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Angry the Clown

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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On 8/8/2019 at 7:30 AM, kelley said:

Do you have to stay on property to do Fast Passes? We are looking at going in March and my kid only wants to do Star Wars at Disney, he’s never been into the rest of Disney or Marvel so the rest of the park he isn’t interested in and he still doesn’t like riding rides. He also wants to do Harry Potter at Universal.


 

If you’re planning on going to Universal I would suggest you get a two park pass for at least one your days so that you can ride the Hogwarts Express. 

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The latest Yesterworld podcast and Parkstop Podcast are worth a listen for some insight into what’s going on with Epic Universe. Both cover some similar ground as Alicia Stella is on both, but are equally worth a listen.

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It’s actually quite exciting seeing the EPCOT renovations kicking into gear. They’ve begun path widening to ease traffic flow when construction walls go up around the closing attractions/stores.

 

 

I didn’t know they were already hard at work on a new parking lot tram loop/drop off too:

 

 

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5 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

The latest Yesterworld podcast and Parkstop Podcast are worth a listen for some insight into what’s going on with Epic Universe. Both cover some similar ground as Alicia Stella is on both, but are equally worth a listen.

 

She is adamant that the duelling coaster is not a part of How to Train Your Dragon, but is a separate coaster that connects to the hub. 

 

Honestly, that’s a bit disappointing if that is the case, especially if it just had some sort of generic theme like Rip Ride Rockit. 

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So there is a ridiculous “I heard from a frontline cast member” rumour that if attendance at SW:GE doesn’t pick up by February, they are going to shut it down and retheme it to Aladdin. This has been picked up by a “News” site and transformed into a click bait article. 

 

Some people....

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6 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

The latest Yesterworld podcast and Parkstop Podcast are worth a listen for some insight into what’s going on with Epic Universe. Both cover some similar ground as Alicia Stella is on both, but are equally worth a listen.

 

It’s an Alicia Stella filled morning. She has a new article on the website discussing the plans, rumours, expectations and patents for Epic Universe with more detailed labels on the concept art. 

 

A great companion the the podcasts, or also a great alternative to get similar information. 

 

https://orlandoparkstop.com/news/rumors/possible-rides-and-patents-for-universals-epic-universe-part-1/

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1 hour ago, Graeme said:

 

She is adamant that the duelling coaster is not a part of How to Train Your Dragon, but is a separate coaster that connects to the hub. 

 

Honestly, that’s a bit disappointing if that is the case, especially if it just had some sort of generic theme like Rip Ride Rockit. 

 

I’m certainly inclined to believe her given where it sits, and it’s acceptable if HTTYD Land is indeed getting a moderate coaster of its own (really hope it gets that log ride too!).

 

I don’t necessarily mind a coaster being outside of any land as such. My gripes with Rockit are that it’s an eyesore, it has no relevance whatsoever to the park’s m.o,  and that it and the Blue man Group/old Nickelodeon building are a waste of good real estate for expansion at the studios. They could do an indoor Back to the Future coaster in that space or something to rival Guardians at EPCOT, and removing Rockit would give them back then firehouse where they could then remove Fallon and get the licence from Sony to do a Ghostbusters ride. I want universal to go back to some of their own hits at the studios most of all though (like Jaws and, again, BTTF). I cannot stress how excited I am to see them pay their respects to the classic monsters in the new park.

 

If it’s true the Epic Universe hub will have a kind of cosmic theme (which would explain that random Mission Space like building) then perhaps that will carry over to that coaster and it will be more themed and effects heavy than the stripped back concept art is letting on. 

 

 

 

 

1 hour ago, Graeme said:

 

So there is a ridiculous “I heard from a frontline cast member” rumour that if attendance at SW:GE doesn’t pick up by February, they are going to shut it down and retheme it to Aladdin. This has been picked up by a “News” site and transformed into a click bait article. 

 

Some people....

 

It’s amazing what trolls will conjure up just for a bit of fabricated confirmation bias. 

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1 hour ago, Angry the Clown said:

 

If it’s true the Epic Universe hub will have a kind of cosmic theme (which would explain that random Mission Space like building) then perhaps that will carry over to that coaster and it will be more themed and effects heavy than the stripped back concept art is letting on. 

 

I guess I hadn’t considered or heard that the hub area would have its own theme which would be strong enough for an attraction, but it would make sense and a cosmic theme would certainly fit. 

 

It just doesn't really seem like it has much of a theme based on the concept art. As others have said, it looks quite a bit like the BlueSky Epcot concept. 

 

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Yeah it does resemble it somewhat. Stella said in the Yesterworld podcast that the layout is definitely more locked down to be considered Blue Sky, but we know every land depicted in the concept art has been stripped back so as to be deliberately vague to the public right now, so my thinking is that could be said for the hub too. The Mission Space like building just seems too random on its own for there not to be a cosmic theme connecting everything (and tie into the park name/logo).

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This is too bad. Themed costumes are just as much a part of the experience as the attraction itself. 

 

They’re most likely “temporary” though.... none of these attractions seem long for the world. 

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29 minutes ago, Graeme said:

 

This is too bad. Themed costumes are just as much a part of the experience as the attraction itself. 

 

They’re most likely “temporary” though.... none of these attractions seem long for the world. 

 

 

Man, I'm glad we made it this summer. Both kids got into Jedi Training (along side some Glaswegians, bizarrely!) and it was great to watch, even if they were sweltering. The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular was packed & a great watch too. 

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The costume changes are largely a resort wide thing from what I can tell, which is a shame as land/ride themed cast member outfits were always one of those extra little Disney touches. 

 

I think Indy will be around for a while until they decide what to do about adding an Indiana Jones ride of some kind, and whether it will replace the show or sit alongside it. The show is the only opening day attraction left, and if it still packs them in (like Waterworld at Universal Hollywood) then it seems silly to get rid of it. I could see them re-writing the script though and perhaps removing the behind the scenes aspect of the show since that original m.o of the park is dead and buried.

 

If any show at the Studios needs to die first its Beauty and the Beast, and Fantasmic should at least be brought in line closer to the 2.0 Disneyland version (though some elements are impossible to carry over).

 

Jedi Training I guess could move into Galaxy’s Edge, but not actually sure where they’d stage it (and they’ve been clear that you won’t see prequel and classic trilogy characters in Galaxy’s Edge). I do kind of wish Star Wars was entirely confined to Galaxy’s Edge at this point, but I suppose as long as Star Tours remains then Jedi Training would stay too. I’m glad that damn First Order march is gone. I’d guess that show blocking the Chinese Theatre will stick around until the Mickey and Minnie ride is ready to open. After that they need to get rid of Launch Bay and make decent use of that old Animation Courtyard space.

 

Apparently Star Tours isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, which is fine as it’s nice to have a ride not bound to one movie timeline, but it’s so weird that the tiny little Grand Avenue area sits between it and Galaxy’s Edge. Just further highlights what a mess the studios is geographically. Once they ripped out the tram and studio tour they gave no thought whatsoever to re-plotting the park layout.

 

I’ll be very upset when Muppets goes. It’s not due to go anytime soon I don’t think, but still. It’s such a valuable piece of Muppet history being the last project Henson completed. Personally I think they should keep it but have it in a new lower capacity theatre on Sunset Blvd. I hope I get to see it again someday as last chance I had was at California Adventure (where it was removed years ago).

 

 

Apparently the next new thing to going into the studios will be a so called “black box” ride largely dependant on screens so that they can change it cheaply and easily at a later date.....

 

 :sadfleck:

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Apparently price increases are hitting merchandise around Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland. 🙄  

 

This is affecting toys/plushies. The lightsaber and droid building have not increased (...yet). Presumably this is to bring things in line with what they’ve estimated they can gouge folks for at WDW at the end of the month.

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Micechat has a long write up about when all the interactive and roaming character/droid stuff, amongst other things, were killed off at Galaxy’s Edge by alleged budget cuts. No sources noted so can only be taken as rumour. 

 

https://www.micechat.com/233418-miceage-disneyland-rumor-update-promising-the-moon/

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The MiceChat article is written by Al Lutz, the founder of Miceage/Micechat. It’s his first rumour article written in years as he has been dealing with Parkinson’s. Just like any “insider” he has friends in the industry, but who that is exactly is never revealed. 

 

It’s disappointing how much seems to have been cut. It’s understandable why there aren’t drones flying overhead, but the interactivity and the loss of the droids and more walk around characters seems to have really hurt. 

 

Disney (and to be honest, everyone else as well) seem to have completely overestimated the draw of this land. I think we all were under the impression that people would show up in droves no matter what, and Disney kept pushing what they could “get away” with (higher ticket prices, more blackout dates, only 1 of the 2 rides open, less going on in the land, high priced experiences, the early opening, etc). 

 

The good news is that Rise of the Resistance could potentially give the land its reason to keep coming back. More characters and entertainment can be added, and hopefully even work on the droids can be continued. 

 

If if there is an announcement for this kind of thing at D23, I’m curious what the reaction would be like. Will people be excited for the new elements, or disappointed because it was all stuff that was promised previously but not delivered?

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4 hours ago, Graeme said:

It’s disappointing how much seems to have been cut. It’s understandable why there aren’t drones flying overhead, but the interactivity and the loss of the droids and more walk around characters seems to have really hurt. 

 

It's such a conflicting thing to see as there's no questioning the architectural attention to detail. It's A+ from the Imagineers... and yet it looks so uninhabited. The biggest initial shock to me when the first videos emerged, aside from seeing how small the cantina is, was seeing the ride queue for Smugglers Run and wondering how the line for a ride set in what is supposed to be a bustling planetary outpost could have less visible activity going on around guests than Star Tours. Never mind walk around characters,  you'd at the very least think there'd be animatronic droids, or animatronic Jawas or whatever, busying themselves in the queue area, but no, just some crates stacked up and some voices heard over the speaker system. 

 

The lack of music too just feels like a mistake the more I watch walkthroughs. Universal seemed to make the right choice in making its Potter lands architecturally immersive, but piping in well chosen pieces of score from all eight films that suits the atmosphere of whatever area you're walking through (and as far as cast members go, Universal knew well enough that guests only need to hear silly accents like mine to feel like they're where they're supposed to be).

 

It's funny because there's that very subtle, gentle and haunting sounding woodwind version of Williams' Galaxy's Edge theme that you can hear very clearly as you go through the tunnel into the land. They linger in there for long enough in the video below near the start to get a good listen to it:

 

 

More like that throughout the land, the same level of subtlety but referencing Rey's Theme, Resistance Theme, Kylo's Theme, Force Theme...etc where appropriate would be perfect, and it would practically exist on a subconscious level for those walking around like the background music elsewhere in Disney parks. 

 

It makes you wonder what might get stripped back from the hotel too. What if Chapek thinks a themed room with a space view, themed reception area and a place to eat with exclusive magic hour access into the land is enough to get people to pay top dollar? 

 

Side note: I really do like the colour scheme of the Florida version.

 

 

Quote

Disney (and to be honest, everyone else as well) seem to have completely overestimated the draw of this land. I think we all were under the impression that people would show up in droves no matter what, and Disney kept pushing what they could “get away” with (higher ticket prices, more blackout dates, only 1 of the 2 rides open, less going on in the land, high priced experiences, the early opening, etc). 

 

Definitely. WDW's opening will be a bigger tell I think. No AP blackouts, regularly busy, still holiday season (particularly for overseas tourists), but we know attendance is also down in WDW this summer as well because people have been deferring due to crowding fears, or want to go when both rides are operational. A lot of holidays will have been booked prior to the opening date announcement too, so many who will be there will in fact be there by chance, rather than deliberate desire to book to attend in its opening weeks. I'm fascinated to see how it plays out. 

 

 

Quote

The good news is that Rise of the Resistance could potentially give the land its reason to keep coming back. More characters and entertainment can be added, and hopefully even work on the droids can be continued. 

 

I'm actually a little worried about Rise. Disney don't have a particularly good track record when it comes to the upkeep of rides that regularly throw up operational headaches, the best example perhaps being Indiana Jones and how they eventually just abandoned things like the revolving door illusion because they didn't want to spend the money on having to repeatedly fix it. If it's as challenging a ride system as it sounds, with so many never before seen physical effects, one wonders how long they will attend to every little aspect of the experience.

 

I continue to have my concerns about Smugglers Run too, which seems great on paper but flawed in practice. First and foremost is the learning curve, and also my worries about language barriers for guests with little grasp of English (they're basically screwed on this attraction). I also can't help thinking of scenarios where strangers might get into a fight because they rode together and got angry because one of them was a bad pilot or something, or worse a child being the pilot and having a blast crashing into everything, but then hearing a stranger on the ride berate the kid under his breath for messing around. That kid's day, and potentially entire holiday, is ruined at that point. Knowing what we know about the hellhole strangers playing videogames online together can open up, I just feel uncomfortable the more I think about the ride's satisfaction level beyond the novelty of being on the Falcon. Most seem to agree that you'd better be in a party of four (minimum) to ensure that you really enjoy the ride, and that to me seems like a monumental failure on Disney's part if there's any risk whatsoever of excluding a guest from enjoying the ride experience. 

 

Then there's the question of longevity. Disney have invested entirely in the sequel trilogy characters here (plus Chewie and one cartoon show character). Great new characters to be sure, but we don't yet know how long public fondness for the characters might endure, and with their story ending in December, how long before they feel irrelevant once new Star Wars films and new trilogies set at different points in time emerge? Harry Potter doesn't really fall into the same trap, because its characters are so well defined by the seven books/eight movies that it will be a long, long time before people get bored of seeing them (and there is perhaps fair argument that at Universal you are visiting familiar locations from Potter, whereas Galaxy's Edge places you in completely unfamiliar territory. I don't actually think that decision  was a mistake though, personally).  

 

I give the "bright suns" stuff a year at most before they abandon it. 

 

Quote

If if there is an announcement for this kind of thing at D23, I’m curious what the reaction would be like. Will people be excited for the new elements, or disappointed because it was all stuff that was promised previously but not delivered?

 

It'll be interesting to see how much Star Wars talk there is beyond some hotel news and restaurant news. Apparently the logistics for the restaurant, electrical wiring, gas supplies to kitchens...etc were put into to place already during land construction.

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14 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

Then there's the question of longevity. Disney have invested entirely in the sequel trilogy characters here (plus Chewie and one cartoon show character). Great new characters to be sure, but we don't yet know how long public fondness for the characters might endure, and with their story ending in December, how long before they feel irrelevant once new Star Wars films and new trilogies set at different points in time emerge? Harry Potter doesn't really fall into the same trap, because its characters are so well defined by the seven books/eight movies that it will be a long, long time before people get bored of seeing them (and there is perhaps fair argument that at Universal you are visiting familiar locations from Potter, whereas Galaxy's Edge places you in completely unfamiliar territory. I don't actually think that decision  was a mistake though, personally).  

 

It is a little odd that it's so far in on the sequels.  The Millennium Falcon is definitely there as the "familiar location" anchor I suppose, but Rise of the Resistance sounds like it's firmly planted in the VII-IX timeline.  Have they ever done anything at Universal for any of the Fantastic Beasts characters/tie ins though?  That might be a hint of how new ideas can be brought in.  Hell, if you wanted an excuse for classic trilogy characters to show up in Baatu, you just need an excuse like a group that's doing "historical reenactments" or something (kind of like civil war buffs, but with lightsabers). 

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2 hours ago, ChrisBardon said:

Have they ever done anything at Universal for any of the Fantastic Beasts characters/tie ins though?  That might be a hint of how new ideas can be brought in. 

 

There are subtle little things like posters around the lands for foreign ministries of magic that have appeared/will appear in Fantastic Beasts films, and the Hagrid's ride queue has some props and sketches related to a few Fantastic Beasts creatures like nifflers (and you can buy Fantastic Beasts merchandise in various Wizarding World locations), but that's about the extent of it. I've also seen some videos where Team Members have that little green stick insect creature in their front pocket like Newt Scamander has in the films, and that stuff makes sense as unless Rowling says such and such a creature would be extinct by the time the Potter stories take place, then there's no real reason why they can't be seen or referenced. 

 

Since the timelines of the Fantastic Beasts and Potter films are separated by several decades they can't really have the characters or stories intermingle in the parks though, and even if they wanted to there's no way Rowling would allow it, which is why Fantastic Beasts will have a home of its own at the Epic Universe park.

 

Even though the Fantastic Beasts films haven't captured widespread love and acclaim like the Potter books and films did, I don't expect that to harm public response to the land at the new park as I think it's still a world fans are happy to be immersed in because it is inherently so fantastical and magical. I actually don't think the same can be said for Star Wars, the many worlds of which have often been presented in the movies, books, cartoons...etc as rather run down planets/cities existing under the oppression of fascist regimes. So while it's neat to feel we're on a Star Wars planet, and to see some life size familiar ships, the essence of whimsy, warmth and mystery that the Potter lands present isn't there because that's not the kind of atmosphere the Star Wars movies have ever established.

 

Pandora I think succeeds because there's a in built sense of magic to the land that is unaffected by whatever people might feel about Avatar as a movie. The land exists as a beautiful and unique environment to walk around, it's naturally inviting, and has an outstanding ride everyone loves. All those factors transcend the debate about whether Avatar is "relevant" or popular all these years after its release.

 

The Potter lands benefit greatly from the fact they can cull from the seven books/eight films of events featuring the same characters and key locations. There's an arc there, beginning to end, which Galaxy's Edge can't possibly mirror because Star Wars films rarely base themselves in a single location for very long, no way near long enough for them to feel familiar like Potter locations do, and while the Potter saga sticks with the same people and places the Star Wars saga is broken down into three trilogies, each separated by twenty/thirty years, leaving Disney with little choice put to pick one of three timelines if they wanted to place guests in a canonically immersive environment. I'm not sure those obstacles were obvious at the time they were thinking everything up (even we're only discussing it now in hindsight of the land opening).

 

 

Quote

 

Hell, if you wanted an excuse for classic trilogy characters to show up in Baatu, you just need an excuse like a group that's doing "historical reenactments" or something (kind of like civil war buffs, but with lightsabers). 

 

I think it'll be about five years before we see how many of their own rules they abandon. I definitely think the "bright suns" stuff is going to go quite quickly. Cast Members and guests alike seem rather baffled and embarrassed by it. Hopefully they'll address the music issue too.

 

It seems like they tried to outdo Universal on immersion without really thinking that Universal straddle the fine line that they do because they knew you can only realistically push things so far, and that it's better to give guests some credit and let them enjoy the land applying their own suspension of disbelief where necessary. I don't think Potter would benefit from staff referring to you as muggles all the time, or have them come out with some daft wizarding world name for your credit card or phone. Nobody seems to mind that they don't insist on only staffing the lands with British sounding team members, or that there's even merchandise with 'Harry Potter' on the packaging on sale in the land itself. People don't care about that stuff, and no matter how far Disney might want to push immersion the reality is you're only ever an arms length away from someone wearing Mickey/Minnie ears, or trying to avoid someone ramming a baby stroller into your ankles. 

 

I'm actually skimming through some Wizarding World tours as I write this (as I've never been). It's the first time I've really gone back to look over Wizarding World videos since Galaxy's Edge opened, and it's quite remarkable what Universal achieved. The store interiors we know were built small at Rowling's instance, a brilliant demand which combined with the attention to detail with props, effects and animatronics, is what defines the sense of immersion. Any minor factors that may break the immersion are rendered irrelevant because it just looks like a delight to be inside those environments. Now, does the delight come from the familiarity of these locations, or the natural sense of whimsy? I'm not sure. Arguably both I guess.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hate to say it but Galaxy's Edge looks to have nothing on the level of detail I'm seeing there, but again that's not necessarily the fault of Imagineers, it's chiefly down to the difference between what the Potter and Star Wars universes lend themselves to. I must admit though that I did expect a lot of the stores in Galaxy's Edge to be more than tiny little market stall cubicles. The Potter stores are almost literally packed floor to ceiling with imaginative and immersive props, and I thought that's what we'd be seeing on Batuu for things like the creature store, but Dok-Ondar's (which looks great) is really the lone exception in the land.

 

 

 

And a look at the marketplace stalls:

 

 

Nothing about the marketplace looks wrong. Just the opposite in fact, it looks perfect... but it looks perfect whilst simultaneously failing to look like much at all (which I've come to realise is an inherently Star Wars problem, not an Imagineering problem).

 

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Probably over-correcting from the reaction to Toy Story Land? It's got effectively zero shade and very few places to rest. It was staggeringly awful mid July.

Someone somewhere high up said "get tables" in now, by the look of those wooden ones from Home Depot in the bottom right pic :)

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Apparently the plain wooden tables are used for special events. Hopefully they are temporary (either they get removed completely or they get some nicer ones if they deem those tables necessary). 

 

The more themed stand up tables I remember seeing in California for the opening ceremony night and then they were removed. It really just seems like they are simply preparing for large crowds as best they can. 

 

The lack of shade there will be a problem, but it seems to be a common occurrence. I’ve heard stories where plans to provide “luxuries” like shade often get cut early when the budget starts to run thin, and then it becomes park ops problem to deal with and possible pay to have fixed later. It’s a shame guest comfort isn’t a slightly higher priority. 

 

I also watched a video from the first day of annual pass-holder previews and both the Hondo AA and Rex were broken.

 

With Hondo they had a tarp over him and have a video of the actor portrayed Hondo do the spiel instead and with Rex they just have an alternate soundtrack without Rex. 

 

I would be extremely disappointed if I went there just to see SWGE and both of those AAs were down. 

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Quote

The lack of shade there will be a problem, but it seems to be a common occurrence. I’ve heard stories where plans to provide “luxuries” like shade often get cut early when the budget starts to run thin, and then it becomes park ops problem to deal with and possible pay to have fixed later. It’s a shame guest comfort isn’t a slightly higher priority. 

 

It’s another thing that seems so obvious in hindsight when I saw a comment that they probably should have made an effort to cover the marketplace in the Florida version. That would have been a good use of space to get people out of the rain and lure them into spending money while taking shelter.

 

 

I would not have liked to have seen a ceiling, but large overhead canopies would have made sense, and light could have still been allowed to come in from the sides.

 

 

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I also watched  her a video from the first day of annual pass-holder previews and both the Hondo AA and Rex were broken.

 

This too:

 

 

Hopefully they’re just teething problems limited to the Annual Passholder opening period.

 

 

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“Bright suns traveller! Please enjoy your Ronto Wrap while sitting down at these new tables which were recently purchased from the off world trading post known as Waal Martu’s Intergalactic Emporium”

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