Monday, March 14, 2011
EpcotServo's Updates #2.26- Universal Century
Hey everybody and welcome to a huge supersized UNIVERSAL UPDATE! That's right, finally returning to Universal and IOA. And not just returning, pass-holding! Meaning you can expect Universal Updates just as much as Disney updates, laziness permitting. But enough with the chit-chat we got an incredible new ride and land to talk about, old favorites to visit, and tons of pictures to clicky through! Hold on to your butts, because it's UPDATE TIME!
-This park has received has gone through a crucible over the summer with Potter. Holy cow, I've NEVER seen IOA run so efficiently, effectively, and guest-friendly. Crowd Control, greeters, additional turnstyles and ticket windows, people managing the lines and more friendly interaction and good guest service than I've EVER seen in USO. It's amazing. The park is clean, everything is working, all seasonal shops and restaurants are opened. It's so crowded there now full time that the Team Members know how to make things go smooth, and know that positive interaction keeps people in good spirits. No longer a half empty park with slow passive aggressive TMs and closed shops and restaurants, IOA is running as smooth and positive as the WDW parks. I guess they've seen what's it like to be in demand now, and are taking the responsibility that WDW takes with being crowded year round.
-And seriously, I can't stress enough- maybe it was the bonus, but the Team Members at Universal are head's above what I've seen in the last few years. Friendly, efficient, and know what they should be doing. I'm really happy to be a passholder now, and I'm hoping this more-stellar-than-usual atmosphere amongst the ranks keeps up.
-Spiderman still rocks. I hope they do a digital rehab though, that would be nice.
-In another round of good operations, in both parks, Single Riders was operating at all SR attractions.
-The park really looks great, everything is painted and lots of mechanical and environmental effects were working, such as the moving props in Toon Lagoon and the Mist in Jurassic Park.
-WARNING! Spoilers ahead. If you haven't been there you may want to avoid the next section so I don't overhype/underhype anything for you.
-So the whole thing is really amazing. As it should be known, I'm not a big Potter fan. I've read all the books, seen all the movies, and aside from Azkaban and Goblet of Fire, I've never really been obsessed over it, and enjoy razzing it immensely. So aside from my thoughts that it's all quite overhyped, I LOVE Pottertown. (I love making names for it as well.) It's amazing. You can't help but go "wow" when you reach that middle part of the street where the castle and buildings tower over you.
-What makes it so cool is that it's fully realized. The merch is all cannon, and feels real. Everything is well done and looks complete and fits right in. The effects all feel natural and in place. The show is complete, from the costumes and buildings, all the way down to the drinks and the signs. My only wish is that we would see more of this in Theme Parks, where the world is fully realized and everything is cannon and feels real.
-Universal needed this. This is like Kingdom. It's something that will ALWAYS bring in money. Seriously...People will be buying $100 ROBES IN SUMMER, and they'll be ENJOYING IT. Insane.
-Speaking of insane, let's move on to Forbidden Journey, the landmark attraction that was designed by the criminally insane.
-Seriously. From the lockers, to the fact that you're swinging around 30ft in the air having your soul sucked out, this ride was designed by insane people. There's a speedramp, to get on a speedramp, to get on a sideways vehicle, attached to a robot arm located in another room, moving at full show speed. I literally can not think of a sane person who would actually see this through blue sky phase. At some point, a man in the design room must've broke out laughing thinking "We're not actually going to build this, are we?"
And they did.
And it's every bit as insane as it was then. One of my favorite parts is that you realize you're having a hard time looking around, only to realize you've been looking at the ceiling this whole time, and you're moving forward on your back. It's crazy. It does go a mile a minute, and the first time you ride it, you have NO CLUE as to what is happening because of the speed and the sheer shock value of all the scenes. (Fun note: I screamed like Bender when the dementor swings by really close and gets right in your face. Genuine girlscream due to the large scary thing like five feet from your face.)
So the ride is amazing, but is Universal through and through. You're thrown, flown, spit on, torched, dropped, hit, whacked, spun, twisted, turned, layed down, tossed backwards, and have your soul literally sucked out of your face. Like Universal itself, that's it's upside and it's downside. It's as insane as the people who built it.
So where do I rank it? I rank it in the Trio of Forbidden Awesomeness.
LET IT BE KNOWN HENCEFORTH, that these three attractions are all amazing, fun, detailed, and generally awesome. Each one has different strengths and weaknesses, but in the field of best rides in America, they stand equally as the three winners. I have my favorite, and you may have yours, but if you recognize one you must recognize the other two, AS THE TRIO OF FORBIDDEN AWESOMENESS.
Indiana Jones Adventure and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye
Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
-The queue is amazing and all, but man is Single Riders great. It's got to be the fastest Single Rider queue I've ever been in.
-Butterbeer is really fantastic. We just went to have one to say we did, but holy cow it's great. It's basically a cream soda, but it really hits the spot. And the mug gets you cheaper refills and eighty nine cent soda refills everywhere else they told us. Great deal!
-Guest service and Team Members again here are amazing. They deal with so many people so wonderfully. I would lose my mind, but they all have smiles and stay in show. Another great guest service was in Honeydukes, a candy shop packed with people paying already, and I thought "gee, I'd just like a taste of something while I walk through", and sure enough someone came out with samples! How great is that?
-The shops are all so crowded, but it seems like because EVERYONE is feeling cramped, people are more polite and co-operative than usual. The merch is all fantastic (Though there is nothing Forbidden Journey marked...) and it's all so quality and so right in place in the land that I can only imagine a real Harry Potter fan would go insane. (*Still not as insane as the designers of Forbidden Journey.)
-Wand shopping is very satisfying and cool, it's fun to pull out a box and look inside. Plus when they had taskers to help people find the appropriate wand it was even funner to see which one corresponds to your birthdate.
-So, I think that's about everything Potterland, and I gotta' say, bravo to Universal on this one. Harry Potter may be overrated to me, but I think Universal's land has mostly earned it's absurd popularity, and even though I've now spent lots of time there, I get excited thinking about returning, which is a mark of a good attraction.
-Universal also looked great!
-Imhotep was working on Mummy! Hurray! Haven't seen him work in forever.
-JAWS was particularly great with an awesome skipper.
-Cyberdyne no longer has the good range of cool stuff it used to have.
-Only at Universal will you hear "Killer Queen" playing in the restaurants.
-Which are quite good by the way, Universal's burgers, chicken, fries, and stuff are usually pretty good.
-Men In Black Alien Attack is still great!
-I am so tired I am incapable of any more Theme Park Thought
-Imma go lay down for awhile
OK, that's it- Enjoy the Updateshow!
I'd like to add one last quick message most different from the usual annoying antics, and really it needn't be said, but if you haven't thought about it yet I want to URGE each of you to please support Japan in their time of crisis in any way you can. Japan has given me and many others alot of happiness, and I never once doubt their ability to get through this, but now is one of those times a little help can go a long way. Think about it, won't you? Thank you.