If you’ve followed us for any length of time, you’ll know that the Theme Park Wars are something that interests us quite a lot. We live watching Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando duke it out in an effort to be top dog. When the parks battle, the consumer wins as both entertainment powerhouses add more and more to entice guests to send their precious vacation dollars within their gates.
Disney World has consistently reigned supreme, dominating Universal at every turn. However, during the Chapek-era, it seemed as though Universal might finally edge ahead as Disney made unpopular decisions at every turn. With Bob Iger back in control, though, Disney is once again widening the gap. It doesn’t help that Universal has made a couple of serious missteps recently.
While Disney is bringing back popular offerings like the Disney Dining Plan and removing unpopular restrictions, Universal is doing the opposite. In addition to the return of the dining plan and removal of park reservations, Disney has also promised to simplify Disney Genie+ (the day planning and line skipping service that is available for an extra fee). Disney World is also wrapping up several construction projects and has recently opened one of the most anticipated rides in Disney history: Tron: LightCycle/Run.
Meanwhile Universal just raised the price of their.most popular annual pass. That would be ok if there were more offerings to offset the extra cost, but there aren’t. In fact, not only is there nothing new to offer, they have taken away experiences. Poseidan’s Fury and the KidZone play area have been permanently closed. Additionally, Universal’s Classic Monster Cafe and Universal’s Superstar Parade closed forever last year. No replacements have been announced for these attractions. So far Universalhas only given a cause statement that these attractions are closing to “make room for new offerings.” Additionally, now seems like a great time for Universal to bring back their dining plan, bit so far their has been no indication that it is coming back any time soon.
The timing couldn’t be worse. As Disney makes things easier, Universal is making things harder. With NBCUniversal curently in a state of chaos after the firing of CEO Jeff Shell, Universal really needs a win. They are building another theme park currently but it won’t open until 2025 which gives Disney plenty of time to pull away. It clear to see that the Theme Park Wars are stil going strong. We can’t wait to see what happens next!