SeaWorld and Epcot rate highest in value survey

Posted Thursday, July 17, 2003 5:23 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Over 40% of respondants to Consumer Reports' survey find high value in SeaWorld and Epcot in Orlando.

Read more from The Charlotte Observer.

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Thursday, July 17, 2003 7:17 AM
Odd, considering how the entire world rips on Epcot for sagging attendance, old, boring attractions, and no teen appeal.

I've always liked the place, but then, that's probably because I'm also old and boring. Not sagging yet, though.

I haven't been to Seaworld in ages, though. From looking at the place, I can't imagine how it's a $52 value. Kraken and Journey to Atlantis made inroads into making the park "more like" its Central Florida cousins, but I am not so sure that's really a good thing. Maybe it's that the park has become some weird amalgam of things and it doesn't seem praticularly great as a ride park, nor particularly interesting as an Animal Park.

Especially with Animal Kingdom just down the road. There aren't many animal parks that can compete with Animal Kingdom.

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--Maddie--
What do I Listen-To?
May the Schwarz be with you.

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Thursday, July 17, 2003 7:45 AM
I don't know... as a family I could see lots of value in SeaWorld. It's a really nice park, the shows and animal attractions are outstanding, and yeah, they have a couple of nifty rides.

I still think Orlando's best bang for the buck is Islands of Adventure, which has a little of everything.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Luau II Cam 7/19
DELETED! What time does the water show start?

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Thursday, July 17, 2003 8:35 AM
Jeff's right - IOA is the best all around bang for your buck in Orlando, especially with all of the 'keep coming back and stay away from Disney' multi-day deals they have going. Or, at least, had, as of last April.

And I do think Sea World is a good family park too, but the coaster nut in me says that $52 for JtA and Kraken is still a bit steep.

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"Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation." - David St. Hubbins, Spinal Tap
http://www.loopscrew.com

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Thursday, July 17, 2003 8:51 AM
Sea World beats Animal Kingdom hands down. SW was the pleasant surprise of our trip to Orlando, while AK was the biggest disappointment.
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Thursday, July 17, 2003 8:57 AM
See, IOA bugs me because it only has a "little" of everything. There's a great themed ride in Spiderman, a great rapids ride in Popeye and Bluto's Bilge Rat Barges, and a great coaster in Fire Dragon. . . maybe even a great dark ride in Cat in the Hat. But, beyond that, IOA offers very little else. That's not to discount Hulk or Ice Dragon or the River Adventure or anything, but none of those rides strike me as being particularly amazing or worth extra attention.

To me, IOA seems like it's full of lots of detailed, beautiful theming stretched between some less-than-spectacular rides. I tend to prefer heavily themed rides in my theme parks, even if it means less details on the midways. IOA's balance seems just a little off for my taste. I've only been there once, to be fair, and was only there for just over 8 hours. The park was practically empty on a July day in 1999 when I was last there and I managed to experience everything enough and leave satisfied. But, since then, I've been in Orlando every year and have had no desire to go back.

My family hasn't yet been there and we're going in a month's time. I only hope that it's as empty as it was when I was there last.

Seaworld. . . maybe if we had another day. But, with only 6 days, the other parks offer a lot more to us than Seaworld does.

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--Maddie--
What do I Listen-To?
May the Schwarz be with you.

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Thursday, July 17, 2003 9:01 AM
*sigh*

I guess no one was able to read the actual article, because they have a huge column praising Markey for his ideas, and supporting federal oversight of the amusement industry. I don't think I'll ever read Consumer Reports again.

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Six Flags Worlds of Adventure Online
"We find that people don't pay any attention to what's underneath the ride."--SFMM Rep discussing Scream! as quoted in AT

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Thursday, July 17, 2003 10:10 AM
Although Epcot doesn't have a good ride collection, it is unique. It has a lot of exhibits that test your mind and make you think. Also, the World Showcase alone is good enough to give people high marks to the park. With all that great food and cool restaurants they are striking a pretty good chord with guests. The fireworks show is also spectacular. There is a reason why Epcot is the only Disney park that offers a Florida resident after 4pm pass. People love to go there to eat and watch fireworks.

SW is an awesome park but if all you want to do is ride the coasters maybe it's not worth $52. I think it's well worth the $52. Wild Arctic, Terrors of the deep, the Key West section, where you can touch dolphins and stingrays, and the penguin exhibit are all very cool. The Shamu show at night is cool and they have several other shows(even though I'm not into shows).

Animal Kingdom was a disappointment for me. I though it was really small. The jeep ride was very long and was cool, I thought. The Tough to be a bug show was good also. They need more areas to see animals like BGT. SW, IMO, is a much better park. AK has none of the Disney "magic".

I agree that IOA is by far the best park in Orlando and I doubt I would find a park anywhere that would knock it off my top spot. The coasters aren't as good as BGT but the overall park is awesome.

When people visit Orlando they usually go to several of the parks in the area. SW and Epcot are filled with exhibits and have less rides than the other parks. Maybe the fact that you don't spend as much time in line is a big factor in the high apprioval rating. The two parks are alike in that you don't feel "rushed" to do everything in one day. They are both "laid back" type of parks. It's a refreshing change of pace after visiting the other, more hectic, parks.

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Thursday, July 17, 2003 11:16 AM
My Best-Value park has always been BGW a nice mix of theming, decent coasters and food that is reasonably priced and beats anything else in the industry sure Epcot may have some better restaraunts but the prices are ridiculous. Plus free Beer, who could complain.
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Thursday, July 17, 2003 1:25 PM
"they are striking a pretty good chord with guests"

Well, the thing is, it's really not. Epcot's attendance has been steadily declining. People might think it's great while they're there, but there's not enough to get them to come back. That's why we see things like Test Track and Mission: Space pop up, Epcot as the focus of the celebration-of-the-month, and the Project Gemini ideas that are designed to revitalize the park into an exciting destination for families. Still, the parks staggered opening and closing times don't suggest that it's really doing that well. It's a shame for me, really, because I love the park how it is. Or, how it was, more appropriately.

"Terrors of the deep"

Could someone describe what this is like? Most importantly, I'm interested in how it relates to the shark exhibit at the Sea World of Ohio -- or what became of it. I was really quite disappointed by the similar exhibit there, as I was by their Mission: Bermuda Triangle simulator. Where sharks are concerned, or aquariums and aquatic life on the whole, I found The National Aquarium in Baltimore's Inner Harbor to be a lot more interesting and entertaining than anything I can ever recall seeing in Sea World Orlando, Worlds of Adventures' Wild Life side, or Epcot's The Living Seas.

"Animal Kingdom was a disappointment for me. I though it was really small."

Of course, you're aware that it's the largest Disney theme park, right? I quite like Animal Kingdom, though I've never spent more than a four hour stretch there. It's a beautiful place to go in the morning -- especially when it used to open at 7 am. There aren't many rides, but I think that they're all of exceptional quality. I think that's why I prefer it over Islands of Adventure, even. While IOA has more rides, the quality of its attractions isn't as consistent as of those in Animal Kingdom. They're hit or miss, whereas everything so far in Animal Kingdom, attraction-wise, is quite amazing. Kali River Rapids, while a spectacular ride, is the only slight failing I see in Animal Kingdom. It's counterpart at IOA is far superior.

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--Maddie--
What do I Listen-To?
May the Schwarz be with you.

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Thursday, July 17, 2003 2:49 PM
AK is the largest park in area but if you walk through it it is tiny. It's like half the area is used for the jeep ride. BGT has a lot more animals that you can actually get close to. What's so amazing about primeval whirl? It's a crazy mouse with cardboard cutouts surrounding the track? Is that more amazing than the JP River Ride, the DD que, the Hulk launch, the Dr. Doom preshow, the Spiderman ride? Nothing at Ak even comes close to any of those rides. I think you're on the wrong forum to tout Ak as being better than IOA.

Epcot is on the decline with what? 10 million visitors a year? Some of you guys make it sound like it's going to be closing soon. As far as people coming back for a second time, that's not what the consumer reports survey was about. Disney, as a whole, is struggling with attendance.

I think you should revisit SWO before commenting on the park. It sounds like Wild Arctic, JTA, Kraken, and the Terrors of the Deep were not even ideas the last time you went. They also have a restaurant complex that just opened. It's pretty cool. Terrors of the Deep even has a restaurant inside where you can see the sharks swimming around.

Trust me, you haven't been to SWO.

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Thursday, July 17, 2003 5:45 PM
Well, I've maintained all along that it's been quite a long time since I've been to the park. Still, with that said, there's still no great memories that I retained of the park that drive me to go back. In fact, it's been so long since I've been there -- probably about 17 years -- that the things I might remember are probably gone.

Do I think that Dino-rama was a cop-out, thematically? That "theming" things to a cheap carnival or amusement park is non-too-clever excuse at saving a few bucks? You bet I do. I know it and it's an obvious ploy. But, y'know what? It still works. I didn't spend a lot of time in that part of the park on my last visit because it felt like I was at a carnival. That's not what I want from my Disney experience, but it did accomplish its thematic goal. It's just unfortunate that the desired "theme" is an environment that drives people away.

Similarly, a company could build a theme park that just scares the crap out of me. It might very well work, but I sure as Hell wouldn't want to go back.

I have major issues with many, if not all of the rides you mentioned at IOA.

In order;
River Adventure -- Where is the story? It goes from, "Oh, look! Dinosaurs!" to "Huh? What. . . I guess something 'went horribly wrong, again.'" There's no real reason for there to be a big, giant drop at the end of the ride; at least other than the simple fact that they were theming a shoot the chutes ride.

The Dueling Dragons queue is just a queue. I prefer the rides over the queues nine times out of ten. Once you step out of the queue and onto the ride, the immersive environment disappears. The queue is quite detailed, but I'm not paying $50 to wait in line. For that, I'll look at pictures.

The Hulk launch is inconsequential and underwhelming. The ride is an eyesore, and it doesn't even deliver a great ride that *might* offset how ugly and obtrusive it is. The green track might *represent* Hulk's big, green, angry fury, but it sure ain't themed. Hulk's like the high school poet of the park -- it tries to be deep and meaningful and symbolic, but it just ends up being annoying.

Dr. Doom had a preshow? I sure don't remember it. So, as far as I'm concerned, it's meaningless, as it didn't even stick with me. What sort of impact is that? And again, you get on the ride, and the theming stops. But, y'know, I could honestly accept the "theming" there more than I can at Dueling Dragons.

Spiderman is a technological achievement and it's quite a bit of fun to ride. That said, I only rode it once and had no real desire to go back and do it again. I'm not really big into comics or action, though, and would much rather be entertained by a good story.

"Oh, no! Big Bad stole the Statue of Liberty! We must get it back! GENERIC VILLAIN A attacks. Dodge right! GENERIC VILLAIN B sabotages us. Oh no!" isn't really the best example of storytelling depth I can think of. It's a shame, too, because I did really enjoy the Spiderman film and both X-Men movies and I am aware that comics can have rich, detailed worlds with overlapping story arcs. I just didn't see anything like that during the ride. It's just not my thing, I guess.

Now, don't get me wrong. As roller coasters, I like Dueling Dragons and The Incredible Hulk. As themed rides in a remarkably well-themed park? I think they're sub-par and disappointing. Take Dueling Dragons, though, and toss it in a Six Flags park, and I think you'd have a true gem.

As far as how Animal Kingdom's rides compare . . .well, that's just a matter of personal judgement. But, dinosaur to dinosaur, Dinosaur is a better ride. Rapids to rapids, IOA wins. IOA has no interactive theater based attractions, discounting the stunt show. IOA has no animals at all, let alone one of the most immersive animal attractions ever created. Busch Gardens Tampa may offer more chances to interact and view animals, but I don't think they do it with the same level of authenticity and local ambience as you find in Animal Kingdom.

About Epcot. . . to me, if one were satisfied with the experience they had a park, it would suggest that they'd like to return. After all, who doesn't want to be satisfied? Families, particularly, may not want to risk traveling to a new place or new park that isn't an assured value. Yet still, we see that Epcot's attendance numbers are declining. Are they still high? Yes. But, if you removed Epcot from the confines and easy access of Walt Disney World and I think you'd see an entirely different set of numbers.

In the end, I think I can manage a perfectly fine job of touting Animal Kingdom here, thanks. I place a high level of importance on the ambience of a park and on how well it manages to make me go "wow" at the big things and the little things. IOA makes me go "wow" for certain, but I'd take a day at any of Disney's parks over it any day, save for California Adventure -- a park I've yet to experience.
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--Maddie--
What do I Listen-To?
May the Schwarz be with you.

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Friday, July 18, 2003 10:19 AM
The only thing that I can say about your post is that IOA just doesn't seem to be your cup of tea.

That having been said, I don't know why you're looking into getting the 2 year pass for Universal/IOA(in another topic). Do you like US that much or is there another reason?

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Friday, July 18, 2003 4:13 PM
Maybe IOA just isn't for me. I'll know for sure after I spend some more time there, I guess.

I'm looking at getting the pass because, in short, it doesn't hurt not to. My family is going on vacation, and if it means that we can get discounts on things we do in the parks, admission, and other things, that's great. It seems like it'd pay for itself.

I don't really like Universal Studios, either, and will probably enjoy IOA more. It's been over 10 years since I've been to Universal Studios. Still, if this pass pays for itself, there's no point in not getting one. If anything, it'll make more trips to the Orlando area possible than I could otherwise afford. I'd rather been at Universal than nowhere at all :)

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--Maddie--
What do I Listen-To?
May the Schwarz be with you.

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Saturday, July 19, 2003 8:33 AM
Wait a minute...you are 22 years old, haven't been to SeaWorld for 17 years (since you were 5) and you are critiquing the park??????
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Saturday, July 19, 2003 10:43 AM
I went to Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm when I was 6 and have vivid memories of each. I want to go back to each.

Seaworld? Not so much. My point has been that, in those 17 years, the park hasn't done anything to jog my memory and remind me about what was good about it, nor have they done anything since my visit that makes me really, really want to go back.

That's just me. I'm allowed to be me.

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--Maddie--
What do I Listen-To?
May the Schwarz be with you.

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