Here are ten Disney films that we believe would become excellent theme park attractions, whether a dark ride, a flume ride, or a rollercoaster.
With the success of Pixar’s Up, it’s surprising that the parks have never attempted to incorporate the film into a ride. Carl, Russell, and Dug’s preferred mode of transportation — an ancient home hung by thousands of multicolored balloons — opens them a world of possibilities. Given that much of the film takes place in the air, it’s easy to see a Soarin’ Around The World-style simulator that transports guests to the beautiful Paradise Falls, through the rainforest, and up to Charles F. Muntz’ zeppelin, the Spirit of Adventure. This ride would be fantastic if they removed the first ten minutes of the movie. We’re trying to have fun rather than weep a lot.
11Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Atlantis: The Lost Empire was meant to be its own Disney series once upon a time. However, due to poor box office performance, the sequels were canceled. While Atlantis: The Lost Empire was not widely received at its initial release, it has now become a cult classic. Not to mention how interesting the notion is. This film, inspired in part by Jules Verne’s classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, has the potential to become a submarine ride. Walt Disney World had a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction until 1994, when it was converted; it is currently part of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train section. But what if the submersible experience was renamed Atlantis: The Lost Empire? It would have been a wonderful fit. If only the film had received more recognition during its initial release…
Because of the movie’s fascinating mini-worlds, Wreck-It Ralph lends itself to a fun ride concept. Vanellope Von Schweetz’ video game Sugar Rush, in instance, is a candy-coated racing experience just waiting to happen. A Wreck-It Ralph attraction, similar to Radiator Springs Racers (a Cars-themed ride in Disney’s California Adventure), may have two distinct vehicles that “race” each other throughout the experience. There are several potential for world-building using special effects, and the ride may include both indoor and outdoor sections. There have been whispers about possible Wreck-It Ralph rides, but nothing substantial has emerged.
A WALL-E-inspired rollercoaster would look right at home in Tomorrowland. Perhaps it would be a fast-paced simulator like Star Tours, with WALL-E at the wheel instead of C-3PO. Guests may begin on Earth in WALL-improvised E’s Earth shelter and work their way up to the Axiom starliner. Given how much WALL-E was adored by both reviewers and audiences, it’s a little odd that the film never had a large presence at any of the parks. Because there is a whole area dedicated to space flight and the future in general, it appears like WALL-E would have been an ideal match.
Mulan was successful enough to spawn a live-action version, but it never garnered traction enough to set plans for a ride in motion. While Epcot’s Journey Into Imagination has its own dragon mascot dubbed Figment, we believe Mushu deserves his own spotlight. Epcot has its own Chinese-themed pavilion, which would be ideal for a Mulan ride. Mulan is full of action, therefore a roller coaster would be appropriate. Guests may mount the Great Stone Dragon and ride across the countryside, past Hun troops, Chinese buildings, and even Mulan herself. The trip would lead up to the final battle between Mulan and Shan Yu.
7The Jungle Book
While the Jungle Cruise is available in Disney parks, we still need an attraction based on The Jungle Book. In reality, Mogli, Baloo, and the rest of the group would be at home in Adventureland’s jungle. Imagine drifting down the river in your boat and hearing Baloo at the river’s edge singing the soothing melody “Bare Necessities.” Adding characters from The Jungle Book to the Jungle Cruise would be a modest change, but it would add a touch of Disney enchantment to an already fantastic experience. Think of all of the additional “bear” jokes the skippers could create!
The interactive, arcade game-style attractions at Disney parks, such as Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters and Toy Story’s Midway Mania, have proven popular. But what are they missing? Archery. Consider a Brave interactive dark ride in which you are given your own bow and must shoot moving targets by firing imagined “arrows.” The more difficult the objective, the more points you will get. Merida’s castle Dunbroch, the witch’s woodworking shop, and the Scottish highlands might all be possible places. Just don’t run into any will-o’-the-wisps – they’re said to bring bad luck.
5The Emperor’s New Groove
The Emperor’s New Groove is one of the more odd Disney flicks. Its strange idea is reinforced by top-tier vocal talents, including David Spade as the arrogant Emperor Kuzco, John Goodman as the benevolent Pacha, Eartha Kitt as the cunning Yzma, and Patrick Warburton as the foolish Kronk. An Emperor’s New Groove ride may take many different twists and turns, but a flume ride is a nice option. When Yzma orders Kronk to pull the lever, a great chance for a high-speed drop, similar to what the two experienced on the way to Yzma’s hidden lab, is created. Later, Pacha and the llama-fied Kuzco find themselves tethered to a tree stump and careening into a river. The second drop might happen after the pair has cleared the huge waterfall. What about the sharp rocks at the bottom? Let’s get this party started.
Hercules, one of Disney’s most underappreciated animated films, is sharper, funnier, and more emotional than you remember. It also has some of the finest Disney music, ranging from the gospel-inspired “Zero to Hero” to Megara’s moving torch song “I Won’t Say (I’m In Love).” A Hercules ride might transport park visitors on the back of Hercules’ faithful companion Pegasus, beginning at Mount Olympus and gradually making its way down to the Underworld. They’d be welcomed by Hades, who’d strike them with his customary sass. Guests would be transported back to Mount Olympus after Hercules saves Meg from Hades’ dead soul soup, where the Muses would serenade everyone out with a rousing version of “A Star Is Born.” At the end of the ride, a gift store might offer all of the Hercules merchandise featured in the film. We are desperate to obtain a pair of Air-Hercs.
National Treasure and its freshly published sequel, Book of Secrets, were very much in the spotlight in 2007. Book of Secrets concluded on a cliffhanger that called for closure, thus talk about a third film had already begun. Around this time, series actor Nicolas Cage went on the record to declare that a National Treasure ride at Disneyland would be a “dream come true.” In some respects, National Treasure seemed ready to become Disney’s next Indiana Jones, but a number of things conspired to keep it from truly taking off. Indiana Jones, while beloved by many, is not timeless in the same way that National Treasure is. That is why the Temple of the Forbidden Eye in Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye in Book of Secrets was never reinvented as the underground City of Gold in Book of Secrets. A dark thrill coaster transporting guests to the mythical City of Gold, on the other hand, would have been fantastic, and an animatronic Nic Cage squabbling with an animatronic Ed Harris would have been utterly memorable.
Sid Philips is a father of two and a loving husband. He currently resides in Pennsylvania and has been a fan of Disney since his parents took him there in 1980! Sid has visited multiple Disney parks around the world and loves each one!
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