Comcast Buys Dreamworks: What Does It Mean For Universal Theme Parks?
Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort
Thursday it was announced that Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal, had entered into a deal with animation studio DreamWorks. The deal was worth an estimated $3.8 billion dollars, and includes full control of the existing DreamWorks Library, as well as any other future projects from the studio. DreamWorks would officially become part of NBC UNIVERSAL, but more importantly, the DreamWorks characters would become part of the Universal theme park arsenal, and it looks like Universal is building an army.
So what does this purchase mean for the parks?
In a statement to TravelPulse, a spokesperson for Universal Orlando Resort said, "The potential for our theme parks is great. Beyond that, it's too soon to talk about any details."
But it's never too early to speculate, and this news has sent the rumor mill spinning.
Shrek, Donkey, Puss in Boots, Dragons, and Kung Fu Panda all seem poised to play some role in the next phase in Universals theme park plans. The company already makes use of several DreamWorks characters in its parks, with attractions like Shrek 4D at Universal Orlando and Hollywood. The characters also have an entire land at Universal Singapore which features a huge boat ride starring the Madagascar characters, and a large castle in the land of Far Far Away.
The characters instantly lend themselves to theme park attractions, which makes the purchase by Universal brilliant. They are doing something that Disney has done for decades: release successful family-friendly films that become household names, and build theme park attractions around those films to draw in those same families.
While Universal has built a pretty successful kingdom of their own in the theme park world, the house that Walt built looms over everything they do. Disney has built a multi-billion dollar empire in several corners of the globe, but none as prevalent as Walt Disney in Orlando. The resort sits on land that is roughly the size of the city of San Francisco. Four theme parks, two water parks, Disney Springs (a city full of shopping and dining), and countless hotels make up the massive resort. With the DreamWorks acquisition, and a few land dealings of their own, Universal is going head to head with the empire.
Universal has recently purchased a plot of 450 acres within a few miles of their current resort area. The land will be used for theme hotels, shopping, and yes more theme parks. The big question has been “what will the new theme park feature?”
DreamWorks is a fairly solid answer. Insiders have ever told us that Universal plans on going head to head with Disney’s Magic Kingdom by creating a massive family-friend park, full of attractions that are timeless, feature great characters and are for everyone. The attractions will utilize cutting-edge technology to bring the characters to life outside of the movies. The park will also use characters from Illumination Entertainment, the animation company behind Minions and The Secret Life of Pets.
The new park will be divided into several different sections, mingling DreamWorks and Illumination characters together in a variety of different rides. While Universal has been well regarded with thrill attractions of late, the new park is said to scale back on the thrills, but still include some larger rides for the family. Where Universal has amazing big coasters now, the new thrill rides will be along the lines of Space Mountain, and the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train coaster. They will be highly themed, with mid-level thrills just edgy enough for the entire family to enjoy.
Nintendo could also play a part in the new park, as Universal has entered into a deal with the video game giant to bring new attractions based on games to life. The first attractions based on Nintendo will be but in Japan, and they are expected to take over a portion of Universal Studios in Florida.
Keep in mind that these plans have not been released by Universal, but are rumors about what is expected.
It's going to be a very exciting time for theme park fans, and families looking for new adventures while planning vacations!
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