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Over the past several weeks, Universal Orlando Resort has been waging a war with the people behind the proposed SKYPLEX Orlando attraction. Though Universal started simply enough by just voicing its opposition to the project through official channels, they have  stepped up their smear campaign in recent days, funding a mailer campaign denouncing the project and even launching a website and petition aimed at stopping development on this project dead in its tracks.  

Universal has already been successful in the getting the Orange County planning and zoning board to give the proposed project a thumbs down back in October. And even though this was a big setback, it wasn’t the end of the line for this project, as this vote was largely advisory. The ultimate fate of SKYPLEX Orlando will be decided during an Orange County commission vote, happening tomorrow.  If the vote doesn’t go SKYPLEX’s way, the project will be stopped dead in its tracks, at least in Orlando.

With only 24 hours to go until the vote, theme park fans who are interested in this proposed attraction are definitely biting their nails. While Universal has argued that SKYPLEX will be an eyesore and a detriment to the I-Drive area, many believe that this new attraction will actually enhance the area and help boost tourism as thrill junkies from around the world come to the area to experience the world's tallest roller coaster and drop tower.

Though there are plenty of theme park enthusiasts who are interested in the future of this project, even if you don’t care about roller coasters or the SKYPLEX project in general, you should be concerned about this move, as the success or failure of this proposal has far-reaching implications for the future of the theme park industry in Orlando.

1. Influence is Universal

Image: SKYPLEX

Though there might be some legitimate concerns regarding the SKYPLEX project, by and large the biggest argument against the project is simply that Universal doesn’t want it built. Now whether that’s because Universal is looking to develop the land themselves for future theme park or hotel locations, or because they are worried about competition, one thing is for certain, a vote against SKYPLEX is a vote that gives Universal more power.

While Walt Disney World initially founded the Reedy Creek Improvement District in order to maintain complete control of its land, Universal has no such power, and is still beholden to the Orange County government for approval for large projects both in and around its gates. However, now they are trying to flex their muscle in the local government and are actively trying to find a way to block this project at any cost. 

While lobbying the government is something pretty much all companies do, Universal’s involvement in the SKYPLEX project is unprecedented, and if they can successfully squash this project,  it will give Universal unparalleled power in Orange County, which could have a rippling effect… 

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Comments

I believe I-Drive can't handle any further growth. They need to fix what is broken. Pedestrian walkways, parking garages, and improved traffic flow and control should be a bigger priority than another big coaster and the entourage of expensive clubs, shopping, and restaurants. It's getting far too crowded and something bad is bound to happen in an area with families and club folks pushing and shoving for space.

In reply to by Kim (not verified)

I have to believe all those who were opposed to this project are againt Universal's new development. If this small addion tp I drive would cause a tragic nightmare then a new gate attraction 10 million visitors a year can't be allowed.

Now I think it can be and is good for Orlando but at the same time only those who actually live in the immediate are clhave the right to talk about trafic. Since I do not live in the area I can't complain about trafic. Universal showed their true colors coming out againt this and tried to go behind closed doors are tell thr commission their plans and that is why the commission broke the news about Universal's plans and in my opinion voted unanimously againt Universal.

You say the Mouse wouldn't allow it, but the article mentions that Disney welcomed Universal when they first opened.

I do think the eyesore argument is a laugh. The whole area is already a gaudy joke of a stretch of entertainment. Universal is being a bully.

In reply to by Aidan Devlon (not verified)

Disney welcomed Universal when they opened 10 miles away. This Skyplex thing would actually be seen from inside the park at Islands of Adventure. That kind of break in immersion is something Disney would never allow, and Universal is trying to do the same thing.

This the the THIRD article that Amanda Kondolojy has posted disparaging Universal for opposing this Skyplex eyesore. That Disney bias showing again. We all know the Mouse would never let something like Skyplex within earshot of Buena Vista. Universal is protecting its brand and the surrounding area. It's trying to build a neighborhood with Universal at the center, and tacky carnival rides like Skyplex will only hurt Universal in the long run.

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