Some movies make for great theme park rides. Some theme park rides are adapted into great movies. And sometimes you’ll get a movie and its theme park ride that are equally awesome.
Disney recently released its blockbuster epic Jungle Cruise which is based on the classic Disneyland ride of the same name. Regardless of whether this really needed to be a movie or not, theme park rides hold a special place in people’s hearts — particularly at Disneyland.
Jungle Cruise is not the first, nor will it be the last, in a line of movie franchise and theme park ride collaborations. Let’s revisit some of the best.
Pirates of the Caribbean
While there are plenty of theme park rides inspired by movies, there are fewer movies based entirely on theme park rides. Pirates of the Caribbean is undoubtedly the best of the bunch.
Say what you will about the rest of the franchise, but Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is a damn good movie full of swashbuckling action, iconic characters and awesome fantasy.
Considering it was adapted from a (fairly tame) riverboat ride at Disneyland just adds to its impressiveness.
You can relive Pirates of the Caribbean on Disney+.
Harry Potter is no doubt an iconic series of movies that were just begging to be turned into a theme park ride. Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter translates the world of the books into real life, to a tee.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is easily the best ride in the park based on the franchise and takes you on a magical whirlwind through some of the most iconic locations from the books. The film’s actors even filmed special scenes just for the ride.
Another movie just crying out for a theme park ride was James Cameron’s Avatar.
The film was praised for its incredible sci-fi world and use of 3D technology, all of which were used to turn it into an equally epic theme park ride.
Avatar: Flight of Passage opened at Disney World in Florida a few years back and quickly became one of the busiest rides at the park. It uses huge screens and those good old 3D glasses to create a next-level simulator that makes it feel like you’re really flying on a banshee over Pandora.
Who knows what rides will come out of the next three Avatar sequels, but in the meantime you can watch the original on Disney+.
Jurassic Park River Adventure (or Jurassic World: The Ride depending on which park you go to) really does the dinosaur franchise justice.
Jurassic Park is a river ride that brings some of the most iconic movie moments to life and (true to its inspirations) ends in a terrifying disaster with a 25m drop. It really gives a new meaning to double entendre as you, a theme park guest, ride a theme park ride based on a movie about a theme park for dinosaurs.
Watch all the Jurassic Park movies over on Stan.
Long before Disney bought Lucasfilm, the House of Mouse brought Indiana Jones to Disneyland.
Indiana Jones Adventure draws on all the best things that make the movies great. Guests become tomb-raiding adventurers and encounter all the hallmarks of an Indiana Jones film — forbidden treasure, dangerous traps and, of course, snakes.
It is literally quite the wild ride but a perfect counterpart to the action and adventure of the Indiana Jones films.
You can’t travel to Disneyland right now but you can rewatch the Indiana Jones films over on Stan.
The 2002 live-action Scooby-Doo film may not have been a perfect adaptation but it is special for Australians in particular.
For starters, the film was shot on an island off the coast of Queensland. To celebrate this, Warner Bros. Movie World built a ride dedicated to the film. Considering parts of Scooby-Doo are set within a rollercoaster ride, it was only logical and all too easy to adapt this into a real-life attraction.
The Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster is a pretty accurate take on the movie and it is an absolute icon at Movie World, as any Australian who’s been there will tell you.
While we may not be able to visit many of these theme parks right now, these rides are well worth adding to your bucket list, particularly if you enjoyed the movie.