Universal Genius

By Tim Turner

As a follow-up to my article about the Disney® cruise, I wanted to share with you some experiences with the Universal resort in Orlando. We visited there after our cruise because our kids just love it.  In fact, they love it more than Disney’s Magic Kingdom, mainly because the rides are so much better.


Green eggs & Ham Building in Dr. Seuss Land

Genius point #1:  Universal provides unique rides and experiences that no other park offers.  Sure they have roller coasters, but no other park has Dr. Seuss land.  This section of the park is totally customized to make you feel like you are inside a Dr. Seuss book.  I have been there many times and I am still in awe of the trees, the Caroseussel, and the building shaped like green eggs and ham.

Our favorite ride there is just a small train that rides above Dr. Seuss land giving you a view of the entire Dr. Seuss experience but from above. What can you do in your business that is totally unique to you?   If you say “nothing”, you need to spend a lot more time thinking about it.

Genius point #2:  Universal capitalizes on megatrends.  They don’t sit on their laurels.  They have jumped all over the Harry Potter craze and it has skyrocketed ticket sales.  The newest Gringotts ride had a 7 hour wait when it opened.  Absolutely unheard of!  What demographic trend can you take advantage of?  It might just be a specific niche like baby boomers, millennials, or seniors.


A Wand shop in Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando

Genius point #3: This one is not as applicable to the financial industry, because it has to do with “upselling” a product or service.  In the new Harry Potter section called Diagon Alley, they sell magical wands just like in the other section of the park.  These wands sell for $36.95 each – for essentially a piece of plastic.  Now some genius figured out they could embed a chip into the wand and then hide the receiver’s around Diagon Alley.  You can then go around to different spots on a map to waive your wand, cast a “spell” and make things happen like making lights turn on or curtains in a window open.  Not only does that make people want a wand itself when they see kids doing this, but it makes kids want the “interactive wand” that costs $44.95 – a 20% premium.   As a business person I found all of this tied together as pure business “genius”.  (I won’t comment on my thoughts about trying to do “magic”…)


The incredible pool at The Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando

Genius point #4:  If you stay at one of their onsite hotels, you get additional perks like early admission and free “fast passes” for almost every ride.  The Hard Rock Hotel, for example, is a family friendly place, unlike the Vegas one.  It has a sand pool, volleyball, dive-in movies, video game arcade, and a 2-story slide for kids.  More importantly it is within walking distance of the park AND all the shops in City Walk.

The genius here is to keep you and your dollars captive for your stay.  If I am at the Hard Rock, how likely am I to get in my car and drive somewhere else to eat, to swim, to shop.  Not likely, which means Universal captures all of my vacation dollars, except the gas I buy to get home afterwards.

Hope you’ve enjoyed learning about some of the business smarts behind “Universal Studios” in Orlando.  I think you’ll agree it really is “genius”…

SeussTrain1     UniversalSeuss  SeussTrain2 GringottsDiagonAlley


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