Since even before the release of the films in 2001, there have been rumors of Lord of Rings heading to an Orlando theme park. Over the years, the rumors have solidified around Universal being the leading contender for the blockbuster franchise, with the park mentioning Lord of the Rings in a guest survey as early as 2010. Now the story has popped yet again, and this time it has some interesting corresponding data that seems to back it up.
One of the leading sources of Universal rumors has been the well-respected Josh Young of Theme Park University. Earlier this month he shocked many when, after years of silence on the story, he announced that he had heard a Lord of the Rings attraction was possibly back in the cards for Universal. Like previously, it was still far from being a done deal.
According to Young, the concept has moved from being a land in the now-announced Epic Universe park to now being a replacement to the less than popular Toon Lagoon area at Islands of Adventure, where it will reimagine the Popeye’s themed raft ride, Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges. Though the specific ride system has yet to be decided on, Young points to two options; one being an underwater rollercoaster-style track, while the other is a magnetic system similar to Shanghai’s Pirates of the Caribbean. He also notes that Universal Creative used a recent closure of Bluto’s to test some different styles of boats for the new attraction.