In a move that no doubt reaffirms Universal Orlando’s unrelenting dominion over our wallets, it was announced that the amusement park would be expanding The Simpsons Ride this summer to include a themed attraction area modeled after the family’s hometown of Springfield. Yet why should television’s favorite—and seemingly jaundiced—family be the only ones to get the theme park treatment? Especially when there are other potential movies, video games, and cartoons out there worthy of this honor!
We really can’t say how keen Nintendo would be on licensing out the rights to their intellectual properties for a theme park, but pretending we live in a perfect world where the company doesn’t shy away from that sort of thing, you have to imagine the amazing possibilities here. Think about it: Guests walk through a massive tunnel shaped like the green pipes from the Super Mario Bros. series of games, exiting to find themselves standing in a spectacular plaza combining elements from The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, and other franchises. And no Nintendo theme park would be complete without a Mario Kart-themed raceway with foam Koopa shell projectiles... and liability wavers.
2) Adventure Time
Given its unprecedented success that shows absolutely no sign of slowing down anytime soon, it’s almost shocking that no major amusement park has stepped up to construct a themed area based on Adventure Time. And with so many colorful characters and locales within the Land of Ooo, the rides and attractions pretty much create themselves. A Lady Rainicorn roller coaster, a dark ride through the Nightosphere, an interactive recreation of Finn and Jake’s tree house—sky’s the limit when it comes to ideas for rides! Maybe, just maybe, if we pray hard enough, Pendleton Ward will hear our pleas and make it happen.
3) The Walking Dead
A Walking Dead theme park wouldn’t exactly be family-friendly, but any place that deters parents from bringing screaming toddlers with them whilst factoring in our love for zombies is, clearly, the very definition of nerd heaven. For the park itself, try to visualize a derelict plaza lined with abandoned homes, dilapidated warehouses, and other buildings, crawling with shuffling hordes of the undead—creating a creepy ambiance that’s every bit as entertaining as it is chilling. Keeping with this vibe, attractions would be based on events from the comic book and series, such as a walk-through haunted house designed to look like the hospital Rick Grimes wakes up in, with guests trying to evade undead pursuers as they try in vain to find the exit. And you can’t have a proper theme park without a gift shop to buy stuff. And things.
4) The Lord of the Rings
We could just as easily have gone with a theme park based on Game of Thrones, but when compared to The Lord of the Rings, there are only so many attractions based on the consumption of horse hearts and climbing a gigantic wall of ice that the average park-goer can take. Tolkien’s magnum opus in fantasy fiction would make for an epic theme park beyond coherent description. Guests can start their day with breakfast at a dining hall nestled among the gently rolling hills of the Shire, only to have their eggs and bacon come surging up their throats as they ride an indoor roller coaster in the Mines of Moria, or a terrifying and bumpy dark ride through Shelob’s lair. Once all that’s said and done, it’s time to head back to the safety of the dining hall to ease the stomach with elevenses.
5) Doctor Who
As popular as the Doctor Who series may be in America, it, regrettably, lacks the money-making mojo of billion-dollar properties like Star Wars and Harry Potter. Well, to that we defiantly say: Those stuffy, know-it-all suits don’t even realize the kind of indescribable cash-grab they’re missing! Or are they right? Would the world really not care for Dalek laser tag, a TARDIS motion simulator ride, photo opportunities with park employees dressed up as Cybermen, or gift shops stocked with the Eleventh Doctor’s trademark fez? We think so!
What nerdy property would you like to see get its own theme park?