Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby Guy T. Koepp » Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:05 pm

IMHO based on the last time I was there, which was last week. I would put the Mummy way ahead of Hulk. Hulk was running like crap. Incredibly rough and fairly uninspired.
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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby Someotherguyuser » Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:10 pm

Guy T. Koepp wrote:IMHO based on the last time I was there, which was last week. I would put the Mummy way ahead of Hulk. Hulk was running like crap. Incredibly rough and fairly uninspired.

When I went on it last October, it was running a bit rough, but it wasn't THAT bad. That's probably because I'm so used to Scream at SFMM being rough. Now THAT'S a terrible-running coaster.

But as for the question, I kind of prefer the Mummy. There's more airtime and the theming is much better. I also like the launch more.
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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby coasterbill » Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:51 am

We rode Hulk a few times last month and thought it was great. It wasn't rough at all.

We actually thought it was the best coaster at Universal orlando after Mummy. We actually liked every coaster at both Universal parks, they have a very good collection.

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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby jedimaster1227 » Tue Apr 01, 2014 7:33 pm

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2014-03-29/news/os-universal-cabana-bay-hotel-expansion-20140329_1_universal-orlando-hotel-rooms-cabana-bay-beach-resort

Universal Orlando has invested hundreds of millions of dollars during the past four years in attractions that have drawn throngs of new visitors to Central Florida.

Now, Orlando's No. 2 theme-park resort is trying to keep more of those visitors on its property.

On Monday, Universal will welcome its first guests to the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, the first hotel built at Universal in more than a decade. The largest hotel under construction in North America, the retro, beach-themed Cabana Bay will be Universal's fourth hotel. Once the final phase is completed by summer, the hotel will increase the resort's inventory of rooms from 2,400 to 4,200.

Universal isn't done, however. Executives at Comcast Corp., which owns the NBCUniversal media-and-entertainment empire, say they plan to build more hotels in Orlando in the coming years — potentially quadrupling or quintupling Universal Orlando's current inventory.

Experts say Universal's aggressive hotel expansion threatens to take business from other hotels, particularly competitors that ring the resort and rely on Universal visitors to fill their rooms. Some hotel operators acknowledge they are worried.

"Once they get fully opened, I'm sure we'll see an impact, especially in peak season," said Jane Miller, general manager of the Holiday Inn Express & Suites on Major Boulevard, less than a mile from Universal. "I think we're all concerned because that's quite a bit of an impact on this area."

Universal would not make executives available for interviews. But NBCUniversal President Steve Burke told investment analysts last fall that the company's research shows travelers who stay at Universal Orlando hotels, operated through a joint venture with Loews Hotels & Resorts, typically spend an extra day or two in the resort's theme parks.

"We have far too few hotel rooms in Orlando," Burke said. "We've done a study that says we could have as many as 10,000 or 15,000 hotel rooms and still have occupancy that makes those rooms profitable."

In ordering more hotel rooms, Comcast is borrowing a page from the Walt Disney Co. playbook. Disney has built about 30,000 hotel rooms and time-share suites in the U.S. — 90 percent of them at Disney World — that allow the company to capture more of the total vacation spending by visitors to its theme parks.

Once merely a side business for its theme parks, hotels are now a major profit center for Disney. The company's U.S. hotels generated more than $2.2 billion in revenue last year — one in every five dollars produced by Disney's domestic parks-and-resorts operations.

"Universal has looked at Disney, and they see it's a very effective strategy. And they're trying to mirror that," said Scott Smith, an assistant professor who teaches lodging and revenue management at the University of South Carolina's School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management.

Universal is emulating Disney's hotels in another respect, too. Unlike Universal's first three hotels — all of which are marketed as "deluxe" properties with rates routinely exceeding $300 a night — Cabana Bay will offer the resort's first rooms with "value" and "moderate" prices. Rates at Cabana Bay, which ultimately will include 900 standard rooms and 900 family suites, will start at $94 per night for a suite.

Disney has made a similar push into rooms that target price-conscious consumers. Twenty-five years ago, only about 55 percent of the resort's rooms were in the value or moderate categories. Today, more than 75 percent of its rooms are in the cheaper categories.

As Universal adds more hotel rooms, it also threatens to siphon bookings away from Disney, whose domestic hotel occupancy slipped to 79 percent last year, down from a pre-recession peak of 89 percent. But Smith said Disney will be somewhat insulated because it targets slightly different core audiences than Universal.

"Disney gets smaller children, the pirates and the princesses. When you're a teen or tween, you really want to go to Universal," Smith said.

A Universal spokesman would not say when the resort expects to begin construction on a fifth hotel or what categories of rooms it plans to add. Universal has limited land available for expansion, though it added to its holdings last year when it bought about 50 acres under and near Wet 'n Wild. NBCUniversal owns Wet 'n Wild but hadn't owned the land.

"Our strategy is to offer our guests a great theme-park hotel experience with a great combination of unique benefits and price," Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said. "We also know our guests want different things from their hotel stays, which is why we are creating different-type experiences for them to choose from."

Universal isn't done adding attractions, either. Comcast says it plans to spend $500 million a year on theme-park capital spending during the next few years, an amount that should allow it to open major attractions each year at both Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood in Southern California.

And this summer, it will open the highly anticipated Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida — the sequel to its smash-hit original Harry Potter area at Islands of Adventure.

That makes some competing hoteliers optimistic that the market ultimately could absorb Universal's infusion of new hotel rooms.

"Orlando is the second-largest hotel market in the country, welcoming millions of travelers each year looking for a variety of experiences," said Frank Dolley, area general manager for Hyatt, whose properties include a Hyatt Place just outside Universal.

"We believe that the enhancements to Universal, especially the Harry Potter attractions, will drive more visitors to the Universal Studios resort area, creating benefits for all area businesses."
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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby Rollercoaster Rider » Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:08 pm

They need to buy more land then cause I think they're running out.
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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby Jew » Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:22 pm

Comcast says it plans to spend $500 million a year on theme-park capital spending during the next few years, an amount that should allow it to open major attractions each year at both Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood in Southern California.


That's kind of absurd…I'm really glad Comcast understands theme parks are a great business to be in if done right.

And before anyone can turn this into a "boo…Disney doesn't spend enough!", realize that the only reason Comcast has to spend so much money in the first place is because they have to catch up for years of not spending AND years of Disney spending to expand.
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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby robbalvey » Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:31 am

Why does Universal keep saying things like "Disney gets smaller children, the pirates and the princesses. When you're a teen or tween, you really want to go to Universal" to the press?

Has Universal ever visited Disney? Their idea that teens and young adults don't enjoy Disney's product is laughable.
Last edited by robbalvey on Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:32 am.

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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby Jew » Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:55 am

^It was the professor guy who said that, but your point is still very valid: Disney World is definitely NOT just for kids wanting to live out fantasies. It's a resort with something for EVERYONE. Universal will never be able to match that.
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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby robbalvey » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:19 am

^ Gotcha. Didn't catch that. But I hear it a lot from people and all you have to do is take a look around WDW to see it's not true

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Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando

Postby jcrouse » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:35 am

On Monday, Jacqi and I got the chance to check out Universal Orlando's newest resort hotel, Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Its an immersive throwback to the roadside motels of the 50s and 60s. When complete in June, the resort will feature 900 family suites and 900 standard guest rooms.

We think this will be a big hit for Universal. The resort has a great variety of amenities - bowling alley, food trucks, fitness center, beach activities, fire pits, lazy river (opening in the summer) - and has a very attractive price point. The attention to detail is spot-on. There are little touches everywhere you look, like Zest soap and Alberto VO5 Shampoo in the rooms, retro analog alarm clocks and vintage patterns everywhere - in bedspreads, shower curtains, carpets, railings and fixtures. If you're a fan of AMC's Mad Men - you will feel right at home. The Swizzle Lounge in the lobby features vintage drinks that Don Draper himself would be kicking back. The Bayliner Diner food court was large and felt very open. There were 4 large projection screens that featured vintage commercials and drive-in theater style intermission trailers.

The resort is not connected to Universal Orlando's water taxi system - but there is fleet of custom busses to shuttle guests back and forth from the Citywalk hub. Eventually there will be a walking path constructed as well.

Overall, Jacqi and I enjoyed it very much. If you like retro imagery - you will love the place. Thanks again to the Universal Orlando PR team and our host, Meredith for taking such good care of us. And congratulations to Universal Orlando on the opening of Cabana Bay.

Here is the full press release:

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 31, 2014) – Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort officially welcomes its first guests today. This brand-new value and moderately-priced property is the fourth on-site hotel at Universal Orlando Resort and evokes the classic, retro-feel of iconic beach resorts from the 1950s and 60’s.

Located on-site at Universal Orlando Resort, the new hotel is a destination within itself – featuring a stunning design with bold colors, retro-inspired architecture and sweeping vistas that transport guests back to a time of relaxation and endless family fun. Cabana Bay guests can experience incredible amenities throughout the hotel, including:
- Bowling a strike at the 10-lane Galaxy Bowl
- Channeling the godfather of fitness at the Jack LaLanne Physical Fitness Studio
- Racing down the iconic dive tower waterslide and splashing into a 10,000 square foot zero-entry pool in the Cabana Courtyard
- Enjoying a retro-themed specialty cocktail from Swizzle Lounge or Atomic Tonic
- Finding something delicious for the entire family at Bayliner Diner, a food court with something for everyone to enjoy including a salad bar, burgers, sandwiches, pizza, pasta and grab-and-go items
- And this summer, guests will be able to enjoy even more incredible amenities, including a second 8,000-square-foot zero entry pool, Universal Orlando’s first lazy river at an on-site hotel, The Hideaway Bar & Grill, and additional moderately-priced family suites and value-priced standard guest rooms. When complete, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort will feature a total of 1,800 rooms – 900 family suites and 900 standard guest rooms.

Starting today, guests can stay in a family suite, which sleeps up to six people and includes a fold-out foam bed, kitchenette, a sliding partition for privacy, two flat-screen TVs and a bathroom with preparation spaces for three people at once. Cabana Bay guests also get exclusive benefits only available to on-site hotel guests at Universal Orlando, including Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the theme park opens.

Rates for the family suites begin at $174 per-night, and can run as low as $134 per-night depending on the length of stay. Rates for the standard guest rooms – which will be available this summer – begin at $119 per night, and can run as low as $93 per-night depending on the length of stay.

“We’ve sought to create a special place where families can spend time together and create long-lasting memories outside of the theme parks,” said Russ Dagon, Vice President and Executive
Project Director, Universal Creative. “From the moment they step inside, families will be transported
back to a different, more relaxing time.”

“We are thrilled to finally welcome guests into Cabana Bay Beach Resort,” said Adnan Bizri,
Managing Director, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. “This is the perfect addition to Universal
Orlando’s already stellar line-up of properties, allowing families to continue a wonderful vacation
well beyond the theme parks.”

To learn more or to make a reservation, call 1-888-273-1311 or visit http://www.universalorlando.com.
Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is co-owned and managed by Loews Hotels & Resorts.

And now for some photos - this first set focuses on the main entrance and lobby areas:
UOR_Cabana_1.jpg
Cabana Bay's signature icon
UOR_Cabana_2.jpg
Cabana Bay's Roadside Marker
UOR_Cabana_3.jpg
The Lobby - the atrium is a reference to a classic Loews hotel lobby
UOR_Cabana_4.jpg
Another Lobby Shot
UOR_Cabana_5.jpg
Brightly colored tile of the front desk.
UOR_Cabana_6.jpg
The hip Swizzle Lounge is right inside the lobby just opposite the front desk.
UOR_Cabana_7.jpg
There were a few minions lurking around as we checked in.
UOR_Cabana_8.jpg
Just a few steps away from the lobby was a full service Starbucks - complete with a vintage coffee cup display and photos of Weeki Wachee Mermaids.
UOR_Cabana_9.jpg
Cool light fixtures were everywhere.
UOR_Cabana_10a.jpg
Entrance to the Bayliner Diner Food Court
UOR_Cabana_12.jpg
Bayliner Dining Area with large projection screens - and Coke Freestyle machines.
UOR_Cabana_13.jpg
Cool mural at the far end of the dining area.
UOR_Cabana_14.jpg
Coke Freestyle cups using that same mural art.
UOR_Cabana_15.jpg
Coke Freestyle pricing - there were at least 9 Freestyle machines at the resort.
UOR_Cabana_16.jpg
In the back of the dining area, near the restrooms - they had these cool phone booth areas.
UOR_Cabana_16a.jpg
Vintage cars parked outside the diner. They had 4 different cars from the era parked out front.
UOR_Cabana_17.jpg
Another shot of the diner, a vintage car and the hotel lobby in the background.
UOR_Cabana-19.jpg
And finally - here is the property map. Everything on the left side will open later this summer. Room and pool photos are next...
Last edited by robbalvey on Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:21 am.
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