The Best House We’ll Never See

I had the amazing pleasure last year of interviewing Universal Orlando’s HHN Supremo Mike Aiello on (click here to listen now). We asked him directly, “what is the best house that we’ll never see”, his response: Doctor Who. And I for one fully agree with this idea, a house based on this IP would be amazing, so here’s why:

  1. Back Catalogue

Doctor Who started in 1963 and has been almost consistency going strong ever since.  It disappeared from our screens in the late 1980s, reappeared for a Fox TV movie in the mid 1990s but it wasn’t until 2005 when it came back with a vengeance. And despite being away from our screens for a few years, the output of official and unofficial audio plays, books, graphic novels, documentaries and conventions saw no sign of pausing.

That’s why this 50 year+ catalogue of content has more monsters, ghouls, worlds, villains and heroes to explore that would all be perfect for a haunted house concept.  And can you hand on heart say it wouldn’t be awesome to be chased by a Dalek or a Cyberman?


2. Fans

Doctor Who has fans all around the globe.  Concentrated perhaps in the UK the show is annually sold to over 75 countries with strong viewing figures in the US, Canada and Australia.

The dynamic of having a popular sci-fi show come to HHN is something new and like the cross-section of IPs that Universal currently offers, it draws people from other fandoms through Universal’s gates – which is exactly what DW would do.

3. Story

Doctor Who has had 12 actors play the part of Gallifreyan Time Lord (well 14 if you include the War Doctor and Peter Cushing) since 1963.  Along the years the stories have morphed from the ‘monster of the week’ to epics tales of pathos or social commentary.  Along the way the viewers of the show have been to spectacular environs, to deathly planets, to the dinosaur period or the Victorian and back again.

The beauty of the show is that it can never end as the actor who plays the part passes the baton on to the next but in doing so passes on one crucial story rule: the Doctor can go anywhere and at anytime.  That basis alone allows any HHN designer the remit to set any house wherever they like and with whatever they like.


So why has Doctor Who never appeared at HHN?

Mike within the interview gave the impression that is might be impossible but did not give specifics – nor should he.  IP negotiations are a delicate process that in the case of The Exorcist may take decades or as with the The Shining will take just over 10 years to agree.  So with these in the bag, maybe Universal need a new White Whale to slay…

Doctor Who is not an outright impossible target to get for HHN, in at least, Universal are the kings of IP management, their handling of say some of the most iconic brands (Harry Potter, Seuss, Marvel, Nintendo etc) shows that Universal knows how to form worthwhile partnerships to bring these screen characters to life, in only a way that Universal knows how.  So although we could speculate as to the whys and ifs, it’s a fruitless task.  We can however be hopeful as the Doctor is a recognizable brand with a strong fan following that although may never appear at HHN he will be popping up at other theme parks relatively soon in time and space.

And you never know – people once upon a time thought that seeing The Shining at HHN was impossible.  Unlike all their competitors, Universal is the King of this process and with their creativity and management abound, it could happen, as the Doctor would say…


Would you love to see Doctor Who at HHN?

What other ‘impossible’ brands would you love to see at HHN?

Let us know in the comments!