After recently returning from a trip to Florida where I stepped through the gates of Universal Orlando, dragged my children as quickly as possible to the back of the park, and … experienced an EPIC GEEK MOMENT! When we rounded onto the first view of Hogsmeade in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (even with its inconsistencies), our entire family gaped and our inner geeks screamed, “I am home.” It was excellent! My only complaint is that there needs to be more: the common rooms, the prefects’ bathroom, Diagon Alley, Gringotts — more! Yes, some of this is in the works, but it could never be enough for the die-hards. As a side note, the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride may just be the best ride ever created.
This experience got me thinking, and asking, what other books that teens love would make good amusement parks or rides? What if there were a Lord of the Rings world? Visitors could fight off orcs in a simulation of Helm’s Deep, or walk through the Shire complete with a stop in Bag End, or ride in a boat down the River Anduin and over the Falls of Rauros or in a roller coaster through the Mines of Moria. I asked some teens for ideas, and many responded with great concepts. Most of them came from very well-known and popular books. Of course, everyone wanted a Hunger Games ride or park. Ideas included “a Capitol aircraft that flies you through the thirteen districts” or “a paint ball arena” or a “simulated arena where you fight it out with the other tributes.” Frankly, that last one scares me a bit. The Maze Runner, The Mortal Instruments, and The Forest of Hands and Teeth also merited ideas, including letting “the zombies out of the fence to chase the visitors out at closing.”