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Theme Ideas For Universal Studios

Universal Orlando: With the Marvel franchise under threat what new themes could Universal introduce ?

From Rob P
Posted August 20, 2010 at 5:53 AM
Robert Niles has intimated that Disney could snatch the Marvel franchise away from Universal.
If that were to happen then what movies might Universal draw on for inspiration to replace such a strong theme ?
Would they necessarily stick with super hero cartoon characters or would they be more expansive ?
Some of the movies / TV they've made in recent years would provide good themes for attractions but do they own the complete rights to the franchises ?
Some I'd propose, if they haven't already been used by other Parks, are :

The Bourne Trilogy
The Chronicles of Riddick
The Hellboy series
The Nutty Professor
Roger Ramjet ( remember him? )

What are your theme ideas for Universal Studios ?


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Nick Markham
Posted August 20, 2010 at 6:13 AM
-Transformers
-Star Trek
-Battlestar galactica

(Still thinking)

From Melissa Kosztowny
Posted August 20, 2010 at 7:20 AM
They should return to Nickelodeon. Last airbender could make a pretty good ride.

From Matt Bolick
Posted August 20, 2010 at 7:37 AM
Nickelodeon attractions might make more sense on the Universal side, but IoA already fills it's kiddie quota with Seuss Island.

I could definitely go for Transformers but I'm of the age that it would have to be the Hasbro version from the 80's and not the Michael Bay version.

Star Trek could be really exciting. I remember when Paramount owned both ST & Kings Dominion and they would have characters in the park plus Star Trek themed shows. The Star Trek Experience in the Las Vegas Hilton used to be amazing so I could see them building a really immersive environment at IoA.

From Andy Milio
Posted August 20, 2010 at 8:05 AM
Star Trek all the way

From Flavio de Souza
Posted August 20, 2010 at 8:10 AM
Middle Earth land, with atractions based on Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit.

From Formula 40
Posted August 20, 2010 at 8:25 AM
Sci-Fi City. They could turn Spiderman into Transformers and retheme the Hulk to Battlestar Galactica. Storm Force could be themed to Star Trek

From Pyra Dong
Posted August 20, 2010 at 8:34 AM
EEEK! I like the Sci-Fi City one... it's not based on just one movie series. It's a theme that could keep on growing!!! And sci-fi is a theme that will NEVER go out of style... plus, it'll fit well in the Marvel area of thrill rides. Pshhh, you forgot Avatar (uhhh, that's Sci-fi right?)

From Hermione Potter
Posted August 20, 2010 at 11:56 AM
Some of you are forgetting it has to be print media to go into Islands.
I vote for Lord of the Rings or Eragon.

From Tyler Bell
Posted August 20, 2010 at 12:17 PM
Skull Island
Cybertron

From David L.
Posted August 20, 2010 at 2:05 PM
Let's see...
-Sci-Fi city can replace MSHI
-Cartoon Network land or Nickelodeon land could easily take over Toon Lagoon
-Lord of the Rings can take over Lost Continent
If they themed those up to par of Harry Potter and spruce up Suess landing and jarasic park to that level then IOA could be one of the best parks in the world(maybe not over Disneyland, Disney Sea, or Epcot but maybe it could overcome all three).
-Riddick wouldn't work because no kids would be able to try try it
-I wouldn't theme a whole land to Hellboy
-Bourn could fit as a ride at USF
-lots of stuff could fit in sci-fi city

From Nick Markham
Posted August 20, 2010 at 2:20 PM
I hate to be such a downer, but some of you must be thinking of the Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon of the past. Cartoon Network is one channel with no popular shows that many kids even like at all, and Nickelodeon is mostly all about iCarly which is not makeable into a ride.

And lastly, Hermionie, it does not have to be themed to a book. Look at Jurassic Park and Lost Continent. But you have noticed a coincidence, having noticed Toon Lagoon is themed to comic strips, Marvel comic books, WWOHP the Harry Potter series (movie and book) and Seuss Landing themed to the Dr. Seuss books.

Come on people! I think some of you are thinking of genres you all liked when you were kids and teens but that are not part of children's culuture today.

Ultimately Sci-Fi Island is the way to go, as there are so many movies you could build off of: Avatar, Transformers, Star Trek, Battlestar Gallactica, Monsters VS Aliens, etc.

From Formula 40
Posted August 20, 2010 at 2:37 PM
The biggest problem with retheming Toon Lagoon is that there just aren't any good cartoons anymore. Most parks keep it retro when it comes to cartoons because new ones simply aren't as good as they used to be. A Nintendo themed area would probably work much better. Mario, Luigi, Zelda, etc. still remain popular today.

From Tim W
Posted August 20, 2010 at 3:15 PM
^And you know very well Sci-fi can be done, Nick :). Classic Universal Monsters would be good too for a replacement of one of the islands.

From Tony Duda
Posted August 20, 2010 at 4:46 PM
Just a quick note, Jurassic Park originated as 2 hugely popular novels that the 3 movies were adapted from.

From Javi Badillo
Posted August 20, 2010 at 6:16 PM
When I went to IOA for my eigth grade class trip three years ago, the guide said that the main theme other than adventure in the park is literature. Marvel Super Hero Island is based off the Marvel Comic Books. Toon Lagoon is based off the famous comic strips (Yes comic books are considered to be literature. Jurassic Park was originally a best selling novel and the Lost Continet is based off the many myths from Greek Literature and the stories of Sinbad (Merlinwood was based off the Tale of King Arthur). Sesus Landing is based of the famous childrens books by Dr. Sesus.And finally Harry Potter is based off the best selling franchise. So if IOA wants to keep this theme they would have to think of new ideas based off Literature or just loose the theme. I really hope Marvel Island isnt taken away. It would be very said to see the Hulk and Spiderman(especially spiderman) rethemed to other rides.

From Melissa Kosztowny
Posted August 20, 2010 at 8:00 PM
Cartoons arn't what they used to be. and they already use the best one in the jimmy neutron ride.

However a Avatar: The Last Airbender ride could be epic. Technology now being able to incorporate flying, water, fire, wind, and some awesome graphics. I know the movie was awful, but the base material is still amazing and very popular.

From Rod Whitenack
Posted August 21, 2010 at 10:09 AM
I'd like to see Universal Monster Island, a section of the park done up in stone and brick castles and family friendly Gothic atmosphere. It could include attractions based on the classic monsters as well as contemporary monster features. Nothing too gorey or scary; nothing on the surface more creepy than the Haunted Mansion. A Creaure From the Black Lagoon overlay of one of the boat rides would be nice. Dr Doom's Fearfall could easily become Dr. Frankenstein's Lab. The Hulk Coaster could easily become the Wolfman coaster. Spider-Man would be the only major change, so I recommned selling that off completely to Disney to upgrade and investing in a new 3-D ride like Dracula's Castle or something similar to MGM's Great Movie Ride, except about the history of horror/ monster films from the silent era up to today. It would be really cool if they could team up with the newly restarted Famous Monsters of Filmland brand to have a simulated version of Forrest J Ackerman host the ride, taking us through scenes from the silent "Nosferatu" to the 1931 "Dracula" and "Frankenstein" into the 1950s sci-fi craze of giant bugs, Godzilla and alien invasions and then into more contempory fare like "Alien" and "Predator" right up to the present.

From Javi Badillo
Posted August 21, 2010 at 11:28 AM
A monster land woud fit more in universal than in islands of adventure remember ioa theme isn't movies it's adventure

From Hermione Potter
Posted August 21, 2010 at 2:22 PM
Nick, it's not a coincidence. All of IOA is themed to print media - Jurassic Park is originally a book series like Harry Potter. Suess is obviously books, Toon Lagoon is the sunday comics, and Marvel is comic books/graphic novels. Lost Continent used to have merlin and still has sinbad, both of which were old stories most often told in book or serial format prior to the 90s-00s and really that area encompassed the whole fantasy novel idea before potter took over as headliner.
I'd love to see a couple of fandoms there that I dont think will make it because theyre only movies.

From TH Creative
Posted August 21, 2010 at 3:07 PM
Once again, Mr. Markham makes a HUGE error. In fact I have almost completed a bluesky concept narrative of a gate-crasher attraction based upon iCarly.

Once I figure out how to work hippos into the mix I will be off to the races.

From Daniel Smith
Posted August 21, 2010 at 3:03 PM
I think Sci-Fi City will be the go. They already are testing it by having this land in Universal Studios Singapore, with a Transformers ride (opening in 2011) and a Battlestar Galactica ride (re-opening in December).

From Tim W
Posted August 21, 2010 at 3:14 PM
I agree TH, I could easily see iCarly utilized, probably best as a show. And theres still more to nickelodeon than just iCarly.

Sci-fi City would be the best because its a very markeatable theme right now. Its current and fresh, and is somewhat close to the superhero theme. Little would have to be developed as their is already one in development.

From Nick Markham
Posted August 22, 2010 at 7:42 AM
Don't you see the true problem with icCarly in theme parks? It is a great concept, but to hire kids is not something easy. Unless you've got some college students that look like those kids, Carly, Sam, and Freddy (yes I watch the show often), you've got a major problem.

May I also point out that Universal would have to pay much money to Viacom who owns Nickalodeon for the rights to the show.

Now, how I could see things work very well would be an iCarly experience at Universal Studios Hollywood. They could actually film the show there in one of the soundstages, and invit park guests to be be the audience that they film it in front of. It would attract quite a few people, and there wouldn't be any kind of trouble casting look-a-likes!

Altogether, we can argue over iCarly as much as we want, but let's face it: Almost all of us agree Sci-Fi Island is the way to go. What I would like to here are the arguements against Sci-Fi Island, a perfect replacement for MSHI (Marvel Super Hero Island)

From TH Creative
Posted August 22, 2010 at 9:42 AM
I'm talkin' about an iCarly Log Flume!

With hippos.

From Melissa Kosztowny
Posted August 22, 2010 at 1:56 PM
Bring filming back to universal would be a good idea in my opinion. When i was little i was a part of a nick show at universal and thought it was great!!!

I agree on using sci-fy in place of marvel. Maybe "The Thing" Roller coaster with the new movie coming out as well as the old. some star trek things. battlestar gallactica, there is so much there

From Derek Potter
Posted August 22, 2010 at 2:59 PM
Why Nickelodeon doesn't have a stronger presence in the industry...I don't know. Cedar Fair doesn't have the Nick franchise anymore, probably for financial reasons. Universal on the other hand, could afford to take it over the top. I'm not really talking about the studios they used to have, rather I'm talking about themed attractions.

Also, I've always thought that Nintendo lends itself very well to a themed land. Using the Mario Bros characters, Zelda, Kirby, Donkey Kong, and all the others would be a surefire hit. They've been around for years which gives them a wide demographic, and they are still as popular as ever. PS3 and XBox wouldn't really work, because they don't have the mass appeal, iconic characters that Nintendo does.

I can see Universal creating an area that looks like it's straight out of a Super Mario Bros game, and perhaps it could be used to retheme Spiderman as well.

From Nick Markham
Posted August 22, 2010 at 7:55 PM
I still don't think any of you are getting it. Spongebob, Jimmy Neutron, Fairly Odd Parents, and such were popular years ago people! They only air repeats and are no longer the hits on Nickelodeon. Everything on Nick CAN NOT be made into a ride, and I am sure a land filled with just TV filming audience epxerience would epically FAIL in the end.

Mario would be a GREAT replacement for Tonn Lagoon, but Mario replacing Spiderman is a BIG mistake. Retheme Toon Lagoon, Dudley, and Popeye along with add a new show and ride and you've got yourself a pretty nice new land!

There we go people, we have solved Toon Lagoon AND Marvel Supero Hero Island. All I want to hear is something against either of these ideas as any other arguement simply makes no sense. Nickelodeon is irrelevant, Lost Contienent is for another discussion, so lets focus people!

From Melissa Kosztowny
Posted August 22, 2010 at 8:50 PM
Spongebob still airs new episodes. As does faily odd parents. Plus they have a hit show with avatar and a new show Korra. Plus re adding nick studios, i dont think nickelodeon is irrelevant at all. Expecially now that Cedar Fair lost them.

Nitendo would be a great upgrade. I can see a revamp of a supermario type world

From Derek Potter
Posted August 22, 2010 at 8:18 PM
As a father of three young kids, I'm here to tell you that Nickelodeon isn't irrelevant. In terms of pop culture I would call it far more relevant than Dr. Seuss and all the Toon Lagoon characters. Reruns? When's the last new Popeye cartoon you saw? How about Dudley Do Right...aside from that awful movie that came out a few years back? The issue with Nickelodeon isn't popularity, it's presenting the brand with attractions that cater to a wide enough audience. The Nick attractions at the Paramount Parks were little more than dressed up amusement park flat rides, yet Nick Central was immensely popular with families. Universal and it's deep pockets could surely make good things happen with Nickelodeon.

What people don't get is that with themed attractions, the character doesn't matter so much as the content and the quality. Universal managed to make really good themed attractions out of long forgotten and marginally popular cartoon characters like Popeye and Dudley Do Right, and memorable attractions out of comic book characters that at the time were in the back of the public's mind. None of the Marvel characters represented at IOA had seen the light of a TV or movie screen in years when their respective attractions were built. It wasn't until a few years after the park was built that the movies started coming out. For all the popularity of the Harry Potter franchise, It would be nothing within the walls of a theme park if it weren't the ability of Universal to bring the characters and scenery to life.

To me, it comes down to choosing what lends itself well to a good ride or area. It doesn't matter if it's a popular franchise, a long forgotten character, or an obscure everyday task like cooking or office work. Universal has the money and ability to make them work. With this kind of budget, it doesn't hurt to think outside the box.

From Nick Markham
Posted August 23, 2010 at 6:07 AM
I wish Nickelodeon had as many popular shows as you all say, but the only place I was wrong was Spongebob (which still has gone slightly down in popularity). Fairly Oddparents does NOT have any new episodes, Avatar no longer airs that often, and the only new themable shows would be on Nick Jr., and Universal does not intend to make a new kiddie land. Most of its success has been targeting teens and adults, and it would be stupid not to go that way.

Basically, Spongebob, Jimmy, Fairly Oddparents, and The Last Airbender (cartoon) would make great themes for rides, but none of them even hit the target audience, and half are showing repeats. Now if somebody on here has teens and say they are avide Spongebob and Fairly Odd Parents watches, then we can reconsider, but Nickelodeon (not Nick Jr or Nick at Nite) is mostly about iCarly and Victorious.

From Derek Potter
Posted August 23, 2010 at 12:39 PM
Nickelodeon attractions would have to be aimed at children, not teens and adults. Their bread and butter isn't Jimmy Neutron and Spongebob (although they could be used), it's Dora, Diego, Yo Gabba Gabba, Blues Clues...etc. Attractions like that would make Universal more appealing to families with small children, giving them a shot at a piece of that market that Disney so monopolizes in that region. Yes they do have to keep their target audience by keeping attractions fresh, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to completely ignore the younger market and let Disney continue to collect all of their money. What they couldn't do though, is replace Marvel Island with attractions that don't apply to the same demographic.

In theory, Nintendo remains the best possible direction in my opinion. In practice you would have to get Nintendo on board and make a deal, which is easier said than done. I also like the idea of a Transformers attraction.

From Joshua Counsil
Posted August 23, 2010 at 2:11 PM
I agree with Derek. How many people would visit a Twilight Zone exhibit? Only a fraction of those who would ride the Tower of Terror.

That being said, I much prefer to see parks with classic characters than newer ones. The day Dudley gets replaced with iCarly, whatever the hell that is, is the day I stop visiting Toon Lagoon.

With regards to the suggestions, I can't see Universal selecting any of them as viable replacements. In particular, the Nintendo theme would be terrible. Why? Nintendo's popularity is based on interactivity. If Nintendo were to develop a land with their theme, they would want interactive attractions, not just coasters or log flumes. They would want something like a virtual MarioKart attraction.

From Formula 40
Posted August 23, 2010 at 5:17 PM
I have to agree with Derek. While I still think the cartoons now aren't that good, if Universal does a good job of theming and the attractions are drawing visitors, than it doesn't matter if the cartoons are popular. That's why Ripsaw Falls/Bilge Rat Barges have still remained popular with park guests. Also they could definitely use Nickelodeon for more family attractions so attract the market that Disney has.

From Rob P
Posted August 24, 2010 at 1:04 AM
Like Joshua I have no idea who or what iCarly is. In fact many of the Nickleodeon characters / shows that have been mentioned are completely off the radar of most people outside of the US.
I might be wrong as kids all over the world do watch cable / satellite TV but it's certainly left me in the dark.
Whereas characters like Dudley Do-Right are well known globally. I actually like that theme and I like Popeye too. I'd be disappointed to see them ousted out of IOA. They earned their place by being popular for decades not by being flash-in-the-pan franchises.

From Nick Markham
Posted August 24, 2010 at 6:12 AM
^iCarly has been mentioned because it has been the top of the TV ratings and viewings charts everytime a new episode airs, higher than any other cable or even other TV show every time. It has also been known for reaching somehow outside of its demographic of teens to younger children and adults alike. These would make it perfect for an attraction, but it could not be a ride of any sort.

As for Mario idea, Joshua, I am sure it would take over Toon Lagoon, and they could add some interactive rides to the mix there.

Lastly Derek, your kids and many other kids would probably love to see some Nick Jr. characters, but the only thing those extra families visitng would be doing is filling in for the people that will not visit the parks just BECAUSE of adding this to the parks. If you think about it, Disney has only two really clarified entire kiddie lands (Mickey's Toontown Fair and Tom Sawyer Island) and one will be gone. I would more prefer to see Universal add attractions for the whole family to their exsisting lands.

A park isn't successful if they have rides for "the whole family" via spliting them up among thrill rides and kiddie rides. Families want to ride and experience TOGETHER. That is what Disney has done with the fact most of its attractions can be experienced by EVERYONE and ANYONE.

So I don't want to see kiddie lands or attractions but family attractions people!

From Timothy Nguyen
Posted August 24, 2010 at 1:19 PM
I still think that Universal should make a James Bond stunt show akin to the Indy show except with more advanced explosions and stunts. Or, since they have the copyrights, the Bourne movies.

People have mention Mario, but I think that if they retheme Marvel, they should get ride of Storm force and Doctor doom for a Star Trek ride similar to the planned Star Tours 2. Battlestar Galactia could replace Hulk, and Transformers for Spider-man. For Toon Lagoon, keep the essential theme, but totally revamp the island and remake Dudley Do-Right as a Spongebob ride.

From Javi Badillo
Posted August 24, 2010 at 1:40 PM
Toon Lagoon is perfectly find, theres no need to change it

From Nick Markham
Posted August 24, 2010 at 2:32 PM
Why is everyone outruling a DC Comics area? It would be much cheaper to retheme since they could keep any sort of superhero aspects that are generic. They have already bargained with WB before (Harry Potter anyone?) which went well, and Six Flags has done a good job, but Universal could do better.

I still support the Sci-Fi Island more, but this would be my second option.

From Javi Badillo
Posted August 24, 2010 at 3:57 PM
Like u said Six Flags has already done it in like almost half thier parks. If they ever loose MSHI, replace it with something orginal, not just take stuff from different parks

From Tim W
Posted August 24, 2010 at 4:00 PM
Exactly, Six Flags has the DC Comics franchise. If they go bankrupt, I think DC would be a great replacement for marvel. But as of right now, it would never work out.

From Timothy Nguyen
Posted August 24, 2010 at 5:48 PM
Also. Halo: Combat Involved!

From Tim W
Posted August 24, 2010 at 7:48 PM
^That sounds like a good idea

From Formula 40
Posted August 24, 2010 at 8:02 PM
A Halo themed-area, now that's something I'd want too see.

From Nick Markham
Posted August 25, 2010 at 5:30 AM
Since we are all thinking iCarly is a possible choice, we might as well consider Disney buying Universal as a whole and keeping it there as just as reasonable... ;)

From Formula 40
Posted August 25, 2010 at 8:06 AM
iCarly would be dumb for a ride. A show wouldn't be bad, but an iCarly log flume?? I think Toon Lagoon is actually fine, but if they retheme it I wouldn't mind if they keep the same rides. It's Marvel I worry about. I would hate to see that go. I'll never forget the first time I rode Spiderman.

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