The internet has burst in the last week with what could be the biggest theme park news to hit the UK in decades. Enthusiasts all across the world are brainstorming ideas for what could be Universal’s most anticipated project yet. Let’s go over what we know and what we’d like to see in the park.
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Universal has given the United Kingdom the best Christmas present to date by announcing the possible construction of a park in Bedford. Bedford, which is approximately a 1-hour 45-minute drive or a 40-minute train ride from London, is the ideal location for Universal’s next project. Universal has come forward to answer rumors that its parent company, Comcast Corporation, has purchased land for a possible park or resort, and even they are ecstatic.
It’s incredible and encouraging to see Universal so eager to join us in the UK. An email we received at The Coaster Kings was brimming with pride in their most recent work and excitement about the potential UK project.
The residents of Bedford and the surrounding areas recently received a letter from Universal Destinations and Experiences introducing themselves and outlining their plans to cooperate with the local towns. This letter can be found here.
With Universal’s extensive global portfolio, it’s clear to see why they’d be a great fit for the UK theme park business. With some of our parks missing in key areas, adding a Universal park to the UK lineup would provide the country with some of the most immersive and technologically advanced rides and attractions. As a result, the United Kingdom would benefit greatly from more tourism. Let’s not forget that the European continent currently lacks a Universal theme park!
Although the park is still in its early phases, there is a lot of speculation about what we might see there. Of course, UK enthusiasts would love to be able to ride some of the world’s top rides in their own country; I certainly wouldn’t say no to perfect replicas of the VelociCoaster and Hagrid’s! However, given that this is a brand-new country, we’d love to see some brand-new rides and concepts. One thing is certain: Universal must include Harry Potter in their plans; after all, we are the home of Harry Potter. Building Hogwarts may look a touch tired, but perhaps we’ll see another Diagon Alley, The Burrow, or something new!
Universal UK will be located near another Harry Potter attraction in the UK, the Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour. Will they be resistant to building a Harry Potter area within the park, given that this is a sold-out attraction? Involving Warner Brothers officially owning the rights to HP and Universal wanting to benefit, perhaps a cooperation involving tickets for both attractions is in the works.
A water park is a major selling element for Universal Orlando Resort. For those who haven’t been to the UK, our weather is notoriously fickle, but we’d love to see an indoor Volcano Bay water park added to the UK lineup in the future. With possible indoor water parks being built in Manchester and at Chessington World of Adventures, Universal UK would be the one to visit because it would tick all the boxes.
Is Universal UK a significant danger to Merlin Entertainment? With Merlin presently dominating the UK, would we see additional improvements to their parks? This is something we’ve been discussing, and we’re wondering if Merlin will be willing to go any further in order to remain one of our favorite parks in the country. Building a Universal Park would be difficult to top, yet Merlin parks have set several world records. Is this putting the parks at risk of losing visitors? Perhaps they will benefit from overseas visitors who visit all of the parks in a single vacation. We can’t wait to see how they react in the next years, may Universal move forward with developing a theme park in the UK.
We have a pretty fantastic Halloween scene in the UK, with Merlin having some large events at its parks and some amazing smaller venues like Tully’s Farm in the south. With the park hosting over 30,000 customers per night in Florida, Universal has the ability to dominate the Halloween scene and bring Horror Nights to the UK. The all-year-round Universal Horror Unleashed attraction in Las Vegas is set to open this week, and it’s apparent that people enjoy fear mazes and experiences.
In addition, Universal will open two more parks in the next years: Universal Epic Universe in Orlando and Universal Kids Resort in Texas. Keep up with Epic Universe building by following us on social media. You may learn more about Epic Universe by listening to our Coaster Kings Podcast, which you can discover here.
Will this ambitious and intriguing initiative follow in the footsteps of the London initiative? It will be many months before a decision is made, but we can only hope that Universal will arrive in the UK within the next decade. Stay tuned for further updates and information as they become available.