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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Main:
Theme Park Version of Middle Earth?
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cleowyn
Registered User

Oct 7 2013, 7:17pm

Post #1 of 33 (653 views)
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Theme Park Version of Middle Earth? Can't Post

Hi!

I'm in the themed entertainment industry and just went to a conference called Storytelling Architecture Technology Experience (SATE) featuring speakers and audience from the likes of Disney and Universal. Rumors were rumbling about a possible LOTR/Hobbit themed area in one of the major parks in the coming years. Was interested in hearing from TORn message board readers on a) whether it should be done at all, and b) what folks would like it to look like (rides, retail, restaurant, general layout, etc.).

Thanks!

- Cleowyn


geordie
Tol Eressea

Oct 7 2013, 7:25pm

Post #2 of 33 (405 views)
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Nope - [In reply to] Can't Post

- shouldn't be done, IMO. Sounds tacky.
.


cleowyn
Registered User

Oct 7 2013, 7:29pm

Post #3 of 33 (403 views)
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Studio Tour Option [In reply to] Can't Post

What about a studio tour similar to what was done with Harry Potter, where guests get to walk through actual sets, interact with costumes and props, see the Bigatures, etc.? Obviously not as many people can make it to WETA as can make it to WB studios in London, but I bet it would still draw a sizable audience.

- Cleowyn


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Oct 7 2013, 7:33pm

Post #4 of 33 (393 views)
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The difficulty [In reply to] Can't Post

is that Tolkien's Middle-earth creation is high-quality storytelling which has influenced modern fantasy. How to keep that quality and class in a theme park, while also being entertaining for visitors, would be very difficult to do.

If it could be done, great. I'm all for introducing more people to Tolkien's world - but whatever is developed, it needs to retain the spirit of Tolkien otherwise it becomes just another fantasy product with a big name for its brand.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


cleowyn
Registered User

Oct 7 2013, 7:39pm

Post #5 of 33 (385 views)
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Interested to know... [In reply to] Can't Post

...what folks' opinions are of Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Islands of Adventure? I know Tolkien's works are a lot more sophisticated than Rowling's, but I also know that HP fans had the same reservations about creating a theme park version of Hogwarts/Hogsmeade and ended up being generally pleased (understatement) with the results.

- Cleowyn


geordie
Tol Eressea

Oct 7 2013, 8:43pm

Post #6 of 33 (372 views)
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I don't know - [In reply to] Can't Post

- I'm not a fan of Jackson's, so I'm not part of the demographic the studios would be aiming for. I don't think this sort of thing would bring 'Tolkien' to more people; just more of the same of jackson's works.
.


Magpie
Immortal


Oct 7 2013, 9:07pm

Post #7 of 33 (363 views)
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perhaps a 'design of the LOTR films' tour [In reply to] Can't Post

I went to such an exhibit of Star Wars props and costumes (and maybe storyboards and such although I can't remember those items).

I'd be very interested in seeing the costumes and props close up.

But I'm not sure that brings Tolkien to people not familiar with him already. It will draw fans of Tolkien's writings and/or the current (last decade) movies.

I probably like the LOTR movies 10 times more than geordie although, that's a math conundrum, what's 10 x 0, lol.

But I am 100% opposed to a LOTR (or Hobbit or whatever) theme park. The last time I got into a discussion about this it grew heated so I'm not going to leave it at that. Suffice it to say that I think creating a Tolkien/Middle-earth theme park would do just the opposite of bringing people closer to Tolkien. Unless by 'bringing people closer' one means getting people to spend money for things with Tolkien's name attached to it. That's not how I'd define it.

I think a tour of costumes and props was considered and the idea could not jump the complicated copyright hoops attached to Tolkien's work. But I don't have much info on that.


LOTR soundtrack website ~ magpie avatar gallery
TORn History Mathom-house ~ Torn Image Posting Guide


malickfan
Gondor


Oct 7 2013, 9:46pm

Post #8 of 33 (358 views)
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I'm with Magpie and Geordie on this. [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry!

Just sounds too tacky, too expensive and too pop culturish to do justice to Tolkien, far from bringing people closer to the man and his writings, personally I feel something like this would only further dillute the message and purpose of the books, not to mention reducing the film's to just another cash cow (a feeling I got watching AUJ, but that's a different story)-want to learn the story of Frodo and The Ring? Why read that stuffy book when you can ride the Rollercoaster?. The price and difficulties in getting such a project off the ground would also be factors to consider-I couldn't tell you whether opening such a theme park would fall within the rights of WB and New Line, but I certainly don't think the Tolkien Estate would agree to such a project anyway.

Though that's not say they aren't trying, as this old thread indicates:

http://newboards.theonering.net/...theme%20park;#569684

A studio tour or museum of the films I could defintely see, and more or less agree with (though I sure couldn't afford to fly to NZ to visit it even if I was inclined)-I'm a fan of the Harry Potter series but have no interest in visiting the studio tour (though I live just a few hours from London it's not something I'd be inclinded to visit), though I'm sure masses of people would be interested in a similar one for the LOTR films.

I don't have much to say.



entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 7 2013, 11:00pm

Post #9 of 33 (343 views)
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There was a tour of LOTR costumes and props [In reply to] Can't Post

I saw it in Indianapolis and it was excellent! It toured in the US and other countries, but the rights issue came about over setting up a permanent museum in New Zealand.

However, I agree that a props and costume tour will not draw in people who don't already know Tolkien. Neither will a theme park, for that matter.


imin
Valinor


Oct 8 2013, 9:15am

Post #10 of 33 (323 views)
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Totally agree [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I don't think this sort of thing would bring 'Tolkien' to more people; just more of the same of Jackson's works.
.


'What's the matter with you?' - J.R.R. Tolkien


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Oct 8 2013, 10:00am

Post #11 of 33 (344 views)
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I know it's not a popular idea for many [In reply to] Can't Post

But after seeing the fun and success of the Harry Potter Theme Park, I'd love to have a chance to see a TASTEFUL LOTR Park. Now that the films are nearly finished, I think the generations to come would enjoy (as much as I would) walking into the Prancing Pony for some cheese and bread with Breelanders singing Middle-earth folksongs over in the corner. Then walk along a boggy path (Midgewater Marshes) to a ride through Moria and/or the Lonely Mountain with a Dragon, Orcs and a Cave Troll popping out for a scare!

Rivendell could host displays of props, costumes, and miniatures with Artist sketches, backgounds, and previs or plans for developing the films. I know when I went to the Film Collection at the Museum in Indiana several years ago, I was captivated with seeing Sam's backpack in both scales, Treebeard's model, actual costumes and all things used for the films up close and personal.

But the topper would be going up Bagshot Row to visit Hobbit Holes... Sam's and Bag End, especially. Then a picnic under the Party Tree.

Yeah... I'd go :) I don't see it being much different then getting to Hobbiton in Matamata, NZ.

BUT... don't limit it to Florida or California. I know the elements are a factor to getting the most out of a park's life during the year... but for most of us, the cost of getting there makes it impossible to multiple trips let alone one. ;)



5th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observation List - August 11, 2013
1st draft of TH:DOS Geeky Observation List - August 11, 2013



sample

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."

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



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


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Oct 8 2013, 2:03pm

Post #12 of 33 (305 views)
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I'm not completely opposed to the idea of a M-e theme park [In reply to] Can't Post

I do have reservations, since such a project could easily become very tacky.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Patty
Immortal


Oct 8 2013, 2:16pm

Post #13 of 33 (306 views)
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I'm with ya, Gramma... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd love to see one, tastefully done. And I personally do think it might inspire folks to read Tolkien down the line. It could work, if it stays true to Tolkien and leaves out the adolescent humor that occasionally creeps into the movies. The way you envision it sounds like the right path. I would love it to be situated in the Heartland, so if you live in the States you only have HALF a continent to cross to get there.

It was great meeting you and Entmaiden when you folks came here to Indy for the exhibit. How we got that and Chicago didn't, I'll never know. Angelic

Permanent address: Into the West






Bombadil
Half-elven


Oct 8 2013, 3:26pm

Post #14 of 33 (309 views)
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The ONLY thing that is Tacky? [In reply to] Can't Post

Is how Tourists dress at Theme Parks!

It would Bother Bomby much
to be sitting in the Prancing Pony
with Screeming kids and
really over-weight
Peeps wearing cargo shorts (hairy legs!)
and Hawiian Shirts,
Cameras Dangling
some NFL Ball Caps on backwards?

THEY are the one's that take you
out of MiddleEarth... Pronto!!


Patty
Immortal


Oct 8 2013, 3:37pm

Post #15 of 33 (303 views)
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I think we have to be a little more tolerant of our fellow beings... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd try to go during school hours in the winter, for sure, though! Wink

Permanent address: Into the West






Ruxendil_Thoorg
Grey Havens


Oct 8 2013, 5:56pm

Post #16 of 33 (282 views)
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no "rides".... [In reply to] Can't Post

I think having rollercoasters ("Goblin Town: The Ride"?) and the like would be hard to do in a tasteful way. by "ride" i mean anything involving sitting in a seat with a safety bar and wheels, cables, or hydraulic-powered arms. No coasters, no dark rides like Pirates of the Caribbean or Snow White, no whirling cups, no carousel, no ferris wheel, no freefall, no bumper cars. Nothing too overtly "industrial" please.

But "exhibits" that require walking, like through a recreated Rivendell, would be quite lovely.

Also I'd like to have themed restaurants that showcase cuisine based on Elvish, Hobbit, Dwarvish, Rohan etc, and an area for retail based on the marketplace in Hobbiton, which would be a bit like a Renaissance Faire. Maybe 4D shows that immerse you in a chase scene though Moria or a ride on the back of an Eagle, for examples. Live shows in which scenes are reenacted, with combat choreography. Musical or dance performances by Tolkien-inspired bands or groups. Also an archery range and an axe-throw, dart-throw, and knife-throw , with prizes offered, would be good.

Also no waterslides, or other water park rides unless...maybe a real swan boat ride between the Argonath provided its looks accurate and doesn't look cheesy- fake.

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

http://newboards.theonering.net/...forum_view_expanded;


imin
Valinor


Oct 8 2013, 7:30pm

Post #17 of 33 (269 views)
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If there were to be a theme park [In reply to] Can't Post

Where would our fellow TORnsibs put it? Maybe NZ, USA or UK? Maybe somewhere totally different?

Would be cool to see where is most popular.

'What's the matter with you?' - J.R.R. Tolkien


Patty
Immortal


Oct 8 2013, 8:25pm

Post #18 of 33 (259 views)
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England! [In reply to] Can't Post

I wish it would be in the U.S. for my own selfish convenience. But it belonged in either England or N.Z.

Permanent address: Into the West






Darkstone
Immortal


Oct 8 2013, 8:28pm

Post #19 of 33 (278 views)
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Rides! [In reply to] Can't Post

Forest River Barrel Ride
M&P Uruk-hai Piggyback Ride
Roll Down Farmer Maggot's Hill
Anduin White Water Ride.
Moria Runaway Mine Cart
Parachute Drop From the Argonath
Steward Fire Bungie Jump
The Balrog Rollercoaster Plunge
Fell Beast Ride
Bill the Pony Merry-Go-Round
One Ring Spinnaker
Swan Boat Kiddie Ride
Minas Tirith Seven Level Rollercoaster
Shadowfax Virtual Ride
Orthanc Eagle Ride
Lembas Nachos
Cram on a Stick
Bag of Fried Mushrooms
Iced Entdraught
Slushie Miruvor
Jelly Hobbit Feet
Elven Ear Headband
Gandalf's Arrow-Though-The-Wizard-Hat Wizard Hat
Glow-In-The-Dark Sting
Gollum Googly Eyes

Oh, please make it happen!! I'm so there!!!

******************************************
I met a Balrog on the stair,
He had some wings that weren't there.
They weren't there again today,
I wish he would just fly away.


Patty
Immortal


Oct 8 2013, 8:35pm

Post #20 of 33 (268 views)
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You are being cynical, Darkstone, but… [In reply to] Can't Post

It would probably have to have something of this nature in order to make it financially lucrative. That doesn't mean that the owners would have to appeal to the lowest common denominator, but a lot of people like rides. I'm afraid they'd have to have something of this nature.

Permanent address: Into the West






Darkstone
Immortal


Oct 8 2013, 8:57pm

Post #21 of 33 (262 views)
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An Eco-Tourism Middle-earth Theme Park in Spain fell through, but..... [In reply to] Can't Post

...there is this:

http://www.theonering.net/...efinite-possibility/

******************************************
I met a Balrog on the stair,
He had some wings that weren't there.
They weren't there again today,
I wish he would just fly away.


Lissuin
Tol Eressea


Oct 8 2013, 10:00pm

Post #22 of 33 (284 views)
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I choose to contribute (and hope it helps us, every one). [In reply to] Can't Post

I've had a unique experience as a Tolkien fan and a Hobbit film extra - I got to dress the part and move within amazing Middle-earth settings. It's an experience I'll always treasure and one I would have loved to share with other fans, to inhabit Middle-earth for a time. Many of us over the past several decades have tried to recreate parts of Middle-earth for ourselves either through costume or hobbit hole building, just to be able to slip into that wonderful world we love for a while. The fans who've established the ALEP festivals in Kentucky http://www.alep-ky.us/about.html seem to have found a lovely way to share that with other like-minded folk, and good on 'em! Thanks to PJ and the hobbits of Matamata, we can now all stroll through the Shire and have a brew at the Green Dragon. We at TORn do our Middle-earth communing on line.

There will, no doubt, be some sort of Middle-earth themed attraction in the US or elsewhere one day. I do hope it's a good one - but my idea of good won't be others', just as we disagree here about the making of the films. The phrase "good taste" always presents itself when this subject comes up, but whose good taste will prevail? It won't be to everyone's liking, that's certain, but does that mean it shouldn't be built at all?

Since I think that members of the themed entertainment industry will one day have the incredible fun of putting together such an attraction for the rest of us, I'm going to put in my two-cents worth so that I'll be able to think that perhaps some of "my" Middle-earth is there for others to enjoy.

1) Have simple costumes (capes, hats, gowns, jackets) available and required for each and every visitor to transform themselves into local inhabitants of Lake-town, Rivendell or the Shire. Bomby is right that Hawaiian shirts would definitely detract from everyone's experience; clothing that might pass in Diagon Alley in a Harry Potter-themed area would scream "real world" in M-e.

2) Pay as much attention to detail as the set decorators on The Hobbit and LOTH have done. Avoid the tons of paper and plastic products in cafes and find authentic-looking ceramic and glass reusable dishes. Have homely objects placed on windowsills, tables and cupboards as if the owner has just left them there. Plant flowers and trees that blossom in spring, and let leaves blow along the paths and streets in an October wind. Let this be a living place. Weta Workshop is capable of creating the most incredible realism in a place that has never existed, so use their expertise - please!

3) Have cast members in character interacting with visitors: put more actors to work! Take advice from living history museums like Plimoth Plantation http://www.plimoth.org/...tury-english-village , where each actor takes on the story of one of the original settlers and has no idea what an airplane or telephone is as the year is 1627; Old Sturbridge Village of the 1830's http://www.osv.org/, where actors cook on open hearths, load carts pulled by oxen, bind books, make lace, and where I spent the most authentic Thanksgiving of my life tantalized by the smells of roast turkey and spices on the air while an actor told me how the whole family would be arriving soon to share the meal - and they did - in costume. Yes, I wished I could sit down with them, but later I had a wonderful feast at the inn and tasted authentic dishes of the period while sitting in front of a crackling fire. (sigh) That's what I'm talkin' about! Make it a living Middle-earth.

4) rides: well...it is a theme park. There's a lovely little merry-go-round in Dale we see with various animals, no doubt created by the dwarves, and that could be fine; boat rides among the piers and buildings of Lake-town with Lake-towners going about their daily tasks and calling out to the visitors, passing the time of day as if they belonged there, too; canoes or swan boats on the River Anduin as elves play and sing Tra-la-lally on the shore amongst the trees Laugh; and, yes, I would LOVE to walk through the caverns of Thanduil's realm and then escape on the river through the rapids in a barrel - and get wet!

Even if it can't match the vision we each have in our heads, the chance to experience the sense of really being in Middle-earth "is not a thing to miss, in June under the stars". I had that chance in June under the stars. I'd like others to have it, too.


(This post was edited by Lissuin on Oct 8 2013, 10:02pm)


Meneldor
Tol Eressea


Oct 8 2013, 11:30pm

Post #23 of 33 (258 views)
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You had me at cram on a stick. [In reply to] Can't Post

 


They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.


Bombadil
Half-elven


Oct 9 2013, 12:10am

Post #24 of 33 (246 views)
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DSTONE...you just gave away [In reply to] Can't Post

Denny's Tie-in Menu
coming sooon to their Chain near you?

"Lembas Nachos"
sounds Plausble

"Iced Entdaught"?

betcha dollar for donuts...DStone
Bomby will there That Premier
Night, Reporting Live
from Bomby's Nearest DENNY's
just like last year..

Make sure to ask your "WaitTron Unit"?
if it's OKAY to Steal one of Denny's Millions of oversheets,

They are one of Bomby's
Favorite Collectables.

"Could you please Grand Slam
mine with CRAM?"

(we do know? that TORn MODS are helping write Denny's Menu..)
Ain't it great?


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Oct 9 2013, 1:46am

Post #25 of 33 (227 views)
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T'is what the Professor teaches :) [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolerance, acceptance, grace, and apples in your pocket when you go for long walks ;)



5th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observation List - August 11, 2013
1st draft of TH:DOS Geeky Observation List - August 11, 2013



sample

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."

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



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

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