Hey Universal fans, get ready for some thrilling news that’s bound to get your adrenaline pumping! After making waves with its latest theme park in Beijing and putting the final touches on the Epic Universe theme park in Orlando, Universal is now setting its sights on the United Kingdom for its next big adventure. That’s right, Universal Studios Great Britain is on the horizon, and it’s shaping up to be an epic addition to the theme park landscape. Let’s dive into the details and uncover what makes this project so exciting for fans and future visitors. From the acquisition of land to the whispers of potential attractions, we’re here to give you the inside scoop on what could be Universal’s next crown jewel.
Universal’s Big Move to Great Britain
The buzz around Universal Studios Great Britain started getting louder when it was discovered that Universal, under its expansive Universal Destinations and Experiences division, has been laying the groundwork for its next big project. This division, a part of the larger Comcast family, is all about bringing thrilling theme parks and experiences to new corners of the globe. With smaller projects like the Universal Kids Resort in Texas and Universal Horror Unleashed in Vegas already showcasing their intent, the move towards Europe seems like a natural step for Universal.
The Clues and Confirmation
Speculation turned into a more concrete possibility when Universal secured domain names like “universalstudiosgreatbritain.com” and its .co.uk counterpart. These domains, registered by NBCUniversal, follow the company’s pattern for naming its theme park websites, giving fans and followers the first solid hint of the company’s plans.
But where in England, you ask? Documents and investigative work point towards Bedford, where Comcast has reportedly acquired a significant chunk of land. This area, known as the Kempston Hardwick New Settlement, has been earmarked for agricultural use but has seen various proposals for commercial development over the years. The strategic location of this site, about 46 miles north of London, is not just a random choice. It’s well-positioned with excellent road and rail connections, making it an accessible destination for visitors. Additionally, 46 miles via European rail is a trip (depending on total number of stops) under an hour from London.
On December 19, 2023, Universal confirmed the land acquisition and is in the early stages of exploring the site’s potential. Universal made the following statement to the Bedford Independent:
“We recently acquired land in Bedford [Borough] and are at the early stages of exploring its feasibility for a potential park and resort at this site.“
“It will be many months before we are ready to make a decision to proceed and we look forward to engaging with all relevant stakeholders and the local community.”
While we might not see the Universal Studios Great Britain doors open until 2030, the anticipation is already building.
What’s in Store for Universal Studios Great Britain?
While it’s still early days, the rumors and confirmed details suggest a park filled with indoor rides and experiences, taking cues from Universal Studios Beijing to cater to the UK’s unpredictable weather. Unlike other Universal parks, this one might debut with unique attractions not found in Orlando, aiming to draw in a global crowd without stepping on the toes of its other locations.
There’s also chatter about potential IPs that could make their way into the park, with names like James Bond, Paddington Bear, and The Lord of the Rings floating around. And with Universal’s new CEO, Mark Woodbury, keen on focusing on their own IPs (intellectual property), these IPs would make the most sense. It appears Universal is looking to avoid situations where an IP used in its parks is purchased by a competitor (i.e. Disney buying Marvel and The Simpsons).
Imagine stepping into the Shire or taking on a spy mission with 007! These types of attractions would work well both for rethemeing a previously designed attraction like switching out Jason Bourne for James Bond, and the area utilizing the natural landscape of the area.
A Closer Look at the Potential Impact
The development of Universal Studios Great Britain could have a significant impact on the local economy and the UK’s theme park landscape. With Universal’s track record of creating immersive, themed experiences, this new venture is expected to be a game-changer. The park’s focus on unique attractions and possibly incorporating beloved IPs could set it apart from other Universal destinations around the world. Thus, making it a destination park, all while not impacting guest attendance at other parks.
Moreover, the strategic location near London, with its planned infrastructure improvements, suggests that Universal is thinking long-term about accessibility and visitor experience. The mention of nearby developments, like the proposed movie studios in Bedford, hints at a broader vision for turning the area into a major entertainment hub.
Engaging with the Community and Looking Ahead
Universal’s approach to this project appears to be one of careful consideration and community engagement. The company has expressed its commitment to partnering with local communities and stakeholders, indicating a proactive approach to ensuring the park benefits its surroundings. As we look towards the future, the development of Universal Studios Great Britain represents not just a new theme park but a significant investment in the UK’s entertainment and tourism industry.
So, whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a movie buff, or just love the magic of theme parks, Universal Studios Great Britain is shaping up to be an epic addition to Universal’s global portfolio. Stay tuned for more updates as this exciting project unfolds!
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Meet the Author: Nate Bishop
I’m a die-hard Disney fan with 38 years of visits under my belt, having stepped into Disney World 120+ times. Proud to be a Disney Annual Passholder, a Vacation Club member since ’92, a Castaway Club Member, and a runDisney enthusiast. Oh, and I’ve graduated from the Disney College of Knowledge. Need Disney insights or planning tips? I’m your guy!