With Universal Comcast investing huge amounts of money into the theme park industry, we’ve seen the announcement of several new creative works in the pipeline over the last few years; from the projected 2025 opening of Epic Universe to the breaking of ground in Las Vegas for a year-round Halloween Horror Nights attraction in Area 15, the number of creative projects in the theme park industry continues to grow as Universal-Comcast seems to set its sights on England.
With 480 acres of land purchased last August in Bedford, England, the possibility of a U.K. theme park seems to be well within the realm of possibility for this entertainment giant. Considering this acreage is nestled comfortably between the existing sizes of Universal Hollywood (at 400 acres) and Universal Orlando (at roughly 600 acres), the project, should they decide to utilize this property for a new park, promises to be a full-scale themed entertainment experience.
With Universal Orlando and Universal Hollywood finding their homes in the States, Universal Studios has since expanded its properties in the Destinations and Experiences division to include theme parks in Japan, Singapore, and Beijing. Most recently, a smaller 97-acre property in Texas has been announced to be the future home of a Universal destination geared towards children and family entertainment; now, with the purchase in the UK at the forefront of the company’s interests, it leaves many to wonder what Universal Comcast may utilize this prime space for.
With Efteling Themepark Resort in the Netherlands – the second-most visited theme park resort in Europe – announcing their record-breaking 2022 attendance at over five million guests visiting their property, the disparity between these theme park brands becomes apparent when considering that Disneyland Paris’ 2022 attendance saw nearly twice the number of guests as its closest competitor. The most well-known names in themed resort entertainment are virtually absent in Europe, leaving the themed entertainment market a power vacuum of limitless potential virtually untapped by the leading names in the industry.
Should Universal Comcast choose to utilize this 480-acre space in Bedford to build a theme park equal in ambition and craftsmanship to their existing resort properties, this would be the first Universal Park in Europe since the Universal Aventura, which initially lost its branding in the early 2000s, and the only Universal Park in Europe at current, presenting competition to Disneyland Paris at a scale yet-unseen in Europe.
With Universal Comcast investing so much into their Destinations and Experiences division, saying that the sky is the limit for this potential theme park project just isn’t thinking big enough.