Universal Orlando CityWalk adding mini-golf in 2012

Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011 2:35 PM | Contributed by Jeff

[Ed. note: The following is an excerpt of a press release. -J]

Universal Orlando Resort today announced plans to premier an all-new, 36-hole miniature golf experience – Hollywood Drive-In Golf – at CityWalk by early 2012. The experience is being designed by Universal’s creative team to do for miniature golf what a blockbuster theme park attraction does for a movie: bring it alive in an entirely new way. The two state-of-the art 18-hole courses will be unlike any other mini golf experience.

Inspired by the classic drive-in movie era, guests will be whisked into an elaborately-themed environment based on the vintage horror flicks and “little green men” science fiction films of the 1950s. As they experience two family friendly courses, “The Haunting of Ghostly Greens” and “Invaders From Planet Putt,” guests will putt their way through elaborate movie-style scenes, passing through a cemetery, under a giant spider, through a flying saucer and into the basement lab in a haunted house. Cutting-edge interactive elements and special effects will immerse guests further into the “double feature,” and with LED course edge-lighting they can play day, night and late night.

The new experience is being developed to complement Universal CityWalk’s role as an entertainment hub with something for everyone.

“We created Hollywood Drive-In to be fun and different and something everyone can enjoy,” said Ric Florell, senior vice president and general manager of resort revenue operations. “We used creative theming and state-of-the-art technology to take the experience to the next level. It’s perfect for Universal CityWalk – whether you are playing at 11am or 11pm.”

Situated just below the first level of CityWalk and next to the AMC Cineplex, guests will see the miniature golf courses as they are entering CityWalk from the parking garages. Construction on Hollywood Drive-In Golf is scheduled to begin this summer and the venue will open by early 2012.

Read the entire press release from Universal Orlando.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 2:37 PM

Count me in. I'll book today!

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011 2:42 PM

Neat-o. Wonder what the pricing will be like... or more importantly, if I can weasel my family in for free.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011 3:08 PM

If you are a hotel guest, can you 'play through'?

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011 3:14 PM

Disney should sue them for stealing their idea from the Sci-Fi Dine-In. :)

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011 3:18 PM

Disney should smack themselves for not coming up with the idea sooner. I think it is a terrific idea and the entire CityWalk experience (location, offerings, etc) is really pulled off much better than Downtown Disney.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011 3:45 PM

Totally agree. Downtown Disney has never had any kind of vitality to it. Maybe the problem is location. CityWalk, by nature of its placement, has tens of thousands of people at the very least crossing through it every day.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011 3:50 PM

Should Disney have done something similar at TTC, instead of Downtown Disney? TTC has the crowds of people going thru, like CityWalk, but doesn't have "clubs, restaurants, and the like". I like the Disney mini-golf as it exists now, but I tend to think their courses are often under-utilized. It'll be interesting to see how much foot-traffic translates into "duffing"...

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011 4:59 PM

This is so intelligent of Universal. If I ran an amusement park, this is just the sort of thing I'd invest in.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011 6:25 PM

I hope this is on "par" with my expectations ;)

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Thursday, May 12, 2011 3:48 AM

Sounds like a brilliant idea. I'm surprised nobody thought of it sooner. City Walk is fun, but I'm not into the clubs too much, so my time there is usually limited to dinner and a drink or two. This is something that would definitely keep me around a bit longer.

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Thursday, May 12, 2011 7:37 AM

Okay, I give up. What's TTC?

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Thursday, May 12, 2011 8:19 AM

The Ticket and Transportation Center at Walt Disney World. As an aside, that was one of the preliminary locations for EPCOT.

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Thursday, May 12, 2011 10:38 AM

One might argue that the boardwalk area near Epcot was kind of an attempt at that, but it doesn't get the parking lot traffic that CityWalk gets.

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Thursday, May 12, 2011 12:27 PM

The Boardwalk sits between Disney Studios, Epcot and a dozen resorts and time shares so it seems to serve its own audience.

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Thursday, May 12, 2011 12:31 PM

Right, that was what I was getting at. It's not tens of thousands of new people every day.

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Thursday, May 12, 2011 12:51 PM

Something HAS to be done with the TTC. It's such an eyesore. I've seen new, elaborate bus stations in the middle of crumbling cities look better than this piece of garbage. Asside from the monorail, where's the theming we've come to expect from Disney?

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Thursday, May 12, 2011 8:02 PM

The shear volume of people going through the TTC on the way to the Magic Kingdom would make any sort of attraction there difficult (I suspect if Disney thought they could make money on it, they would have done it.) I would also suspect there is a much large guest count at Downtown Disney than there is at CityWalk (when you remove the Universal Guests who simply walk through and don't actually stop to purchase anything. - note I base this fact on an unscientific study conducted by myself while sitting at the Lone Palm Bar.)

To say that Downtown Disney "never had any kind of vitality to it" is a bit of a reach as well, while I personally find it to be a snooze these days, Pleasure Island from 1994ish-2000ish was pretty big in the nation's club scene.

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Thursday, May 12, 2011 10:20 PM

But that's exactly the problem. The "club scene" is a young 20-something person's scene. I outgrew it even sooner, 22 or 23 at most. The only thing I recall being interesting at Pleasure Island was the Adventurer's Club. The rest was the silly meat market scene, which tends to appeal to a local demographic for x number of years and fade, as it has in any other metro area (though admittedly I can only say I've observed this cycle in Cleveland, Detroit and Columbus, none of which have ever been on the up and up).

Diversifying with restaurants, concert venues and shops was certainly the right thing to do, but location for Disney is a huge issue. I've gone there once to meet my parents, and once with my wife to find a specific T-shirt, but it just felt like a glorified strip mall.

CityWalk, by contrast, has a built-in audience every day. It's very, very seasonal, that's for sure, but at the very least there's actual commerce occurring for a few hours when the parks close. During Mardi Gras and the thick of the summer, it's a total zoo. The club rats get their back "street," the families have their after-park time wasters and shopping by the lagoon, anyone who eats has a diverse enough selection, and best of all the on-property guests can really do whatever they want, including get loaded without driving. I'm especially surprised at the success of the movie theater. Sounds like Blue Man Group is seasonally a sell-out, but I suppose that's no different than their other permanent shows.

My guess is that on a revenue per-square-foot basis, CityWalk kills it. Actually, I think we had a news item once that had solid estimates on that.

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Thursday, May 12, 2011 10:39 PM

On the club scene, I completely agree... but to say it never had any vitality is a stretch. In 2001 8trax at Pleasure Island was the most profitable portion of the Walt Disney Company (in terms of square footage and operating costs/profit.)

I agree Disney World is a victim of it's own success and size.. I suppose if we flew back in time to 1989 and they built a monorail line to the Studios and required everyone to park at the TTC and take transit to the new park, perhaps something similar to CityWalk could have been built there. There's also nothing to stop you from going to one of the restaurants on Disney property and getting smashed and taking a Disney bus back to your hotel. (Within reason of course.)

I find most of the restaurants at CityWalk (which really is a glorified strip mall at best as well) to be average at best and bland to terrible at worst. My last meal at Latin Quarter made me wish it really was my last meal. Pat O'brien's is a poor representation of New Orleans food... Margaritaville is a burger joint.. Burger King... Panda Express... Moes.. fast food. The nightclubs are hit or miss, although I am guilty of enjoying Rising Star with the right crowd and group of friends.

Back to the topic.. minigolf? really? Move Wet-n-Wild onto Universal property and make it a top notch waterpark and I will get excited.

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