[embedit snippet=”daniel-ads”]Universal Studios Orlando and Walt Disney World will do anything to get a competitive advantage over the other. And while Disney might be the more popular of the two among tourists, Universal Studios Orlando has something which Walt Disney World craves, parkand that’s the rights to use Marvel characters in their park.
When Disney acquired Marvel in 2009, speculation grew of whether Universal Orlando would have to re-design their acclaimed Marvel Superhero Island at Islands of Adventure. But because of a contract Universal Orlando signed in the early 1990’s, they were assured the rights to Marvel characters in theme parks within 60 miles of the Orlando area.
This stipulation meant that Disney could not build Marvel attractions at any of their four Orlando parks. Because we now live in a world where Mickey Mouse and Spiderman have co-existed for the last seven years, it just doesn’t seem fair that Disney can’t sprinkle their magic fairy dust on the Marvel universe.
It’s possible Disney could buy out the contract Universal has to use Marvel characters at their Orlando park. But it would appear as if Universal isn’t willing to play ball, as they’ve just recently spent millions to re-design their Incredible Hulk coaster, leading many to believe that they are heavily invested in Marvel.
It does make sense for Universal to want to keep Marvel, as it’s a big cash cow for them, but they do have plenty of other options if they indeed wish to eliminate Marvel. One of them is the opportunity to turn their Marvel Superhero Island into a Nintendo world, similar to what they have planned at Universal Japan.
Just imagine the possibilities Universal has at their disposal for a Nintendo Park. You could once again re-do the Hulk coaster and theme it to one of Nintendo’s more action oriented titles in Star Fox or Metroid. The Spiderman ride could be themed to Zelda or Mario. And the exterior of the land could look like one of the marvelous racetracks from Mario Kart.
Who knows if Universal has plans to do this at any point? Yet, it does make a ton of sense. Characters of the Nintendo world are just as popular as anything Marvel has, and might have more international appeal as well. It’s a risk to go full-fledged Nintendo, but it’s one that’s worth taking.
Follow Daniel James Gentile on Twitter @dgentleman9288