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A Middle-earth Theme Park - opinion


Jan 30 2013, 6:34pm

Post #1 of 20 (972 views)
A Middle-earth Theme Park - opinion Can't Post

The Tolkien world is pretty deep in lore.

Yes, I know and fully agree that making a theme park out of the films and books is a gross commercialization, but it can be done well. The HP section of Worlds of Adventure in Florida is the best thing Universal has on that property. It's small, but it was well done. Land, money, and legal wranglings aside, would you support building one -- in an accessible place?

The possibilities could go beyond what the movies do. You might actually get to see some things that aren't even in the Extended Editions. New Zealanders would feel horrified if it wasn't in New Zealand, but people would still make the trek to see the out-of-doors stuff, no worries.

Thoughts? What would you like to see? A reproduction of Hobbiton like the farm in NZ? Rivendell? Bree? Goblin Caves? Esgaroth!? Pieces of Helm's Deep or Minas Tirith?

Tol Eressea

Jan 30 2013, 6:51pm

Post #2 of 20 (754 views)
wish list from a year+ ago [In reply to] Can't Post


Here my wish list for a theme resort --kinda theme-parkish, while de-emphasizing or eliminating "rides", instead emphasizing immersion and active participation by guests, with a bit of roleplay. The post is from a ways back. It was a reply to a thread started by yours truly.

I might update it to include more things from TH trilogy. A Dwarven dish-juggling show perhaps? Some kind of tribute to Radagast involving animals, real animals, with an actual zoology expert playing Raddy.

A bag is like a hole that you can carry with you.



Jan 30 2013, 6:59pm

Post #3 of 20 (754 views)
Terrific Ideas [In reply to] Can't Post

Get a job with Universal (cuz MGM aint' in the biz any more) and do it!


Jan 30 2013, 8:49pm

Post #4 of 20 (761 views)
Minas Tirith [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought the movie Minas Tirith was awe-inspiring, even better than I'd ever imagined it. I'd sell both my kidneys for the admission price!

Oh, show it all: a ride through Moria on mining cars, dining at Rivendell, an interlude in Lorien complete with Mirror, watch reenactments at Helm's Deep, stroll through Hobbiton and go inside hobbit-holes for tea, stab Frodo on Weathertop--okay, cancel the last one.


Jan 30 2013, 10:02pm

Post #5 of 20 (738 views)
Bomby has you're perfect location. [In reply to] Can't Post

Larkspur Colorado
halfway between Denver and Colorado Springs.
The Renaissance Fair has been building incredible structures for
Centrally located for the USA.

Mountains we got them.
Renaissance Fair
Larkspur Colorado.

(This post was edited by Bombadil on Jan 30 2013, 10:05pm)


Jan 30 2013, 10:12pm

Post #6 of 20 (729 views)
I don't know, maybe it could work, but [In reply to] Can't Post

There is already a "Middle-Earth theme park" if you want to call it that. It's called Hobbiton and it's found in Middle-Earth (Or New Zealand to us). Whatever anyone thinks of PJ's attempt at Middle-Earth, The Shire is as Shire-like as can be.

"These are Gundabad Wargs! They will outrun you!"

"THESE are Rhosgobel Rabbits! I'd like to see them try...."


Jan 30 2013, 11:19pm

Post #7 of 20 (709 views)
I see it... [In reply to] Can't Post

as a way to introduce the world of Tolkien to even more people than ever. Kids especially. What fun to stroll through any of those iconic locations. Listen to elves playing music. I bet there's a few here that would gladly interview to work there.

You can do standard thrill rides, too. The one inside the Hogwarts Castle is very cool, and quite feels like your own adventure.

That said, the Shire in New Zealand and all the beautiful locations will always be M-E to many, and that natural beauty cannot be overshadowed by a bunch of movie sets. We can certainly use all of it.

Tol Eressea

Jan 30 2013, 11:39pm

Post #8 of 20 (701 views)
Thanks! [In reply to] Can't Post

And yes, that does sound like it would be a fun job, if I were looking for one. Not sure I'd want it to be done through Universal, though, if I had a choice about it. That's a big "if", of course.

I just had another idea. It will be in a separate reply to your original post.

A bag is like a hole that you can carry with you.



Jan 31 2013, 12:16am

Post #9 of 20 (696 views)
If they were to make one [In reply to] Can't Post

I would want it built in the UK - might as well get the boost in tourism and money from them. After all its the country that it's from.

Personally i am kinda doubtful that it would ever happen and dont particularly like the idea as i dont feel it would have anything in common with Middle-earth other than having some stickers on rides saying things like the tower of Isengard or something like that.

Like i said if it is to happen it should be done in the UK. Perhaps even with a section for fans of the books? Like showing his manuscripts or rare first editions etc?


Jan 31 2013, 12:38am

Post #10 of 20 (712 views)
But there IS one! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's called New Zealand. Wink

Seriously though, not sure what to think about some theme park. I can't really see what the "rides" would be. Mine car roller coaster type ride through Erebor or Moria? What else could there be?? It'd be awesome to walk through Hobbiton and Rivendell, but I can't see it being someplace people would bring their kids to.


Jan 31 2013, 1:23am

Post #11 of 20 (711 views)
On the cheap--it likely would be just stickers on rides./ [In reply to] Can't Post


Tol Eressea

Jan 31 2013, 2:43am

Post #12 of 20 (696 views)
Another idea for a theme park--Kindreds, Fellowships, Companies, and Wizard-level badges. [In reply to] Can't Post

One idea I had would be to invite the guests to the theme park to declare a Kindred of the Free Peoples-Hobbit, Elf, Dwarf, or Man (or Woman). Or a guest who declines to choose will have it chosen for them upon entry. (Either at random, or based on a personality test questionnaire, at the guest's choice.) The designation could be marked simply by the color of one's admission wristband, or something more decorative (which I would prefer), such as a Mallorn leaf brooch for Elves, and so on.

What is the point of all this, you wonder? The point is to encourage the guest to make a choice that is meaningful in influences how the guest will enjoy the park, to feel more immersed. Making the choice would become part of the experience--"Did you go to Land of Middle-earth this summer? What was YOUR Kindred?"

A family or group need not all be of the same Kindred. A group or family of mixed Kindreds could be called a Fellowship. A group or family of the same Kindred could be called a Company. Why would a group decide to be a Fellowship? Depends on the choices of the individuals in the group. Or the group might decide to choose disparate Kindreds just for the purpose of thr entire group being able to enjoy different kinds of perks that each Kindred receives. However, a group made up of 100% hobbits would get special benefits from that choice, rewarding them for being All in for the Shire.

The different areas of the park might offer certain benefits to certain Kindreds or to Fellowships or to Companies, such as specific discounts, get-to-the-front-of-the-line privileges, things like that. If the park has an area that focuses on Elves, for example, there might be special perks for guests of Elven Kindred or Elven Companies, for example. Perhaps Elves and Elven Companies might be invited to participate in certain Elvish events, like parades or maybe they would be invited to special seating for shows. But other parts of the park might favor Fellowships, such as areas that are non-Kindred-specific. Examples of that might be perhaps an area based on Bree, or the Misty Mountains.

This would also help the theme park vendors market their wares--for instance, a seller of Dwarven costume items might go out of its way to offer special deals to people with Dwarven insignias.

Therefore the choices you make would be influenced by features offered in the park and where your tastes lie.

It would have to be balanced so that equal perks are offered for everybody no matter what your Kindred or group type is.

But what about the guest who likes a little of each? Well, everybody gets that, by default. Or if you want to spend more, you can get a special admission that grants you *all* the perks of every kind and more. That might be called the Wizard-level , indicated by a badge. The paid staff would have Maiar and Valar level privileges (depending on pay grade and authority) The staff might be empowered to give out temporary Wizard-level badges (such as to soothe the complaints of a disgruntled guest for whatever reason. Disney has a system like that, where employees can give out special passes as needed to resolve problems.)

Whew! Long post. I hope I explained the idea clearly enough.

A bag is like a hole that you can carry with you.



Jan 31 2013, 3:15am

Post #13 of 20 (691 views)
hate to be a downer... [In reply to] Can't Post

As much as a theme park sounds like a tantalizing idea, I'm skeptical. To call it a gross commercialization would be an understatement. I'm sure if done well it could be quite entertaining, but I feel as though an inevitable side-effect would be cheesy bastardizations of the material that would make the park feel more like Disney Land than something based on Tolkien's (quite serious) work. There's no way they'd open a park without including cringe-worthy features like "Gimli's dwarf tossing contest" and terrible restaurants that serve hamburgers "inspired by" LOTR (Denny's, probably...) so as to make the theme park attractive to non-die hard fans. Nobody's going to open a park just for users of TheOneRing.net; they'll want to make a profit and that will likely require some pretty silly attractions.

I'm not totally against the idea, but I think there's alot of potential for this to go terribly wrong. I understand why people want a theme park, but I think we should be grateful for what we have. Reading JRRT's books is every bit as captivating as visiting a theme park (probably more captivating, honestly...use your imaginations people!!). And PJ's movies are visually stunning in and of themselves. Visiting New Zealand seems like a good idea for those who want to see LOTR scenery firsthand.

I don't normally consider myself a purist about LOTR, but I suppose I just have strong feelings about this debate.

Tolkien Forever

Jan 31 2013, 3:56am

Post #14 of 20 (696 views)
To Quote Frodo [In reply to] Can't Post

On the Bridge of Khazad-Dum...



The Ultimate Tolkien Trivia Quiz: http://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/story.php?title=so-you-want-to-be-tolkien-geek


Jan 31 2013, 8:00am

Post #15 of 20 (687 views)
Absolutely not [In reply to] Can't Post

I mean yes, they could make rides and food stands that are Middle Earth themed, but there is no way that Middle Earth can be commercially recreated. Simply because one of the most important aspects of Middle Earth is the people that live in it. Having a place that looked like Middle Earth, but was crowded by modern clothed and gadget twirling tourists would be a travesty.


Jan 31 2013, 10:36pm

Post #16 of 20 (648 views)
What Do You Mean Reenact? [In reply to] Can't Post

Grab a weapon. Take a persona. and engage in the Battle of Helm's Deep! Of course the liability insurance would be a killer.


Jan 31 2013, 10:46pm

Post #17 of 20 (650 views)
That's the problem I have with it also [In reply to] Can't Post

This was the vision that intruded in my head the last time we discussed a Middle-earth Theme Park:

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Jan 31 2013, 11:32pm

Post #18 of 20 (683 views)
But look at how happy those people are! :) // [In reply to] Can't Post



Feb 3 2013, 6:24pm

Post #19 of 20 (612 views)
I wouldn't be against it. [In reply to] Can't Post

Obviously, I cringe to think of Tolkien's world being commercialized, but then I'd have to hate the movies, the statues, the reproductions, etc. So I won't be hypocritical to myself and say "absolutely no!" BUT I would demand that it be done tastefully, accurately, and respectfully... like Jackson's films have been to the host stories.

PLUS, there are many more variables that creep into my logic.
1. Not many of us can afford to go to Matamata NZ to visit Hobbiton. I was over in Wellington, NZ nearly 3 years ago, and couldn't swing it. I mourn the missed opportunity and know I'll probably never get over there again... but I am so homesick for Wellington.
2. Potter has a very well done theme park... which I'm STILL trying to get to; but I've heard nothing but great things about it.
3. I went to a Lord of the Rings exhibition several years ago when it came to Indianapolis. I was able to see so many costumes, props, miniatures, bigatures, artwork, etc... and I still get goosebumps just thinking about it. If an exhibit like that could be made available, that alone would be worth a trip and a ticket!! Seriously... it's mesmerizing!

So... rides would be good:
Hobbiton walk-about with lunch at the Green Dragon
Haunted house with Black Riders, Orcs, Trolls, Fell-beasts, etc.
Dress-up pictures taken of the various kindreds/realms... lots to do.

Reenactments. Wouldn't it be thrilling to see reenactments of various moments? Frodo singing The Cow Jumped Over the Moon in the Pony? or The Council of Elrond? or Bilbo's Party? Especially if you could dress up and be part of the crowd!?

Various eating areas for the different realms: Rohan; Minas Tirith; Hobbiton; Bree/The Pony; Mordor; Rivendell... I'd LOVE to sample the different cuisines.

Environments to go to: Bag End; The Pony; Green Dragon; Rivendell; Erebor; Lake-town; Thranduil's Realm; Goblin-town; Meduseld; Glittering Caves; Lothlorien; Moria; so many places to experience!

Yeah... lots and lots of possibilities and I'd love to have a chance to travel through Middle-earth in a day (or 3-day) visit.

First draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observation List - updated list coming soon


I'm SO HAPPY these new films take me back to that magical world!!

TIME Google Calendar
TORn's Geeky Observations Lists (updated soon)


Feb 11 2013, 1:18pm

Post #20 of 20 (695 views)
My opinion [In reply to] Can't Post

I was looking to see if someone started a thread on this--didn't look hard enough I guess. But if you want my opinion, I started a thread too. It's a big long post and I don't have time to repost it, so if anyone is interested and hasn;t seen it, my opinion is on Main, too.

PS. Gramma, I know you'e an eternal optimist about everything, and I hate to rain on your sense of estel (I wish we all had it!) but I just don't see this as being true to the spirit of Tolkien, to put it mildly. The bulldozing thing is a big reason why.

And theme parks...well, IMO, they are such a 20th-cntury idea. A great thing when energy, water, and food are cheap, but that time has long passed, though most people are only beginning to become aware of that fact. I could go on about this, but I won't. I'm a member of our local chapter of the Transition Town movement, (google it--it's become a global thing) which seeks to make communites aware of these issues and help people live more sustainably. I have to admit such things colr a lot of my opinions these days. If anyone else wants me to explore this further, PM me.


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