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Theme Parks Focusing on Real Experiences and Guest Connections


 Central Florida Star Wars fans (those who haven't make the trek out to Disneyland) are awaiting the opening of Galaxy’s edge at Disney World. 

Theme park writer Seth Kubersky joins us for a rundown of what’s new at Disney and Universal. 

Kubersky is a columnist for the Orlando Weekly and one of the co-authors of the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland and the Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. He sat down with Mathew Peddie to talk about new trends at the theme parks this summer.

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Ride recently opened at Universal Orlando, replacing the popular Dueling Dragons coaster. It features a nearly mile long track and the most high-speed launches in one roller coaster anywhere. It's a new direction for Universal, in that it doesn't rely on screens and video projections.

"I think there is definitely a shift, especially among Universal guests, away from the screen based attractions, the 3-D attractions." Kubersky said.

"After building a lot of screen based attractions back to back, the Transformers ride, the Gringotts ride, the King Kong ride, there's kind of been a backlash from guests who don't like having to put on a pair of 3-D glasses walking into an attraction. The biggest sign of that backlash is that Universal's, just this past week, removed the 3-D effects from the Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem ride."

Disney has brought a focus on immersive guest experiences with Star Wars Land at Disneyland in California. Kubersky compares it to the approach Universal had with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter except much bigger.

"What I will say is, though its beautiful and there's lots to look at, but there isn't, especially at the moment, a lot to do. There's a lot of shopping opportunities, there's food, but right now there's only one ride."

Kubersky said he particularly enjoyed seeing characters in the Star Wars land interact with guests. Disney World will open its own Star Wars Land, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, on August 29th.

Other things to look forward to? Universal Orlando and Hollywood is bringing back a 1980's feel with Stranger Things and Ghostbusters (1984) themes confirmed for Halloween Horror Nights.