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CityWalk Orlando Updates & Changes General Thread

For most of this century, UOR has been the #1 park in Orlando for Halloween and Spring events (excepting St Patrick's at Raglan) ... and a distant third for Christmas. So they pumped up the Grinch content, built a shiny new parade that could run earlier in the season, put a mini F&W in CityWalk ... and remained the third Christmas park in Orlando.

Variety of reasons for this, but I think a big one has to be the people who love traditional Christmas are largely distinct from those who love Halloween, Mardi Gras and Universal IPs. Much like they did with NYE, at a certain point, offer the bare minimum and rely on the fact the parks will be filled with casual guests in late December even if you do very little.

(FTR, the 20+ year-old Blues Brothers Holiday Show is my favorite Christmas thing in any theme park. But I also get its aesthetic is far from Candlelight or Wonderous Night.)
One year seems a pretty perfunctory attempt to seriously compete at Christmas, especially given the time it took to establish Uni’s Halloween dominance or the fact that it’s only just starting to compete with Disney as an equal.

When these business-based justifications are given, I always wonder to what degree they are based on actual knowledge of Uni’s internal workings.
 
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One year seems a pretty perfunctory attempt to seriously compete at Christmas, especially given the time it took to establish Uni’s Halloween dominance or the fact that it’s only just starting to compete with Disney as an equal.

When these business-based justifications are given, I always wonder to what degree they are based on actual knowledge of Uni’s internal workings.
One year attempt at Mistletoe Pines...

Not everything else.
 
Yeah, it was either dead - or a congestion nightmare during busy times, especially during the park closing. Cool idea but I get why it needed to go/be changed.

I think the Christmas village felt like a solid effort to create a dedicated mini-section within Citywalk and created a cool atmosphere. The two errant stands during Mardi Gras did not make any sense.
 
I think the Christmas village felt like a solid effort to create a dedicated mini-section within Citywalk and created a cool atmosphere. The two errant stands during Mardi Gras did not make any sense.
The need a Christmas village in the park like Sea World. Universals attempt at Christmas sound weak to be honest with you. It also takes word of mouth and more than a year. But either way seeing what is offered at Uni doesn't seem to compare to what is offered at the other parks in my opinion. I will judge the decor once I see it.
 
The need a Christmas village in the park like Sea World. Universals attempt at Christmas sound weak to be honest with you. It also takes word of mouth and more than a year. But either way seeing what is offered at Uni doesn't seem to compare to what is offered at the other parks in my opinion. I will judge the decor once I see it.

Well, Universal's offerings are much more solid than Disney's now that they've added a paywall behind pretty much all of it.

SeaWorld remains king with 3 stage shows, fireworks, great food & beverage (great value with the tasting sampler card), streetmosphere, live music (something both WDW and UOR have started to ignore in-park) and decor throughout most areas of the park.

Universal is still great, just stagnated a bit. Would love to see a holiday firework show next year added to the lineup.
 
Well, Universal's offerings are much more solid than Disney's now that they've added a paywall behind pretty much all of it.

SeaWorld remains king with 3 stage shows, fireworks, great food & beverage (great value with the tasting sampler card), streetmosphere, live music (something both WDW and UOR have started to ignore in-park) and decor throughout most areas of the park.

Universal is still great, just stagnated a bit. Would love to see a holiday firework show next year added to the lineup.
I will say I was thinking weak compared more to Sea World. I haven't been to WDW at Christmas since before Covid and honestly the main thing that did it for me was the decor and candlelight processional. However, you are right it got to the point you had to do the dining package to see the show. We always did the package since we also liked eating at Epcot. Sea World is all free as is their family friendly Halloween. Along with Howl O Scream being cheaper, yet of course not as good as HHN.

Want to add that each park has their strength and weaknesses and Sea World has a lot of weaknesses. But their AP benefits, Christmas, and family version of Halloween are the best I feel of the 3 parks. Everything else it falls dead last including their non-event food which is just awful.
 
Want to add that each park has their strength and weaknesses and Sea World has a lot of weaknesses. But their AP benefits, Christmas, and family version of Halloween are the best I feel of the 3 parks. Everything else it falls dead last including their non-event food which is just awful.
if it weren't for the events, SeaWorld would be closed by now.

Speaking of awful food, and bringing it back to the topic of CityWalk, when will Universal get rid of the Moe's/Panda/BK disaster area?
 
Well I’m glad the market can support three different options. You can choose whatever event is to your liking and just enjoy for what it’s worth.
 
if it weren't for the events, SeaWorld would be closed by now.

Speaking of awful food, and bringing it back to the topic of CityWalk, when will Universal get rid of the Moe's/Panda/BK disaster area?
I ask myself this every trip - and I'm going to go with "never"

The general public likes what they know, despite me thinking it's absolute blasphemy to go to BK on vacation
 
What's tough about the CityWalk buyouts is that they pop up unexpectedly and basically cut out all of the entertainment restaurant/bars options on that level. Usually only Margaritaville is left and subsequently it gets swamped. Evening plans of ours were too often ruined. Fortunately everything is close at Universal, so we popped over to a hotel bar instead, but that wastes a lot of time. At the very least, if they are going to do this so often they should have some weekly billboards set up where they give the times and dates they're going to bar the heavy spending hotel guests from the bar/restaurant district. (@UniversalRBLX: I guess we had the same thought, and complaint, simultaneously)
 
What's tough about the CityWalk buyouts is that they pop up unexpectedly and basically cut out all of the entertainment restaurant/bars options on that level. Usually only Margaritaville is left and subsequently it gets swamped. Evening plans of ours were too often ruined. Fortunately everything is close at Universal, so we popped over to a hotel bar instead, but that wastes a lot of time. At the very least, if they are going to do this so often they should have some weekly billboards set up where they give the times and dates they're going to bar the heavy spending hotel guests from the bar/restaurant district. (@UniversalRBLX: I guess we had the same thought, and complaint, simultaneously)
It’s even worse - if you ask at information, even just inquiring about the next day, they often don’t know if there will be a buyout. The information is literally inaccessible to the public.
 
It’s even worse - if you ask at information, even just inquiring about the next day, they often don’t know if there will be a buyout. The information is literally inaccessible to the public.
I'd hope at the very least, these events are booked far enough in advance that you wouldn't be able to make a reservation at a restaurant that will be unavailable?

Or will they just drop a bomb on you that day? lol
 
It’s even worse - if you ask at information, even just inquiring about the next day, they often don’t know if there will be a buyout. The information is literally inaccessible to the public.
At least they're consistently bad. If you go to Information in the parks they don't generally know if things like whether the night Lagoon Show (when it's existing) is being run that night, or if you call it's hard to get a straight answer to any questions. I love Universal, but their Operations aren't on top of the game anymore. I dunno why? Maybe too many new employees, or they don't train them enough?
 
At least they're consistently bad. If you go to Information in the parks they don't generally know if things like whether the night Lagoon Show (when it's existing) is being run that night, or if you call it's hard to get a straight answer to any questions. I love Universal, but their Operations aren't on top of the game anymore. I dunno why? Maybe too many new employees, or they don't train them enough?

I think it's the training/management. WDW can accommodate and train an entire new class from their DCP program every 3-6 months and they're able to inform them properly on changes/updates to their parks. Disney is also very consistent with their schedules on a day-to-day basis with consistent park operating hours and showtimes. I'm sure Universal treats their TMs well, but there's an obvious gap when it comes to communication with them and the latest park information.

Universal also loves telling you to "check the app" for updated showtimes/hours... and it's always outdated lol

Part of the reason why Cinematic Celebration was poorly attended was because of their inconsistent showtimes (sometimes they'll just skip a weekend randomly) and TMs not knowing when it took place.
 
I think it's the training/management. WDW can accommodate and train an entire new class from their DCP program every 3-6 months and they're able to inform them properly on changes/updates to their parks. Disney is also very consistent with their schedules on a day-to-day basis with consistent park operating hours and showtimes. I'm sure Universal treats their TMs well, but there's an obvious gap when it comes to communication with them and the latest park information.

Universal also loves telling you to "check the app" for updated showtimes/hours... and it's always outdated lol

Part of the reason why Cinematic Celebration was poorly attended was because of their inconsistent showtimes (sometimes they'll just skip a weekend randomly) and TMs not knowing when it took place.
That is crazy. I thought Sea World was bad with that, but at least they have signs in their parks telling you when something is closing and team members know, but their app is not always up to date of when a specific ride is closing. Their show times are accurate and if they change they make a park wide announcement. I was there once when it was storming and they announced when the last show would be and what was being cancelled due to the weather. I don't think they updated app but made announcements every 10 minutes it seemed park wide.

I got frustrated with Sea World because if you didn't pass by Journey to Atlantis to see the sign you didn't know, so then you went over there at 7 to find out then it was closed. They didn't have ride time closures in app. But based on what people are saying here, it is 20x better than Uni because I learned to ask team members when I wasn't sure and across the park.

Buy outs are known way in advance, there is no reason for those closures not being updated in the app and having signs up.
 
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