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General Discussions Discuss From the far reaches of Universal and beyond! in the Community Center forums; I'm sure most of you would probably hate me for posting this, but since this is a discussion board, and I would really like to discuss this topic of Disney ...
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    albino_pygmy's Avatar
    albino_pygmy is offline The voice of the Jungle
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    From the far reaches of Universal and beyond!

    I'm sure most of you would probably hate me for posting this, but since this is a discussion board, and I would really like to discuss this topic of Disney fans and their opinion on the "competition" as most of you put it.

    A couple questions I'd like hear from you guys before I start really getting into this subject:

    Have you ever visited a non-Disney park before, such as Universal, Sea World, Busch Gardens, etc?
    If yes, did you have fun?
    If no, why didn't you have fun? (and I'm sorry, but "because it wasn't Disney" or "Disney-like" isn't an answer.)

    What I'd really like to know is why is it that a big majority of Disney fans won't bother giving other parks a chance, and for the few that do, they go expecting Disney or keep thinking of Disney, and ultimately end up having a lousy time because they were wishing they were at Disney. I'm sorry, but there are more things to life than just Disney, and even though Disney is a fun place to visit, it doesn't mean it's the only place to have a great time.

    Before you start bashing me or my crazy idea of "give the other guys a chance" hear me out. I do enjoy Disney as much as any of you, AND I also enjoy visiting Universal and the rest just as much too. I love having fun everywhere, and I think if you guys understand this concept of having fun anywhere you go, that you'll really enjoy all parks a lot better, including Disney. I'm just tired of hearing all the pointless ranting and complaining about this and that, and most of them are really about nothing in particular, just them missing Mickey, or wondering why Mickey allows long lines for the churro stand. Ok, I'm done ranting now.

    Please secure all personal belongings, fasten your seatbelts, persons with head, neck, back problems, pregnant, suffer from motion sickness or sensativity to strobes and special effects are advised not to post. Hang on tight, because this is gonna be interesting!

    Let this discussion begin!

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    Veritas's Avatar
    Veritas is offline Real Men Dig the Mouse
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    Oddly enough when the Better Half and I drop into Orlando the end of January we have tentatively scheduled two days of the second week (1st week of FEB) to visit Universal. it will be our first time "off property", my DW always jokes that I keep her hostage on Disney property. neither of us have ever been before. Anyone have any hints?
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    albino_pygmy's Avatar
    albino_pygmy is offline The voice of the Jungle
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    PM me any questions you may have. Doing your homework before your first visit to another park is a great idea, and I really hope that others would get ready and excited to see a new park rather than expect Disney and be disappointed because it wasn't what they were expecting.

    As far as hints go, here's a couple:
    -(already said this, but can't stress this enough) Don't go in expecting Disney, because it isn't Disney. You will have ruined your trip from the beginning if you expect or compare it to Disney.
    -Go in with an open mind and look forward to something new and exciting. Sure there may be some things you probably don't like, but that doesn't mean the rest of your trip is bad because you don't like a coaster, or counter service food.
    -Do your homework! Put enough time and effort preparing for this trip as you would for any Disney trip.

    Since you're going the first week of Feb, the crowds will be very light, and there may be the chance that a ride or two may be down for refurb, and the current attractions will also experience cutbacks, but should not ruin your overall experience. Cutbacks such as running only one load station instead of 2, and closing down a couple counter service resteraunts.

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    While working at Disney, I actually had an annual pass to Universal. I really enjoyed Islands of Adventure from the rides point of view. However, there were some things that realy bothered me. The people who worked there were extremely rude to me. On one occasion a character greeter kicked me out of line to meet popeye because I didn't have any kids with me. I thought he was joking, but he refused to let the person in front of me to take a picture with popeye until I left. I thought that was beyond rude. Another time I asked a person who worked there for some help and they said they had, "more important people they had to meet up with". My room mates and I were all in shock from both of these incidents.

    I do love the roller coasters there, but I don't like the theming. I feel like there is no real story for most of the rides. It's more like you show up, go on a ride, and then go on your way.

    While there, I did go about three or four times, but there were only a few times where the cast members there treated me in a positive way.
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    Dueling Dragons did have a great theme though. I really enjoyed the theming of the line there!
    -Brent
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    albino_pygmy's Avatar
    albino_pygmy is offline The voice of the Jungle
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    Quote Originally Posted by envypeterpan View Post
    Dueling Dragons did have a great theme though. I really enjoyed the theming of the line there!
    I was gonna comment on about how you said Universal has no theming, until I saw this. I believe Universal has theming that is on par, or exceeds the theming of Disney, you just have to open your eyes.

    I'm not a coaster or thrill ride person, but have been through Dueling Dragon's queue and have to say that is one of the best themed queues, ever. A few other queues that have great theming are but not limited to ET, MIB, Simpsons, and Spiderman.

    But lets compare theming to that of Disney with very similar attractions. Let's compare the kids play area at Dinoland in AK, with Camp Jurassic at IOA. Both are dinosaur themed kids area, yes? Which one do you think is better themed? One of them looks like a glorified McDonalds playplace, while the other really looks like something straight out of the Jurassic Park movie that anyone can enjoy. From exploring caves and lush jungles, and climbing nets, Camp Jurassic beats Dinoland hands down.

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    envypeterpan's Avatar
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    Camp Jurassic was another place they wouldn't let me into since I had no kids so I really can't comment on that.
    -Brent
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    I've visited Universal Studios, IoA, Sea World, Aquatica and also Busch Gardens (although the last was many years ago) and i enjoy all the theme parks. I think the biggest difference from WDW is the whole feeling the parks give you. WDW seems to be a step away from reality. From the design, to 99.9% of CM, everything adds to the whole magic. All the other parks i've been to have some great theming, a great variety of rides, mostly good staff and lots of fun, but they miss out on that pixie dust dust that makes my love Disney so much. Possibly its something i'd never be able to translate into words. I cant wait to get back to Sea World personally!
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    albino_pygmy's Avatar
    albino_pygmy is offline The voice of the Jungle
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    Quote Originally Posted by envypeterpan View Post
    Camp Jurassic was another place they wouldn't let me into since I had no kids so I really can't comment on that.
    I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to call shenanigans on that, and how the team member kicked you out while in line to see a character. I normally wait in a line to take a picture with a character, or to even say hi or ask for autograph, but I have several times, and never had any problems with anyone asking me to step out of line.

    I went with a stuffed penguin as part of a cute little trip report to IOA, and besides some of the strange looks I got from carrying him around, nobody stopped me from taking a picture with Woody Woodpecker. Here's the picture:



    As for Camp Jurassic, anyone can walk in or out just fine. I also have had no problem going in and visiting on my own, and getting several pictures and video of the area which I can't find right now, but videos and pictures do exist, even including exclusive POV shots of me climbing nets and going down some of those slides. I've also done the same for the If I Ran the Zoo walkthru play area attraction at Seuss Landing, which I'm sure you had no idea even existed.

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    I have been to Universal before and the big difference I noticed was cast interaction and general interest expressed to the guests. I think this will be what always differentiates Disney from its competitors no matter who they are (Universal, Six Flags, etc...)

    No matter how many new rides are built in any park, I think Disney will still have the advantage of having the most personable cast, which I believe comes from their own love for Disney to begin with.

    Oh and I did actually enjoy a number of Universal attractions such as Back to the Future
    -Nick

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    Yes, Disney is known for their CMs, but that doesn't mean Universal isn't known for their guest service either. When you group Universal and Six Flags together, I do have to disagree with that, since Six Flags employees make Universal's Team Members look like Disney CMs. Universal isn't going to call you princess or pirate, but I feel most of them do have a passion for working there and it shows. For example, have you ever had a 'magical moment' at a popcorn stand? At Disney, they're just the normal CM ringing you up, smiling, and gives you your popcorn, and that's it. Over at Universal, there's this one popcorn vendor that takes his job and has a lot of fun with it. He works at the popcorn stall in Marvel Super Hero Island, and thought about how he can play the part to stay within the superhero theme. So he did just that. He's Joe the popcorn vendor by day, but when crime strikes, he becomes . . . "The kernel!" And he gets into character while serving popcorn whenever they have something play over the speakers that comment about the Marvel characters coming out for a meet and greet, and it's really awesome to see him in action. There are several other team members at Universal that I've seen go above and beyond, and really have made Universal just as 'magical' as Disney, but since Universal isn't known to be 'magical,' we'll just say that it makes your experience more fun and enjoyable.

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    I'm not saying that Universal doesn't have employees that truly care about their job and the guest experience, but in my opinion that is what makes Disney and is what they are known for. While Universal may have employees who really do care about the guest, I think it is Disney's best trait and I don't see it being topped by any competitor anytime. Let me reiterate, I don't blindly dislike Universal, I just find myself having a better experience at Disney parks. Oh, and Joe the popcorn vendor sounds awesome, I'd love to see that!
    -Nick

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    Toad's Buddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicks10 View Post
    Oh and I did actually enjoy a number of Universal attractions such as Back to the Future
    Yeah! Another Backie! I'm not alone!

    But seriously, the two Uni parks actually are up higher on the list than some of my favorite Disney things. I've never had any trouble with the team members though. Actually one time, an employee was talking to me, and he asked where I was staying. I told him I was staying in Disney, and he replied, "Oh, what's your favorite ride?" Because I'm a big Uni fan, people always seem to ask me, "but isn't Disney enough?" To these people I say, you have to remember that they are two different parks run by two different companies. Like what was already said above, you can't go to one expecting another.

    Ok, my rant is over...
    Have a Great, Big, Beautiful Today!

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    albino_pygmy's Avatar
    albino_pygmy is offline The voice of the Jungle
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    I hear you and understand where you're coming from, and am glad that you are able to enjoy Universal for what it is, and know that it's not the same as Disney. I just hope that this thread will let everyone else open their eyes a little and realize that Universal isn't run by scary team members and full of low income scary families. Because if it wasn't for Universal, Disney wouldn't have to be trying to update it's parks with bigger and better things. If we all just just say "forget Universal" then Disney won't do much to it's parks in the world as you can see, some of the "new additions" aren't that great, and they could get away with that because Universal hasn't had anything new all that time. Now that Universal is working on Harry Potter, I do think Disney does see that as a possible threat and I have heard rumors that Disney is finally working on some sort of Beastly Kingdom section for AK. I don't think they would have dusted off those plans anytime soon until Universal came up with something new that would attract more visitors, which is what Universal really needs. There's nothing wrong with friendly competition, and visiting both parks, because we all win. They'll continue to come up with bigger and better attractions to try to wow us and top each other, but if it's just Disney themselves, then I don't think they'd do much updating their parks because they know they already have you as a repeat visitor, and will continue to come back no matter what. I don't know about you guys, but I'd like to see some actual great attractions come out of Disney's end as well as Universal, and nothing like Stitch, Monsters Inc or Fairyland.

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    what you gotta also remember is your having this debate on a site that attracts Disney fans, so a lot of us will always see Disney as the best. I'm guessing there are Universal forums where WDW is classed as the 'other place' by a lot of the members? It might make it hard to get a impartial point of view here! LOL
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