The global pandemic has been a nightmare for just about any business that doesn't require you to simply stay at home and order things. The movie industry is still waiting to really release movies again at any sort of scale. And many of the world's most popular theme parks are still closed down. Theme park construction has also been significantly slowed, but one new project, a major theme park resort being built in the U.K., and it will certainly have challenges in construction going forward, though in this case, it has nothing to do with COVID-19. It's actually all because of a spider.
The London Resort is being built in Kent with plans to open in 2024. However, that plan may now be in jeopardy thanks to an arachnid called the Distinguished Jumping Spider. According to the Mirror, this particular spider is critically endangered, and is only found in one other place in Britain. As such, there is now a call to designate the location a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which would make it illegal to do anything that might harm the species.
The London Resort is the earliest of stages, the official planning documentation was only submitted on New Year's Eve. The assessment of the area is ongoing and a decision should be made sometime early this year.
The resort is planned to be built in an area called the Swanscombe Peninsula and it is, for all intents and purposes, a swamp. In that way, the development of this theme park is mirroring that of Walt Disney World. While developing swamp land into a theme park is an expensive proposition, it allowed Walt Disney to get all the land he required for his Florida Project, which was originally intended to be much more than theme parks. The current plan for the London Resort will include two theme parks, a water park, a convention center, and a water park.
The theme parks will include attractions from Paramount Pictures as well as the BBC, so you can pretty much guarantee that a Doctor Who theme park ride is on the way, though nothing has been specifically announced as far what sort of experiences will be on offer.
While a swampy area has the benefit of giving developers plenty of land, they are obviously home to a lot of wildlife and the Swanscombe Peninsula apparently has one of the most diverse populations of invertebrates in the U.K. There's certainly a lot riding on The London Resort and so it would be somewhat surprising to see the entire project derailed by a tiny spider, though I suppose that is technically possible. We'll have to wait and see what the official findings are.