Home » These 5 Disney Rides Have NO CHANCE of Becoming Movies, But We’d Like To See Them On the SMALL Screen!

These 5 Disney Rides Have NO CHANCE of Becoming Movies, But We’d Like To See Them On the SMALL Screen!

The Jungle Cruise is here, and that means our list of Ride-To-Film Adaptations has grown again! Let’s face it – from The Haunted Mansion to Pirates of the Caribbean, many Disney films do lend themselves beautifully to becoming big screen adventures… even if the studio’s had hits and misses in their ongoing attempts…

But today, we wanted to look at several rides that just should NOT become movies… but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t still be great intellectual properties to develop multimedia around… Which of these five projects would you be interested in seeing? What ideas do you have for adapting rides into something other than big-screen movies?

1. “it’s a small world”

Arguably, there are very few attractions as instantly-Disney as “it’s a small world.” First setting sail at the 1964 – 65 New York World’s Fair, the ride’s relocation to Disneyland has seen it become an iconic classic defined by its pastel simplicity, mid-century naievte, and of course, the song. We wouldn’t put it past Disney to try to recraft the ride into one of its “over-produced CGI family adventure films,” but there’s a better use for it…!

How to use it instead: It’s so easy to imagine “small world” as an equivalent to Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer, offering formulaic, call-and-response adventures with viewers “visiting” countries around the world, “meeting” international friends, “learning” foreign languages, solving simple puzzles, and more, all keeping with the ride’s message of harmony and difference as strength.

2. Mission: SPACE

One of the lesser-known of Disney’s ride-to-film adaptations was 2000’s Mission to Mars, based on the motion-less simulator that occupied both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. Mission: SPACE is kind of the modern equivalent. It’s a kinda-sorta-recognizable ride name, but generic enough that screenwriters could take the bones of the in-park experience and create an actual story worth seeing in a theater.

It’s also true that “science faction” or “Sci-Fi Lite” films set in space are a dime a dozen. Some – like The Martian and Interstellar are absolutely phenomenal. Those award-winning, esteem-earning films might make Disney think they ought to chase the genre, too. But we might offer there’s a better space to fill…

How to use it instead: It’s pretty easy to find a streaming series set in space. It’s a little tougher to find a good one. Many of the streamers’ sci-fi series are criticized for being weightless (pun intended) messes that toss every sci-fi trope into one bucket, served up in serial formats that just don’t have much gravity (eh hem). A “Mission: SPACE” series written with real heart, drama, excitement, and science could be a hit on Disney+ or ABC. But given that Hulu cancelled 2018’s very well-reviewed seriesThe First (a drama about the first manned mission to Mars), maybe we’re asking for too much.

3. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

Located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is a pure adrenaline rush, inviting guests to hop aboard a “super-stretch limo” and peel out through the streets of Los Angeles en route to an Aerosmith concert. Once in action, the ride is a high-speed coaster that twists, turns, inverts, and drops through exaggerated, blacklight, comic book icons of Southern California. Obviously, it would be pretty fruitless to try to pluck a two-hour plot from that, but it doesn’t mean Disney’s rock ‘n’ roll ride couldn’t still be something

How to use it instead: Bear with us here… What if Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster was Disney’s launching off point for a Disney-fied spin-off of James Cordon’s “Carpool Karaoke”? There’s something quite cool about the idea of a host like The Rock dressed as a chauffer and picking up celebrities and performers at LAX in a stretch limo. En route to a talk show, concert, or movie set, the show could feature interviews, singalongs, or even a “Cash Cab” style game show for stars… Though honestly, Los Angeles traffic would probably make the show a little less Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and a little more Superstar Limo… 

4. Enchanted Tiki Room

Originally opened in 1963 – just as the Tiki Wave crashed across the United States – the Modern Marvel: The Enchanted Tiki Room today feels like a throwback. It’s an ultra-classic show that gives guests a break from the frantic paths of the park to relax in air-conditioned splendor beneath singing tropical birds and plants. With its iconic singalong score and its perfectly in-vogue “adventure” setting, the Tiki Room is an absurdly strong intellectual property… but outside of Disneyland’s Tropical Hideaway, it’s never really been treated that way!

How to use it instead: Another writer here at Theme Park Tourist listed the Tiki Room as a perfectly film-ready IP in its own right, and has some very good reasons for it! And while the iconic birds, original characters, perfect soundtrack, and quasi-fantastical setting might make for a great movie, I’d argue that the Tiki Room might be a perfect fit for Disney+ instead… And that could mean a lot of things!

An animated series would be easy to do, perhaps following a migrating bird who stumbled on the magical aviary and its cast of feathered characters. Likewise, we can imagine a Tiki Room live-action series, with Hawaiian kids stumbling on the hidden world in a family adventure / mystery series like The Mysterious Benedict Society or Secret of Sulphur Springs. Obviously preschool shows make great sense, too. Basically, while the Tiki Room might not have enough meat for a movie, it seems like an underutilized and highly adaptable IP in Disney’s catalogue that should be seen on a small screen!

5. Soarin’

When it opened in 2001, the Modern Marvel: Soarin’ represented one of Disney’s most unique offerings if only because it ingeniously altered the course of the “Age of the Simulator.” Having proved that the technology was capable of creating rough, rugged, dizzying, and extreme sensations, Soarin’ opted to flip the coin and show the grace, magnificence, and emotions of flight in a ride appropriate for grandma, too. 

California Adventure’s is decorated like a historic hangar filled with tributes to great aviators from the Golden State; Epcot’s as a futuristic air terminal of glowing marquees and abstract clouds. At Shanghai Disneyland, the ride was set in Adventure Isle, becoming a star-lit temple high in the mountains where the “Spirit of the Condor” grants visitors the ability to see distant worlds. Tokyo DisneySea’s ride is wrapped in the stylings of S.E.A., set in an Italian Museum of Flight with guests setting off from a marble balcony. Each could be the basis of a film in its own way, but the Soarin’ IP feels like it lends itself to something else… 

How to use it instead: Another property that feels like it could be bolstered by National Geographic, the highly-recognizable Soarin’ brand (and its all-ages reach) just seems perfect for a a travel-themed miniseries; one focused on incredible landscapes, ecosystems, cities, and more. Imagine each episode focusing on a country – “Soarin’ Over Korea;” “Soarin’ Over Ireland;” “Soarin’ Over Zimbabwe.” Even as “shorts” of just several minutes each, these would be incredible features for Disney+ or interstitials between programs on ABC.