Over the past few months I’ve been watching the entire LOST series for the first time. I’ve been asked a few times whether Disney should construct a replica of the Island on-property. Now that I’ve finished the series, I’d like to examine this question.
To start, where would a LOST attraction belong? One possibility would be to turn the abandoned Discovery Island into the Island. Doing so would probably require a separate ticket to go to the Island. I think the more likely possibilty, however, is to build a LOST Island (or more likely sections of one) in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It could be a good project to replace the current Backlot Tour which is a shell of its former self.
A second consideration; when in the LOST timeline should this attraction exist? This could help decide which parts of the Island to replicate as the outdoor portions of the attraction. Should the attraction take place during the DHARMA Initiative’s time on the Island? If so, we might be more inclined to see the DHARMA Barracks as well as a couple of the DHARMA stations. This timeframe may not include the main characters unless the attraction is during the specific time that the characters time-traveled to. The attraction could also take place at some point after Oceanic 815′s crash, which might feature the survivors’ beachfront settlement and the Swan station. The outside portion could even explore life after most left the Island and Hurley and Ben were left in charge. Being an entirely new storyline, the outside portions would have to reflect this story.
Being in Hollywood Studios, how would guests enter the Island area? One idea I have is boarding a submarine that acts as a tunnel to the Island (many came to the Island via submarine). Another option is treating the Island as a “set” similar to Star Tours and its AT-AT.
The main attraction itself would depend on the time period chosen. For example, a DHARMA-based attraction could involve ride vehicles based on old Jeeps or Volkswagon Mini-Buses, both used by DHARMA members to drive around the Island. The DHARMA Initiative could be giving tours of the Island where things go wrong, including an encounter with the smoke monster. The possibilities here are numerous and could even shed new light on leftover questions from the series.
Even though the possibilties are certainly there, is a LOST attraction worth the cost of revamping the Backlot Tour area to set up the Island? LOST’s final season averaged over 11 million viewers. To compare, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth Harry Potter movie and the most recent released made a gross revenue of $933,959,197. If a movie ticket price averages $10 (to make the math easy), over 93 million people saw just the last installment of Harry Potter in a movie theater. To make a more direct comparison, the ninth season of American Idol averaged around 23 million viewers, more than double LOST’s final season number. A compelling story and entertaining ride can certainly make up for the viewership argument. LOST can get complicated, but a focused story should help keep guests entertained.
Another argument that would be levied against a LOST Island is the lack of ways to incorporate merchandising into the attraction. The Island doesn’t have any shops, and it would be awkward to exit into a shop in this case unless we were clearly under the impression that we were visiting LOST sets. Of course, in the older days attractions didn’t require shops at the end, but I think this is an argument that would be tough to get past with today’s management. Any LOST shop would also require a significant investment in unique merchandise instead of the standard Disney Parks merchandise.
I’ve rambled on long enough about bringing the world of LOST to Walt Disney World. What’s your opinion? Is LOST worth the investment to build an Island replica and attraction? Do you think this is a very bad idea? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!