Why is Universal Closing The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad? Your Questions Answered

Since Theme Park University broke the news about an original attraction at Islands of Adventure was closing, we have gotten dozens of questions and comments. Indeed, as we originally reported, the Eighth Voyage of Sindbad is closing on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. Universal Orlando has since confirmed the show would be coming to an end. Naturally, the online reaction is somewhat mixed.

Today we are going to try and address some queries and comments that we have received on our Facebook, Twitter and in our inbox. As always a big thank you for commenting on our posts and sending messages to us privately. It really helps drive the content here at Theme Park University. Let’s dig in!

Jake Wheeler commented on our Theme Park University Facebook page: What a joke. The attraction can survive through the “dark era” of Universal, but gets closed for cost-cutting in 2018? Under Comcast run Universal when the resort is making more money than it ever has before. Does management know what they’re doing anymore?

While you make a valid point that Universal theme parks are making record profits in recent years, you’ve got to remember this is still a business. Could Universal still afford to put on the 19-year-old stunt show at Islands of Adventure three times a day? Of course they could.

However, you’ve got to look at it from their angle. The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad is not exactly cheap to operate. Between the high pay for stunt performers, the number of techs and behind-the-scenes crew it takes to pull off, not to mention the extra insurance required on a show like this. Now combine that with how few guests actually watch the daily performances. On any given day in the last two years, it’s very rare you’ll even see a quarter of the seats filled.

Add to that, reportedly The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad is the most poorly rated attraction at Islands of Adventure (and possibly at all of Universal Orlando). You’ve got a problem. In short: Universal has (had) a show that filled to around a quarter of its capacity and the guests who watched it weren’t all that impressed with it to begin with.  Which begs the question: even if Universal Orlando made a billion dollars in profit a day, why keep a show open that is sparsely attended and receives mediocre reviews at best? It makes no sense.

This next comment (concern?) received on the Theme Park University Twitter feed has a lot to cover, but let’s unpack it piece by piece. It goes without saying that you’re absolutely allowed to not believe anything you read until Universal (or any theme park) confirms it. Just like any theme park-related website who covers these topics, it’s never official until the park confirms it and we make that extremely clear in every unofficial theme park news related article here at Theme Park University.

However, contrary to @ParkHopperDiego’s belief, Universal did indeed announce the closing of The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad with less than a month’s notice less than 24 hours after we reported on it. I see these kinds of sentiments a lot with theme park closures of any kind because lots of people don’t live near their favorite ride or show that’s getting the axe and they want to experience it one last time. As a theme park fan myself, I totally get it.

On the other hand, I can give fellow theme park fans who Diego’s sentiments (and disbelief) some advice. Universal (or insert theme park company here) is not your buddy. You may work for them, you may be an annual pass holder, you may even know some very fine people who help create the magic, but as a company? Not your friend. While it certainly is the “right” or respectful thing to do to give more time to experience a closing attraction, they can close anything they wish at a moment’s notice. That’s just the reality of the business.

Next (and no, I’m not going to get political), let’s talk about fake news. Just because a particular story (whether it is a rumor or not) you don’t care for is not to your liking? It isn’t fake news. Outside of the theme park world, there are all kinds of articles on a slew of subjects that either speculate or report based on murmurings from within that particular industry. Take iPhones as an example. Do a quick google search and you’ll see literally hundreds of articles talking about what features the latest handheld device Apple releases will have in their newest release. Those aren’t fake news either. Some Apple websites have credible information and some are pure speculation pulled out of thin air. Which leads me to the last point in the tweet.

I can’t speak for any other website that reports on themed entertainment. However, here at Theme Park University, we take a lot of care in vetting our news stories as much as possible before they are published. In the case of The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad closing, this was a perfect example. About 48 hours before we published, we started getting tips saying “something” was going to be happening at the show and more info would come out shortly. Then we hear word that Universal called a meeting with all the cast and crew of the show shortly thereafter. Next, several credible sources started to contact us giving the news of the shows closing on Saturday, Sept. 15.

We waited a few hours to make sure that anyone who didn’t attend and was directly impacted got the news (which travels fast via text) and then published. Reading the finished product, it may not seem like we put thought into how certain stories can affect those involved, but we really do our best and always take it into consideration.

Finally, a question in our e-mail. “So what will replace The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad? You seem to be alluding to something in your article about the closing,” writes John from Ohio. Indeed, we have a pretty good idea on what’s going to replace the stunt show and have for quite some time now. As we stated in our last article, the arena will go untouched for a while until it’s time for demolition and future construction.

When is that timeline? We will discuss that in a future article. What intellectual property is going to replace Sindbad? Longtime readers know that we like to place Easter Eggs in our articles from time to time, right? Well, we actually snuck it into the post when we announced the closure of the show. It’s one word. Click here to go searching for it. Let us know when you’ve found it and we will dig a little deeper into Sindbad‘s replacement soon!

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