Sometimes it takes many years, even decades, for a popular Disney film brand to enter the theme parks in the form of an attraction. For instance, while the Voyage of The Little Mermaid first graced Disney’s Hollywood Studios only two years after the film’s debut, over 20 years passed before a ride shaped up in the parks.
Now the exquisite dark ride exists at both Disney California Adventure Park and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. In this first section of two-part edition of Disney In Depth I will share five films that deserve to be translated into theme park attractions.
Mr. Incredible and his family have regrettably only greeted their fans via meet-and-greets and parades, with no permanent “home” of their own. The giant set-pieces and action sequences of the Disney-Pixar feature beg for a thrill ride. From Syndrome’s intense Nomanisan Island to the bustling city of Metroville, The Incredibles’ environments lend themselves to an immersive experience.
My idea: Design a 3-D first-person shooter adventure that mixes the interactive elements of Toy Story Mania! and the simulator technology of Universal Orlando’s The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. Guests could blast villains as they are swept into sweeping new scenes inspired by the movie. Though the cost would likely be exorbitant, the popularity of these aforementioned attractions speak to the demand for state-of-the-art, repeat-focused experiences.
Where to put it: Pixar Place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. There’s some room next to Toy Story Mania! and rumors continue to suggest the Backlot Tour may be history.
Everyone must want to “seize the day” with the New York newsboys, or at least this guy does. Thankfully the musical’s widespread acclaim on Broadway has given new life to the property, once a financial failure. In a sense the Newsies are already in the parks, at least in the context of the entertaining “Red Car News Boys” routine on Disney California Adventure’s Buena Vista Street, where they perform one of the movie’s hits. But they need some stability, don’t you think?
My idea: Condense the two-and-a-half-hour Broadway show into a forty-minute theme park production by featuring five or six of the main tunes, including the everlasting “Santa Fe” ballad. This could be relatively inexpensive, though Disney would need to ensure they cast extremely talented dancers who could match the brilliant New York choreography.
Where to put it: Well, unless The American Idol Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios meets its doom in the next year or two, the next apparent venue for a Newsies show would be in the seasonally-used Premiere Theater, located on the appropriately-themed New York Street.
Have you ever loved to soar above London with Mary Poppins on her flying umbrella? Well, many a child has, and this “Chim Chim Cher-ee” enthusiast has longed for the day to embark on an exciting air travel journey while listening to the Sherman Brothers tunes. Mary Poppins, Bert, and even the penguin are already locals on Main Street, U.S.A., and even at the United Kingdom pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase, so the setting is already chosen.
My idea: Using the amazing vehicles implemented for Universal’s Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, a Mary Poppins attraction could allow guests to flutter higher and higher, gazing past the London Tower and other memorable landmarks. I have yet to develop an exact plot, but why not allow two ride options according to the time of day, with before 5 p.m. being set in the day and after 5 p.m. taking place in the dark London skies. Who knows? There could even be an “overcast day” possibility to match the outdoor weather.
Where to put it: As I indicated, World Showcase represents an ideal spot. There’s a bunch of square-footage in the World Showplace event space, right next to the United Kingdom. Perfect.
Amy Adams delighted viewers with her performance as Giselle in the 2007 musical, and its film fans must clamor to experience Alan Menken’s ditties in the theme parks. Akin to the Newsies idea, this could work as an elaborate stage production.
My idea: Through incorporating large, high-definition screens, guests could watch a condensed, three-minute version of the film opening before seeing Giselle and the other performs literally come to life on stage. Remember in the film when she emerged onto Times Square? She could pop up from under the stage to enter a busy street scene. The thirty-minute show would feature the Alan Menken songs and a neat projection effect to simulate Narissa the Dragon.
Where to put it: As much as I love the Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular show at Disney California Adventure, the Hyperion Theater would be a wonderful location for this major event. Otherwise, how about the currently-available Fantasyland Theater in Disneyland?
We have several new and compelling characters with Ralph, Vanellope, Felix, Sgt. Calhoun and King Candy, and the spectacular environments of the film would work amazingly effectively as backdrops for an attraction. Naturally, the candy-coated context of Sugar Rush is the coolest and affords itself the most realistic environment for a racing ride.
My idea: Guests could compete in a tournament in cool sugary-looking vehicles, which they would “design” in the queue, and set off on a fast-paced, enticingly-smelling pursuit to claim gold. I think this could work out well as either an outdoor coaster or an indoor one.
Where to put it: Big Thunder Ranch and the Festival Arena at Disneyland are underused and occupy a massive amount of land. If Fantasyland could be extended west to this section and resemble a sweet little land, you would have an instant hit that may even draw more traffic to this area.
This is Brett Nachman, signing off. Return back next Thursday for the second part of this special “Imagineering-focused” edition of Disney In Depth. Additionally, check out a special Monday edition of Disney In Depth this coming week. Catch alerts for upcoming editions of the column by following me on Twitter. Have a good week!