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Universal Orlando’s Transformers Attraction Rushes Past Milestone, Park Already Moving On


Walt Disney World managers may not publicly admit they’re in a battle for tourist dollars, but there is an arms race going on in Orlando and one side is bringing out the big guns. After the success of Harry Potter and Despicable Me themed attractions, Universal Orlando’s parent company Comcast has decided the keep the spigot flowing in terms of improving the cash-cow theme parks.

They poured a ton of money into building and opening their newest attraction in less than a year. Now, Transformers: The Ride – 3D, has already welcomed its one-millionth rider in just over a month after making its official debut at Universal Studios Florida.

That’s a good sign for Universal Orlando. In fact, Comcast just announced it has doubled how much it planned to spend this year on its theme parks to $1.1 billion. It also has hinted that there will be more spending to come.

Up next is The Simpsons themed Springfield expansion (which should open this weekend (perhaps today)) and then the opening of Diagon Alley connecting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in both parks via a magical train. Here’s a couple pics of the construction status as of last weekend.



As you can see in these photos, the London themed exterior of Diagon Alley really looms over that end of the studios. That’s all nice, but it’s once you get behind the London facade that the magic begins. We’re hearing that new versions of the wands will cast spells and activate things in the environment around you (windows, storefronts, the sidewalk, etc). Of course there will be the big Gringott’s Bank and an amazing roller-coaster adventure awaiting within. You’ll also have all the Diagon alley shops from the books and more.

I expect that Universal Orlando will get another huge attendance boost once Diagon Alley opens as every Harry Potter fan in the world will stream to Central Florida to enjoy the unique experience. The only question is when and how will Disney respond. If they don’t Universal could become an actual threat to their attendance numbers (they really aren’t yet).

4 thoughts on “Universal Orlando’s Transformers Attraction Rushes Past Milestone, Park Already Moving On”

  1. If Disney does respond it’ll take them years. Despite all the grand announcements over New Fantasyland at MK, three years on and a couple of cheap attractions has left visitors unimpressed.

    Sure they’ll ‘announce’ a Star Wars and Avatar land, but then take years to deliver a dull on-the-cheap areas with wonderful detailing (can’t wait for those Death Star restrooms) – but little in the way of quality E Ticket attractions.

  2. Actually, it’s starting to chip into Disney’s bottom line a little. Just wait for the next ten years, when Universal adds more land to the resort and builds new hotels that will take the resort to the next level.

  3. Maybe with another new restaurant? A new meet & greet? Maybe even more free dining? Additional themed hotel rooms? Another Vacation Club building? Seriously though, I just wish Disney cared about their four parks in Orlando as much as they do their two parks in Anaheim. Up until the original Harry Potter expansion, I don’t think Disney worried about what Universal was doing. Their Fantasyland expansion was their underwelming answer to that. If they aren’t careful, Universal could soon pose a threat to Disney’s business if they keep expanding the way they are. I’m going to Disney World in a couple of weeks and the parks I am most excited about visiting aren’t owned by Disney.

  4. Sorry to say, but, if this is an arms race, Disney is losing very badly. New Fantasyland is little more than an “improvement” to a corner of Fantasyland, compared to the epic themed areas Universal is creating with Harry Potter and the Simpsons.

    Disney desperately needs to add a Star Wars land to the Studios, a Cars Land somewhere, some new countries — with E Ticket attractions — in the World Showcase. Avatarland just isn’t going to cut it, although it should at least be more interesting than New Fantasyland.

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