Has Disney let Universal Catch Up In All Market Segments?

Discussion in 'Disney Rumors and News' started by DisneyKidds, Mar 25, 2003.

  1. DisneyKidds

    DisneyKidds <font color=green>The TF thanks DisneyKidds for mo

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    This concept was thrown out in another thread. Someone said their 4 yo liked Universal, and someone else said that Disney has let Universal catch up in every market segment.

    Is this true? What do you think?

    I don't believe it is. Disney has always been about families. I'm surprised to see the person who made the comment actually viewed Disney by market segment (at least in this instance) as that is not what Disney was/is about. I do belive that the gap between Disney and Universal has narrowed for a variety of reasons. However, I do believe that Disney appeals to a wider range of families than Universal.

    If you want to look at market segments, I fully believe that Universal is nowhere near Disney in the 5 and under and 50 and over segments. Universal has probably gotten closer in the 6 to 15 and 40 to 49 segments, but I wouldn't say 'caught up'. 16 to 39 is probably a toss up. Universal has those who prefer the thrill rides, Disney has those who prefer story. However, for a family that includes at least one person from each of these groups, I believe Disney is still ahead of Universal.

    Let me qualify that these are just my impressions and observations without any hard data to back it up.
     
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  3. HB2K

    HB2K I Spit Hot Fire!

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    Kidds,

    While I do not feel that UO has caught up fully with WDW, I think they are well on their way. They have this "thrill" market segment pretty much tied up with IOA (although that park is sooo much more than that), they are building hotels, which from all accounts are better than any of Disney's latest offerings, and they are truely turning that little piece of property into a full blown vacation destination....a viable alternative to a WDW trip.

    Where I get my opinions from are trends.

    WDW is making cut backs, UO is making additions. WDW crys poverty and blames it's consumers for not getting their theme park. UO leads a charge and makes aggressive expansion plans.

    One park is doing the right PR things, the other doing the wrong ones.

    Attendance numbers will follow these trends. Just watch.
     
  4. hopemax

    hopemax Note to Self:

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    Note: I haven't been to the Universal Studios Florida properties.

    However, it does provide food for thought to examine both Disney's and Universal's latest parks. Both were second parks, both were intended to change their property into a multi-day experience. Both had their companies going outside their norm, Disney going for a more "hip & edgy" crowd, Universal going for a more family friendly crowd.

    Adults/Teens only:
    Screamin - Hulk
    Mullholland Madness - Dueling Dragons
    Grizzly River Rapids - Bluto's Bildge Rat Barges
    Soarin' - Spiderman
    Maliboomer - Dr. Doom's Fearfall
    Orange Stinger - Dudley Do Right
    - Jurassic park River Adventure

    Maybes:

    Tough to Be A Bug - Sindbad
    Redwood Creek Trail - Camp Jurassic
    Animation - Discovery Center
    Golden Dreams - Poseidon's Fury (recommended age 6+)
    Muppet Vision -
    Jumpin Jellyfish (40") - Pteranodon Flyers (36")

    Kid Friendly:
    Triton's Carousel - Caro-Seuss-El
    USS. Rustworthy - Me Ship, The Olive
    Superstar Limo - Cat in the Hat
    Golden Zephyr - One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
    Hyperion Theater -
    - Flying Unicorn
    - If I Ran The Zoo
    - Stormforce

    Mickey & Co - SpongeBob and friends

    I don't want to get into a big debate about this ride is better than that ride, but I do think that IOA opened with better selection of adult rides than DCA. And I think that IOA opened with at least as good of a selection of kid friendly rides that DCA did. Both of these parks are not nearly as kid friendly as the Magic Kindoms, so as a vacation destination choice it's no wonder DL and WDW still are ahead. But their latest parks show how the two companies may not be as far apart anymore in their philosophies. Disney may be slightly more family, Universal may be slightly more thrill-seeking, but it's not a big chasm anymore.

    It's like the Tortoise and the Hare. The Hare (Disney) ran out to a HUGE lead, and then decided to take a nap, content that even if he slept the Tortoise (Universal) would never catch up. The Tortoise just kept doing his thing and now, the sleeping Hare is in sight. If he keeps his head down, he might be able to sneek right by and win the race. Actually, Tortoise and the Hare might not be the right analogy because in this case the Tortoise is turning into a faster animal. If the Hare woke up right now, I think he'd see a smaller hare beside him. He may be able to pull away, but then again?

    Is IOA at the level Disney was a few years ago, no, but neither is Disney. So as of today, looking back at what both companies have done in the last couple years, yes, I think Disney has let Universal catch up in a lot of ways, including the under 5's. Universal is strengthened with the successes of their cartoon characters. Disney has lost a lot of talent to Universal, and if both of their parent companies could get their finances in order, it would be incredible to see what the two companies could do if their racehorses were free to run.
     
  5. YoHo

    YoHo If you have any poo to fling, now is the time.

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    Universal Studios has always reminded me more of Vegas then Disney. A very subtle difference and to Disney's Discredit, a gap they seem to be tightening.


    Still, the Universal Expereance is still not what WDW is. Even if they are catching up and I agree with Scoop in many ways it never can be.
     
  6. HB2K

    HB2K I Spit Hot Fire!

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    Shrek, Jimmy Neutron, the rumored Mummy coaster, etc.

    Bob Gault (Is that his name?) is running around screaming about what UO is doing, not what they're cutting back.

    Seems aggressive to me. Better than ho humming your expansions (when are they opening btw?) and stuffing cutback after cutback down our throat.
     
  7. CasualObserver

    CasualObserver Mouseketeer

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    Disclaimer: I've never been to US-Florida but I have been to IOA.

    It seems to me that the big marketing difference and experience difference between US/IOA and WDW is one of "fun" versus one of "magic".

    Disney's marketing is about experiencing "the magic" and their parks try and give you a sense that something incredible is going to happen any minute.

    US/IOA pushes the fun of the experience at their parks. They don't try and out magic Disney, they try and match quality of themeing and attractions. At IOA, I didn't get the feeling that something incredible was just about to happen. I got the feeling that I was going to discover something fun.

    Disney is great at the surprises, like the streetmosphere performers in World Showcase or DeVine at DAK.

    IOA is great at pushing the fun level way up. Popeye is much more fun than Kali - it's longer, and wetter. Spiderman is more fun than CtoE at DAK.

    I give Disney credit for trying to focus on family attractions but current mgmts trend of cutting back, crying poverty, blaming customers puts US/IOA in a great position to take a siginificant part of the family market.

    The question yet to be answered is the question of will families respond to the fun factor over the "magic" factor. I think the jury is still out. Small children really dig the magic. Their parents really respond to the nostalgia of WDW.

    It's the perception of Disney that is so tough to break from the outside. While other studios became corporate subsidiaries or produced a wide range of films from family to r-rated, Disney stuck to family films for the family brand. This keeps people coming back as they remember the great Disney films of their childhood and they want to bring their kids back to relive it. US has the burden that no one thinks "family" when they hear Universal Studios. Until US breaks that perception, Disney will keep the family market.

    Casual Observer
     
  8. HB2K

    HB2K I Spit Hot Fire!

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    What's that thing in Animal Kingdom? What's Mickey's Philharmagic?

    I've seen more press for UO's upcoming attractions than I have for Disney's (shy of this board).

    P.S. These attractions (Shrek, JNuetron) were announced months ago and apparently close to opening (per screamscape).

    I don't know. It has yet to be announced (probably don't want to overshadow the other attractions). When I asked when the attractions opened, I was referrencing M:S & Philharmagic....not the un-announced Yeti coaster. Apples to apples.

    While I haven't researched this, I'm sure they have. It's just funny that they are done much more low key than when Disney cuts theirs. Somehow UO seems to keep the positive stuff in the PR and the negative either out or buried in their wall street clippings. Disney's cutbacks always seem to end up front and center in both PR & business news. Why's that? Is that good for business?
     
  9. hopemax

    hopemax Note to Self:

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    Jimmy Neutron is a simulator, it's supposed to open in April

    Shrek is Shrek 4D, so it's a 3-D movie plus stuff, coming this summer.
     
  10. pheneix

    pheneix Mouseketeer

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    Jimmy Neutron opens to AP holders on the weekend of April 5th, and to everyone else shortly thereafter.

    Shrek 4D is scheduled to open in June, although soft openings may occur in late May. Expect another AP event to coincide with Shrek's opening.

    The Mummy will open in April of 2004 as it stands right now. Its announcement is still up in the air though (before Memorial Day seems to be a pretty safe bet).

    >>>Has UO seen any cuts in hours, etc. recently similar to either actual or rumored Disney cuts?<<<

    NO! NO! And... NO!

    Universal has actually been increasing their hours (most of the increases were already set into the 2003 calendar back in December rather than adjustments two or three weeks in advance) and entertainment this year, and have been doing so ever since Bob Gault took over in December of 2001.
     
  11. KNWVIKING

    KNWVIKING DIS Veteran

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    DW and I are fairly young empty nester,(43). We enjoy thrill rides and enjoy IOA for that purpose. Since '95 we have been to UO four times and IOA twice, about a total of 10 actual park day, and can honesty say that we covered everything both parks- and City Walk- had to offer. We will return occassionally as new attractions open and to eat at Emirel's, but it ain't Disney, not even close.

    Part of the alore of Disney is the history.UO/IOA's recent and future history will never have the same draw. It seems to me that everything "Disney" has a story behind it. While I was never a "Mousekettier", Frontierland and old Davey Crockett shows will forever have a soft spot in my heart.

    We belong to DVC and make 3-4 eight day trips a year to WDW. It is amazing the things we still find that we haven't done yet. Someday I'll even try that thing called "golf". We have started doing the various tours, visiting all the other resorts just to look around, trying to eat at at least three new places a trip. Soooo many details still to discover. The World is just so amazing.

    When was the last time you ever heard a friend, family, co-worker or anyone say "hey, were going to UO/IOA ". Maybe with the addition of on-site resorts UO will become a primary destination, but to me, after three-four days I'd be bored. Statistic can show IOA attendance increasing while WDW is decreasing, but IMO this is due to WDW visitors also visiting IOA because it is exciting and new. WDW is still why people go to Florida, they just have more items on the menu to chose from.
     
  12. HB2K

    HB2K I Spit Hot Fire!

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    I thought you were being sarcastic. I misread your statement.

    Sorry

    Also the etc probably should have been left out, but it was in referrence to the rumored expansion at IOA....but that's probably a couple of years out....
     
  13. HB2K

    HB2K I Spit Hot Fire!

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    The last rumor I heard was either a Flyer roller coaster (similar to Superman @ Six FLags Ga) or some type of jeep ride....either ride would have been located in Jurrasic Park.
     
  14. raidermatt

    raidermatt Beware of the dark side. Anger...fear...aggression

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    I pretty much agree :eek: with your general assessment, DK, that UO has not "caught up" to Disney in all segments. I'm not sure about the breakdown however, but as you stated, we don't have any real data to back us up.

    One thing to remember is that a thrill-seeker can still potentially be happy with other things, while a thrill-averse person (either due to physical limitations or by choice) is never going to be happy with "thrill-stuff".

    Certainly, however, Universal has closed the gap in all areas since IoA opened. They've probably made some large gains in the family area, but the gap there was huge from the get-go.

    I happen to think that of the two, Universal is doing the better job of executing its strategy. But WDW's many advantages, including reputation and size, will make it difficult for Universal to ever outdraw WDW in any area other than thrill-seekers. That's not to say they can't do it, just that they've got a long way to go.
     
  15. Planogirl

    Planogirl I feel the nerd in me stirring

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    I remember thinking about this just last week while we were at Universal. Universal's parks are excellent for older kids and grownups but I think they're still missing the mark for the little ones. They do have some excellent play areas for little kids and the Dr Seuss area is great for them but they have a ways to go before they come close to what Disney offers.

    I thought that the comments about Disney history was interesting. I agree but I wonder how important this history will be to today's teenagers and even younger kids unless Disney aggressively markets its past? I personally like the superheroes and dinosaurs and top movies Universal plays with and I wonder if the old standbys such as Mickey Mouse and friends can hold up with the kids?

    By the way, Jimmy Neutron was set to open any day according to those I asked while Shrek was well on the way. The Mummy/Scorpion King/whatever ride is supposed to be an indoor coaster but no word on what (if any) progress has been made.
     
  16. Bob O

    Bob O <font color=navy>Voice of Reason<br><font color=re

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    I dont think the teenagers of today care at all about disney's history, which to that segment could be a neagtive more than a positive.
    I dont think Universal has caught up in all segments but has made great head way in most segments and is on the upswing while disney IMHO is on a downward spiral that doesnt give much hope for the future(of coruse with eisner gone things could change!!)
    Universal is making inroads at disney's market and disney apparently wants to get by on its name and doesnt want to spend money to improve its parks!!
     
  17. KNWVIKING

    KNWVIKING DIS Veteran

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    "I dont think the teenagers of today care at all about disney's history, which to that segment could be a neagtive more than a positive."

    Up until my son spent spring break at WDW with his GF, I might have agreed with you. Both had been there before,in their mid-teens, and quite honestly my son got bored quite quickly with WDW. He was brought up on the REAL boardwalk here in Jersey as well as several trips to Six Flaggs. WDW was tame compared to them. Now in his early twenties, (probably should know exactly how old,but it's late) I enjoyed observing the planning he put into his trip this spring. Guess what,he's hooked. He may not realize it, or want to admit it,but he is. He doesn't care about Shrek or Spidy charactors, he wanted his GF to be with Chip and Dale because his Disney history includes memories of he and his brother being Chip and Dale to DW and I. I think as long as parents continue to take their children to WDW when they are young, the history will always mean something to them.
     
  18. KNWVIKING

    KNWVIKING DIS Veteran

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    Just curious, but with Vivendi's terrible debt burden, just how aggresive can they be ? Shrek & Jimmy are obvious hot properties right now and the expenditures are well justified, but after Mummy opens, how much more can they continue to pump in ? Isn't UO/IOA feeding cash to other divisions same as WDW/DL are ?
     
  19. HB2K

    HB2K I Spit Hot Fire!

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    They own the theme park rights to Harry Potter & LOR. They are hotter properties.


    Say Universal expands modestly over the next 3-5 years, then once the economy comes back, they expand using such properties. In my eyes, it bridges a LOT of gaps.

    I think, while Vivendi is also struggling, the theme parks don't seem to be the company's internal ATM machine. From the info I've read, it looks like the parks kind of run themselves. When Bob Gault came in, he said many of the expansions were dependant on attendance figures....you know, re-investing your profits to reap bigger benefits? Something Disney should look into.
     
  20. ChrisFL

    ChrisFL Disney/Universal Fan and MALE

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    My thoughts...

    There will be, for at least 15-20 more years, people who think of Disney and it's past as something they prefer to go to, especially if they're already in their 30's-40's and remember what it used to be like.

    But, that is only if Disney doesn't shut down or replace all their classic attractions along the way, which we seem to be witnessing.

    Ignoring Vivendi's financial troubles for a moment as that is a constantly chaning situation... UO is definitely on a large upswing.

    They had a great strategy with IOA, fill the niche that Disney lacked, with great stories and theming, and still have some kid-friendly areas.

    With that said, there is some lacking of real family attractions compared to Disney. Even UO said they want kids 8 and up.

    Universal Studios shut down only the attractions that were becoming outdated with today's youth, like Alfred Hitchcock, and for other reasons, Hanna Barbera, and they are creating attractions that will be popular for a few years and they can change them again. Sure it sounds bad in a way, but then again, they've still got some other attraction space to use for later.

    UO still has 2,000 more acres for 2 more theme parks, and it's anyone's guess who's maket they're going after with those!

    I think Disney is trying to make this a thrill-ride arms race, similar to Cedar Point/Kings Island, but they could lose some fan base with that if they forget where they started. Unfortunately, it seems they've already forgotten.
     
  21. Planogirl

    Planogirl I feel the nerd in me stirring

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    I'm glad to see this mentioned because I'd forgotten about this for the moment. I can't begin to imagine the interest potentially generated by attractions based on these franchises. I also believe that both having the potential to have incredibly strong staying power.

    It should be interesting.
     

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