Disney Will Do WHAT with Its Rides?
The Walt Disney Company didn’t need any more glowing headlines. WandaVision and Disney+ have already achieved that goal.
Still, the company’s recent string of can’t-miss headlines continued the other day when The Hollywood Reporter confirmed a project.
Disney theme park fans, your dreams will soon turn into a reality!
The Magic Kingdom Universe will tell the story of many of your favorite theme park attractions in an upcoming Disney+ series.
Yes, Disney rides will turn into episodes of a television program! Let me explain what Disney wants to do with its attractions.
Disney+ has entered development on a project that will thrill all theme park fans.
The company will create the Magic Kingdom Universe, a catchy term that reflects two aspects of this project.
Disney will produce several upcoming television shows and possibly movies. All of them will tie back to Disney theme parks.
The overall goal is the creation of an entire cinematic universe akin to Marvel, only all the stories connect to Disney attractions.
Nobody has disclosed exact projects yet, other than the one we’ll discuss in the next story.
So, I’m forced to speculate about possibilities. That’s easy to do, though.
You can easily envision a Space Mountain movie, right? How about a Jungle Cruise one?
Yes, the latter one already exists and will debut in theaters soon, pandemic allowing. The Space Mountain project is in development, too.
Well, Disney+ wants to populate its library with a slew of programs that extrapolate on current (and presumably future) theme park attractions.
In other words, you can expect shows about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Matterhorn Bobsleds or Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
At this point, you might say, “Hey, those aren’t all Magic Kingdom rides!”
Importantly, the Magic Kingdom Universe exists as a catch-all slogan rather than an indicator of the location of every ride.
Even international attractions like Mystic Manor and Phantom Manor are in play.
Those two Haunted Mansion-based rides tell divergent stories. Each one would work as a standalone Disney+ series.
In truth, all Disney rides could turn into shows over the years. The Magic Kingdom Universe will never go away now that we’ve willed it into existence.
Frankly, this moment is the one Disney fans have anticipated for many years now.
The Chosen Story
How familiar are you with the S.E.A.? The Society of Explorers and Adventurers plays a factor in several current Disney theme park rides.
You’ll even find references to the secretive group in some Disney restaurants, including Jungle Skipper Canteen.
Imagineers have used members of the S.E.A. to connect seemingly disparate stories.
Disney even built a nightclub based on the premise. You remember the Adventurers Club at Pleasure Island, right?
That idea tied into the fact that it’s all connected, so to speak. The most influential fictional characters from Disney rides all joined S.E.A.
Now, Disney wants to tell those stories, only not as theme park attractions. Instead, characters like Barnabas T. Bullion will appear in a TV show!
Well, I don’t know for sure whether it’ll be Bullion. I’m using him as an example of an established S.E.A. character with ties to Magic Kingdom.
Specifically, Bullion founded Big Thunder Mining Company, and you can guess how well that turned out.
Rides like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad feature detailed backstories about imaginary places that Imagineers have brought to life.
At Magic Kingdom alone, you’ll find several connections to the S.E.A., most of them at Jungle Cruise and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Disney wanted to give the Magic Kingdom Universe every possible chance to succeed.
As such, the company has spent tens of millions of dollars in signing famous showrunner, Ronald Moore.
I don’t want to get too inside baseball here about how television production works. Let’s just say that one person has a vision for a series.
That individual brings their dream into reality by assembling talent both in front of and behind the camera.
Moore’s track record demonstrates that he’s the right person for the project.
The writer/producer’s career started on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He toured the set and slipped a script to one of the people there.
On almost every occasion, this plan fails. For Moore, it led to the filming of his script less than a year later and a permanent gig writing for the show.
Over time, Moore felt frustrated by the Star Trek formula, a kind of exploration-based utopia where Starfleet always wins.
The showrunner later worked on Roswell and HBO’s Carnivale before his career-making project.
Moore helmed the critically acclaimed Battlestar Galactica reboot in 2003. This show still places on many Best of the 2000s lists.
BSG also receives praise for establishing a new style of serial television that many cable and streaming shows have emulated over the past decade.
Remarkably, Moore didn’t stop there. He’s recently worked on Outlander, the Starz series that will air its sixth season soon.
Not many producers have one blockbuster on their resume, much less several. Moore’s a freakish talent with a track record for excellence.
Why This Will Work
Do you remember The Country Bears and Disney’s Haunted Mansion?
These movies both came out less than 20 years, but neither one measured up to the related theme park attraction.
Many insiders believe that the failures stemmed from a need to branch out too much from the source material, the stories that Imagineers invented.
History won’t repeat itself with Moore in charge of the MKU. Here’s his comment on why he agreed to this project:
“I decided to go there mostly because my childhood was built around a lot of things that were Disney.
I am a huge fan and aficionado of the Disneyland park in Anaheim to the point where I would go there by myself periodically and ride the rides.
The opportunity for me to get to work on a lot of the classic IP that Disney has and things in their library that meant so much to me as a child growing up and that I have shared with my children ultimately was just something I couldn’t pass up.”
I’m not exaggerating when I say that Moore enjoyed his pick of projects. He chose Disney because he loves Disney.
Not many people regularly go to the parks by themselves. They’re family vacations, after all.
While living in the area as a Hollywood talent, Moore used his off days to spend time at the Happiest Place on Earth. He’s one of us, a Disney fan!
I believe that’s vital in the development of this project. I watched with horror as Haunted Mansion spun out into an Eddie Murphy vehicle.
Disney made the same mistake with recent Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, focusing too much on Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow.
The ride stories should lead television and movie plots, not vice versa. With Moore in charge, they will.
What the Magic Kingdom Universe Means to You
I sometimes explain the theming in various Disney attractions because many guests miss some vital elements.
Disney theming surpasses anything else in the world. The characters and the sets include remarkable detailing, the kind that requires multiple views.
When Disney has produced movies based on theme park rides, the films haven’t followed the rides closely. I think they’re best described as loosely based.
With the Magic Kingdom Universe, the rides that you love will drive the stories in the applicable Disney+ episodes.
Disney will marry its theme park empire with the ascending streaming service. In the process, dozens of rides should become TV series over time.
You will learn what went wrong at the Hollywood Tower Hotel and what happens at a star port and where the Dreamfinder has gone.
The essential part of this story is that every themed land has turned into a real place in the Magic Kingdom Universe.
Yes, that means Mickey & Minnie Mouse will eventually join the MKU, too. They could feasibly double date with Belle and Beast or visit Tomorrowland.
Everything is possible as Disney commits to synergy between its theme parks and streaming service.
You’re the winner in all this! Everything you love about a theme park visit could turn into the next hit Disney+ program!
Feature Image Rights: Disney
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