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So You Really Want to "Ride the Movies"? Here's Where You Have to Go

 

Did you know that theme parks around the world operate more than 130 attractions based on movies? Over 100 of these attractions are rides, which naturally leads to a question. Which ones are the best? Also, how would a person even determine those rankings?

For example, The Simpsons Ride is somewhat based on a movie, but The Simpsons entertained us a television show for many years before its cinematic debut. DINOSAUR is technically based on a film, but nobody remembers that fact. Also, the attraction bears no similarity to the film. Should that count? I'm going to muddle through these murky waters to determine one thing. Here's my list of the best 15 movie-based rides on the planet.

Criteria

Image: DisneyI’ve made a few arbitrary rulings here. For starters, no film receives representation more than once, which seems to hurt Toy Story, Star Wars, and Harry Potter more than anything else. Next, I’ve decided that any ride that’s largely independent of a movie shouldn’t count.

So, I’ve taken options like DINOSAUR, Iron Man Experience, and Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! off the board. I’ve made an allowance for rides that have captured the essence of their movies, though.

Finally, and most importantly, the movie had to come first. So, Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion aren't possibilities here. I don't want to dilute the results by allowing huge exceptions like those iconic attractions.

Avatar Flight of Passage

Image: DisneyThe ride of Pandora – The World of Avatar isn’t based on the movie per se. Somehow, it encapsulates that magical alien realm so well that nobody cares, though. The airborne journey through the skies is so immersive that you suspend disbelief and temporarily forget that you’re on a stationary bike staring at a digital monitor.

Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem

Image: UniversalUniversal Studios and Disney rides comprise the entirety of this list. I shortlisted some other options like the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory attraction at Alton Towers, but it’s closer to the tone of the book than either film.

Conversely, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem lacks a direct connection to the films, but it somehow feels authentic. Gru and his adopted daughters prepare for a surprise birthday party, which the Minions have worked on all day. The special effects feel on-brand for the franchise, but it’s the storytelling that tethers Minion Mayhem to the franchise. It’s a ride that makes everyone smile.

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