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Universal Orlando has had huge success with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure since its opening in June 2010.

With that in mind, and that great Potter card up their sleeve, there are rumors that the park is talking with the Tolkien family about a Middle Earth theme park.

If rumors are to be believed, this is all happening thanks to the success of The Wizarding World. A reputable user in Orlando United’s forum, where mind-numbing talk of theme parks runs rampant, says Universal asked Warner Bros. to approach the Tolkien’s first. The park asked the studio to make first contact because of the existing relationship Tolkien and WB have built to create The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies.

Warner Bros. told the Tolkien’s about the success of The Wizarding World theme park and how the final product was loyal to J.K. Rowling’s story and very well received by fans. Reportedly, the Tolkien’s even spoke to Rowling herself. It was only after all this that Universal and the Tolkien’s began developing ideas.

It’s important to remember that this is all rumor at this point. It’s very interesting how Universal used The Wizarding World’s success to make a go at Middle Earth.

If the rumor is true, there are still many questions to be answered: Where would the Middle Earth land be built? Would the park be marketed as Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, or Middle Earth? To what extent will Peter Jackson be involved? Do we get to pretend to be Gandalf and not let people pass? Will Denny’s supply the food?

Do you think a Middle Earth theme park could be a success? And could Universal pull it off with Peter Jackson and the Tolkien family?

UPDATE (1/29/13): The phrase “Middle-Earth” has been registered as a trademark for use as a theme park, further lending evidence to these rumors.

  • antonia31

    Man, I really wish Disney would build it, not Universal. Universal builds everything too small. At least Disney invests in space. A cramped middle earth would be annoying.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000508407296 Luke Payne

      Too true. Plus Disney makes sure you don’t see behind the scenes, while at the Wizarding World you can see the building behind Hogwarts. Disney would never let something like that happen.

      • ThemeParkGuru

        Ugh the show building being visible drives me crazy, as does the Jurassic Popcorn cart placed in Jurassic Parks – but directly under Hogwarts castle. :(

    • ThemeParkGuru

      Tolkein hated Walt Disney and there are multiple sources of him saying he never wanted Disney to have anything to do with his books. It’s either Universal or nothing since no one who protects their ‘brand’ like this family does would ever have anything to do with Six Flags or even lesser parks.
      Also? Disney refused to cooperate with what JK wanted WWoHP to be (she didn’t want meet n greets or giant Emporium style stores) so she turned them down on their offer of an entire new theme park and went with Universal who was willing to design the area to her liking. Hogsmeade is cramped and crowded because JK wanted it to be that small.

      • antonia31

        I’m sorry to hear that :(

        I mean, I’m all for what JKR wants, but that park was definitely built far too small. I would love an Emporium style shop. I mean, having to wait in line to get into that TINY Dervish and Banges? Depressing and unimpressive once you get in. Maybe it’s truer to what hogsmeade is like, but no way is it conducive for a theme park crowd.

        • Tim

          Totally disagree, man – neither depressing nor unimpressive once you get in. The wait is always worth it in the WWoHP.

  • Matthew Goldenberg

    I know there’s a “you shall not pass” joke somewhere here…

    • RabbitRabbit

      There will definitely be those in the height requirements!
      “If you are not this tall, YOU SHALL NOT PASS”

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Blanks/1348138287 Jeff Blanks

      GRRR!! The joke is that they put it in the movie where in the book Gandalf says “You cannot pass!” all three times. Tolkien was a WWI veteran–I”m guessing he knew that “They shall not pass!” would be at the back of everyone’s mind, so it would be better not to have Gandalf say it explicitly.

  • kburford

    oh my gawd yes. That would be wonderful. Second breakfast for everyooone! Instead of adding Wizarding World to IoA, they should’ve made a new park where you get to the ‘hub’ and there are different portals leading off the spoke to various lands…wizarding world, lotr, etc. A complete fantasy nerd park. I see it now…

    • antonia31

      If this were REAL… amazing.

  • naybeth diaz


    • Kate

      Haha, that was driving me nuts the whole article.

  • http://twitter.com/_unforgiven Maj Elisabeth

    *TolkIEN. That said, not sure if want, but I’ll probably save up all my money and spend a week there anyway. So some want, I suppose. It’ll have to be fantastic though, and done properly.

  • Leila

    If Denny’s does supply the food, it will be amazing. Had the Gandalf Gobble Melt last week and it was phenomenal.

  • EuanLauder

    I’ve been a huge Potterhead since I was a child so when I visited the Wizarding World last year for the first time you can understand me when I say that it was possibly one of the greatest places I’ve ever visited in my entire life. I’ve also been an enormous fan of Tolkien from a young age however my obsession with all things Middle-Earth began to die down after the final film was released. Now with the release of the first Hobbit film my obsession has never been stronger and I couldn’t think of a better time for them to make a theme park. If it was pulled off as well as the Wizarding World then I’m sure it would be an equally amazing experience.

    • RabbitRabbit

      I disagree wholeheartedly. Consider the fact that there are four hugeass books that narrate the adventures of a bunch of characters (whereas Harry’s was seven readable-in-one-day books that narrated the adventure of one character, who spent about 85% of the book in school and had ride-inspiring-adventures in the last couple chapters). I’m a huge fan of both series and I think both parks will be equally as awesome!
      I personally am suppper excited to see if they’ll do something with the Ents. I loved them as a kid

      • EuanLauder

        Don’t think I’m insulting Lord of the Rings, I like it just as much if not more than Harry Potter but I just think that Lord of the Rings is a slower paced series. Even the Ents in my opinion wouldn’t be a good ride. I mean sure it’d be great walking to isengard on Treebeards back but that’s hardly full on, fast paced roller coaster type material. I think they’ll pull of a “Forbidden journey” type of ride off perfectly where you begin in the shire and finally make your way to the cracks of mount doom but when creating a roller coaster like “Dragons Challenge” I think they’ll be stuck for ideas.

        • http://www.facebook.com/fsjking Josh King

          They could easily make a giant eagle themed coaster. They could do a ride similar to spiderman themed to Moria and fighting orcs and the balrog. Could have a big fire finale and have you fall off the bridge. A Smaug based ride is doable. The two towers giant drop rides. There are enough ideas for 2-3 E-ticket rides for sure.

        • RabbitRabbit

          Whoops didn’t mean to imply that you were insulting LOTR.
          I agree that it’s slower paced but i think it has more adventurey stuff.
          I was thinking more along the lines of those log-water roller coasters. I haven’t been to the HP park so I dont know how fancy the rides are, but i’m sure they can jazz up the tradition log water roller coaster.

  • RabbitRabbit

    I’m interested in finding out who their target audience is. LOTR has some really old fans who wouldnt want to ride roller coasters, and the movies don’t attract really young fans who usually go to amusement parks. I feel as if the park wouldn’t attract all the LOTR fans like HP did.

    • Darren’sGirl

      i think the movies have a lot of teenage/20s fans, like me, who still like going to amusement parks and can actually ride roller coasters and stuff. Most of the older book fans might not go but they might take their kids and grand-kids.

      • RabbitRabbit

        I’m the same age as you but i remember there where significantly older people in the theaters when i watched the trilogy.
        It makes me sad that only a fraction of the fans get to enjoy the park

  • d3erudite

    Thank god its not Disney. There’s more of a chance we’ll get a park with Universal. Tolkien reportedley hated Walt Disney and personally requested that none of his works ended up in Disney hands.

  • S. A.

    Yet another park based on another brilliant product of Britain to be built in America…

    • Darren’sGirl

      America’s bigger and the weather works for it better. I’m all for Britain being able to celebrate their own successes but it’s just not very likely to work.

      • http://twitter.com/Merina2 Merina

        I disagree about it ‘not working’. England has many successful theme parks, including Alton Towers and a HUGE Legoland.

        You’re right that it will probably make more money in America, but I definitely still think it could still ‘work’ in England. More than anything, I believe it’s about time British fans got a British theme park for their British fandom!

        • http://www.facebook.com/billbrandtpsu Bill Brandt

          The same argument could be made about just about every state in the US with more than one or two major cities. Hell, within an hour’s drive of the *city* of Orlando there are four full-size Disney parks, a huge Busch Gardens, a huge Sea World, two full-size Universal parks, and yes, even a huge Legoland. Not to mention parks there can be open year round, which is not true of anywhere in the UK.

          Point being: it could work, but it would work much, much better in a place like central Florida or southern California which already has a phenomenal, year round tourist market.

          • Darren’sGirl

            I didn’t say it wouldn’t work at all anyway, I said “not very likely to work” which is true. It can’t be open year round like Bill said and they aren’t going to get a lot of Americans whereas Orlando gets people from all over the world. Yeah, it’s not really fair to you guys but guess what, I’m not very close to Orlando either. And it is not a British fandom, that’s just rude. There are more American fans and it’s a worldwide fandom.

        • DarthBlond

          So, build two of them then. One in America and one in England.

    • Alison Gunn

      I want to see the proper Hogwarts in its proper location, Scotland, dammit, in the Highlands. I doubt Highlanders feel this way, however. They’re probably absolutely fine with it being in some remote outpost of the colonies.

      • Patrick

        Let’s examine that last sentence:

        Remote Outpost?!?:

        Last year Central Florida (Orlando/Tampa to be more precise) clocked in 55 MILLION visitors. About the population OF ENGLAND…Florida alone is home to 19 million people…


        Really. The United States declared its independence from an Imperialistic British Kingdom 236 years ago, and you are still going to refer to US as the “colonies?”

        Have care how you use words.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Blanks/1348138287 Jeff Blanks

          You’re exactly the kind of person that little dig was meant for.

  • George

    I am sick of big companies wanting more money. Sometimes, I want things to be over, simple, let us keep being able to dream and have things in our heads. Please don’t make everything in to parks! Please don’t split any more movies. hehe…

  • Jordan

    Replacing Marvel maaabye?

  • http://twitter.com/bowski477 Jill

    Where would they even put this? Universal doesn’t own much space and the space they do have is already overcrowded.

  • theaterboy1

    I LOVE this idea!! I can see Disney doing Narnia and ‘The Wizard of Oz’ seeing as the company has movies out (or in the case of ‘The Wizard of Oz’…coming out) on the subject if they see fit in the future so I think Universal is the perfect place for Middle Earth!

  • Darren’sGirl

    I want to go to Minas Tirith and Rivendell. They should have an Ent ride and a journey to destroy the ring.

  • nb173

    does anyone else remember disney having talks for an Avatar theme park? I believe hypable actually reported it

    • fruttivendolo

      I do! From what I’ve heard, it’s still going forward, though it’s in very early stages. I checked the official Disney Parks blog, and it only ran 2 stories about Avatar in 2012- one was an interview with an Imagineer on the project, and another was in a “5 Things Coming Next to WDW” article. And that PR blog tends to hype even the most trivial details of upcoming projects, so if the PR people haven’t reported anything, there must not be much they CAN report yet.

      The Avatar land was scheduled to open in 2015- coincidentally around the same time Cameron said a sequel would be in theaters. The producer said a year ago that Avatar 2 had at least 4 years before its release, so that pushes it back to 2016. I’m sure Disney wants the project’s unveiling to line up with the film’s release- you can’t buy that kind of marketing- so the Disney project may progress just as slowly as the film does. Construction is supposed to start in 2013, according to some of the info around the time of the announcement, but since we haven’t heard much about it, who knows if that’s going to happen.

      I don’t think many Disney folks are too enthusiastic about it. Personally, I’m hoping the project gets stalled so long that it just doesn’t happen. I’d rather see something original in Animal Kingdom.

      • Effielova

        Oh trust me Avatar went forward, we got model pictures and more info at the Fantasyland opening. We are also getting rumors that a massive DHS expansion is in place fit with Cars land and Star Wars land so Disney is trying to make a comback.

  • Greg L.

    An abomination. The ultimate debasement of Tolkien. But it certainly explains the presence of the poorly conceived “goblin kingdom” chase sequence (think mine car chase in “Temple of Doom”). Tolkien was a tree-hugger in the most positive sense: trees were a symbol for what he called the “subcreative” process, fantasy and life itself (read “On Fairie Stories,” “Tree and Leaf”; think of the Ents; and look at how many pictures of Tolkien are taken under wonderfully gnarly old trees). To me, a theme park is the total opposite of a tree–a human-constructed, sculpted imitation of nature (who needs to go to Europe when you’ve got Epcot?). A Tolkien theme park would basically be….Mordor. Or Saruman’s Orthanc. Like orcs are horribly perverted versions of elves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/liz.martin.750 Liz Martin

    I don’t know how that would work really. I mean if you want to see middle earth go to New Zealand.

  • fruttivendolo

    Hate to be a grammar freak, but shouldn’t it be Tolkeins, not Tolkein’s, as the family isn’t possessing anything? (sorry, my copy editor is showing)

    • kassi

      yeah, that was driving me nuts!

    • spacie19

      YESSSSS copy editing please!

  • Rob

    They should take out the Lost Continent section of IOA, theres really nothing there except a really corny Sinbad stage show, a Poseidon’s Fury walkthrough water/pyro show, and some carnival games. People usually run right past that area and go straight to HP….

    • lookalivesteph

      That’s exactly what I did when I went to the wizarding world. If anything, the lost continent section was more of a roadblock. It didn’t seem to popular, and was just in the way of people going to HP.

  • isenhobbitz

    Though that sounds awesome, I’m pretty sure Christopher Tolkien will never allow that to happen.

  • Casey T.

    Disney would never be able to do it justice, it is an adult themed movie and disney, while i like disney more than universal, would not be able to do it right. And disney doesnt always hide the show buildings as well as you think. You can see a lot of it if your in the right angle. Disney does have more space to build it, but that doesnt mean they will. Avatarland was announced by disney a while back, but most feel like that would not be the best idea for Animal Kingdom.

  • Ian

    A theme park isn’t needed. Just come to New Zealand and see the sets and for real.Ian

  • http://twitter.com/MowTheFrontLawn Juan Pedia

    Andrew, “Tolkien’s” is possessive. “Tolkiens” is plural.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Tavvyrei Kristen Nicole Moore

    No one will respect my dreams of living in a hobbit-hole if there is a frigging theme park with them!

  • Natalie07

    I don’t know. I feel like turning a story with as much depth and history and back story as the Lord of the Rings would almost debase it by turning Middle Earth, this complex and ancient world full of history both beautiful and sorrowful, into a tourist destination with not much more depth than the gimmicky souvenirs it sells. Not that I wouldn’t absolutely LOVE visiting a replica of Rivendell or the Shire or owning my own replica of Arwen’s necklace, but I feel like nothing they produce could do justice to the depth of the stories. And while it would be a great way to involve fans who were not as deeply invested into the books as well as those that were, I think my respect for the breadth of the history and the meticulous detail and work that was put into crafting the realm of Middle Earth prevents me from being overly excited about the prospects of a smaller-scale replica touristy theme park based on the world.

    • http://twitter.com/heyswoozay Susalka

      I completely agree! The thing with Tolkeins world is that IT is it’s own realm. The thing that made Harry Potter more tangible was the fact that it was a secret wizard society WITHIN our world. The places were more “real” in that sense. It’s a good cash-cow idea but I doubt how it would be executed without creating a whole new park outside Universal Studios.

    • Natalie07

      Also, just found this quote by Christopher Tolkein. Though it’s very strongly worded, I can’t help but to mostly agree:
      “Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and
      absorbed into the absurdity of our time. The chasm between the beauty
      and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me.
      The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical
      impact of the creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: to
      turn my head away.”
      Maybe a bit too far, but you get the idea that a lot of the intended feel, subtlety and impact of the original stories are lost in the commercialization of it all.

  • starryeyes1103

    I don’t really want a Middle Earth theme park at all but it’s so crap that all this stuff ends being done in America. I know that people say that the weather is better, etc, but to me they’re just lame excuses so that studios can make more money. I’m sick of amazing books (and films and everything else) being turned into franchises which then solely become about making money for the companies involved and not about telling brilliant stories

  • Jay

    Bad idea to much witch craft attraction i am sick of british attractions

  • http://twitter.com/marypao Mary

    I’d rather have a ticket to New Zealand…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Blanks/1348138287 Jeff Blanks

    Why is there an apostrophe in the word “Tolkiens”? Plurals don’t use apostrophes.

    TBH, I can’t imagine they’d go for something like this. Just about any fan of the books already knows what family patriarch Christopher Tolkien (still preoccupied with putting yet more of his father’s material in order) thinks about the movies–there’d have to be a MAJOR payout for them and it’d have to pay real respect to the books in order for this to happen. It’d have to be the least theme-park-like theme park ever conceived (which might be a worthy goal in itself)–a sort of Plimoth [sic] Plantation of fantasy, more like a very-high-class RennFest than a normal theme park.

    • Teranel

      I was thinking that I’d be highly highly surprised if Christopher Tolkien gave the rights out to anyone (Disney, Universal, et al.)

  • Rachael

    As much as I would love to go to New Zealand and see the actual sets… its on the opposite side of the world. Orlando, on the other hand, is a six hour drive.
    And lets face it, having WWOHP and Middle Earth in one theme park would be like Nerdy Heaven

    • Kathryn

      Go. It is more than worth it. Visiting New Zealand changed my life.

  • http://twitter.com/BeccaPhoenix16 Liam I exist

    As long as the right people are involved and agree on everything, I will be happy.

  • Sunny

    Can this please happen it would actually make all of my dreams come true so fast.

  • mike chick

    long as it doesn’t see Tone lagoon replaced which is rumored on the sreamscape site. it would be great but if it replaces tone lagoon it would not be as good as would the river rapids stay which could be themed in with jk park witch wouldn’t be as bad but if there rapids and tone lagoon it would be a sad lose and mean an area witch is good for kids meaning the kids would lose out on a whole island.

  • davidtennettisawesome

    that is awesome!!! though a lot of people are complaining about The Hobbit movies

  • Stacey

    Seriously do you even have to ask if it would be popular?

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