The theme park industry continues to perform well, despite the woes that have hit the global economy since 2008. In fact, there are dozens of new parks under construction (or soon to be) all over the world, including brand-new additions from the likes of Disney, Universal, and Six Flags. Although many of them are in the growing Asian market, there are also plans for new sites in both Europe and America.
Every month, Theme Park Tourist rounds up the new parks that are in the pipeline for locations all over the world. In addition to a description of what’s in store with each project, we also look at progress on funding and construction – as well as some contextual analysis as to why the millions of theme park fans around the globe should be excited for them.
1. The Shire
Location: Rincon de la Victoria, Spain
Opening date: TBA
Current status: In development
Ever since The Wizarding World of Harry Potter took off at Universal parks in both the US and Japan, many have been wondering when that other big fantasy series would make its theme park debut. Though a world based on Middle Earth had been rumored to be coming to either Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando Resort back in 2013, these rumored plans never got off the ground, reportedly due to some frosty relations with the estate of JRR Tolkien.
However, it looks like the world of Middle Earth is coming to a new theme park in Spain, although due to some fancy copyright footwork, it won't be an exact replica of what fans have seen on page and on screen.
Named La Comarca (which translates to 'The Shire'), this new park will be a modest affair, spanning only 19 acres and costing just $2 million dollars. Attractions planned for this park include 'hobbit holes', climbing walls, swings, slides and of course restaurants (if there's no second breakfast served here, it's reasonable to declare this entire project a failure).
The in-development park doesn't have an opening date yet, but two nearby hotels have signed on to help develop Hobbit-themed rooms to support this new theme park. Though there could be some copyright issues with this park, it looks like development is going full steam ahead, with or without the blessing of the Tolkien estate.