Welcome back to Disney In Depth for the “top five” of a special two-part edition that explores the movies that deserve theme park attractions. Just in case you missed the previous edition, you can check it out here.
Before exploring the “most deserving” films, we cannot ignore the movies that would least work as attractions. Among them are great films and some bad ones, too.
As much as I adore Secretariat, I highly doubt any theme park guest would want to enter a replicated track to watch a “show” involving the Main Street horses compete alongside “Secretariat.” Even a race ride set around Herbie: Fully Loaded would fail big time, especially if guests were placed in Volkswagen Beetles driven by an audio-animatronic (AA), an intoxicated Lindsay Lohan. Some guests could even be randomly selected to ride in vehicles with AA Amanda Bynes. Nope, I don’t think that would fly with management either. I suppose there would also be liability issues if guests were given actual jetpacks to fly alongside Cliff, The Rocketeer. Lawsuit alert! That’s out of the picture, too. We must also leave out a Pearl Harbor stage show, as that would offend both war veterans and also viewers of the 2001 Michael Bay blockbuster. Many ideas, but all stamped with “failure” before construction.
As much as some may love Lindsay Lohan the child star actress, I doubt many would want to ride the Hollywood freeways with a robot version of her on a fictional “Herbie: Fully Loaded” attraction. Then again, there may be a few.
Without further ado, here are the top five.
The Walt Disney music-set masterpiece Fantasia and its 2000 sequel contain among the most breathtaking and mesmerizing pieces of animation ever put to film. And what a shame it is that this incredible visual and aural experience remains limited to the home entertainment experience.
My idea: Through incorporating scenes from both films, and perhaps adding an original one or two for good measure, a Fantasia IMAX 4D experience could excite all guests’ senses. Think of this as an enhanced version of Mickey’s PhilharMagic. This show, which could hold hundreds of guests across a couple of theaters, could apply a tremendous sound system to release every little sound and even seats that move to the movie, like Universal’s Shrek 4-D.
Where to put it:The Imagination! pavilion at Epcot will not host the Captain EO Tribute forever, and certainly the Fantasia themes of the senses being touched carry into the area’s standards.
Much like how Enchanted epitomized the ultimate novel Disney musical, Tangled was successful in that respect, too. Its characters, storyline, and unbelievably-catchy songs helped the film achieve near-universal acclaim.
My idea: The stage show idea, again. I know, it is nothing original, and I am just one of many aficionados who wants to see this exist at a Disney park. The villainous-looking Snuggly Duckling patrons could march through the aisle and encourage audience participation. Pascal the chameleon may work as a movable AA figure, whereas Maximus the horse could be depicted in puppet form. The cheerful spirit of Tangled would translate magically to a stage production format.
Where to put it: I agree with many others that the Theater of the Stars, host to the Beauty and the Beast show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, represents the most feasible location. I would be sad to see Belle and Gaston vacate their current premises, but then again, they now live in New Fantasyland.
The adorably romantic robot from Pixar’s 2008 hit, WALL-E, has yet to take residence at the parks and how disappointing that is. The powerfully-moving story and themes made it both an entertaining and educational film. If only there was a setting and place that focused on loving to learn…
My idea: An enlightening teaching experience about the dangers of harming the Earth’s natural resources already exists as “Circle of Life: An Enviornmental Fable” at The Land at Epcot. Yet that film, as influential as it is, has run its course of 17 years. A similarly-focused cinematic experience – perhaps with some 3-D fun – could educate viewers about the destruction of our planet and the methods in which we could preserve the land. Think along the lines of an “instruction manual film” hosted by the bots from WALL-E and narrated by Jeff Garlin, who voiced the Axiom’s captain.
Where to put it: Bye, bye Timon and Pumbaa. Hello WALL-E and EVE, newest Epcot residents.
Oh, how I love the National Treasure films, as cheesy as they are. They investigate the mysteries behind American history with implausible storylines, but showcase the wide array of fascinating individuals and events of the United States. I cannot imagine what has limited The Walt Disney Company from extending the movies’ reach into the parks, let alone not already release the third film. In any case, this would make for a perfect attraction.
My idea: Guests could board special time travel vehicles, resembling the Indiana Jones Adventure rovers. Invented by the Nicolas Cage character Ben Gates, these transports would take guests on a wild ride through exhilarating American milestones, but the threat of “not reaching” the present day would lurk as every second passes.
Where to put it: The backlot of Disney’s Hollywood Studios equates to much space without compromising an attraction everyone loves.
First off, to anyone who may claim Tron has never existed at the parks, the former Tron portion of the past PeopleMover at Disneyland does not entirely count as an attraction. Moreover, nor does the short-lived ElecTRONica event at Disney California Adventure count. We all want to race on the light-cycles now, don’t we? To be “stuck” on The Grid is a fortune, not bad luck, and the dazzling world of the 1982 original and its 2010 sequel just plead for a realistic translation.
My ideas: Yes, there are two. The easier option would be to gut Captain EO out of Tomorrowland’s Magic Eye Theater at Disneyland, and install a 4-D Tron experience, where the audience views a duel in “The Arena” from Tron. Complete with a moving floor! Now that is more feasible in cost and in imagination. An even neater idea would be to see an entire Tron portion of Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom replicate this universe. The Tomorrowland Speedway could be removed entirely in favor of adding an incredible 4-D experience where guests could ride aboard all of the neat types of vehicles featured in Tron. The arcade alongside Space Mountain could be permanently transformed into Flynn’s Arcade, and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café could evolve into the End of Line Bar, complete with Daft Punk music. Talking trash bin PUSH could be canned, replaced by a life-like, talking C.L.U., with the face and body of Jeff Bridges. Would you not want to see this happen?
Where to put it: Already mentioned, the newly-themed area of Tomorrowland: Tronomorrowland!
Thus completes a most enjoyable two-part edition of Disney In Depth. Feel free to share your ideas on what films you would like to see in the comments section, or tweet your thoughts.
This is Brett Nachman, signing off. Catch alerts for upcoming editions of the column by following me on Twitter. Have a good week!
EDITOR’S NOTE: This past Monday’s planned special edition of Disney In Depth was cancelled due to an unexpected illness. Plan to catch Disney In Depth next week for even more Mouse-themed fun!