Break out the red carpet, today we are discussing the Disney Parks on The Big Screen!
Everyone knows that Walt Disney World contains plenty of attractions based on beloved movies, but did you know that there are several movies that were inspired by beloved attractions?!?
The idea originated in the 1990s with former Disney CEO Michael Eisner. By using plotlines and characters based on rides from the likes of Disneyland or Walt Disney World Resort, Eisner hoped that the films would help enhance the park attractions’ popularity.
Some went on to become massive hits! While others were abandoned before they could ever see the light of day, such as the rejected pitch for a film based on it’s a small world.
Whether you love them or hate them, these films give us a glimpse into the parks from afar! So, without further ado… let’s dive in into the Disney Parks on The Big Screen!
Starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, Jungle Cruise is (very) loosely based on the riverboat cruise that transports park attendees down major rivers of South America, Asia, and Africa. This campy and sardonic attraction features animatronic jungle animals and live narration from Disney cast members. Disney had been playing around with the idea of the film adaptation for years, yet the project was delayed multiple times since the early 2000s.
Visit Jungle Cruise: Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Walt Disney World.
Pirates of The Caribbean
Without a doubt, Disney’s most successful ride-to-movie adaptation is Pirates of the Caribbean! The original opened in Disneyland in 1967 and was the last attraction envisioned personally overseen by Walt. The first film in the movie series, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, exceeded all expectations and paved the way for the series headed by Johnny Depp.
Rumor has it, a sixth film is in development, starring Margot Robbie.
Visit Pirates of The Caribbean: Disneyland, Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris, Shanghai Disneyland.
The Haunted Mansion
Giving park goers a Disney spin on the classic spooky house, The Haunted Mansion ride debuted at Disneyland in August 1969. In 2003, Disney released The Haunted Mansion starring Eddie Murphy, Terence Stamp, Nathaniel Parker, and Marsha Thomason. While the film has been more or less deemed a flop from critics and fans alike, a reboot is back in the works! Don’t worry, ghouls… we’ll get ‘em next time!
Visit The Haunted Mansion: Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland.
Tower Of Terror
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction inspired the 1997 supernatural horror movie Tower of Terror. Never heard of it? We’re not surprised. As Disney’s first film based on one of its theme park rides, Tower of Terror also remains the only film produced for television. Starring Steve Guttenberg and Kristen Dunst, the plot follows a journalist and his helpers investigating the mystery of five people who vanished in a hotel elevator. Part of the movie was filmed at the Hollywood Studios attraction itself, with the rest of its filming taking place on a stage in Hollywood, California.
A new theatrical film adaptation is in development, though potentially stalled due to Scarlett Johansson’s falling out with Disney over The Black Window release.
Visit Tower of Terror: Disney World’s Hollywood Studios, Tokyo Disneyland (not related to The Twilight Zone), Disneyland Paris, and formerly at Disney California Adventure.
2000’s Dinosaur is inspired by the ride that was once known as Countdown to Extinction at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. However, the name of the ride was changed to Dinosaur in order to help promote the movie, and specific scenes from the film now appear during the pre-show segment.
Visit Dinosaur: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Mission To Mars
Though no longer available in any Disney park, Mission to Mars was an attraction from which the sci-fi movie of the same name took its inspiration. The space mission simulation originally opened as Rocket to the Moon at Disneyland in 1955. In 2000, Disney adapted the concept into a feature film starring Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins, Don Cheadle, and Connie Nielsen.
Spoiler Alert: The plot follows a mission to mars…
Visit Mission to Mars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XX9h2YmUvE0
The Country Bear Jamboree is a very popular Disney attraction. Country Bears the film… not so much! Since its opening at Magic Kingdom in 1971, the show’s animatronic bears have talked and performed country-themed musical numbers to entertain Disney guests. The Country Bears motion picture included a blend of live-action and voiceover roles, but despite several celebrity appearances ranging from Elton John to Queen Latifah, it failed to impress.
Visit Country Bears: Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland.
Tomorrowland (the film) touches on the futuristic-themed land. Unfortunately, it only offers brief allusions to the titular city rather than a distinct focus. While a flop, the movie is unique among the ride-to-film adaptations in that it actually mentions Walt Disney and one of Disney’s theme park features, It’s a Small World. The movie stars George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, and Tim McGraw.
Visit Tomorrowland: Disneyland, Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Shanghai Disneyland.
And that concludes our complete list of the Disney Parks on The Big Screen! Which films and attractions are your favorite? Let us know!