There are many Disney rides and attractions that are based on films but did you know that there are some films that are actually based on Disney attractions?
When visiting the Disney theme parks it’s common to see rides that are based on films. Lately even whole lands are based on films such as Avatar and Star Wars. Less known though, is that some films have been inspired by or based on existing Disney rides and attractions.
Pirates of the Caribbean (2003)
Probably the one that people are likely to know is ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. The ride of the same name first opened at Disneyland California on 18 March 1967. A version of ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean’ also opened at the Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World on 15 December 1973.
The film series first aired in 2003 with ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl’. Disney then followed up with a 2nd film subtitled ‘Dead Man’s Chest’ three years later in 2006.
Whilst the film series was based on the ride, elements from the films have since been added in to the ride. Some scenes and characters from the ‘Curse of the Black Pearl’ were added to the ride in 2006 in readiness for the release of the 2nd film.
Many people think Pirates of the Caribbean as being the first Disney film to be based on an actual pre existing ride. However, it wasn’t the first, that accolade belongs to the Tower of Terror.
Tower of Terror (1997)
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened 22 July 1994 and takes its inspiration from the Rod Sterling 1950/60’s TV series ‘The Twilight Zone’.
Sitting ominously at the end of Sunset Boulevard, the Tower of Terror is a very popular themed drop tower ride.
The attraction back story outlines a tragic night on 31 October 1939 when during a heavy storm lightning struck the tower hotel. Five guests were in an elevator when the lightning struck causing the elevator to plummet killing its occupants. The hotel closed for a long time but now has reopened to guests who dare to experience the haunting events of that fateful night.
Tower of Terror, a made for television supernatural horror film aired in 1997 and is based on the ride of the same name. Some of the film scenes were actually filmed at the Tower of Terror attraction in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios). The film has no connection to the Twilight Zone TV Series but does follow the same back story as the ride.
The Haunted Mansion (2003)
The Haunted Mansion ride and attraction first opened 9 August 1969 at Disneyland California with Walt Disney World opening its version on 1 October 1971. Guests ride in doom buggies as they experience the haunted interior of this Mansion with its 999 happy haunts.
The Haunted Mansion, a supernatural horror comedy from 2003 is based on Disney’s theme park ride of the same name. The film stars Eddie Murphy as a realtor who visits a mansion with his wife and family. The Mansion turns out to be haunted and they have to try and escape. The film portrays familiar phantoms including Madame Leota, the psychic encased in the crystal ball.
The Country Bears (2002)
Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is home to the Country Bear Jamboree attraction. This attraction is a theatre stage show with audio animatronic characters. The Country Bear Jamboree opened on 1st October 1971.
The 2002 movie, ‘The Country Bears’ is loosely based on the Disney theme park attraction. The film depicts ‘Beary Barrington’ as he goes on an adventure to save Country Bear Hall by getting the Country Bears back together for a reunion concert.
Mission To Mars (2000)
When Disneyland California opened in 1955 there was an attraction called ‘Rocket to the Moon’, this attraction after being refurbished in 1967 and renamed to ‘Flight to the Moon’ was eventually changed to ‘Mission to Mars’ in 1975. The Disneyland attraction closed in 1992 and a similar attraction at Walt Disney World closed in 1993.
In 2000 ‘Mission to Mars’, a science fiction adventure film inspired in part by the old Disneyland attraction was released. The film depicts the first manned mission to Mars and how it all goes bad necessitating the launch of a rescue ship.
Jungle Cruise (coming 2021)
Disney Jungle Cruise is an upcoming adventure film based on the park attraction with the same name. The film stars Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt.