Fantastic Worlds: The 4 IPs revealed

April 10, 2019, 9:08 AM

There is a source on the internet that seems to be right more often than not, particularly regarding Universal. They were one of the first to know about the new park, one of the first to know about Nintendo plans, the Fantastic Worlds name, etc. It is to the point that I just accept what I see there.

And they did a pretty big reveal today...

The four IPs for the new Fantastic Worlds are:
Fantastic Beasts
Classic Universal Monsters
How To Train Your Dragon
Nintendo

Thoughts?

Replies (51)

April 10, 2019, 9:21 AM

Do we know for sure officially their are only going to be 4 themed lands? In my opinion that’s seems very small unless their talking four large immersive worlds with multiple lands inside them. Again nothing is official I would assume their isn’t a possibility we can see like 6 themed worlds on opening? Screamscape I did read will only be four themed worlds.

April 10, 2019, 9:23 AM

If that's correct, Jeff, then Universal's off to a great start on 3 out of the 4 lands.

But... A whole land themed to How to Train Your Dragon? That seems a stretch.

They'd be better off with an Ankh-Morpork land. That way if they ever get the theme park right to the LOTR from the Tolkien Estate we could just call it the British Authors Park.

April 10, 2019, 9:24 AM

I know typically Robert doesn't like people to plug other websites...but in this case, I think knowing the source helps to validate the information.

The source is Theme Park University.

And their article wasn't even about the IP, it was about the layout of the park...and the unticketed central hub...

Edited: April 10, 2019, 9:36 AM

@ Tim, I'm with you that in 4 years when this park is finally opened, How to Train Your Dragon might feel a bit out of date, but at the same time, it is IP that is owned by Comcast.

That being said, however, the ability to fly is something the other 3 IPs don't have. Just based on the types of experiences you can have, this is different from the other IPs.

April 10, 2019, 9:51 AM

Jeff, I'll admit that I've only caught bits and pieces of the How To Train Your Dragon movies, but other than a "How To" overlay of a Soarin' or a Flight of Passage type of ride, what else could they include? This is supposed to be a whole land filled with rides and attractions, and other than comments I've seen from posters on other threads about how this appeals to the younger demographic, I haven't seen anything substantial with respect to rides, attractions, and restaurants.

Edited: April 10, 2019, 10:12 AM

To me in my opinion I hope Universal decides to make it 6 worlds. In my opinion it kind of sucks that we won’t be seeing a Sci-Fi Land at all. I was hoping for Lord Of The Rings & Star Trek to round out a total of 6 worlds but oh well. Heck Terminator is still relevant since their coming out with another movie this year and Back to the future popularity still lives on. Not sure how likely Universal will change up it’s future plans for the park but I would honestly take retro classic attractions like BTTF and Jaws even ghostbusters on a how to train your dragon land only. I’d rather have a whole new world of Dreamworks instead.

Edited: April 10, 2019, 1:37 PM

Fantastic Beasts and Nintendo are shoe-ins I would guess, but I could see Universal building a FofP type ride, but with dragons instead of Banshees ??
That has potential.

As an update .... Sandlake road is being turned into what looks to be an 8 lane super highway. If TH still has doubts about the new park, then take a drive along Sandlake and check it out. Kirkman north of Sandlake is also taking shape with the center transit lane becoming more obvious. It's pretty amazing the transformation that's taking place.

April 10, 2019, 10:54 AM

Classic Universal Monsters, YES!
Unfortunately no LotR, and it looks as though UFW will move forward without it. Too bad for us. LotR’s locales are iconic, maybe more so than Hogwarts and Diagon Alley of Harry Potter.
And Fantastic Beasts land will be awesome, pulling together the entire Wizarding World from all corners of the world.

April 10, 2019, 11:09 AM

According to the article I read, there are two plots of land being reserved for two future lands...so the total will eventually be 6 total lands.

Edited: April 10, 2019, 11:15 AM

I'm very excited about the Universal Monsters land. I've grown up watching them every Halloween time. They will hopefully, eventually make good new versions of the films in my lifetime. They just have to not try to turn it into "Jason Bourne" like they did with "The Mummy".

I'm not sure about Fantastic Beasts though, it has been a real dud of a franchise. Which is a shame because I love Harry Potter, JK's previous series. I guess though if you are making a park called Fantastic Worlds though it makes sense to have it.

Edited: April 10, 2019, 12:17 PM

Wow - So much to absorb here. I'm frankly less interested currently in what the different worlds will be and more interested in the logistics of the guest and team member experience of moving through this new kind of park. Very excited to learn more as the park gets closer to opening.

April 10, 2019, 1:35 PM

I have never heard of Fantastic Beasts, had to google it. Poor choice. I love the other three choices though.

April 10, 2019, 3:25 PM

Lance hart on screamscape just said in a recent article that their are already 2 lands confirmed which are Super Nintendo World and Fantastic Beasts but then says that Dragons are a third land he must be talking about How To Train Your Dragon but I’m sure the land will end up being Dreamworks. So he’s already confirming 3 lands for the 4th theme park. Leaving out for right now Universal’s Classic Monsters I guess. Saying that their will be expansion pads left open later. That is nice that they have more room for expansion but I remember when IOA open their weren’t any spots left open if I’m correct their were at least 7 areas ready to go. That’s just my opinion it just seems a little weird with empty space surrounding the new park that’s already built. Again I wish the classic retro attractions could come back as a possibility. Most people want to move on and forget about the classic Universal Studios Florida rides back in the 90’s like Kongfrontation, Jaws, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, etc. but their are also a good number of people who miss these classic rides dearly and would love for them to make a state of the art return with newer technology added. Why not build a back to the future launched coaster Delorean styled which I heard was actually planned quite a long time ago but the plans were scratched themed around a Hill Valley setting? Instead of seeing it in the simulator we can see it km real life with a physical setting. I just think some of the classic rides are timeless. Like shark attacks talking about Jaws are very real and people are still scared to go in the ocean.

April 10, 2019, 3:46 PM

I hope the part about classic monsters is true!!!! I would love a good, old school dark ride based on them. I could also see an area themed to Dracula's castle.... Including a possum and armadillo encounter :-)

April 10, 2019, 4:14 PM

Great ... More dragons ... (sigh) ... yay ....

And I get why the TPI demo is excited about the Classic Monsters land (I would love to visit) but that means a quarter of the park will be difficult to sell to families with small children.

Just saying.

April 10, 2019, 4:23 PM

Incidentally, while we are rightfully focused on the "what" are any of the rumor mongers addressing the question of "when"?

Edited: April 10, 2019, 4:54 PM

I just can't see any of em, sorry. How to train your dragon seems too small. Fantastic Beasts isn't doing so well, and the attempt to bring back the monsters flopped even harder.

Nintendo I think they'll either have to go Mushroom Kingdom specific, or Hyrule Specific.

April 10, 2019, 5:26 PM

Without reading the TPU article, here's what I've heard from my sources:

-Four worlds, each as immersive as Diagon Alley, all connected to a central hub.
-World 1 will be Nintendo, and will contain two or three smaller worlds within
-World 2 will be DreamWorks, and will contain two or three smaller worlds within (How to Train Your Dragon is likely one sub area of this)
-World 3 was going to be Lord of the Rings, but Universal couldn't get the rights. I wouldn't be surprised if Fantastic Beasts is an easy replacement for this.
-World 4 is unknown, but is not an IP currently in use anywhere in Universal Orlando (which makes me doubt Classic Monsters here).
-Each world features two E-ticket level attractions.
-Park will open in 2023.

Take that for what you will.

April 10, 2019, 5:55 PM

AJ Hummel so it looks like the Nintendo and Dreamworks are pretty much a given right now leaving the other two worlds yet to be officially announced and what the IP’s will be. So Fantastic Beasts and Classic Monsters is still up in the air? Even though they are still highly rumored? What could be 2 replacements for Monsters and FB?

April 10, 2019, 7:36 PM

The big IP that is never talked about is DC Comics. Decades of popularity and several huge Batman movies. Yes, Six Flags has the rights. I am sure Comcast and Six Flags and Warner Bros. have all had preliminary talks. It would probably affect the Marvel contract. Something to think about for those two expansion plots after the park opens. There is a lot Universal could do with the DC Comics universe.

April 11, 2019, 6:09 AM

One of the most entertained I have ever been in a theme park was The House of Horrors in Hollywood. I doubt they would replicate that, and if the Alien attraction at MK gave parents fits, that would create riots. I could not be happier. I believe they can turn around the movies. DC seems to be righting their ship finally (go see Shazam). I think Universal can do it here. We all know the crowds will be for Nintendo, though, but give me an old school haunted house, and I am happy.

April 11, 2019, 10:05 AM

There's absolutely no way Six Flags is going to give up their DC license. Universal would have to pay through the nose to pry DC away from SF, so I just don't see it as a viable IP for a new park. Plus, with DC rides currently scattered across the country, even if a deal forced SF to remove the names and theming a year or two before Fantastic Worlds opened, any new DC attraction in Orlando would not seem special or unique with so many former DC rides within driving distance of virtually every American. Unless DC gave Universal some type of sweetheart deal, UC would be stupid to chase a DC license.

I think a Dreamworks land makes far more sense than one solely based on How to Train Your Dragon. UC would probably have to close and transplant the Shrek 4-D theater to the new park (and find a replacement for that space in USF that's not based on Dreamworks IP), but consolidating Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Dragon, Madagascar, The Croods, Trolls, along with other current and future Dreamworks IP would be a far better draw than just HTTYD on its own. However, I do think people underestimate the power of the HTTYD series, which with 3 features is only @$30 million (and still shrinking with Hidden World still in theaters) behind a Cars franchise that has the same number of core films. Nobody seems to mind an entire land themed exclusively around Cars at DCA even though it was based on a franchise that ONLY made $588 million.

I don't get the criticism of the Universal Monsters and their appeal to families. UC currently has a full-time haunted house in Hollywood that doesn't seem to prevent families from visiting that park, and there's no reason to assume that any attraction themed around the Classic Monsters (or even a modern reboot) would be inappropriate for younger guests. Many attractions already filter out the youngest guests through height restrictions, so as long as you can make the content of your headline/e-ticket Monsters attraction appropriate for those meeting the height requirements, there shouldn't be a problem. The Mummy already achieves this with a coaster experience that is more than appropriate for guests that meet the 48" height restriction. With potential Dreamworks and Nintendo lands already good bets in the new park, a Classic Monsters land would balance the offerings by appealing to older guests. It's not like UC is going to design rated R attractions here (though it might be pretty cool if they could overlay more mature content for after-hours events geared towards an adults-only crowd). Beyond that, the Classic Monsters are rather tame compared to even modern PG-13 content. I would say Transformers and Spiderman have as much objectionable mature content as the Classic Universal Monster Movies do.

April 11, 2019, 10:38 AM

“Are any of the rumor mongers addressing the question of when?”

I’ve heard they have another year of land clearing and maybe environmental studies. A three year build would be on par with IOA and DCA’s construction which would put it at 2023.

Then expanding Kirkman Road or Universal Boulevard to run buses from the resorts may take longer.

April 11, 2019, 11:58 AM

I'd love to see something from Activision Blizzard. The game Overwatch already has a map that is supposed to be a theme park. I'm not sure how well Warcraft, Diablo, or Call of Duty would fit in with the other IPs, but I could see a futuristic setting like Starcraft work well.

April 11, 2019, 12:30 PM

Russell Meyer...maybe six flags doesn't need to give up there contract. It could be at both if a deal was worked out. A DC Comics world would not be open for the opening of FW. It would come later in one of the two expansion plots. I completely disagree that a massive immersive DC comics world at Universal would not offer the public something unique or interesting compared to the generic batman coasters at Six Flags. I do agree with you completely on Classic Monsters.

Edited: April 11, 2019, 1:55 PM

If there is any truth to this, other than Nintendo I think this park would be a huge flop. The huge success of the Harry Potter expansion 10 years ago has Universal delusional, they need to come up with some new ideas because if they keep trying to drag out an IP war with Disney they are going to get crushed.

Disney IP in the past has generally been known for girls/kids/families, but over the past decade Disney has amassed so much more and so much better IP Universal would be stupid to try and outdo them. IMO if they were smart they'd get creative people in there and come up with some original ideas.

Edited: April 11, 2019, 2:01 PM

That's not how the licensing game works dstanley. Licensing in the theme park business means exclusivity, and there's no way a company like UC is going to pay for a license to IP that 90% of the people in the US can get within a 3 hour drive from their home. It doesn't matter how fancy the attraction is, the bottom line is that if I can experience the DC Universe at a theme park 30 minutes from my house, what value does that IP have to a theme park in Orlando that draws a majority of its guests from outside of Florida or a park in Hollywood that is less than a hour (even with LA Traffic) from SFMM that has multiple DC attractions. Also, licensing agreements work both ways, and Six Flags would not allow DC to license their IP to another theme park, because it would devalue their properties. I don't know the particulars of SF's deal with DC, but I think it's pretty reasonable to assume that at the very least it has some exclusivity clauses preventing DC from licensing their IP to other theme parks in North America. It doesn't mean that UC couldn't come in and give DC an offer they can't refuse when the current DC/SF deal sunsets, but I don't think it would be worth the investment from UC that has plenty of other IPs within their control to work with.

April 11, 2019, 3:14 PM

It wouldnt be the first time Universal talked to Warners if DC was being discussed - Islands of Adventure was supposed to be Cartoon based originally remember.

But I think we're right in discounting it. I doubt Universal in two parks could offer the kind of licensing fees that Six Flags can offer from a nationwide chain of parks, even if, as I understand it, their theming isn't so great. I can only see Universal seriously look at DC in non-US properties...

April 11, 2019, 4:36 PM

As to the Monsters area, anybody visited It's Tough to Be a Bug lately??? It's much better to have theme park attractions tell parents there are going to be monsters inside giant, spooky castles, but that little cute attraction scares the snot out of kids and adults, and it comes out of nowhere when doing so. Granted, I love it, but, come on, many kids will eat up the Monsters area. Some will stay away. Some idiot parents will pull their kids in it anyway. People have been going to spook houses forever, and I think a big, fancy section based on the most well known monsters is just what the Dr. (Frankenstein) ordered.

April 11, 2019, 5:22 PM

When I say children, I am talking ages 4 to 9. When Mom and Dad are deciding whether or not they are going to spend $400 to enter a park with the nukes, I would assert some will weigh their options by giving some consideration to the idea that 25% of a park is not suitable for younglings. But if it makes the UO/FW fanboys feel better ... (Ahem) ... Oh wow! How cool! More dragons! Fantastic Escape will be awesome!

April 11, 2019, 9:56 PM

This is my opinion but I think the Classic Monsters & retro throwback rides could blend in together as a world combined. Like DBCooper mentioned in a similar topic. DC could be brought back on the table but another that’s not really been considered like whole idea of bringing back 90’s from Universal Studios Florida original park but updated with newer technology.

April 12, 2019, 4:43 AM

"some will weigh their options by giving some consideration to the idea that 25% of a park is not suitable for younglings."

Isn't there supposedly a huge swathe of guests who visit UO solely to do HP stuff, then head back to Disney without even looking at the rest of the parks? I guess the balance comes down to whether that single IP is strong enough to have that pull.

I think I agree with you TH - there will be some parents who see Monsters and spend their cash elsewhere. And until recently I was distinctly in the "no way" camp when it came to horror as one of the key tentpoles.

But it sounds to me like this new park is Universal again attempting to shift the paradigm for how a theme park works. We've all heard stories of people turning up and asking "where's the Harry Potter/Star Wars/etc park?" Not land, but *park*. And the marketing departments are leaning into this.

The TPU article again proposes this idea of an unticketed central hub, with essentially mini-parks branched off that require you to show admission media to enter. Whether or not that idea is actually still happening, it suggests that Universal are thinking of each land as a separate, distinct entity.

And in *that* frame of mind... it doesn't seem so outlandish to suggest to visitors that they just focus on the bits they're interested in. Particularly if Uni push hard the idea that you should stay on resort (which is the central goal of this entire project, right?) and see theme parking as more of a "drop in and out" endeavour than a whole day's mission. So it's less about "is this one day ticket worth it?" and more "look at all the cool stuff we can do when we stay on resort!" You just ignore the bits that aren't to your taste.

The fact that they're supposedly pursuing a design of a single entrance and exit to each land - meaning you can't easily/accidentally wander into a different one - only makes that seem more probable to me.

TL;DR: I predict they sell it not as a macro park, but as a resort area with four micro ones.

April 12, 2019, 7:40 AM

Two points: After a recent extended WDW only visit, I am glad that UO limits its base. It is nice to visit a high end theme park and not be so inundated with crowds that you cannot accomplish what you want. So, yes, there will be parents that would not take kids that young there. There already are. Most parent that I know say that they will wait for their kids to get older before they go to UO. That is really somewhat smart anyway. Second point is I think the hub thing with multiple entry points might be kinda stupid, but I ain't no expert.

April 12, 2019, 9:14 AM

With the IP that looks to be going into this park as well as the existing IP that's already at Univeral Orlando, I can see a new Dragon's Challenge coming to Universal - try to experience every attraction, shop, or restaurant that has a dragon as part of the theming in one day!

April 14, 2019, 1:00 AM

Somehow, I don't see the problem with Universal adding more dragons to their parks. They're very popular, no? That's like complaining that Disney adds too much princesses to their parks. You just gotta follow the money, baby.

Edited: April 16, 2019, 6:50 AM

All the idiots playing down the How To Train Your Dragon franchise
It's the most relevant DW franchise nowadays with critical acclaim & wide appeal, nobody is asking you to go & visit it, the faithful fans of this saga are already locked in & will carry it without you, we don't need you
Plus flying inside the hidden world is not only cool but a direct competition to the Pandora Flights of Passage ride at Disney's Animal Kingdom

April 16, 2019, 9:35 AM

Here's something to think about: If a land with one e-ticket attraction and one b-ticket attraction plus immersive area development cost $1.3 billion to design and build from 2015-2017, how much will it take to build four immersive themed lands, plus an entry promenade (hub), plus site development, plus civil (including roadwork, sewer, parking. etc.), plus back of house facilities, plus transportation support, plus well ... a bunch of other stuff?

April 16, 2019, 11:23 AM

The current target year is 2023. So to answer TH's question: four years.

April 16, 2019, 2:51 PM

So four years to build and open around a dozen SOTA attractions, plus restaurants, retail, hub/promenade, civil, back of house facilities, etc. Also design, construct and test high end systems to support all operations.

That's ambitious!

April 16, 2019, 3:43 PM

Ambitious sure, but not impossible. Major stadiums and skyscrapers that are similar in scope to a theme park resort can be built in a similar 3-4 year timeline. The LA Rams stadium that has some serious engineering challenges in addition to retail, entertainment, and residential complexes, broke ground in November 2016, and expects to open in time for the 2020 NFL season (August/September). The Petronas Towers were completed in a record 3 years, while the Burj Khalifa was built in 5 and a half years.

I think UC has some advantages with the site being a relatively clean slate (no existing structures or utilities to relocate or consider during construction), which should make construction a bit easier and more efficient. Also, let's not forget that IOA didn't start construction until 1997, and was open 2 years later (granted with some attractions not yet ready). A 4-year construction timeline would definitely be tight, but not out of the realm of possibility. If we were talking about Disney, I would say it would likely never happen that fast, but most construction projects progress faster than Disney projects.

Edited: April 16, 2019, 3:53 PM

In four years, a signature hotel, a surface parking lot (not a parking garage) a hub and four themed Worlds can be done in this time frame. Super Nintendo Land will be tested in Japan and California, Fantastic Beasts will include more Potter-like attractions, Classic Monsters can do a dark ride and an indoor thrill ride, and HTTYD a flying experience, a coaster and a couple kiddie rides. It can be done in four years, with expansion of the property over the next 10 years. UOR is on the move!

April 16, 2019, 4:41 PM

I'm still thinking it's going to be more like 2025 before the new park opens. I don't see how Comcast can build a multibillion dollar entertainment complex next to a sewage treatment plant. That plant has to be moved before the park can open, and that means all kinds of government involvement and environmental permits.

April 16, 2019, 5:08 PM

The extension of Kirkman Road -- which would serve the new park -- is not scheduled to be completed until 2025. And I concur with RM when he says a 2023 opening would be "tight" -- meaning 2024/2025 seems more likely.

April 16, 2019, 7:40 PM

This is a first. TH Creative is actually agreeing with Russell Meyer and me at the same time! Must be a sign of the end times! ;^)

April 17, 2019, 2:24 AM

@ Hillman: I completely disagree with that assertion.

April 17, 2019, 8:06 AM

Back to normal now.

Edited: May 6, 2019, 5:10 PM

As AJ Hummel said if the 4th world is on hold what could Universal orlando have in store for its 4th world? Maybe the classic monsters world is on hold because Tom Cruise’s Mummy film flopped. And Dracula Untold wasn’t very good. But others are coming up like Bride Of Frankenstein, Wolf Man, etc. Maybe this will be thought as a expansion world once the 5th and 6th worlds are announced later. Probably the best move for Universal since the dark universe isn’t doing good at all. Probably they should put back Lord of the Rings & Star Trek on the table as a backup alternative. I know many people have said it won’t come but their are so many fans out their that love these 2 franchises it is about time they see a theme park presence from them. I think they would draw in huge crowds. Seeing a Star Trek ship would be awesome!!! I know Universal doesn’t want to do it and isn’t interested in it anymore but why not bring back the classic IPs the ones that are considered timeless like Back to the future.

May 7, 2019, 1:51 PM

They should put Lord of the Rings into the mix because the Universal parks are in dire need of developing an attraction that features a dragon.

(Chuckle)

May 7, 2019, 2:12 PM

Why not buy the rights to GoT from HBO while they're at it?

Let's get this straight...Star Trek is NOT happening. LOTR is NOT happening. Universal is increasingly trying to leverage their internally owned and controllable IP, especially when at least two (2) of the lands in the new park are already purchased IPs (Fantastic Beasts and Nintendo). People could visit Star Trek ships around the country not too long ago, but those attractions eventually met their demise (Star Trek attractions at Paramount Parks and Star Trek The Experience in Las Vegas). Unless Quentin Tarantino actually makes his rumored Star Trek film, there's nothing else in development for the franchise. Viacom has been extremely guarded about the viewing numbers for Discovery, but it has not sat well with the hard core trekker base, and the other proposed CBS All-Access series in the Star Trek Universe are not even in production yet.

With Tolkien opening this weekend, there's a chance the interest in LOTR is rekindled some, but considering that New Line and MGM continue to squabble over who actually owns the production rights to LOTR, nothing else will happen with the series as the Peter Jackson version fades from memory (rarely played on cable networks anymore versus every month less than a couple of years ago).

BttF may be "timeless" but hasn't been relevant in 10+ years. Even when they pushed nostalgia pieces when 2015 rolled around (the year Marty travels to in BttF2), it did little to rekindle interest in the movies. Unless Universal is planning to reboot the series, utilizing this IP as an anchor for a theme park land would be foolish.

Edited: May 12, 2019, 9:39 AM

If they go with the Universal Classic Monsters it will remain timeless and relevant. Which is the total opposite of what new versions would be.

Even if the new films were actually halfway decent they'll be irrelevant like Brendan Fraser's Mummy in 10+ years. Most Live Actions are except for the big franchises.

June 1, 2019, 2:22 PM

I was thinking as a possible 4th world what if the classic universal attractions can be made into a world like a 90’s section having earthquake, twister, jaws, back to the future, terminator, ghostbusters, with updated technology of universal runs out of ideas with other new IP’s they have in mind. Some of those older IP’s from Universal are timeless. Like disaster movies are very real and happen-in real life. Like earthquake and twister just saying. And shark attacks are real.

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