Scarier Than Fear Factor: Universal Orlando Makes Cutbacks
Eat this plate of fried worms, or... fail to turn a profit for the year? Universal Studios in Orlando closed or cut hours to several attractions yesterday including "Fear Factor Live," a participatory adaptation of the once-popular gross-out reality show.
A mouthpiece for Orlando said the cuts would be based on audience attendance and would be rolled out beginning this weekend, but didn't offer any other names of doomed attractions. Since Universal Studios Hollywood closed its Fear Factor Live attraction last year, there is now no way you can do dangerous stunts like the people on TV. (Woe!)
We'd never even heard of Fear Factor Live before being informed of its closing (in fact, we are still halfway convinced we have been punked). But it doesn't surprise us that often overpriced, temptation-stuffed theme parks are already hurting: Disney reported profits were down in its last quarter of 2008, and Universal Orlando just gave away some 300,000 seven-day passes in a Super Bowl giveaway designed to get visitors in so they could start buying some $7 funnel cakes again. Sea World even announced it would stop giving away free beer, which makes us sad because we never knew there was free beer to be had in the first place.
For these classic spring-break destinations, it's sink or swim, and one sinker is last year's shiny new Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach: While its website claims it's only closed for "restructuring," it's unlikely a buyer for the bankrupt park will be found in time for the 2009 season. In other words, it's gone to Rock'n'Roll Heaven.
· Universal Orlando Cuts Attractions [MSNBC]
· Insufficient Rocking by Myrtle Beach Visitors Causes New Theme Park to File for Bankruptcy [Jaunted]
· A Lesson In Bad Timing [LOLFed]