They had this one ad on the travel channel that's also on the website that puts their new marketing strategy bluntly:
"...Universal Studios Hollywood is way more than a Studio Tour, trust me. If you haven't been here in the last five years, then you haven't been here."
Honestly, if the park even has to make such a statement, then I think Universal knows that is the honest truth about the park, save Mummy:the Ride. Why hasn't Universal added anything, specifically a major attraction thatis not enclosed in a box, to change this sentiment? I remember when I went back down to L.A. in 2002 and decided to just do the City Walk b/c quite honestly what was I getting for $50 some-odd dollars. How well does USH do with attendance these days? I could never imagine a repeat visitor to USH or purchasing of a season pass. To me the noticable difference in 8 years is Mummy:the Ride, Shrek 4-D and the swapping of Back to the Future for a 15 minute ride to cartoon "Krusty Land". In an over-crowded Southern Cal tourist region, not just including Knotts, Disneyland, SFMM, and Sea World, what product are they really offering to all those who rode the Backlot Tour in the 90's?
I had heard that they were going to expand the park years ago but the neighbors shot that down. The new masterplan for the park neuters any attempt for expansion in favor of overpriced condos - not even a hotel made the cut. The only hope for true expansion of the park is dead if the condos go through, unless they build vertically.
Or they realize the value of a larger park and what it can do for the bottome line. With Disney sitting right here, it's amazing that they don't see the upside to expansion as a theme park. Maybe they really can't get the approvals done so they threw in the towl.
I think the USH park management just kind of lets the park idle along as long as they hit their numbers. So new big budget attractions are slow to arrive.
I bought a 2007 Universal Studios Pass a month or two ago and I've found myself there more than I thought I would.
Sure, it doesn't have the countless high-flying roller coasters of Magic Mountain, the marine life of SeaWorld, or the magic of Disneyland, but there is a lot of exciting things to explore -- and I find it I don't get tired of the attractions.
The park itself has a great environment and the queue lines for attractions are always moving. They recently opened up the UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF HORRORS attraction that replaced the Van Helsing walk-thru and it's really entertaining. I've found myself exploring new things every time I visit, even though the park itself is not very big.
Part of the appeal of USH is not just the theme park itself...it's the entire package that it comes in. I can spend an entire day at USH with the family and come home exhausted. Get there before noon, lounge around and have a relaxing lunch at CityWalk, visit the theme park for a few hours, then top it off with dinner and then a movie. That's a whole day's worth of entertainment. Sure, it can be a bit costly to do all of that and it's not something that anybody could do on a weekly basis, but I've visited four times this year and for $61, that's certainly not bad!
Also, since you mentioned it, do NOT skip the Studio Tour. Very informative, and fun, and the street names were WAY cool....and I got to see THE house from the Bates Motel.
Seriously, I found USH to be a fun day, we had the front of line pass so we had it all done in 5 hours, but that would be any park with Fast or Flash Pass or Gold Bot.
Although Bill, I would take the Florida version of the Mummy over the Cal version but that is IMHO
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