Disney do in the lead up to the WDW anniversary. Rumours seem to suggest 50 changes/updates/additions by October of 2021 varying in significance. They should give Magic Kingdom the Main St Electrical Parade again as with they have with Anaheim (I'd be SO happy to see that if I do go to California for a brief trip in 2019), or at the very least have a Paint the Night parade like Disneyland's 60th but good God I adore the electrical parade's theme. I wore that out on a cassette in the 80s. Tokyo Disney's Dreamlights is a really nice take on the electrical parade too, actually.

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29 minutes ago, Angry the Clown said:

Animal Kingdom could feel new enough of an experience for me there to want to do it twice to soak it up and become familiar with the park (Islands of Adventure is a park I'd want to do twice for the same reason, more so in fact as every ride there looks hugely appealing to me). 

 

I adore Animal Kingdom. It's easily my second favourite WDW park. I've always taken issue with people that call it a half day park. If all you want to do is rides, then you can get through it quickly, but there is so much to see and explore there that I never had enough time. Of course the fact that it closed at like 6 or 7 means it was barely a full day. I look forward to visiting again and seeing it at night time. 

 

I also REALLY like IOA. Great rides, good theming, lots to do. Its Universal trying to out-Disney Disney and more or less succeeding. Could easily do 2 days there. Especially with Potter, which can take up a good chunk of your day (or an entire day if you want to do Diagon Alley on the same day) if you really want to explore it and have a longish wait for the Forbidden Journey. 

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Yeah as it stands now I'd only do Universal Studios once as I really don't connect with much there in terms of IP, but I'd like to do the Hogwarts Express train linking the Potter sections of both parks. My expectation is I'd do IOA twice and Universal Studios once, and get a 2-park ticket for one of the IOA days so I can ride the Hogwarts Express and be able to do the Diagon Alley stuff twice. Crazy to already be plotting a holiday I won't ve taking for at least four years. :) 

 

I'm still sad that often rumoured Jurassic Park jeep ride never surfaced at IOA. I wonder if Jurassic World giving the franchise a shot in the arm will see expansion to that area of the park someday, though I guess if they were do do a jeep ride it would be like the Kong/Fast and Furious ride system and involve screens.

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:lawl

 

I'd be surprised if the Fallon ride is still there in 5yrs. I think Mummy will go to which is a shame as I'd like to ride that. Perhaps I will be able to catch that if I go to California in two years, although if memory serves their version is inferior due to it being inside a smaller building I think (the old E.T building).

 

I kind of wish Universal and Warner had done a deal to build those Potter rides here in the UK right next to Warner's spectacular on foot museum soundstages dedicated to housing the original sets, costumes...etc that we have (that's several hours on your feet marvelling at all that stuff. They keep expanding it too. I need to go back soon). A mini Potter park here on home turf would have been fun, though Brits make up a large proportion of international Florida park guests so no better way to taunt us across the Atlantic with our own beloved property. :)  I can't believe the Potter section of IOA is already seven years old!

 

 

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I would hate to see The Mummy ride go away. One of our favorites. The queue design is atmospheric and creepy. Sometimes they'll put attendants to scare people on strategically placed wall black holes. Or the nice worm thingy animatronic. 

 

Graeme - I don't know if it's because we've gone to the zoo too many times, we didn't find Animal Kingdom to be worth the ticket money. It certainly does require a full day however it does have a lot of nice exhibits. 

 

If I had to rank Disney Parks they would be: Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, EPCOT.

 

Once, my wife stood in line for 4 Hrs at Magic Kingdom, in-queue for Frozen meetup. I told her she was insane. We finally met up when her turn was up so my girl could get Elsa's and Anna's autograph. My daughter didn't seem to react much - I think on her mind she was thinking who are these adults dressing like my cartoons. I waste of 4 Hrs in my mind... Anyway, they directed us to the exit through a little curtain that led to the back of a restaurant - the first thing you would see as you crossed that curtain was a full trashcan.

Me and my boy sat in one of the restaurant benches to rest a bit and look at the people as they came through the curtain, This was probably one of the most amusing times at Disney - the number of people with confused faces as they walk through and then wanting to come back through the curtain only to be practically shoved off by the attendant. 

I still can't forget the look on one dad's face as he came out and blurbed: "Wait... what? What is this?.... Where's the ride? .... I waited more than 3Hrs in line and there's no ride???? " as he stared at the full trashcan...

 

giphy.gif

 

 

 

 

 

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Spent some time going through the Defunctland videos, and they're not bad, but I thought that this one on alien encounter was much better and more detailed.  It's got some footage of the Phil Hartman version of the preshow:

 

 

This got linked in a bit I read on Inside the Magic on old versions of tomorrowland.

 

As for the backstage magic tour, yeah, that's the one we did.  It's really pricey, BUT it's a full day with two tour guides, and includes lunch at one of the hotel restaurants.  You get to see things in all 4 parks, as well as things like some of the ride workshops, the topiary greenhouse, and some of the other hotel properties.  The guides are also super knowledgeable about the park history, so it's a chance to hang out for a day with fellow theme park nerds.  The utilidors in MK aren't really anything "special" per se (they really are just nondescript tunnels/hallways), but what's neat is the whole concept.  The idea of building the whole place as the second floor is brilliant, and it means that you can get people from A to B quickly and out of sight, not to mention merch, food, and garbage.  There was also something pretty cool about getting to go behind those unmarked (or marked "cast member only" doors to get into the off limits areas.  Given that it kills a whole day, you don't need a park admission for the day you do it (which is $100), and food and drinks are covered through the day (so maybe another 30 or so), so really, it's not THAT ridiculous...

 

Also, if you want to do universal quickly, the VIP passes are also worth it.  They're pricey, BUT, if you stay at one of their higher end onsite hotels, it's included in the price.  We did that on the same trip as the backstage tour (when it was just my wife and I), and managed to get in all of both parks in maybe a day and a half.  This was in 2013 though, so before Diagon, but after Hogwarts. 

 

I think this upcoming trip will be a little more "play it by ear" than in the past.  We'll probably start with a day in each of MK, Studios, and Animal Kingdom, and then see how things go.  AK I definitely want to see what they've done with Pandora, and now that they're open past dark it should be possible to do the whole thing in a day.  Could also be interesting to do things like the safari in the evening when it might be a little cooler.  No Osborne lights in Studios anymore, and the construction will be a pain, but Toy Story was a big hit last time, and should be again in theory.  I suppose there's an off chance we'll hit Epcot, but I kind of doubt it.  Future world has been gutted already, and while Test Track is kind of neat, my kids will probably have no interest in things like the Wig Sphere (Spaceship Earth).  World Showcase is also pretty dull, and the majority of it is shops and restaurants that just want you to spend more cash.  I've always kind of wondered about the point of the whole thing-sure, if you don't get out much, you'll see things that can be pretty exotic (or Disney-exotic), but most of the food and such you can get there is pretty common in a decent sized city. 

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3 hours ago, AlbertA said:

Graeme - I don't know if it's because we've gone to the zoo too many times, we didn't find Animal Kingdom to be worth the ticket money. It certainly does require a full day however it does have a lot of nice exhibits.

 

Could be. People also look for different things in Theme Parks. For me, I would say that Disney Studios isn't worth the ticket money, and it's your favourite.

 

I could do Tower of Terror, Star Tours, Muppets 3D, Toy Story, and call it a day if I had to. In fact, my favourite thing after those is probably One Man's Dream. 

 

If you like all the shows they offer, then there is a LOT to get through, but none of them appeal to me enough to be essential. 

 

One of of my favourite things about Disneyland Paris was that there are little paths all over the place, and it's not always obvious where they go. It feels like you're exploring the park and could find something new around the corner. 

 

Animal Kingdom is very much the same. I could spend days in there and feel like I haven't seen everything it has to offer. 

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5 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

I think Mummy will go to which is a shame as I'd like to ride that. Perhaps I will be able to catch that if I go to California in two years, although if memory serves their version is inferior due to it being inside a smaller building I think (the old E.T building).

 

They are pretty much completely different rides. Orlando is worlds better than Hollywood. I think it's still a pretty popular ride, so I'd be a little surprised if they got rid of it soon, but certainly not shocked.

 

MIB and Fear Factor should be on the chopping block well before Mummy. 

 

I wouldnt be too too surprised if something happened to the one in Hollywood though. 

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7 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

Universal looking to add Nintendo to their studios park and not IOA is the head scratcher for me that makes me start to wonder what the hell that park really is in the company's eyes though.  

 

 

I think for Universal, it's all a matter of space, and timing. Nintendo makes more sense at IOA, but it would have required ripping something pretty major out. The area it's going into at Studios is probably the best "loss" available (although I would have been totally fine with using MIB and/or Fear Factor). 

 

The only other real real option was to wait for the new land to be developed, and see if it even gets used for a 3rd/4th park, which could be a really long time. I'm sure their deal with Nintendo has some start date requirements. 

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