I've been thinking a lot lately about one of the world's greatest combinations. Movies and Theme Park Rides. There are a lot of truly great movie-themed rides, most of them can be found at Disney Parks, and what makes them great is their attention to detail. That opiate of the fangirl masses. It's all about the detail and the atmosphere. With the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opening this summer, (and if you've seen the previews, you know they've taken their time and done it right) I've been thinking about what else should exist for those of us who love movies and theme parks.
It's just a crime that some movies were never made into theme park rides. If I had my say, the following films would be found at a theme park near you...
7. Beauty and the Beast - Hellooo, walk through enchanted castle, anyone? Anyone? I do have some kind of fuzzy memory of there being some sort of castle-like structure at Disney's MGM Studios in the nineties. A restaurant perhaps? Anyone remember? Whatever it was, it was next to the live stage that used to house the original incarnation of the stage show where the theaters are now for Fantasmic and Beauty and the Beast.
6. The Rocketeer - It's not the perfect movie...but almost. I know I've got the nostalgia filter on with this one, but you can't tell me that it wouldn't make a great ride in any incarnation. Flying, Nazi-fighting, Alan Arkin...
5. Star Trek - How anyone has managed to look this one over across the years is beyond me. It could be anything, something similar to Star Tours, a perfectly themed line, something completely new (Star Fleet Academy?), heck, I'd even take a roller coaster at this point if it was well designed enough to match the Star Trek Universe and had a fun concept.
Maybe you're on a mission for Star Fleet. (Saving some whales, perhaps?) Can you imagine the introduction video this ride could have from William Shatner or Patrick Stewart, or both? The Trek universe has all the elements of a truly great theme park ride ready and waiting, warp speed, red alert, lots of motion, phasers, ship battles, and on and on. And just imagine the gift shop after the ride! It would be like striking gold for whichever park decided to go for it! Geeks have buying power I tell ya, and we're just dying for someone to give us the chance to spend, spend, spend our hard-earned money on sci-fi memorabilia. Pair that with the post-adrenaline surge we'd still be feeling from having a first-hand Trek experience, and the profits would be legendary. So great, even a Ferengi would blush! Hear my impassioned plea theme parks of the world! Create. This. Ride.
4. Lord of the Rings - This just screams for a Dark Ride, or maybe something similar to Soarin' at EPCOT and DCA. Even something small in scale, say, Maelstrom-sized. Imagine walking (or cruising) the streets of Hobbiton or Gondor, it would be the perfect ride for literary nerds too, as they could point out all the inaccuracies as they cruised along. "Hey, Treebeard didn't shy away from Isengard!"
3. Hook - I've always imagined a walk-on attraction based off of this ride, something similar to the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. The locations from this underappreciated (and strangely hated) 90's film were places that I always wanted to go. I'd have mermaids in a tank visible and interacting with people waiting in line, a la Weeki Wachee. The two major parts of the ride could be hanging out where Peter and the Lost Boys live, culminating in a visit to Hook's ship.
It would also make a great dark ride, and the design could be based on Peter Pan's Flight, a ride currently in existence at the Magic Kingdom on both coasts. I guess this could also be a great live show. You could keep the interactive line, but watch a stunt show, and for a little extra, you could explore the set afterward.
2. Tomb Raider - For a brief shining moment in time, a few years at Paramount's Kings Island in the "ots", this ride existed. An indoor Top Spin, perfectly themed, scored, and executed. Indoor Top Spin doesn't sound like much fun, I know. But it was. Even if you don't like the movies, you have to admit that the games leave you nothing but incredible adventure ideas and locations to work with. Who doesn't want to step into the world of Lara Croft? The empty streets of Rome or a recently unearthed ancient jungle site in Peru? The ride could be similar to the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland. (My all-time favorite, tied closely with the Haunted Mansion.)
I know insurance costs would NEVER allow it, but how great would it be to have a Tomb Raider experience, an adventure you yourself could live? You have to solve the puzzles, you get to experience the acrobatics, you get to run around and play in some giant amazing location from the games/movies. It would be unlike any other attraction, astronomical in cost to operate, but still...sounds fun, doesn't it? A Tomb Raider playground for grown-ups. Yes please.
1. The Goonies - Perhaps the best property of all not to be developed into a ride is this 80's adventure classic. In fact, this material is so rich, you could create an entire section of the park using the film as fuel. I know it's not as economically viable as a property anymore, the boom is over, if there ever was one, and it's mostly nostalgia now. BUT, look at all the out-of-date attractions that are just now being replaced, Honey, I Shrunk the Audience for example, which I loved. But still. Disney went nuts, creating two attractions based off of that movie. But no Goonies at either Universal or Disney? Seems like such a waste to me.
If they did it now, they'd have an attraction for the parents, a little immovable corner of the boom and bust pirate market, and a way to instantly revitalize the Goonies market as an entirely new generation of kids experiences the ride with their parents. Thus birthing an entirely new (and very meta) generation of kids who will love the ride. And the movie. And maybe we'll get a sequel out of it.
You could have a water park with all the water slides and the pirate ship from the end of the film, or you could have a dark ride that takes you through all the traps and tunnels underneath Astoria, in fact...the ride could begin in the attic where you discover the map. OR, you could do a ride as a sequel. Return for an all new adventure using iconic locations, and actors from the film as your guide. (On film, of course. Though it would be super cool to meet Martha Plimpton in person.) Let the audience feel like they're living the adventure this time, again, using the Indiana Jones Adventure as a template. I tell you, the possibilities are endless.
What else? What rides do you wish existed in the theme park universe?