Do These Disney Rides Honor Their Movies?
Since 1955, Disney attractions have done more than thrill audiences and transport them to faraway lands.
These rides have also brought fictional realms from Disney movies to life.
The imaginary places you’ve watched all your life now exist at the parks!
Of course, Disney has done a better job with some attractions than others. So, how true are these Disney rides to the source material?
Avatar Flight of Passage
Some of these comparisons aren’t one-to-one. For example, in several cases, Disney has honored the theme of the film rather than directly adapted it.
I’ll evaluate such examples in a less stringent way since they’re not trying to honor the source material 100 percent. Instead, they provide more atmospheric ride experiences.
Avatar Flight of Passage counts as a blueprint example of what I’m describing. You’re obviously not recounting the story of Avatar.
Remember that when Disney designed this attraction, it didn’t even own the rights to that film. Instead, Disney planned the ride as the centerpiece of Pandora – The World of Avatar.
Thanks to the technology, you simulate a visit to Pandora, one where your avatar mounts a banshee and flies through the air.
Seriously, what could embody the movie’s theme better than that? You inhabit the planet of Pandora for a few minutes!
Avatar Flight of Passage honors the spirit of the movie exceptionally well. I’d grade it an 8 out of 10.
Frozen Ever After
Technically, Frozen Ever After doesn’t take place during either Frozen movie. Instead, you visit Arendelle at a time between the two.
Queen Elsa has declared Official Summer Snow Day, a federal holiday of sorts for Arendelle residents.
Your boat trip starts with Grand Pabbie telling other trolls the story of the two characters.
Eventually, you reach an ice palace where Elsa kindly performs her unforgettable song, Let It Go. Later, you’ll hear In Summer, too.
I think of Frozen Ever After as Frozen’s greatest hits. The ride strikes the perfect tone with the film franchise. This one gets a 9 out of 10.
Goofy’s Sky School
Be honest. Did you even know that this Disney California Adventure attraction even stems from a Disney story?
You answered no, right? And that’s my point here. Imagineers used the admittedly obscure short film Goofy’s Glider as source material.
Did the video remind you of the ride in any specific way? In Disney’s defense, elements are sprinkled throughout the ride. You simply need to know what you’re looking for.
Still, this attraction perfectly demonstrates that Disney could enhance some ride experiences significantly by adding more digital displays.
Something like the AquaMouse precursor would be ideal.
For now, Goofy’s Sky School only scores a three out of 10. It’s the least authentic of the attractions we’ll evaluate today.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Here’s a challenging one to judge in that Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway doesn’t embrace a specific story.
Instead, the entire modern run of Mickey Mouse cartoons provides the source material for this train ride into the imagination.
However, you don’t need any specific cartoon to form a baseline here. Imagineers simply tell all the best cartoon tropes!
You’ll submerge underwater, spend a day at the carnival, go dancing with friends, and survive metropolitan construction.
I don’t think anyone else could possibly encapsulate the spirit of Disney cartoons the way that Imagineers have. This one’s a 10 out of 10.
Radiator Springs Racers
Like Avatar Flight of Passage, Radiator Springs Racers makes no attempt to retell the story of its related film franchise, Cars.
Instead, Disney chose gentility with this ride. You’re just a tourist traveling through the sleepy town of Radiator Springs.
Honestly, you’ll never feel more welcome anywhere in your life. The locals cater to your every need and treat you like royalty.
Somehow, this place comes across as a totally believable town full of anthropomorphic cars. That’s quite the achievement. I’ll give it an 8 out of 10.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
You won’t find anyone who loves the movie Ratatouille more than I do. I’ve championed the film since its 2007 release to all who would listen.
In fact, I strongly encourage you to start the movie on Disney+ right now! It’s the most magical of Pixar tales and the rare film with a character redemption story arc.
Technically, the Ratatouille ride doesn’t mirror the movie, but I must emphasize the word technically.
During Ratatouille, you’ll recreate the beloved kitchen chase scene from the film. Since you’re at a Disney theme park, it’s even better, though!
You’ll experience 4D elements, including the heat of an oven and the spray from an opened champagne bottle.
Disney crafts an immersive illusion that you’re inhabiting the world of Remy the rat.
For years, this attraction anchored Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris. I’m not exaggerating when I say the park would be a ghost town without it.
Now, EPCOT fans can embrace one of Disney’s best rides ever. This one also earns a 10 out of 10 for recreating the tone of Ratatouille as a film.
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Much of what I said about Ratatouille also applies to The Seas with Nemo & Friends.
This EPCOT attraction also doesn’t retell the story of Finding Nemo, at least not technically.
Though, you’ll be hard-pressed to explain the differences when you’re on the ride. It starts at Nemo’s school of fish, where the little dude wanders off again.
Has Nemo learned nothing from his previous mistakes?! Apparently not. So, Dory and Marlin once again journey into the unknown to find Nemo.
Along the way, you’ll encounter Bruce the Shark again. Thankfully, he hasn’t gotten any smarter. Still, I do laugh at the joke, “I wonder if clownfish taste funny.”
Later, you’ll surf the East Australian Current, the best part of the ride. It, too, follows the film’s trajectory.
So, this ride may technically be its own thing, but it’ll still feel like Finding Nemo. So, I’d give it a 9 out of 10.
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Feature Photo: Disney