On May 31, 2007, Universal Studios shocked the world by announcing its plans to bring the world of Harry Potter to its theme park Islands of Adventure. The new section of the park opened to the public on June 18, 2010, and is an absolutely incredible place. Similarly, Disney recently announced a new Star Wars World during the D23 EXPO 2015. While an exact date for the opening of the park has yet to be revealed, fans are clamoring to learn as much as they can about the details concerning such a magical place. Forming worlds based off movies are becoming a much more common theme among amusement parks, as they try to place fans in the fantastical settings that they have dreamed about since their childhoods.
I had the good fortune of being able to spend a day at "Harry Potter World" in the autumn of 2012, and I can honestly say that it was the coolest place I have ever been. You can drink butterbeer and explore Ollivander's Wand Shop, and the whole town of Hogsmeade is exactly how it appeared in the movies. I felt as if I was really in the Harry Potter Universe. During my time there, I began to think about how amazing it would be if a "Lord of the Rings World" was to exist.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy are without question my favorite movies of all time, and while it seems a long shot that such a theme park would ever come to fruition, I'm still hopeful. Warner Bros currently owns the movie rights to both the LOTR and The Hobbit, as they also did with the Harry Potter films. The fact that the same company was able to come to a deal with Universal to bring one franchise to the park makes the possibility of the other more likely.
So, what attractions could there be at such a park?
This roller coaster would have a feel similar to "Expedition Everest" in Disney's Animal Kingdom. You would begin the ride in the snowy mountain pass of Caradhras, only to hear Saruman's chanting. After taking a sharp turn to avoid a barrage of snow, you race past the Watcher in the Water and into the Mines of Moria, which is completely underground (or inside). The car zips through the mines, through the battle by Balin's tomb, and finally across the bridge of Khazad Dhum where the Balrog suddenly illuminates and emits a deafening roar (much like Everests Yeti), and you speed out into the blinding light.
I couldn't decide which of these two village settings would be a better fit, so I thought it might be cool to have them sort of blend into each other. The two are pretty close in Middle Earth, and having recognizable locations from both would be a ton of fun. Every theme park needs a town to just mill around in, as was evidenced by Universals Hogsmeade. This is where the gift shops and the restaurants would be located, such as the Prancing Pony and the Green Dragon. Bag End could have tours running through it, and a children's petting zoo would fit nicely among the farms of the hobbits.
Flight of the Eagles
This attraction would be the calling card of the park. Yes, I know that a lot of fans aren't big into the eagles (Ex Machina much?), but I don't really see another way to explore Middle Earth in all its glory. Climbing into an eagle-shaped seat, riders would be taken on a magical flight that would show off locations such as Rivindell, The Lonely Mountain, Isengard, Helm's Deep, Minas Tirith, and Minas Morgul. The music would change to whichever fit the mood of the place, and massive, sprawling battles would take place right under your feet. I picture this ride being a blend between Disney's "Soarin'" and Harry Potter's "Forbidden Journey", with a screen in front of you showing what otherwise would be impossible, but the movements of the cart making it feel as if you were truly flying alongside Gandalf across Tolkien's magical world.