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.