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A New Island for IOA?


My friend Arthur Levine, the Theme Park Guide at About.com, has an exclusive on a hot, new rumor that Universal is planning a major — and I do mean major — revamp for Islands of Adventure.

Word is (and it’s from the usual “highly credible source”) that Universal will . . .

substantially change one of the park’s five islands and re-theme it to the stories and characters of one of the most popular children’s franchises. And I mean hugely popular.

Okay, let’s play a guessing game. First, which island? Here are some possibilities as I see them.

Lost Continent. Poseidon’s Fury has never been that popular. A new show could easily be put in the Sinbad theater and Dueling Dragons could be economically rethemed (maybe not even that much depending on which “children’s franchise” we’re talking about).

Jurassic Park. There’s only one E-ticket ride here and there’s space going begging since Triceratops Encounter closed. Also, Pterandon Flyers has throughput issues and Camp Jurassic doesn’t lend itself to merchandising. Also, Discovery Center never seems to draw big crowds. Of course, replacing River Adventure would cost megabucks . . . unless they could re-theme it and keep it as a water ride.

Toon Lagoon. Perhaps they could keep part of Toon Lagoon and use the land now taken up by the amphitheater and Comic Strip Lane for the new island? OTOH, the rumor seems to be that the total number of islands will stay the same.

I really can’t see them touching Seuss Landing or Marvel. Of course if Universal has licensing deals with Seuss and Marvel that expire soon, then all bets are off.

The next mystery is which wildly successful children’s franchise could we be talking about?

I’m going to guess Harry Potter, on the theory that they wouldn’t bring in another young kiddies theme to compete with Seuss. The Potter franchise would seem to allow a revamp Lost Continent without breaking the bank.

Arthur is also reporting that a Simpsons ride will replace Back to the Future after all, once the issue of payments to the voice talent gets ironed out!




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