View Full Version : NOW I see why they thought DCA would work...

04-11-2003, 04:44 PM
I have lived in Orange County my whole life and I hadn't been to Universal Studios since I was about 4 years old. I recently made the 30 minute drive up the 5 freeway to check things out and I think that I have figured out how the Disney brass might have wrongly figured that DCA would work. Universal has a "cheap" feel to it just like DCA. There isn't a lot of theming but there are a whole lot of shops. The food is expensive and bland. The park is NOWHERE NEAR Disneyland quality but it is very much DCA quality. Universal is also very close to Eisner and the bigwigs at the Burbank offices of Disney, actually much closer than DL is. I wonder if, instead of using their own successful park as a model, they used Universal as a model for DCA? My wife's first comment walking into Universal was "Wow....it looks like California Adventure." It was no compliment.

Maybe the Disney designers need to spend more time at DL and not at second rate parks.


P.S. The Citywalk (their version of Downtown Disney) is much better than DL's version, though....I guess they got the shopping right.

04-11-2003, 05:05 PM
I've never been to Universal Hollywood..but isn't it real operating movie studio ? I think that has to limit its potential to be a MK sort of theme park.

Now I have been to Universal Orlando and many people consider Orlando's parks on par with Disney's myself included.

04-11-2003, 05:08 PM
It is an operating Studio, the biggest in the country. That's actually the only appeal to the place.

Bob O
04-11-2003, 06:46 PM
I also was underwhelmed by Universal Studios. I thought some parts of the tram ride was ok, but the kong aspect was very lame.
I enjoyed the behind the scenes aspect of making movies but the rest was mainly repeat of rides that can be found in FLA with few options in regards to rides/shows. And the up and down setup is awful!! My kids did enjoy seeing spongebob and some of the characters but overall i found the park to be not as enjoyable as even Knotts Berry Farm.

04-11-2003, 08:04 PM
Is Universal Hollywood that bad? We were considering checking it out but if it's that bad maybe we should go back to Knott's instead and save trips to Universal for the Florida location.

I think that Knotts Berry Farm is fun. It's kind of hokey but in a good way if that makes any sense. :)

04-11-2003, 08:24 PM
I think that I like Knott's better than Universal. Personally, I like Sea World better than both! At least it's a little different. Bob O had the perfect description of how we felt about Universal...we were very "underwhelmed."


04-11-2003, 08:39 PM
We've found Universal Studios Hollywood to be worth visiting - it is definitely a working movie studio that has converted some of that space into two-thirds of a theme park - but it has some interesting attractions.

Backdraft and Juraissic Park spring to mind as definite E-Tickets, and the Waterworld show is good.

It's not Disneyland, but it's worth a look IMHO if you are in the neighborhood - I mean I wouldn't schedule a trip to LA just to see it.

04-11-2003, 09:39 PM
May 2001 we hit US, as well, DL/DCA, Tijuana, the whole nine yards. ;)
US is, eh, lacking.
Talk about cutbacks! We were REALLY ticked. We paid FULL price on a Thursday -- Memorial Day week. (Which isn't cheap.) Once inside -- attractions were closed, simply because it was a week day. :rolleyes:
T23D is great. Makes anything Disney 3D seem like -- well the muppets. ;) Combine ALL the talents of Disney' 3D, and T2 is still better.
Enjoyed seeing Bates Hotel. :)
The characters wakking around are Frankenstein, and etc. Nice change of pace. But worth the $?
Once is enough. We left at 2:00 and felt short changed. Could have kicked ourselves too. We were just killing time to even stay that late to get our "money's worth". We had JUST missed the IMAX 3D Haunted Houses. :p :rolleyes: Would have loved to have seen that. I keep HOPING our 3D IMAX will get that, but won't hold my breath.
We ate at a cafeteria style restaurant for lunch. The price is still blazed in my brain! Not very good.
Two hamburgers; two (watered down/too large) colas; one side order of potatoes; 2 desserts. $28.80.
Because of US, we never bothered going to US Orlando. Although people say they are like night and day.
The Mummy (movie) was just out. They rigged up some walk through display that was so-so. The low ceiling wasn't even covered, just painted black. And quite frankly we said we had seen better haunted houses put on by local charities.
No Disney quality -- agree.

Also agree that Juraissic Park was great!! And they were selling ponchos for like 75 cents EACH! Much better than the $6-$7 each at WDW!

04-11-2003, 10:06 PM
Luv2roam...you're gonna love this...THE MUMMY THING IS STILL THERE!!!!
Pretty soon it will be as old as the real mummies! ;-)


04-11-2003, 10:07 PM
I just wanted to add my thoughts to this thread. I took my first trip to California with a friend of mine in 1999 (while DCA was being built). We wanted to see some of the sites around LA with Universal and Disneyland being definites on our lists. We went to Universal first. We got there at 10 AM and were done by 2 PM. We spent the rest of the day in Santa Monica. The next day we went to Disneyland. We got there at 10 AM and stayed until it closed. It was great. We liked it better than the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

I may get to visit the Anaheim area again this October. It doesn't sound like that I will be too thrilled with DCA. I've been following the posts since it opened and have been unsure about it. However, when I read the first post in this thread, it has sort of soured this park even more. Should I go visit it if I get to go to Anaheim or should I stick solely with Disneyland (which I would go to regardless)?

Thanks everyone.

04-11-2003, 10:33 PM
Hey, its free if you get a multiday hopper, so you can go on Soarin and all the clones from Florida and have some fun. Plus if it's during the busy period it's worht it to See The Electrical parade.

I just wanted to talk a bit about City Walk as Roy said he thought it was better then DTD Anaheim. I actually disagree in some ways. I think the Vibe at DTD is much better. The shopping about the same, but DTD is geared more family like.

04-11-2003, 10:57 PM
Universal Studios in Hollywood is a poor second cousin to the Universal parks in Orlando, which DO compete with Disney very nicely (and compliment the Disney experience quite well).
I must disagree about Terminator 2 3-D, which I think is a great show, with wonderful 3-D, but it doesn't compare to "It's Tough to be a Bug," which is a wonderfully charming film, suitable for kids AND adults (T2 3-D is not suitable for young children), and has audioanimatronic figures instead of actors who are supposed to be Arnold Schwartzenegger and Edward Furlong and look nothing like them! (For those who don't know, there are live actors in the theater who ostensibly "morph," or pass into and out of, the screen.)
Regarding Disney's California Adventure, I have never failed to have a very enjoyable day in this park, and there is NOTHING in Universal Studios to compare to Soarin' Over California or the Grizzly River Raft Ride. DCA has The Animation Studio, one of the finest attractions of its type ever built. Paradise Pier has California Screamin', one of the best roller coasters in the country. Universal Studios Florida has nothing on par with these rides (I've always found Jurassic Park to be disappointing because of the great areas where NOTHING is to be seen. Once in a while there's a dinosaur. ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz. Back to the Future is a nauseating knock-about.)
Oddly enough, one of the best things in Universal Studios is the Backdraft show, and it's one of the things that few people discuss because it's not a ride.
I'll take DCA over Universal Studios in Hollywood any day of the week. On the other hand, BOTH Universal Florida parks are better than DCA. :D

04-11-2003, 11:48 PM
Mooobooks....you had me until you said:

Originally posted by Mooobooks
Paradise Pier has California Screamin', one of the best roller coasters in the country.

04-12-2003, 08:47 AM
Agree on that.
Mooobooks....you had me until you said:

Many parks have comparable. :confused: But everyone is entitled to their opinion.
And I like Jurassic. Lot more action, fun and WATER. ;)
Backdraft I thought was *okay*.
So again, just goes to show everyone likes something different. And that is a good thing! :)

04-12-2003, 11:20 AM
I don't ride big coasters very often, and I am relying on the reactions of people I've gone with to DCA regarding California Screamin'. Their reaction when they've gotten off has always been that it was one of the smoothest coasters they've ever been on and they enjoyed it immensely--and then they got right back on again ... and again. If it wasn't a good coaster, I assume they wouldn't keep riding it! (I have ridden everything else mentioned.)

04-12-2003, 11:49 AM
DH REALLY enjoyed CA Screamin'. But he likes RnRC better. But that's just him.
I have a flyer from Adventureland in Des Moines IA. Looks like they have a pretty neat double loop coaster. I'll have to check that out! Kinda looks like a skinny hidden Mickey! :jester:
I think one thing that makes RnRC so neat is it being a dark ride.
I like the set up of CA Screamin' though where guests can watch from the bridge and park.

Another Voice
04-12-2003, 12:07 PM
Universal Studios Hollywood is a very late comer to the "theme park" game and is at a huge disadvantage to everyone else. The studio tour start before 1920 in the era of silent films and they've kept it up ever since. Until the mid-1990's Universal made a nice living off the tourist trade as just the studio tour; it's one of the very few "Hollywood" things to actually see in Hollywood. The tram was the main draw with a few shows thrown in to keep busy for a few hours. And it was strictly for the out of town tourist come to see the Psycho house Southern Californians only went when cousins visited from back east.

Then Universal opened up its park in Florida and Disney countered by announcing the Disney/MGM Studios Backlot in Burbank. Someone got the notion the Hollywood could become just like Florida and all sorts of attractions were shoehorned into the hills. But they just doesn't fit. Universal is the largest and busiest lot in town; you can't retrofit a full sized theme park into it. Worse, now you've got this strange hybrid that's half way between a studio tour and a theme park (much like Animal Kingdom is a strange hybrid half way between a zoo and a theme park). There aren't enough rides for a full day, the coaster heads don't like the studio portion, and people who came to see "Hollywood" find it covered over by an amusement park.

If you've been to Universal Orlando there is no reason to go to Universal Hollywood unless you want to see a real, working studio. But if you're interested in that then I would recommend you take the tour over at Warner Brothers Studios instead. If you're looking for another theme park, I'd recommend Knott's Berry Farm (even over DCA). It predates Disneyland but has several top-of-their-class thrill rides. The only thing to recommend Universal Hollywood is CityWalk which is vastly better than its Florida cousin or either version of Downtown Disney*. CityWalk Hollywood is really what people expect Los Angeles to be loud, bright, crazy and way over the top.

* Downtown Disney Anaheim has all the energy of a local strip mall. The shopping is exceptionally bland, too many store fronts are boarded up, there are too many high-ticket restaurants and nothing to do except spend money. There are "rumors" that some inside Disney consider this area more of a failure than even California Adventure.

Bob O
04-12-2003, 02:00 PM
Mooobooks-While Tough to be a bug is a excellant show, it in no way/shape/manner/form compares to the quality and overall great experience of t23d which i always see several times each visit to USF and when i went to USH.
And to claim Calif Screamin is a great coasters is a joke and a travesty. While USH has no coasters their are alot of coasters between Knotts/SFMM that totally blow Calif Screamin away and i still found i enjoyed SM and Big Thunder more than Calif Screamin. The launch is weak and the overalll experience was medicore at best while the overall expereince of Big Thunder/Sm made for alot better riding expereince.
People probably re-ride the coaster as that park has nothing else to offer fans who enjoy thrill rides.

04-12-2003, 09:24 PM
We have never failed to have a truckload of fun at DCA. Soaring IS the best ride of all the parks I have every been in - hands down.

I think DCA is a diamond in the rough. It is far from perfect, but is has something for everyone. Even though my son was 8 on our last trip he loved Fliks Fun Fair. He could hang at Redwood Creek for ages and lives for Soarin. Hopefully ToT will be open 'soon'.

I consider DCA a compromise (not compromised)park -

DL has more for the little ones and not enough for the thrill seeking teens.

USH has more for the teens but little to offer the little ones.

Knotts has some great rides but (IMHO) the theming sucks.

DCA has moderate appeal to kids/teens/grownups - a place they can compomise on!

Bob O
04-12-2003, 10:11 PM
I would disagree about DCA being a compromise park. Its is an inferior park by any disney standards and was built by the powers at disney who believed that if they built it people would come, no matter the quality of the attractions inside the park. They built mgm/ak as half day parks just like dca and while those parks did ok because of park hopping passes disney cant pull this off at DL in the same manner.
Maybe someday this park will be up to disney standards but IMHO that isnt the case right now. And while i did enjoy my time at DCA it pales in comparsion to its next door neighbor and disney should have known the comparsions would be there and should have built the park with the same standards in mind.(and this doesnt even get into the theme idea, why would you build a park that attracts more locals than FLA and build it based around a fake CA that they can see for real on their own???)