It’s been in the News today that Universal Studios Orlando is considering opening a fourth theme park and, much more importantly, it will contain a “Lord of the Rings Land”. It got me wondering, what’s going to be in there? We all know there will be a real-life Green Dragon Pub where Merry and Pippin will serve you a whole half. But what else? I’ve decided that I’d like to recommend a few features to Universal free* of charge in an open letter. I would’ve sent it privately but as we all know, the international stamp shortage has made that very difficult.
I understand that you are considering opening a “Lord of the Rings Land” at your Orlando location. It’s been my dream to work in Theme Park Design for over 15 minutes now and I would love it if you could make my dream come true. I envision Lord of the Rings-Land as an interactive experience where no two trips are the same. Here are my ideas, in order of when you’ll come across them in the park:
1) Enter Lord of the Rings Land through the Gift Shop. First off, you have to grab a nametag that has your name and the name of your Dad/Mum/Legal Guardian. You know what I mean: Aragorn son of Arathorn. Gimli son of Gloin. Daniel son of Graham. Seth son of Sandy. Matilda daughter of Miss Honey. And so on. In the Gift Shop, you will be informed that there is a ride somewhere in the park that you can only go on if you purchase a souvenir ring.
2) King Teaoden’s Spinning Teacups: Probably not worth visiting if you’re running out of time.
3) Why not stop for some food over at Lord of the Onion Rings? After all of his friends got on that boat bound for elf heaven, Sam grew bored and discontent in his well-earned early retirement and decided to try his hand at the catering game. As well as Onion Rings, other items on the menu include Aracorn-on-the-cob, Salted Pork, Lord of the Wings, Frodonuts, and The Witch-king of Angmars bar. Also Lembas Bread, and oh look, more Lembas Bread.
4) Remember not to fill up too much, though. Because The Lord of the Rings Land is an interactive experience and you may have to move quickly and urgently at any moment. Remember that bit in the Fellowship of the Ring where Frodo et al are all hanging around on those rocks and then a load of birds appear? Gimli – who, already at the forefront of an absolute shitstorm of bad decisions thanks to his ridiculous Mines of Moria suggestion, jumps the gun and assures everyone that the incoming birds are “just a wisp of cloud”. Turns out that no one has ever been that wrong before, ever. Anyway, Legolas shouts out “Crebain from Dunland”, because he correctly assumes that the birds are spies of Saruman. The Fellowship all hide. At Lord of the Rings Land, every hour – on the hour – our trained Birdsman (Chris) will release 300 birds into the sky directly over the park. Our very own Legolas (Actually played by a remarkably available Orlando Bloom), will shout “Crebain from Dunland” – and everyone has to hide immediately.
5) House of Boromirrors: Boromir is somewhere in the Maze of Mirrors and he wants that ring you foolishly picked up at the gift shop.
6) Are you a Mum and don’t like rides? Are you a little bored of the rings? Eh? Maybe you’re even feeling a little ignored of the rings? That’s ok, have a relaxing sit down in our tranquil Isengarden where most of the trees aren’t alive. Don’t worry, it’s all aboveboard of the rings.
7) Strider’s Sliders & Ciders: Small Burgers and alcoholic fermented apple juice served by a weird, handsome man who speaks 18 languages.
8) The Council of Elpond: Here on business? Why not book a space at our Brand New Executive Meeting Rooms? The Council of Elpond has a high-speed internet connection, tea and coffee making facilities, and it’s a pond.
9) Turns out that ring you purchased at the start doesn’t just allow you access to the best ride in the park, it also guarantees you a Fast-Pass ticket. “Mt. Doom Log Flume” is its name but before you get on the ride, you have to go through a mile-long maze where you’ll come across Dead Marshes, Bill the Pony, and Arsey Trees. There’s a catch though: somewhere on your journey, you’ll notice that you’re being pursued by one of our legendarily intense Gollums. If you manage to get to the top without being caught, you and Smeagol will ride the log-flume down together and you’ll get a free picture commemorating your special day. If you do get caught by Gollum, you have to ride the log flume on your own.