Disney Movies That Should have Park Attractions

– Written By: David Smith

At one point or another, all of us armchair imagineers look around the parks and think about all the Disney properties that don’t have a representative attraction. With that in mind, I went about creating a list of the Disney movies (not Marvel, sorry) that I would love to see in the parks. First, a couple of ground rules I set for myself…

A) The movie must be one that I consider a “classic” Disney film. By this I mean that 20 years from now it will still be remembered (and knowing Disney, still being re-issued for purchase). John Carter might make a good attraction, but I doubt we’ll be talking about it in 20 years (at least not in the good way). Call me cynical if you want.

B) This list only applies to Walt Disney World. The movie might have an attraction in Disneyland, but for the purposes of this list, it does not exist. I did not include movies that already have attractions, even if I believe they deserve much better attractions (ie. Aladdin, The Lion King, etc.). I lumped stage shows in as existing attractions, but not character meet-and-greets.

C) I must have a specific type of attraction in mind. I can’t say that Mars Needs Moms would make a great attraction without stating what kind of attraction it should be. Actually, come to think of it, there is no way I can ever say that Mars Needs Moms would make a great attraction. Let’s just all agree to block that movie from our collective memories and move on.

Now, on to the list:

10. Sleeping Beauty (1959) – The last of the old-style animation classics, this movie is filled with artistic set pieces, memorable characters, and action that could easily translate into the classic dark ride format. In fact, this is probably more easily turned into an attraction than Snow White, suffering only in release chronology.

9. Super Mario Bros. (1993) – Reviewing the Disney film library, I was surprised to see this movie listed. I certainly don’t consider this movie a classic in any way. In fact, quite the opposite as this is one of the few blights on the Brothers Mario record. However, the concept of turning Nintendo properties into attractions is very, well, attractive. I’m sure there are all kinds of legal roadblocks to doing this, but I see this as the next big wave of attraction tie-ins.

8. Mary Poppins (1964) – Certainly the most famous of Disney’s live action movies, this movie gives us a variety of locales and the kind of episodic story that fits perfectly into the dark ride format. The movie that basically built a good portion of Disneyland certainly deserves a larger park presence than much more forgettable fare (I’m looking at you, Disney Junior shows).

7. Pinocchio (1940) – The movie that gave us Jiminy Cricket, Monstro, Pleasure Island, and donkey boys needs to have a Fantasyland dark ride.

6. WALL-E (2008) – A dystopian landscape, space travel, mass manipulation, robot love… how does this movie not have a coaster already? In all seriousness, I could see this as a high-speed coaster or EMV attraction recreating some of the more memorable scenes. Plus, it would be a chance to include Michael Crawford singing Put On Your Sunday Clothes in the attraction, and that’s always fun.

5. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) – Disney’s classic action movie still holds up today. I’m sure someone at WDI could come up with something using this movie as an attraction.

4. The Emperor’s New Groove (2000) – I’m already breaking my “classic movie” rule here, but I would love to see Kuzcotopia as a water ride, or even Yzma’s secret lab entrance as a coaster. Many possibilities here, and surprisingly, the movie still holds up to viewings now.

3. The Incredibles (2004) – This movie provides great characters, exciting action, and enough fantastic settings to fill 10 Little Mermaid show buildings. However, I think that this movie would do even better as a thrill attraction. The music alone makes me want to go fast. In fact, I think some consideration should be given to re-theming Rock-N-Roller Coaster as the… (building suspense)… Incredicoaster! Thank you, thank you very much.

2. Up (2009) – This movie already has an attraction built in basically. How easy would it be to take the Peter Pan ride system and create an Up dark ride. Just replace the pirate ship with a blimp, and you’re already half way there.

1. Tron (1982) – Even without the new movie coming out soon, this movie could easily support several different types of attractions: dark ride, coaster, simulator, EMV, 4D movie, whatever. Unless they called it Tron’s Great Escape, how could this possibly fail?

Hmmm… seems like I’m forgetting something here… nope, that’s it I guess…

OK, OK… let’s talk about it… that little film with the cult following (in much the same way that oxygen has a cult following), Frozen. The exclusion of Frozen from the list above is not an indication that I don’t want a Frozen attraction. On the contrary, I do want a Frozen attraction. I just don’t want 10 Frozen attractions. I get the feeling that Hollywood Studios is quickly turning into the Star Wars / Frozen park with Hoth acting as the transition between the two. At some point, the fanaticism towards this film with subside and be replaced with the normal level of respect due a classic Disney animated musical, right? RIGHT? I mean, things have to level out and we can get a new offering from WDI that doesn’t feature Anna and Elsa.  Maybe?  Anyone?  Hold on, World of Color is starting…(The snow blows white on the…) sigh…

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