Attendance, earnings slip at Universal Orlando

Posted Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:41 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Hit by increased competition, rising gas prices and a record hurricane season, Universal Orlando's parent company saw its profits fall 25 percent as attendance slipped at the Orlando theme park during its most recent quarter, the company said Tuesday. Universal City Development Partners Ltd. cited Disney's aggressive global marketing of Disneyland's 50th anniversary as being a major factor in capturing market share from Universal Orlando during the period from early July to early October. Overall, Universal Orlando continues to be a profit engine for its parent company. Net income totaled more than $34 million for the first nine months of 2005, up 40 percent from the year-earlier period, the company said.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:48 AM
Couldn't be because IOA hasn't added a significant new attraction since the park opened in 1999, could it?
Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:59 AM
Maybe they should take a cue from political campaigns and attack the competition with degrading misleading advertising. "Tax Hike Mickey" etc.
*** This post was edited by millrace 11/16/2005 11:02:45 AM ***
Wednesday, November 16, 2005 11:22 AM
Huh? Significant attraction since when? 2004 was a record year!
Wednesday, November 16, 2005 11:38 AM
2004 was probably helped by Universal Studios getting The Mummy. What has IOA received since 1999?
Wednesday, November 16, 2005 11:46 AM
rollergator's avatar *Never* seen a line for Storm Force...not that I've been up close too often, looking at that thing makes me queasy. Flying Unicorn, OTOH, was a great addition, and despite its poor location, it seems to be pretty busy most of the noted, those additions were YEARS ago - most of the current employees probably believe they were around at the park grand opening, LOL...

Mickey's 50th...honestly, I've been more surprised by the lack of marketing...the hurricanes, however, HAVE taken away the desire/ability of MANY of the instate tourists to "vacation".... :(

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 11:58 AM
Not that I have numbers sitting in my lap...but I'd be willing to bet the USF additions are probably in the interests of balancing the crowds between the parks.. IOA on peak days = crazy when last I checked.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005 1:03 PM
Jeff's avatar Keep the article in context... the numbers are down a bit but in a historic context they're still doing pretty well. Note the "continues to be a profit engine for its parent company."
Wednesday, November 16, 2005 3:36 PM
Universal Studios is doing fine with their recent additions. Shrek 4D, Revenge of the Mummy, and Fear Factor are all hitting their target audiences nicely.

IOA needs a bit of a boost. A few years ago, they got great PR that they are still harvesting -- I've seen lots of documentaries looking at many of their attractions. (My personal favorite was the Popular Mechanics for Kids episode that was set entirely in the park.) However, Triceritops Encounter closed, Pteradon Flyers always missed the mark for capacity, the Suess Island monorail was never completed... It's not a perfect park. It's not bad, it just needs a new Wow attraction.

Why not add put a King Kong attraction with the dinosaurs in Jurasic Park? Peter Jackson's new movie puts the beast back where he started -- fighting dinosaurs in the lost world. They must have the space and animatronics from Triceritops encounter.

I would also vote to replace Pteradon Flyers with a higher capacity dinosaur themed attraction, such as a Zamperla Disko (coaster or flat ride -- whatever). Imagine the IOA themeing -- hop on the back of a Raptor (rather than the standard motorcycle-like seats).

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 4:13 PM
Not sure about how a King Kong ride would go over since they closed the old King Kong ride to make room for Mummy.

Last time we were at Universal, the crowds seem to be pretty balanced between the two parks. I suppose that the studios park needs attractions to stay relevent in the shadow of IOA but that doesn't mean IOA doesn't need some fresh blood as well. Whereas IOA was once new and spectacular, it's just another Orlando theme park now. That's not a bad thing but rather an observation...

Thursday, November 17, 2005 9:52 AM

Rob Ascough said:

Not sure about how a King Kong ride would go over since they closed the old King Kong ride to make room for Mummy.

The old King Kong ride played up to the King Kong movie released in 1976. It wasn't a great movie, and it dated itself quickly. The original 1933 movie had more lasting popularity, but it was still a difficult brand to sell.

With the release of Peter Jackson's high-budget King Kong on December 14, I think there will be significant interest in anything related to the King Kong brand. How many tourists went to New Zealand to see where Peter Jackson shot LOTR, even after the sets were destroyed? Now imagine tourist traffic generated by a North American destination that brought Peter Jackson's King Kong to life...

Thursday, November 17, 2005 10:26 AM
Be interesting to see. Personally, I have zero interest in seeing King Kong, Jackson-directed or no.
Thursday, November 17, 2005 10:41 AM
I think the Jurasic Park section of IOA is already dated. I've always felt this was the most ill-conceived of the areas (regardless of how neat the ride was when it first came out in CA). All the other islands had 30+++ years of establishment to their theme. Juracic Park was one hit movie from the 1980's/1990's?? It always seemed a bit of a gamble to stake an entire themed area on one hit movie and a couple bad sequals.

They've made it very difficult to expand in that area of the park. In 2005/2006 who really cares if they add another Juracic Park themed attraction? They could get more marketing bang for the buck in some of the other islands, though I'm not sure there is room anywhere else...

P.S. The ride is already way down the list of the must-do attractions in the Orlando area...maybe an entire new theme would spruce it up!

Thursday, November 17, 2005 11:12 AM
Jeff's avatar Funny, I always like the JP area the most, and feel it's a really well-executed theme. The first movie was an important movie and dinosaurs are fairly timeless.
Thursday, November 17, 2005 2:46 PM
rollergator's avatar IMO, The Lost Continent is where there's the most room for expansion at IoA...
Thursday, November 17, 2005 10:19 PM
While IOA is an amazing park, it basically contains 2 great coasters, 1 amazing simulator, and 2 good water rides. That equals 5 rides. How about taking a cue from Dollywood and adding a whole new section with 10 flat rides. They may not be muti million dollar one of a kind attractions, but they would help to make the park more than just a half day visit.

When you put both parks together, that makes for a full day. But taken separately and you can basically do everything in a few hours. I know since I have done this as a guest and an employee.*** This post was edited by OrlandoCoaster 11/17/2005 10:20:45 PM ***


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