• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • The Politics forum has been nuked. Please do not bring political discussion to the rest of the site, or you will be removed. Thanks.

The low down on all Disney/Universal USA theme parks by someone who's been there (me)

Status
Not open for further replies.

Dishwalla

Banned
Dec 2, 2010
14,531
4
0
Hampton Roads, Virginia
Seriously though, they should remove large portions of Harry Potter world in LA to make room for Nintendo. Orlando Universal parks are already good enough. The LA park is a joke and Nintendo is more of a household name than that old 90's book.

That way, Universal Hollywood would actually be able to begin to compete with Disney. Harry Potter, minions and shrek simulators aren't going to get people in that park. Nothing compelling about beating a dead horse.

Pretty sure Harry Potter has a lot more appeal than Nintendo, it's one of the biggest movie franchises in history.

It would honestly make more sense to remove all the Simpsons stuff to make room for Nintendo than Harry Potter.
 

Killthee

helped a brotha out on multiple separate occasions!
Jun 6, 2004
17,268
0
0
Thread is making me want to visit six flags again soon.

 

JayB1920

Member
Sep 25, 2015
389
3
235
Pennsylvania
I've heard of Cedar Points and Six Flags as a British guy and definitely want to visit them. Six Flags internationally is known as the place to go for the biggest rollercoasters. And Cedar Points, too, to some extent.

Yeah both parks do coasters well but not much else. Cedar point is more about quantity than quality though with there coasters. Six Flags parks have some of my favorite coasters but in my experience operations are generally painfully slow and the food, theming and shows are as bland and generic as you can get.
 

HP_Wuvcraft

Banned
Apr 18, 2011
33,525
1
0
Ok so I have been to all the Disney and universal parks (yes those are the only ones I call major) in the USA more than once and here's the low down. Disclaimer: I moved to Orlando this year and have been to the Orlando parks cumulatively like no joke 300+ visits in my life. But I've been to the Cali parks more than once now and as an adult so here we go.

1: you can make a vacation to the region either group are in (Orlando or LA), but the LA parks should only be your vacation destination as part of a full blown LA trip. There's only three total parks versus 6 in Orlando and they are smaller at that so you can cover both Disney LA parks in one day. But LA is a cool destination so just know it depends on what kind of vacation you are in the mood for. For an all out impressive theme park vacation, you're going to Orlando. For the LA parks, you need to plan a varied trip that does more than the parks in that region.

2: When it comes to the kings, all the Disney and Universal parks are worth a visit in your lifetime as a US resident because all have something unique. Even the duplicated parks - Universal Orlando has the fantastic Diagon Alley and city faux backlot where you can take the Hogwarts Express over to the other park, but Universal Hollywood is in the Hollywood hills and is literally connected to Universal Studios backlot where they give you an excellent tour of real famous sets and around the sound stages of active shows (Universal Orlando used to be a working studio too but no longer is). The Magic Kingdom doesn't look like a tiny shitty movie set and has the prettiest castle and a sprawling size, but Disneyland has been

3: Okay, yes, Disneyland is rad in some ways as it has a cool Louisiana area and a better Star Wars Space Mountain and some other different stuff.

4: Here's a list of the Orlando parks and how they are-

Magic Kingdom: it's pretty, quite big, and polished above all the other parks. There are lots of famous Disney properties, sweet music, and nothing feels like it is there simply because it is too pricey to renovate. It is also, however, the most kid oriented park. The roller coasters are cool themes and architecture but not extreme - they exist to bring you into an atmosphere of PG-13 and under fun. The edgiest this park gets is Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion, which are both safe and just spooky. Features several very well contained zones that go above movie set cheap looking and stuff like a little frontier island you have to ride a raft to get to. Overall, this park feels fairly plush, friendly, and sweet. It's wholesome and you paid a lot for it.

Animal Kingdom: this one suffers from what I call 3rd world simulator. There's a dumb fixation at many theme parks (especially less established ones than Disney branded ones) to essentially build a place that looks like an impoverished African nation. Much of Animal Kingdom is this. You walk through supposed Safari villages that glorify some less exotic zoo exhibits while Disney says please come back when we get that Avatar zone finished. That said, there is a great legit Safari type experience on a massive habitat, an impressive looking humongous fake tree, and a few other genuinely good rides (Dinosaur is surprisingly scary and intense, and Everest is a very fun coaster). This one is a little more fun for adults looking for a different kind of big park as it has the money of Disney but stays away from the now common fairy tales and action movie themes better when it comes to atmosphere - but that means it does remind me of zoos and Busch Gardens kind of tier parks that struggle. It's the only Disney park that I would say you can skip if you struggle with the cost. Overall this one is pretty family friendly, but at the risk of exhausting with its atmosphere being that of no luxuries.

EPCOT: the best park for a couple who likes to romanticize traveling or an adventurous geek - but don't think it's adult focus makes it a substitute for seeing Magic Kingdom. It starts with a sci-fi heavy premise of futuristic ideals and rides to engage that excitement, then it sets you off to its best feature which is the lake that features a number of beautiful snapshot pieces of notable countries. You can spot landmarks from Japan, France, Mexico, Germany, England, and more across the big lake before you even start the walk. Each zone has something to see, from artifacts and quality brief films and food, to rides like Frozen in Norway. Now this park has a few killer rides, but most of them are the science and futurism fare, not in the countries where you get the cool cultural exhibitions and vignettes. But a nice German beer and a walk is likely to please you after you finish the rides at Epcot. It's a beautiful festive park.

Hollywood Studios: this is sort of their cool park these days. Soon to be home of Star Wars land, it has some great rides like Hollywood Hotel Tower of Terror (not that Guardians of Trash Chute that Cali is getting), Rock'n Rollercoaster with Aerosmith, and the Star Wars lite zone that will hold you over before the big zone opens. It has great old Hollywood looking streets and a fun bit of movie magic type homages, like a famous Indiana Jones show. It's cool and has the most nostalgia built into it as a love letter to Hollywood and your favorite big movies that Disney can touch. This one is the best mix between adult and kid thrills to me. The adults see the old world charm and the kids see their Star Wars and Pixar favs everywhere.

Universal Studios Orlando: first I will say this park is on the up and up, with a new Jimmy Fallon experience and a Fast & Furious ride on the way (though that one is likely another weird copypasta from California that I'll touch on). So I actually have an annual pass to the Universal parks and it's tough to explain why, but the answer is probably the Wizarding World because it is that good. Studios is A decent park but plagued with a mix of licenses that you know Universal doesn't own, some stuff that is obviously from back when they had no money yet, and some rides that straight up have no licensing and are just generic theming (Monster Cafe for no apparent reason that has no resemblance to the film franchises they are pushing, Rip Ride Rocket is a music coaster that seems like a weird inspired-by of Disney's Rock N Rollercoaster except it is outdoors). The Simpsons area is simultaneously the most interesting food and worst ride. It actually is the worst ride I can recall that still exists in all the parks I'm discussing. There's a greater problem here at fault but we will come to that when I discuss the other Universal park. The park has a lovely Hollywood street and an even lovelier New York backlot that pays host to the Brendan Frasier heavy Mummy ride for whatever reason. Harry Potter brought Diagon Alley as the newest area and it's fucking great. This is where universal is a champ. They have put the most beautiful quality detail and atmosphere into any theme park areas ever with how well they've handled the Harry Potter stuff. The buildings and merchandise and lightning and music are brilliant. Gringotts is gorgeous and it really looks like a surrealist London. This is what you came for tbh, and now let's literally take a train ride to the other attached and more popular little sister...

Islands of Adventure: A rad park that seems to be the park based on Blockbusters (and some shit that no one recognizes because it is again remnants from before these parks had money). There's two areas with their days numbered which are the Lost Continent (generic mythology place with no licensed properties, but hey there Nintendo) and Sunday comics whatever (very few famous comics involved, just like Betty Boop and Rock & Bullwinkle). Another that's in a weird state is Marvel, which can obviously not change much and is stuck with only the comic book art, with no MCU stuff. So it is plastered with some very 80s looking art and horrible costumes for their heroes and the redone Hulk ride feels like a good try that was aiming to leave behind the comics but had to do a generic animated TV series approach. So that's it for the heavy downer stuff because the rest is quite charming. Harry Potter's first foray is Hogsmeade/Hogwarts which has a beautiful castle and snow covered village that can be reached by a cinematic literal train ride on the Hogwarts Express. The ride is great and the castle inside has all the movie atmosphere. Butter Beer is the one thing I'm guaranteed to buy every time. Beyond that, Spider-man is a fun ride, Kong is cool... check online for lists of all the specific rides but let me come to my beef with Universal. They cheap the fuck out on rides in the form of simulators. The vast majority of their headliner rides are simulators. In Studios: Transformers, Shrek, Minions, Harry Potter, Simpsons, and soon Jimmy Fallon, Fast & Furious (im probably forgetting something). In Islands: Spider Man, Harry Potter, Kong. You put on 3D glasses and experience minimal coaster and moving set pieces. They're the best simulators, but they are simulators and several even have a formula they share that you will catch on to.

You express my feelings completely.

I love how Islands of Adventure's zones are so goddamn varied. Myth Zone feels like you are on the set of a goddamn epic.
 

jax

Banned
Jun 2, 2013
7,968
0
0
Pretty sure Harry Potter has a lot more appeal than Nintendo, it's one of the biggest movie franchises in history.

It would honestly make more sense to remove all the Simpsons stuff to make room for Nintendo than Harry Potter.

Actually, according to Google, Nintendo is much more popular than Harry Potter.

They're worth more too, HP has generated around 25B in revenue, where Nintendo is worth over 85B.



This is how the park should look.
 

MuddyDonut

Member
Jun 28, 2011
7,070
0
0
FL
twitter.com
I don't understand the appeal of the Disney parks. The rides suck, the food is overpriced, it's full of shops and more things to buy on top of buying tickets (I don't pay for tickets either!). Am I missing something?
 

v1lla21

Member
Feb 19, 2013
10,987
0
0
Silicon Valley
I mean if you go just for rides then yeah you can do California and disneyland in a day if you plan accordingly but if you go for the atmosphere then you can easily take a whole day at a single Park. I don't do none of that Hurry to the next line shit which sounds awful in a place like Disney since the charm of the place is why you're there. As far as universal studios, that shit is okay. Not a big fan of it but the studio tour is dope.

I've gone to all the parks in California multiple times and magic mountain is the best one for rides imo.
 

plagiarize

Banned
May 24, 2006
41,130
1
0
Magic Kingdom did nothing for me.

Disneyland was excellent.

I doubt many will disagree. If you have kids, sure, Magic Kingdom offers a lot, but Disneyland packs in a ton for a park its size and if I remember right has more rides and that than Magic Kingdom.
 

Syriel

Member
Sep 21, 2009
9,607
1
905
OP mentions Disney, but fails to mention Club 33 or any of the behind-the-scenes tours.

OP also forgets all of the stuff that can be done at World outside of the four major parks.

If you've never been and are strictly doing Disney parks, 4 days. Each park at a nice pace is worth a day

If you're rushing (or if you've been there multiple times).
 

jstevenson

Sailor Stevenson
Aug 17, 2006
9,506
0
0
Studio City
Seriously though, they should remove large portions of Harry Potter world in LA to make room for Nintendo. Orlando Universal parks are already good enough. The LA park is a joke and Nintendo is more of a household name than that old 90's book.

That way, Universal Hollywood would actually be able to begin to compete with Disney. Harry "This is a Colin Farrell movie now" Potter, Back to the Simpsons, minions and shrek f4rt simulators aren't going to get people in that park. Nothing compelling about beating a dead horse.

haha you're insane.

Harry Potter Land / Hogsmeade is considered to be AAA-tier theme park design and layout. It certainly is driving some better tourism numbers to Universal Hollywood. It's something that should sit alongside Nintendo.

Tons of other things that are less popular than Harry Potter in that park they should lose before losing the new crown jewel of USH.
 

jstevenson

Sailor Stevenson
Aug 17, 2006
9,506
0
0
Studio City
I'm planning to take a trip to Walt Disney World Orlando in 2019. How many days are sufficient to take it all in at a reasonable pace?

minimum one week if you also want to spend a day at Universal. Possibly 2 days at Universal:

Breakdown (roughly, you will Park hop so one day could be split into two half days)

2 Days of Magic Kingdom
1 Day Epcot
1 Day HS
1 Day Animal Kingdom
1 Day Water Parks
1 Day Universal Orlando + Islands of Adventure

Do Hollywood Studios at rope drop / with fastpass+ only. Epcot is great for dinners in international area (though lots of the resorts have killer restaurants too). Animal Kingdom should be close to a full day park by 2019 with Avatar land and the nighttime offerings.
 

Dishwalla

Banned
Dec 2, 2010
14,531
4
0
Hampton Roads, Virginia
Wizarding World of Harry Potter hasn't even been open a full year in Hollywood, lord only knows how much money it cost to build. It's not going anywhere anytime soon, and Nintendo sure isn't replacing it. Don't even know why that thought should even be entertained.
 

daffy

Banned
May 1, 2009
10,960
0
0
Daytona Beach!
Lol this fucking thread is major lols.

DisneyWorld is definitely better and Orlando is the central best location for theme parks and the tourism industry in general.
 

Leeroy3101

Banned
Jul 13, 2011
1,538
0
0
I've been to 20+ different parks across this country, rode over 150+ different coasters, and I'll saw Disney is good for rides other than roller coasters. But, Disney isn't about roller coasters.

Best parks with decent coasters go in the order of Cedar Point, Carowinds, Dollywood, Holiday World, and Kennywood.

OP...go add variety to your life.
 

Kusagari

Member
Dec 29, 2005
47,639
3
0
Gainesville FL
The Disney Parks are something you go to once or twice and then never again to me.

As a Floridian who has been to all the parks in Orlando multiple times, I have zero desire to ever go to Magic Kingdom again.

It's the Universal Parks or bust.
 

zelas

Member
Nov 18, 2014
3,543
0
0
Not all Six Flags parks are created equally. The Six Flags outside of D.C. for example isn't very good, you are better off going a couple hours south to King's Dominion.

Yep. It's always Hershey Park, Kings Dominion or Busch Gardens for me. The only other Six Flags that has been iffy for me would be the one in Georgia but that was almost 15 years ago.
 

jax

Banned
Jun 2, 2013
7,968
0
0
Guessing you lifted the $85B from Wikipedia. Firstly, market cap and revenue have nothing to do with each other. Secondly, that was back in 2007, it's now down to $30B.

Still higher than Harry Potter

haha you're insane.

Harry Potter Land / Hogsmeade is considered to be AAA-tier theme park design and layout. It certainly is driving some better tourism numbers to Universal Hollywood. It's something that should sit alongside Nintendo.

Tons of other things that are less popular than Harry Potter in that park they should lose before losing the new crown jewel of USH.

Yeah, but if they ditched Waterworld or Simpsons, those areas aren't big enough on their own.
 

Korey

Member
Dec 8, 2008
12,252
0
0
www.neogaf.com
1: you can make a vacation to the region either group are in (Orlando or LA), but the LA parks should only be your vacation destination as part of a full blown LA trip. There's only three total parks versus 6 in Orlando and they are smaller at that so you can cover both Disney LA parks in one day. But LA is a cool destination so just know it depends on what kind of vacation you are in the mood for. For an all out impressive theme park vacation, you're going to Orlando. For the LA parks, you need to plan a varied trip that does more than the parks in that region.

LA (extended area) also has: Six Flags Magic Mountain, Knott's Berry Farm, Legoland
 
May 30, 2013
7,334
1
560
Lol this fucking thread is major lols.

DisneyWorld is definitely better and Orlando is the central best location for theme parks and the tourism industry in general.

It really is. Cedar Point or Magic Moubtain being comparable to Disney or Universal? Riiiight.
 

BunnyBear

Member
Jan 23, 2014
1,459
2
360
That OP was painful to read. Poorly written, badly laid-out, meandering and nonsensical at times. I struggled to follow what you were talking about at certain points. It needs a once-over.

I've never been to any Disney parks so I'm keen to actually read it.
 

SoRuffShoNuff

Member
Nov 9, 2015
1,723
0
0
With the exception of Epcot and Expedition Everest, there's nothing there that isn't equaled or better at Disneyland's equivalent, with the added bonus of not having to take buses everywhere. Overall the food at Disney World is better, but in Anaheim if you're not eating at Downtown Disney or the Blue Bayou you're doing it wrong anyway.

Thats not true at all. Right off the bat the Tower of Terror at Disney World is much better than the one at Disneyland.
 

Violet_0

Banned
Jul 26, 2011
17,349
1
0
what do you do in those parks as an adult, on your own? I've been to most of the Disney and Universal parks in Florida and California with my family as a kid - though Busch Gardens was my favorite back then, because rollercoasters - and various European parks and it's always been fun, but now I wouldn't know what to do there if I'd go alone, and I can't really comprehend how you visit them hundreds of times. I'd love to wander around Diagon Alley or Nintendo Land (when it's finished) just because I appreciate the theming, but otherwise I just don't see what the big draw is
 
May 30, 2013
7,334
1
560
Thats not true at all. Right off the bat the Tower of Terror at Disney World is much better than the one at Disneyland.

Splash Mountain too. You can go back and forth on individual attractions all day, but I find it's antiproducive.

Ultimately, Disneyland and Disney World have different aims. The former is better for a short term trips whereas Disney World is a true destination meant to be taken in at a more leisurely pace
 

see5harp

Member
May 12, 2009
20,070
1
0
Sacramento, CA
I'd probably go with a couple friends. You can go solo to Universal and hop on a shitload of rides in the solo queue though. Hour long lines turn into 15 minutes. Admittedly, I've spent a day at Disneyland solo recently just to kill a day and some of magic just wasn't there for me without anyone to share it with.
 

SoRuffShoNuff

Member
Nov 9, 2015
1,723
0
0
what do you do in those parks as an adult, on your own? I've been to most of the Disney and Universal parks in Florida and California with my family as a kid - though Busch Gardens was my favorite back then, because rollercoasters - and various European parks and it's always been fun, but now I wouldn't know what to do there if I'd go alone, and I can't really comprehend how you visit them hundreds of times. I'd love to wander around Diagon Alley or Nintendo Land (when it's finished) just because I appreciate the theming, but otherwise I just don't see what the big draw is

I went to Universal Orlando alone and had a blast. Used single rider on every ride it was available so i rode everything there (Hulk was closed). Had enough time to actually stop and watch out a lot of the street shows they offer as well as take my time to check out the theming without worrying about an anxious kid. Went to the bar at the city walk and met some cool people to shoot the shit with for a while.

Plus i just love rides.
 

ahoyle77

Member
Sep 12, 2005
604
0
0
I haven't read everything on here yet, but as someone that also lives in Orlando, the best water park is Aquatica hands down. I don't know many locals that don't rate it at the top. Although that will probably be short lived with Volcano Bay opening next year. Also, SeaWorld has a nice collection of thrill rides now with Mako, Manta, and the soon to be VR upgraded Kraken.
 

Lkr

Member
Mar 10, 2008
15,756
1
0
lol you guys go to Disneyland and don't eat at Club 33? Plebs! Plebs, I say!
Ayyyy my man. OP talks about Disney being in the upper echelon of amusement parks but he has never been to club 33.
Disneyland is much better than disneyworld because you aren't drowning in humidity and sweat the whole time
 

Wickerbasket

Member
Jul 16, 2009
5,465
0
0
Scotland
Still higher than Harry Potter

Yeah, but if they ditched Waterworld or Simpsons, those areas aren't big enough on their own.
There's no way they're ditching Harry Potter, that's a complete pipe dream. It's their biggest attraction to the park and it's one of the most popular IPs in the world.

They would laugh you out of the park for even suggesting it.
 

zeemumu

Member
Jul 27, 2013
30,170
2
0
The SoCal parks just don't have the room to expand as cleanly as the Orlando parks do.

Actually, according to Google, Nintendo is much more popular than Harry Potter.

They're worth more too, HP has generated around 25B in revenue, where Nintendo is worth over 85B.



This is how the park should look.

I don't think they're removing anything for Nintendo. I was assuming that they'd just clear out some of those soundstages past Transformers...at least the ones not being used by The Mindy Project and The Voice.
 
Jul 29, 2010
15,423
3
720
www.neogaf.com
The Simpsons area is simultaneously the most interesting food and worst ride. It actually is the worst ride I can recall that still exists in all the parks I'm discussing.

...

Another that's in a weird state is Marvel, which can obviously not change much and is stuck with only the comic book art, with no MCU stuff.

Simpsons Ride worse than Heimlich's Chew Chew Train confirmed

And Universal can do whatever they want with Marvel in IoA as long as it properly represents the brand. Disney/Marvel can only refuse changes on reasonable (i.e. not "because we don't like you") grounds.

The Disney Parks are something you go to once or twice and then never again to me.

As a Floridian who has been to all the parks in Orlando multiple times, I have zero desire to ever go to Magic Kingdom again.

It's the Universal Parks or bust.

<3

Universal is insanely repeatable for me.
 

Stinkles

Clothed, sober, cooperative
Sep 5, 2004
66,964
5
1,590
Arakeen
What?! Why ?


You may LOVE it. Sweaty giant hellhole of lame rides separated by vast distances of gator infested swamp and crowded with obese people on rascals and poorly behaved children.

My wife and 8 year old freakin' LOVED it.


I enjoyed the tequila flight.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.