5 Movies That Should Become Attractions in Walt Disney World
Last week, we mused on Disney characters we’d love to see transformed into topiary’s at Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival. It was so fun that it got us thinking. What Disney or Pixar films would we like to see transformed into attractions? And where would they land in the parks?
A quick caveat. As blue-sky Imagineers, we’re not worrying about things like budget or space constraints. There are other people who can figure out those details. This is just pure, wishful thinking. But remember: if you can dream it, you can do it.
After Pixar’s Soul was released, an exhibit called “The Soul of Jazz” appeared in the American Adventure pavilion of Epcot’s World Showcase. It provided Guests with a brief history of jazz, as presented by Joe Gardner, the star of Soul. It was a brilliant addition to the park, but sadly temporary. We’d like to see it go even further.
Really, there are two ways to transform Soul into an attraction. The first would be a trackless dark ride in the style of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, taking Guests through the film, from Joe Gardner’s classroom to his mother’s tailor shop, into the jazz club, and even through the Great Before. Another option would be a dark ride tour through the history of jazz, as lead by Gardner. The vehicles could travel through the major whistle stops in jazz’s developments with places like New Orleans, Kansas City, Chicago, and New York, maybe even the riverboats running up and down the Mississippi River.
I understand that there’s no Columbia pavilion in Epcot but remember, we aren’t taking practical considerations into account here. And once again, I’m dipping back into the world of dark rides.
One of the most dynamic characters in the film isn’t really a character at all. It’s casita. The house inhabited by the Madrigal family. A trip through the house would be utterly enchanting. Just imagine seeing the blooming flowers inside Isabella’s room, or the mountain of falling sand leading to Bruno’s bedroom. Then there’s the tropical jungle full of animals that serves as Antonio’s room, and the space between the walls where Bruno hides with his rat friends. On top of that, you’d have a chance to see the drawers, floors, and doors come to life. Taking a ride through Casita, the same way you ride through the Haunted Mansion, would be an incredible experience.
An alternative option would be to make “casita” a walk-through attraction, where Guests can explore each room of the Family Madrigal’s abode at their leisure, perhaps while learning about the customs, history, and ecology of Columbia along the way.
Wreck-It Ralph (Magic Kingdom)
Let me begin by saying that I love the Tomorrowland Speedway. I even purchased the Tomorrowland Speedway license that you can buy near the attraction exit. It serves as my primary means of ID. Some of my favorite Magic Kingdom memories are associated with that attraction, so I don’t take it lightly when I suggest this: re-theme based on Sugar Rush, the racing video game featured in Wreck-It Ralph.
With enormous gumball machines, giant lollipops, ice cream sundae mountains, and more, it would be a visual feast. Plus, you’d be racing around the track in some of the coolest vehicles in the world.
Not quite on board with that? Well, here’s another option. I seem to have read about some other theme park introducing a video game-based racing attraction that was made as a dark ride. A dark ride through Sugar Rush, with interactive elements built around defeating King Candy, Taffyta Muttonfudge, and the Cy-Bugs would be an absolute blast. I’m not picky. Go with either one, just let me explore Sugar Rush.
Peter Pan (Seven Seas Lagoon)
First off, obviously I’m aware of the fact that there is a Peter Pan based attraction in the Magic Kingdom. But think of how much more Disney could do with Peter’s world, especially with Peter Pan & Wendy coming out later this year.
Here’s what I propose: a recreation of the entirety of Neverland, with Pirate’s Cove, Mermaid Lagoon, Skull Rock, Hangman’s Tree, and the Misty Mountains. Guests could wander the island at their leisure, just as though do on the perennially underrated Tom Sawyer Island in Adventure Land.
And where would this monumental construction be located? I’m so glad you asked. There’s a perfectly good, unused island just waiting to be developed in the Seven Seas Lagoon. As the former home of River Country, it’s the perfect locale for Neverland. Captain Hook’s ship could even be anchored off the island. Animatronic mermaids? Exploring inside the Lost Boys’ hideout? A giant, animatronic of Tick-Tock the crocodile? The chance to wander into the caves of Skull Rock? It would be brilliant. Seriously, Mr. Iger, if you’re reading this, please make it happen.
Muppets Haunted Mansion (Magic Kingdom)
Part of me worries that suggesting any alterations to the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom is sacrilege. But I’m not talking about a permanent change. I’m not even suggesting a holiday overlay that lasts as long as the Nightmare Before Christmas treatment that Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion gets each holiday season. But I just think that Muppets Haunted Mansion is too brilliant of a film not to deserve some representation at the parks. It may be the best attraction-to-movie transition of any film in the Disney canon, and that’s including some might impressive ones like Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise.
Just picture seeing Fozzie as the Hat Box Ghost while a doom buggy carries you through the Mansion. Imagine the sight of Muppets dancing in the grand ballroom, or Doctor Teeth and the Electric Mayhem jamming on their instruments as they float in the ether above Miss Piggy Leota. Cinematic perfection on this scale deserves its own experience. Even if the overlay is only for a few weeks each year.