At the Disney Parks, there are a couple different types of attractions and offerings. Some attractions, like it’s a small world, Spaceship Earth, Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster, and Expedition Everest are original ideas that are unrelated to Disney’s films. Many attractions feature the characters and stories from Disney’s most beloved films. Peter Pan’s Flight, Frozen Ever After, Slinky Dog Dash, and Flight of Passage are just a few of the movie-themed attractions at Walt Disney World. Perhaps the most interesting type of Disney attractions are the ones that are so creative and cherished that their stories were later turned into movies.
These attraction inspired films continue the tales of guests’ favorite ride and allow them to experience some of the Disney magic outside of the parks. Here are some of the Disney attractions that made the jump to Hollywood and became movies.
Tower Of Terror
The first Disney attraction inspired movie is 1997’s Tower of Terror. Inspired by the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this film is the only Disney attraction film to be made for television. In this Halloween themed film, Steven Guttenberg portrays a journalist named Buzzy Crocker. Buzzy and his niece Abigail, played by Kirsten Dunst, investigate the disappearance of 5 people that occurred 60 years prior at a now abandoned hotel. The story of this 1939 disappearance is taken directly from Disney’s attraction. Abigail and Buzzy go on a scavenger hunt in the hopes of breaking the curse that caused the disappearance.
The Country Bears
At Magic Kingdom, The Country Bear Jamboree is a Frontierland favorite. In 2002, this attraction’s all bear band was given their own film starring Christopher Walken and Hayley Joel Osment. The Country Bears follows Beary Barrington, a pre-teen bear who was raised in a family of humans, as he attempts to reunite the The Country Bears for a benefit concert to save Country Bear Hall. Puppeteers and animatronic costumes were used to bring the classic characters of the Country Bear Jamboree to life in this attraction based movie.
The Haunted Mansion
Just one year after The Country Bears, Disney released The Haunted Mansion based on the the stories and themes in the classic attraction of the same name. This 2003 action horror comedy stars Eddie Murphy who plays a relator named Jim Evers. Jim, his wife, Sara, and their two children take a visit to Gracey Manor. The family comes to find the manor inhabited by some of the happy haunts from Disney’s attraction, such as Madame Leota and Master Gracey. The Evers’s stay is filled with mystery, manifestations of the supernatural, and some very important family lessons. The film pulls aspects from the different versions of the Haunted Mansion. The manor’s Louisiana location is inspired by Disneyland‘s Haunted Mansion while much of the plot is similar to that of Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris.
Pirates Of The Caribbean (Franchise)
Perhaps the most successful attraction to film endeavor is the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. In 2003, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl premiered. The swashbuckling film is very loosely based on the attraction of the same name and stars Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightly. The film’s success and critical acclaim led to 4 more films being created for the series with the most recent one being released in 2017. This film series is currently the 13th highest grossing film franchise of all time. Because of the popularity of the characters in these films, specifically Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow, elements of the films were added to the attraction’s experience.
This year Disney released Jungle Cruise which features elements of the Adventureland attraction with the same name. The film stars Dwayne Johnson as Frank Wolff and Emily Blunt as Dr. Lily Houghton. Wolff is a steamboat skipper who agrees to take Dr. Houghton and her brother on their quest to find a mythical tree. The explorers believe that this tree can help improve medicine. Several of the punny jokes and gags in the film are taken directly from the attraction’s script, including the “back side of water”. A version of Trader Sam, who can be found on the Jungle Cruise attraction, is also depicted in the film.
What is your favorite Disney attraction based film? What attractions do you want to see on the big screen? Let us know in the comments!