The Lord of the Rings is one of the most beloved and successful franchises in entertainment history, with six blockbuster films backing the prolific Middle-earth novels of author JRR Tolkien. Director Peter Jackson the Lord of the Rings the films solidified Frodo Baggins and Gandalf as household names, and Jackson Hobbit the trilogy only strengthened the fandom of Middle-earth. Tolkien’s work is so immersive that you almost want to fall within its pages and escape to Middle-earth.
Along with other blockbuster movie franchises like Harry potter and Star wars receive immersive thematic sites, Rings fans wonder why Disney or Universal didn’t build a the Lord of the Rings theme park yet?
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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien CBE’s work has stood the test of time ever since The Hobbitcame out almost 100 years ago. The mythical epics of the English writer – The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955) – are considered one of the greatest fantastic works in history. The stories of a Shire-related Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, and a forgotten king claiming his crown, Aragorn, found their way onto the shelves of nearly every college student in the 1960s. Middle-earth inspired Led Zeppelin and the Beatles, and Peter Jackson’s film adaptations blew Mordor out of the water.
Star wars, Harry potter, and The Lord of the Rings are the trinity of ultimate nerd fandoms, but only two of them have dedicated themed experiences at Disney and Universal Studios theme parks. What does it mean?
Star wars: Galaxy’s Edge and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are groundbreaking adventures that transport guests to completely immersive worlds. In one day, you can build your own lightsaber, requisition Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon, and build an R2 unit droid. But why haven’t we seen a real Middle-earth yet?
It’s easy to imagine a Shire-themed country at Walt Disney World Resort or Universal Studios Orlando Resort, for example, but it’s as hard as destroying the One Ring to make it a reality.
The reason we haven’t received an actual Middle-earth based on Tolkien’s work comes down to two things: franchise rights and money. Now, The Walt Disney Company and Comcast (parent company of Universal) are not afraid to take the gamble when it comes to acquiring the rights to the theme parks, or all of the IP rights, to very (very) profitable franchises and make them immersive experiences. .
However, obtaining the theme park rights for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit has been an ongoing battle with Tolkien’s estate. JRR Tolkien was very reluctant to let corporations touch his work, especially Disney. Everyone from Walt Disney to the Beatles sought to adapt Middle-earth into action or animated feature films, but the author has opposed most of those who have attempted to secure rights to His part.
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However, in recent years the Tolkien Estate has been much more willing to discuss future rights to the work of the deceased author. Even before JK Rowling stepped in to add Harry potter in their theme parks, Universal Studios has been in talks with the Tolkien Estate to add a Middle-earth to the parks. There’s even a poll that dates back to 2010 when Universal asked guests about their interest in a Rings– inspirational land.
Since the 1990s, Universal has aimed to add The Lord of the Rings at their Orlando Resort, but discussions took place on and off for the next two decades.
Talks have broken out between the two again, not least as Universal’s Epic Universe theme park has gained traction in recent months. Although this is unconfirmed and is only speculation, various media groups report that a the Lord of the Rings-themed lands could arrive in Epic Universe or even replace an entire section of Islands of Adventure.
According to Orlando Weekly,
The concept has grown from a plot in the now-announced Epic Universe Park to a replacement for the less-than-popular Toon Lagoon area at Islands of Adventure, where it will reinvent Popeye’s themed raft ride, the barges. by Bilge-Rat from Bluto. Although the specific driving system has not yet been decided, Young points out two options; one being a roller coaster-style underwater track, while the other is a magnetic system similar to that of the Pirates of the Caribbean in Shanghai. He also notes that Universal Creative used a recent Bluto shutdown to test different styles of boats for the new attraction.
It looks like Universal may have tested future “barges” for an update or even a complete theme change to Bluto’s Bilge-Rat barges in Toon Lagoon, but there is no confirmation of that. be true. Putting on our thinking hats, Bluto’s could turn into a Peter Jackson-inspired river adventure The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) when Bilbo Baggins and the Dwarves escape Mirkwood in barrels (sounds like fun!).
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At this time, Universal Studios does not own the rights to the theme park on The Lord of the Rings. Talks between Universal and Middle Earth Enterprises (formerly known as Tolkien Enterprises), a division of The Saul Zaentz Company, appear to be completely under the table, and no official source reports that the two have even discussed the possibility of ‘add the Lord of the Rings at the Universal Orlando Resort recently.
It should be noted that there is no report or confirmation that Disney is aiming to add The Shire to any of its Disney parks. Considering the overhaul of the redesign and renovations at EPCOT and the proposed expansion of DisneylandForward to the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., It looks like Imagineering has its hands full for the next decade.
With the official opening of Epic Universe reportedly postponed to 2025, it would make sense for Univeral Creative to focus solely on adding the evil lord Sauron, Legolas, and Frodo to the parks until the third gate opens. . This, however, would only happen if they did not intend to The Lord of the Rings debuting at Epic Universe.
With reports of University theme park and the Orlando Weekly suggesting that Universal is considering replacing Toon Lagoon with Middle Earth, Islands of Adventure could get a huge facelift in the years to come.
According to the University of Theme Parks,
Most likely, the new territory would take over Toon Lagoon at Islands of Adventure. Why? When it comes to intellectual property, comics like Popeye and Rocky and Bullwinkle don’t exactly resonate with audiences today. Lord of the Rings is considered a timeless Mark… “
“More importantly, some of the plans include not only retaking part of the Bilge-Rat barge route from Bluto to Toon Lagoon, but also expanding it. As many of you know, Bluto’s has recently undergone a renovation. Part of the reason was annual maintenance, the other was due to nearby construction underway for the upcoming Jurassic World coaster. [Velocicoaster] in the lagoon.
Personally, Universal is missing the boat by wanting to replace Toon Lagoon.
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The land is outdated and comic book characters probably don’t resonate with most of today’s guests, but what happens in Islands of Adventure’s Lost Continent?
The land is astronomically forgotten by visitors and only includes the Mythos restaurant and a few ordinary shops for the enjoyment of customers. There is an entire amphitheater, the Sinbad Bazaar Amphitheater, located next to the Hogwarts Express: Hogsmeade Station which is completely abandoned.
According to Orlando Informant, The Lost Continent is,
“An island where ancient myths and legends come true. Guests who dare to travel here will enter a world of Greek gods, fearsome beasts and archaic enchantments. The area includes the Sindbad Bazaar, a Middle Eastern market, and The Lost City, a ruined Greek city that is home to the gods of old. Although there are no rides at Lost Continent, it is one of the more themed lands of the Adventure Islands, and guests will enjoy sampling the exotic cuisine, exploring the shops, stop for a chat with a mischievous fountain, and learn about ancient heroes of Poseidon. Fury.”
Maybe the Lost Continent is too small to The Lord of the Rings land, but rather extending into a third theme park; Universal Creative could replace the obsolete and sadly unpopular Lost Continent with a relevant theme.
Keeping some of the rock, this new land could feature an attraction inspired by the perilous journey to destroy Sauron’s One Ring. But, people would probably resonate more with the beautiful Shire taking Sinbad home.
Warner Brothers, the parent company of New Line Cinema, the powerhouse behind Peter Jackson’s films, owns the film rights to the Lord of the Rings, but given their successful partnerships with Universal, adding Harry potter, also owned by Warner Bros., talks about adding The Shire or even Rivendell to the Orlando Resort might be easier than Disney approaching Warner out of the blue.
Fans could buy their own Sting, buy a delicious concoction called “Bilbo’s Brew” or even have their picture taken with animatronic dwarves if this land becomes a reality. But, for now, we’ll keep dreaming and hoping that Universal surprises us.
Do you want a the Lord of the Rings amusement park? Let us know in the comments below!