Just a few months ago Universal Studios’ parent company, Comcast, purchased 450-plus acres in the Orlando area, just a few miles south of the current Universal Orlando Resort property. The most widely accepted rumor for this new piece of land is that a third gate for Universal Orlando is coming sooner rather than later. This all comes as the parks have grown exponentially since Comcast acquired the chain a few years ago. The big question for the rumored third gate has been, “what IPs would make up the park’s areas?” We here at Attraction Insight have a few educated guesses based on recent additions to the current parks and films by the studio.
The most important part of designing a new theme park, especially ones as themed as Universal, is deciding what IPs (Intellectual Properties) will draw visitors to the park. In the past, Universal has had tremendous success with both film and non-film IPs including Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Marvel Comics, and The Simpsons. The key trait for all of these themes is a unique world only found in fiction that we can visit and see with our own eyes in real life. Looking at current trends in the ownership of the park and upcoming movies in the studio’s lineup has led to three very real possibilities for lands and attractions in the rumored third gate.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
The single most profitable IP Universal has ever placed in their parks is Harry Potter. Millions of fans all over the world now have the ability to walk through the streets and locales of a world that was previously in the pages of a book and on the silver screen. The level of immersive theming and storytelling in those lands is quite unlike anything in the world. Even though the Harry Potter film series has ended, fans will soon be returning to the Wizarding World with the upcoming film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
The story is set nearly eighty years before Harry Potter and features all new locales and characters, including the first look at the magical side of North America, which was previously unseen in the other films. Fantastic Beasts is a new canvas for author J.K Rowling to create stories which make this a perfect choice for a new land in a third gate. From a business standpoint, having Harry Potter in all three parks would give a reason for guests to stay more days on site to visit all three, creating more revenue for the resort. From a fan standpoint, having a whole new series of movies based on a world that’s familiar to them will generate a lot of interest over the next few years, especially since these new films are part of a planned trilogy. With all the recent success Harry Potter has brought to the parks, it may be safe to say that Fantastic Beasts is in consideration for a new park in Orlando.
Nintendo Part 2
Universal’s business agreement with Nintendo could be part of a future trend in theme parks. If the overall success of Harry Potter or any of the new attractions coming to Universal can tell you anything, it’s that innovative rides and detailed theming are the standards for the resort. With a very popular IP in Nintendo, Universal could potentially out do themselves with this expansion to their current resort. Nintendo is rumored to be placed in the current KidZone area of Universal Studios Florida and could potentially feature Mario and Donkey Kong. The library of content and characters that Nintendo has created is too large for one theme park land. In much the same way as Diagon Alley, Universal could extend the Nintendo IP into the new park as a phase 2 plan.
As previously mentioned, Universal needs reasons for guests to visit a new park. If Nintendo proves to be a commercial and critical success as Harry Potter was, then expanding it into a new park is a no brainer. What part of Nintendo would make sense for a future expansion? One character that seems to have been left out from any rumors of the current project is Zelda. A whole land dedicated to The Legend of Zelda not only would bring delight to fans of the franchise but would be different enough from Mario to stand on its own, just like Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.
Classic Horror Film Monsters
As successful as IPs from other studios are to Universal, the parks backbone consists of properties they already own such as Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, Jaws etc. One franchise that has never been used for a full land is the classic horror film from the early to mid-1900’s. These films have some of the most recognizable monsters in movie history such as Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, and the Creature From the Black Lagoon. Many characters from classic horror films have been seen throughout Halloween Horror Nights over the years and the current Revenge of The Mummy attraction is based on action-adventure rather than horror.
Many of the classic Universal monsters will still be relevant nearly one hundred years later thanks to a new set of films by Universal, rebooting all the characters to modern day. The first films in this connected universe (much like the Marvel Cinematic Universe) will be The Mummy starring Tom Cruise and the Invisible Man starring Johnny Depp. The star power in these two films alone should be enough to spark interest in this new series. If this new wave of horror films is successful, perhaps we can see a whole land dedicated to these monsters. It would offer something that none of the parks currently have (year round highly themed horror attractions/land) and could be a very unique world to visit.
These are just three of many potential IP’s we could see in a third park. In the future who knows what new franchise will pop up and become the most talked about in the world or what ideas Universal can come up with themselves. Either way, fans of the parks should certainly be excited for a very bright future for the resort. Follow Attraction Insight for updates on the future of the newly acquired land in Orlando.
DISCLAIMER: This article is tagged as a rumor. Please be aware that the information in this report can change or may not have been planned at all. Attraction Insight shall not be held accountable for the accuracy of any rumors.