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Middle Earth coming to UOR?

Cup_Of_Coffee

Veteran Member
Aug 7, 2018
4,251
I think the best course of action here (if this rumor is real, of course) would be to pull a Nintendo/Potter with the property. Split it up between Epic Universe and Islands of Adventure, one being Mordor or Hobbiton/Shire and the other being Revendell.
We aren't entirely sure that's the plan for Nintendo yet, but it wouldn't shock me. Would be awesome if by 2026 we're lucky enough to get LOTR, SNW, and Pokemon. Huge win for Universal this decade if all comes true.
 

RFRees

Member
Dec 24, 2015
828
From what I know about UORs backstage area (unless anything has significantly changed over the last few years):

The main HR building (including benefits, recruiting, payroll, training) is located directly behind Diagon Alley. It is a single floor building and is cramped, with small offices and cubes. This is the same building you, as a visitor, might enter if you've ever interviewed or auditioned for a position (there's a Woody Woodpecker statue to greet you).

I am unsure what kind of hr would be located behind LC (as was mentioned in this thread), but it's possible they have IOA specific management and generalist there. I know that building but don't actually know who is in there (maybe "operations"? Which would make sense why someone called it hr I guess).

Most of the backstage buildings are old (though not as old as Disney), with updates few and far between. Some of them feel like trailers (many of them actually are) or repurposed for a use other than what it was designed for. IMO they pay a lot of attention to customer facing areas and neglect backstage.

A lot of backstage could be relocated off-site similar to Universal Creative (UC). For example, marketing, accounting/finance, Dave School, etc., anything which doesn't need to be in direct contact with the rest of operations. But the issue is that these departments would need to travel to site A for things like training, which means l&d would have fewer people attending their events. (This may become a big issue when Epic Universe is developed.) These departments start feeling disconnected, which is not what UOR wants (aside from Creative, which they've purposefully disconnected).

One idea would be to relocate pretty much all backstage (aside the essentials) to a single location, similar to the Dr Phillips idea. But I think people have become more doubtful on this.

The other idea would be to use the space they have, just build up; bulldoze their old single floor buildings and trailers, and build multiple new 4 story buildings. They already have some taller buildings (like where marketing/executive is), so keep those and replace anything with just one floor. They have tons of room back there if they just work with what they've got.

(Side note/edit: IMO UOR should work quickly on this. Orlando is competitive when it comes to employment, and it's not just for service jobs. UOR has to compete with other large employers like EA and ADP, which have recently ramped up employment and can offer beautiful corporate offices.)
 
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Cup_Of_Coffee

Veteran Member
Aug 7, 2018
4,251
From what I know about UORs backstage area (unless anything has significantly changed over the last few years):

The main HR building (including benefits, recruiting, payroll, training) is located directly behind Diagon Alley. It is a single floor building and is cramped, with small offices and cubes.

I am unsure what kind of hr would be located behind LC (as was mentioned in this thread), but it's possible they have IOA specific management and generalist there. I remember that building but don't actually remember who was in there (maybe "operations"? Which would make sense why someone called it hr I guess).

Most of the backstage buildings are old (though not as old as Disney), with updates few and far between. Some of them feel like trailers (many of them actually are) or repurposed for a use other than what it was designed for. IMO they pay a lot of attention to customer facing areas and neglect backstage.

A lot of backstage could relocated off site similar to UC. For example, marketing, accounting/finance, Dave School, etc., anything which doesn't need to be in direct contact with the rest of operations. But the issue is that these departments would need to travel to site A for things like training, which means l&d would have fewer people attending their events. (This may become a big issue when Epic Universe is developed.) These departments start feeling disconnected, which is not what UOR wants (aside from Creative, which they've purposefully disconnected).

One idea would be to relocate pretty much all backstage (aside the essentials) to a single location, similar to the Dr Phillips idea. But I think people have become more doubtful on this.

The other idea would be to use the space they have, just build up; bulldoze their old single floor buildings and trailers, and build multiple new 4 story buildings. They already have some taller buildings (like where marketing/executive is), so keep those and replace anything with just one floor. They have tons of room back there if they just work with what they've got.

IMO UOR should work quickly on this. Orlando is competitive when it comes to employment, and it's not just for service jobs. UOR has to complete with other large employers like EA, and ADP, which have recently ramped up employment as well and can offer beautiful corporate offices.
I love your line of thinking. Id think, once some EU backstage/office areas open that they may be able to be a bit more flexible here. Until then though I can't imagine anything moving. If only that Dr Phillips rumor was true, we'd be have a toonnnnnnnnn of open space to work with.
 
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Kevin38

Member
Aug 19, 2009
642
Southern US not Fl
Maybe You could pickup a Ring @ the North Campus and Walk it to the South Campus and chuck it in the Volcano /s

I started this as a joke but the more I think on it a Hogwarts Express type ride from Hobbit Town to Mordor. Between the the two Campus's would be Great.
 
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Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
22,635
Orlando
The main HR building (including benefits, recruiting, payroll, training) is located directly behind Diagon Alley. It is a single floor building and is cramped, with small offices and cubes. This is the same building you, as a visitor, might enter if you've ever interviewed or auditioned for a position (there's a Woody Woodpecker statue to greet you).
This building is all mostly the same. It has the feel of being a giant trailer with how much of a maze it is.

I am unsure what kind of hr would be located behind LC (as was mentioned in this thread), but it's possible they have IOA specific management and generalist there. I know that building but don't actually know who is in there (maybe "operations"? Which would make sense why someone called it hr I guess).
This is B-114. This building contains management cubicles and offices for Attractions, Security, Park Services, etc. Basically anything to do with Operations for IOA runs out of this building. And there is HR in the building, but it's local department oriented HR (each department has their own HR representative).

A lot of backstage could relocated off site similar to UC. For example, marketing, accounting/finance, Dave School, etc., anything which doesn't need to be in direct contact with the rest of operations. But the issue is that these departments would need to travel to site A for things like training, which means l&d would have fewer people attending their events. (This may become a big issue when Epic Universe is developed.) These departments start feeling disconnected, which is not what UOR wants (aside from Creative, which they've purposefully disconnected).
What you're saying about Marketing, accounting/finance is certainly true, but that doesn't move a ton in this general area.

As far as the DAVE school goes though, sure you can move that, but it's out of SS25 so unless the plan is to demolish SS25 (which could totally happen someday... although if it did I think it'd be for a USF expansion and they just put a lot of money into the soundstages to bring them out of 1988 technologically). And DAVE School is a permanent tenant in SS25, much like BMG is a permanent tenant in SS18. Fox Sports is also a regular tenant in the soundstages. HHN, Grinchmas and Mardi Gras are all a regular tenant (yes, they have to pay, even if it's still going back to the same company in the end). SS19, 20, 21, 22 and 25 have all been used for major productions over the past two years for TV dramas, reality/game shows, and commercials.

DAVE loves being where they are as, much like Full Sail, this gives students a chance to work on actual productions while going to school for Digital/Visual Effects.

The other idea would be to use the space they have, just build up; bulldoze their old single floor buildings and trailers, and build multiple new 4 story buildings. They already have some taller buildings (like where marketing/executive is), so keep those and replace anything with just one floor. They have tons of room back there if they just work with what they've got.
This is the only way I see that part of backstage ever turning into onstage. But even as it is, the building I talked about near IOA that handles a lot of ops is two-stories so it's not like it's some small building. Getting approval to do any of this work would most certainly take a major project like LOTR because the budget isn't there otherwise. Universal invests in BOH, but a reshuffling of the deck is something i'll believe when I see. They've made a slew of new changes with the new Gate 2 entrance, B-2 (new building by TM parking lot, houses training rooms, Universal Education Center, Wardobe, ID Processing, TM Shoe store, offices, etc) and improvements/expansion of wardrobe, which also connects to B-2.
 

RFRees

Member
Dec 24, 2015
828
This is the only way I see that part of backstage ever turning into onstage. But even as it is, the building I talked about near IOA that handles a lot of ops is two-stories so it's not like it's some small building.
Yeah I agree. My suggestion I focused on a general restructure of backstage and mentioned demolishing most (or all) single floor buildings (aside from large sound stage buildings of course) to consolidate their offices. But I can't really make a strong case for demoing an already large/expensive building just to build something slightly taller in its place.
They've made a slew of new changes with the new Gate 2 entrance, B-2 (new building by TM parking lot, houses training rooms, Universal Education Center, Wardobe, ID Processing, TM Shoe store, offices, etc) and improvements/expansion of wardrobe, which also connects to B-2.
I wasn't aware, thank you. :)

Do you know what year (roughly?) B-2 and the expansion occurred?
 
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Andysol

Veteran Member
Jun 21, 2016
3,765
View attachment 11428

I posted this concept over on a few other threads but I thought it could fit here too :)

Above is some artwork of a Middle Earth Land that I drew. It's designed so that it would fit into Epic Universe's expansion plot between HTTYD and Fantastic Beasts, but I could totally envision it going to one of the existing parks at UOR.

I chose the Shire [Hobbiton] and Rivendell because a) they're visited in both the Lord of the Rings/the Hobbit trilogies and b) I think they could both be realistically translated into a functioning theme park land (Mordor definitely wouldn't work kinda thing).

Hobbiton would feature a barrel-themed advanced boat ride (similar to Shanghai's PotC ride tech).
Rivendell would have an attraction that is sort of a hybrid between Peter Pan and Soarin'- the suspended ride would fly above and around models of other Middle Earth locations.
Both areas of the land would feature dining, shops and entertainment.

I really hope Universal has somehow sorted out an agreement for the Middle Earth IP rights with the Tolkien Estate/WB as I think we all know Universal Creative would work their magic and give fans and general guests an amazing experience!
Shops and restaurants where?

It looks great but in a more compressed form I think you could fit more locations in there. I for one would add Isengard for a kuka arm drop, enclosed drop tower ride to simulate the fight between Gandalf and Saruman. It's footprint isn't big so it could fit easily.
I like @Descendo’s use of two lands. 3 locations would be too much, so you’d have to pick between isenguard and Rivendell* and Rivendell* is the better land to have in a theme park environment. But many locations, including Isenguard, could easily get incorporated into a ride. As could Mordor. I think we should still see Mordor on a ride, even if we don’t have the land.

*corrected dumb typo. Thx @highdefrex
 
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highdefrex

Newcomer
Jun 18, 2019
95
Los Angeles, CA
I like @Descendo’s use of two lands. 3 locations would be too much, so you’d have to pick between isenguard and riverdale and Riverdale is the better land to have in a theme park environment. But many locations, including Isenguard, could easily get incorporated into a ride. As could Mordor. I think we should still see Mordor on a ride, even if we don’t have the land.
Just a point of correction: It's Rivendell, not Riverdale. Though imagining a land with a meet-and-greet with Archie and Betty or a Jughead rollercoaster being built instead of Middle-earth is hilarious.
 

Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
22,635
Orlando
Yeah I agree. My suggestion I focused on a general restructure of backstage and mentioned demolishing most (or all) single floor buildings (aside from large sound stage buildings of course) to consolidate their offices. But I can't really make a strong case for demoing an already large/expensive building just to build something slightly taller in its place.

I wasn't aware, thank you. :)

Do you know what year (roughly?) B-2 and the expansion occurred?
Late 2017/Early 2018.
 
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Descendo

Rookie
Oct 27, 2009
304
Shops and restaurants where?

middleearth1234.png

I was thinking that there'd be a main restaurant in both Hobbiton and Rivendell.
Hobbiton would have simple dishes at The Green Dragon (which has lots of "underground" dining areas in the hill that helps transition the two halves of Middle Earth) and then Rivendell would have a classier Elvish Dining establishment (in the hall where the dwarves had a feast (and then food fight) in the first Hobbit movie).

There'd be food carts and souvenir pop-up shops themed to old farm markets at Hobbiton, and a few of the Hobbit-Holes would also sell snacks and Tolkien memorabilia. Rivendell would have just one Elvish store; I have noticed that most people seem to dislike the "glorified shopping mall" theme park lands such as Phase One of Batuu. It works really well in some places like Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade which are canonically shopping areas, but I don't think it would work too well in an area like Rivendell. So in a similar approach to just having Windtraders at Pandora, I tried to not dilute the immersion by overdoing the retail shops in Rivendell.

I forgot to mention that this is pretty much to scale of the expansion plot. Using Google Earth, I overlaid the EU permits and Alicia's sketch on EU's land for fairly accurate dimensions, and then I used Autodesk Maya to map out the land to see how much could fit into the expansion plot. As w
ith SNW and Monsters, Middle Earth has a multilevel design to save space. Most of the guest areas are on Lvl 2; the entrance in the bottom left is an incline from the hub. Bag End has part of the show building for the flume ride, and the Lauterbrunnen Cliffs hide the higher areas of the flying attraction's show building. So I agree with Andysol that there wouldn't be enough space to cram in a 3rd area in EU's expansion plot. And I don't really think Mordor would function as a theme park land either (although a Barad-dûr drop tower would be so much fun) :lol:
 

tielo

Veteran Member
Nov 9, 2013
2,171
The Netherlands
Nothing new but something I just wanted to share.
I'm reading Ian McKellen's diary about his time filming the Lord of the Rings movies.
This is what he is saying about theme parks:
'I am a sucker for movie theme parks. Last year I spent a night at Disneyland Paris where, as on previous trips to Universal Studios Los Angeles, I was struck by an irony. Their rides try and create the experience of somehow partaking in famous films. Some use actual film for their effects, of which the 3D Honey I Shrunk the Kids in Paris is the latest riotous example. But most of the time the older rides just sit the audience down for a journey past a variety of dramatic scenery, working models, and visual deceptions. So when you "fly" at Anaheim over London in Peter Pan's chariot or in Burbank across the moon in ET's bicycle, you are closer to theatre than to cinema. Again, in the stage shows, parades, and fireworks displays, the subject matter may be cinematic but the experience is of the theatre. Mickey and Minnie et al are live performers, not 2D animation or actors' shadows on a screen. Disneyland and Universal thrive because their customers enjoy live theatre just as much as going to the movies. Long live theme parks!'
Source: Ian McKellen | Lord of the Rings | Blog | Bag End; Studios; Dialect
 

Cup_Of_Coffee

Veteran Member
Aug 7, 2018
4,251
Nothing new but something I just wanted to share.
I'm reading Ian McKellen's diary about his time filming the Lord of the Rings movies.
This is what he is saying about theme parks:
'I am a sucker for movie theme parks. Last year I spent a night at Disneyland Paris where, as on previous trips to Universal Studios Los Angeles, I was struck by an irony. Their rides try and create the experience of somehow partaking in famous films. Some use actual film for their effects, of which the 3D Honey I Shrunk the Kids in Paris is the latest riotous example. But most of the time the older rides just sit the audience down for a journey past a variety of dramatic scenery, working models, and visual deceptions. So when you "fly" at Anaheim over London in Peter Pan's chariot or in Burbank across the moon in ET's bicycle, you are closer to theatre than to cinema. Again, in the stage shows, parades, and fireworks displays, the subject matter may be cinematic but the experience is of the theatre. Mickey and Minnie et al are live performers, not 2D animation or actors' shadows on a screen. Disneyland and Universal thrive because their customers enjoy live theatre just as much as going to the movies. Long live theme parks!'
Source: Ian McKellen | Lord of the Rings | Blog | Bag End; Studios; Dialect
Well, certainly not bad news for this rumor!
 

Cup_Of_Coffee

Veteran Member
Aug 7, 2018
4,251
If you would click the link you could see Ian wrote it 12 March 2000. Besides that he has no way to influence a decision but I'm sure he would love to be in the attraction if it'll ever happen.
Frankly didn't click the link since you provided the quote about the theme parks lol, but I see. He of course has no influence but wouldn't hurt if he's asking for it haha. As discussed before, the fact this is really the last "major" IP to not be represented heavily in a theme park I think just means we will likely get this someday. But ya, that quote is more just hope for us lol.
 
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OLSinFLA

Veteran Member
May 26, 2012
1,647

Rest in peace.
While I respect him as an editor, too often he seemed to believe he actually wrote the stuff he edited. He also hated anything done with Middle Earth as only he could be the final arbitrator of Tolkien. (His father sold the rights to the films specifically to avoid them being Disney-animated). At one point he even stated that the paperback version made it too popular and it would have been better off staying a niche publication!
 
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