This time of year is always a good time to look back at where we’ve come from. Today OTR does just that with Sam Gennawey sharing details on the history of Universal Orlando.
On today’s SideChat Sam Gennawey talks about the history of Universal Studios Florida that he included in his new book and why Islands of Adventure looks the way it does. Kyle asks about Michael Eisner’s impact on Universal Studios while Ken keeps sharing memories of his childhood. After the parks are covered the three turn to CityWalk vs Downtown Disney where Sam’s expectations of Disney Springs might surprise. Urban design is brought up some more and they talk about the amazing new parking garage at Disney Springs.
Today’s SideChat is pulled from the larger conversation taped on Dec 16. Check out the rest of the conversation in Ep 20 – Gennaweys Takeaway.
The eggnog was flowing on today’s episode! Kyle and Ken are joined by Derek Burgan and Richie for a review of the year’s news. Ken shares the Top 5 tourism stories of the year for Central Florida Top 5. The guys then talk I-Drive, the ongoing issues with SeaWorld, Richie goes off on how Disney is going to beat Universal with Star Wars (and everyone else seems to disagree). Kyle then starts a feud with Derek over the hot topic of on-site vs off-site hotels. Richie keeps talking about The Interview, Ken gets Unofficial Guides and Touring Plans mixed up and Kyle apologizes to Parkscope.
*Today’s episode features some more colorful language than usual. It might be wise to listen when the kiddies aren’t around.*
On today’s special episode Kyle and Ken are joined by theme park historian and urban planner Sam Gennawey. He talks about his latest book. Then the guys geek out some chatting about urban planning at Disney World and around Central Florida. Sam tells some interesting stories that he uncovered while researching his books and gives his opinion on some local urban design topics including Celebration, Downtown Orlando’s renaissance and what he thinks it will take to make Downtown Disney a true success. Ken keeps bringing up the fact that Disney World lacks any true non-bus, comprehensive transit system. Sam talks about how Universal took as much market share as they did and where he thinks the parks will go from here. The Punch List is shortened this week but still includes Ken and Kyle discussing Meg Crofton’s retirement announcement, WestGate’s new steak house plus the SunRail announcement to run a late night train.
On today’s show political analyst Frank Torres calls in from the Orlando City Council meeting where rideshare, like Uber, is being discussed. Then Kyle and Ken talk about some of the other big stories around town, including the leadership shake up at Wet ‘n Wild and the new home for the Arabian Nights horses. Eric Davis then joins the show to discuss recent news regarding SEAS, what he would like to see changed in Orlando and what he thinks the future of the company will be. Viktor gives details on the new Express Dine feature plus the latest from Christmas Town at BGT.
On today’s episode Viktor, Bob and Ken talk about all the recent news and rumors including that amazing new Jurassic World trailer, a new coaster possibly coming to Fun Spot, the Great Movie Ride’s new sponsor, those Avatar aerial shots that ThemeParx posted, #OtterGate at BGT, and One Daytona.
Then Ken and Kyle are joined by Mark of Orlando Mall Guide and Jason of Orlando Fun and Food for a detailed discussion on the future of retail in the tourist district with an extended focus on the brand new Artegon Marketplace that recently opened. Jason shares insights into what he sees as the future of Pointe Orlando being while Mark talks about the new megamall and its impact on the tourist district. American Girl’s new store, Hooters and I-Drive 360’s new Irish pub McFadden’s are all brought up as well.
The conversation ends with a quick discussion on the very latest regarding the Magnet Levitation train proposal with Ken giving details of why he thinks it might be extended to all the way to Universal Studios.