With Poseidon's Fury closing, The Lost Continent at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure no longer has any attractions. (I'm not counting the talking fountain.) That clears the way for a major re-think of the land.
So what should go there next?
I will assume that Universal will want to install its own IP in the space. But with Epic Universe opening and Universal Studios Florida needing a replacement for Woody Woodpecker's Kid Zone, what is left for Universal to put here?
Ideally, the IP would provide a smooth transition between Seuss Landing and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. So I am thinking it should have strong tween-ager appeal, with a some sort of fantasy theme. What does Universal own that fits that?
What would you like to see in the soon-to-be-former The Lost Continent?Tweet
I go with the Zelda idea, easy to rework some stuff into a version of Hyrule and some sort of Zelda "show" would be fun.
Can you imagine the amount of traffic that area of IoA would get with the 1-2 punch of Zelda + Potter? Potter alone makes that area absolutely slammed...
The timing of this closure is what makes it so intriguing. Were it not for the opening of EU I would be naturally inclined to say this area might become an even greater extension of Potter, a How to Train Your Dragon area or a Classic Monsters area (although that one would be the biggest stretch and most jarring juxtaposition from Seuss admittedly). Zelda would probably fit this niche like a glove, especially if there aren’t any plans to include it in the Nintendo World at EU.
As an aside, other than what is built already / being built regarding the Potter franchise I wonder what conversations have happened behind closed doors about future theme park development of the Potter IP in light of J.K. Rowling’s lightning rod views. Not trying to stoke a political discussion, merely posit a question I’ve asked myself since the controversy involving her began and EXPLICITY how it may or may not affect the theme park adaptation of her works moving forward. That’s probably a topic for another thread though.
My guess right now is that nothing is going to happen to the area immediately, but in early 2025 they'll completely close off the island and give it a full overhaul to turn it into Hyrule for a 2027/2028 opening. Mythos will remain a full service restaurant, but will turn into Hyrule Castle, serving as a visual draw across the lagoon and a compliment to Hogwarts. The area around it will be transformed into a medieval village similar to those seen in the games, with various shops, quick service restaurants, and a meet and greet area. Poseidon's Fury would be transformed into the Temple of Time and house an E-ticket dark ride, while the entire back section of the land would be completely demolished to create a forested area housing a compact thrill coaster. Obviously, this is all armchair design, but given what we know at this moment I'd say it sounds very plausible.
If not Zelda, I honestly can't think of another good property at the moment that doesn't involve completely demolishing the Lost Continent. Lord of the Rings (if it is indeed on the table) would be too awkward right next to Hogsmeade and seems a better fit as an expansion of Epic Universe. More Potter is unlikely as that IP seems about saturated as to what Universal can do with it, plus it's not as strong as it once was these days. DreamWorks seems a little too kid oriented to devote another land to it when Epic Universe is getting How to Train Your Dragon and it's getting both a land at Studios and a park in Texas. Nothing else in Universal's arsenal that doesn't already have a theme park presence seems to have sufficient drawing power for a full land, so it's going to be very interesting to watch this develop.
Warner Bros. is moving ahead with a Potter TV series, and there's zero indication that Universal is in any way dissatisfied with its contract with Warner Bros. granting it the Potter rights at its parks. Potter, as a franchise, remains popular and beloved... though I suspect that JKR will have little involvement beyond ceremonial veto power over new productions going forward, given the recent poor performance of the Fantastic Beasts series.
So I see no need to introduce or entertain any baseless rumors about the Potter situation changing anytime soon in the parks. Universal (and Miral, in the UAE) are gonna do what they're gonna do with Potter.
Although it is a massive amount of space with the Poseidon's fury show building and Legends of Sinbad amphitheater, they could get even more by cannibalizing the park offices behind Poseidon's show building. If they move the offices to the new site, they'll have a LOT more room to work with.
Here's an idea I haven't seen discussed before:
Universal should convert Poseidon's Fury into a Luigi's Mansion walk-through attraction instead. Guests use AR goggles to suck up ghosts as they walk through the mansion. They could possibly use the Minions conveyor belt technology as well.
You can even keep the talking fountain, and just re-theme it a haunted fountain on the grounds of the mansion instead.
I've never bought the rumour that Zelda will be replacing Lost Continent. I actually think Universal is saving Zelda for next door. The Simpsons license is expiring in 2028 and Universal is going to need something ready to go to replace it. Combined with the perpetual rumours of MIB: Alien Attack's demise and the closure of Fear Factor Live, Universal will have a huge plot of land to work with and Zelda is the perfect big IP to fill it.
I think Pokemon would be more likely to replace the Simpsons in USF, and Zelda fits better thematically in Islands. Also, there was leaked concept art for a Zelda attraction/land that explicitly put it in Lost Continent.
As for what the land could entail, I think a dark ride is a given, and we know they were planning a boat ride in the past. I don't think a coaster is warranted and I don't really want another coaster in IOA. That would be better off in Studios. One thing that would work well is a show, and I think Zelda lends itself to an action-stunt show pretty well.
Mythos is in a weird spot in my mind, I can imagine a scenario where it gets completely rethemed (look up Zora's Domain Zelda on Google for some beautiful architecture that would feel worthy of replacing the gorgeous Mythos for), but I can also imagine a scenario where it isn't included as part of the land, and is its own little remnant of what used to be.
This is such a tough area, because the level of theming already present in the Lost Continent is so strong that you'd hate to see UC implode it for something completely new. However, Universal really doesn't have any in-house IPs that could feasibly incorporate the existing theming into a repackaged land. I think the easiest transition would be if UC could get ahold of the licensing for Clash of the Titans from MGM/WB. There are tons of directions UC could go using existing theming, buildings, and designs to reskin Lost Continent with an IP that would clearly have a direct connection to the theming of the original land. However, the one issue would be the recognition of the IP as the most recent film in the series was Wrath of the Titans back in 2012, and nothing on the horizon to rekindle the IP on the big screen anytime soon.
Another IP that I think would fit well into the existing Lost Continent theming would be Percy Jackson, but given that Disney currently holds the production rights to the IP, I think it would be problematic for Universal to try to make a run at the theme park rights to the series.
I do think the Zelda concepts make a lot of sense, but I just think UC would prefer to reserve that IP for a "clean" representation of Hyrule at either Epic Universe or as the franchise selected to replace KidZone at USF.
The one thing that's not being discussed that I think makes a lot of sense is that instead of changing Lost Continent into a single new land, why not have WWoHP and Seuss Landing expand from each direction to increase the size of those lands and essentially pinch Lost Continent out of existence. Obviously this transformation would make a massive mess of the east side of the park for a year or 2, but would solve a lot of problems, including the stale-ness of Seuss Landing as well as increasing the footprint of WWoHP in IOA (something that has been long-rumored over at USF as well). Using the Sinbad Theater for a long-rumored Forbidden Forest dark ride could work even though the location is visited on both Hagrid's and FJ. I've always felt UC could take better advantage of the Seuss IP, and the fact that it doesn't use any of the recently produced movies (Lorax, Grinch, Horton, etc...) is a massive blind spot for the land.
How about something original, like they did with Lost Continent to begin with?
Russell, I think the Dreamworks characters along the construction walls at the site of the former Kidzone have already made that a lock as the IP going there.
Undercover Brother was a Universal film. Retheme the land to so Voyage of Sinbad is now You Have Messed Up My Afro: The Musical. Poseidon's Fury would be rethemed to The MAN's Fury. Turn Mythos into a soul food restaurant.
Edgar Wright's Cornetto Trilogy is a Universal Property.
Pacific Rim is a Universal Property
None of these ideas particularly excite me. Whatever they do I hope they replace it with a really good dark ride. No matter the IP as long as the ride is fun I'll be happy but sad to see the theming of the lost continent go away.
I personally think the best thing to do would be to re-theme the land as part of a Jurassic World extension. They can build a different version of the Beijing ride and re-theme the Discovery centre to the JW one and change River Adventure. Being a huge fan of the JP frandshise I would like that way more then Zelda.
I think this land is in a weird spot. In the past, they were planning on putting How to Train Your Dragon here, which would've been a pretty good fit thematically. As of right now, even though it's not specifically a Universal property (although with the success of the Super Mario Brothers Movie, that might change), The Legend of Zelda makes the most sense. We know it was planned for the land in the past, and this sudden closure makes me think they just brushed the dust off those old plans after the success of Super Nintendo World and the Mario Movie. However, apparently, Universal Studios Japan doesn't want Zelda, since it's surprisingly not very popular over there. From what I've heard, they want Animal Crossing. If Universal's previous track record is considered, I can also see an Animal Crossing land come to save on R&D costs (but I still think Zelda is more likely).