Disney Rides Made into Movies (Number 1-3)!

Jondee here at the Magic Kingdom,

Here we go with the top three Disney Rides into Movies.

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3 Tower of Terror (1997). This was an early attempt at making a film of a ride, made for television, it starred Steve Guttenberg which took away interest in this film, but he works here. It gives the back story to the attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (also DCA), but not Twilight Zone. The newspaper is the Los Angeles Banner, not the Los Angeles Examiner seen on the table of the ride. The story has the Hollywood Tower Hotel which was ritzy in 1939, complete with band playing “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Benny Goodman. Shirley Temple-like star, Sally Shine (Lindsay Ridgeway) is there getting her photograph. Also, there is Sally’s stern nanny, Emeline Partridge (Wendy Worthington) a woman (Melora Hardin) with her paramour (Alastair Duncan), and the bellhop, Dewey Todd (John Franklin). A supernatural storm hits the hotel and the elevator car containing the four. Guttenberg plays a tabloid reporter, Buzzy Crocker, reporting on fake stories with his niece Anna (Kirsten Dunst, she did many teen roles like Jumanji in 1995). They have to uncover the mystery, sort of like the tv version of The Shining without anything rated R, more rated G. Finding the story behind the passengers from the ride is great and fun.

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2 Mission to Mars (2000). I saw this film for this article and it deserved to have a full review. The ride closed at Disneyland in 1992 and basically had visitors seeing the animatronic Mr. Johnson in the control room explaining the mission. You enter a circular room, find your seat, and circular screens at the roof and floor show the rocket launch (vibrations through the chairs) and injection into hyperspace to reach Mars and explore it with probes (seen on the side screens). The film doesn’t have a launch more the journey to Mars and what was found there. If Mr. Johnson was a character in the film or Third Officer Collins, then the ride connection would be there, but this film by Brian De Palma is bold in presenting a sci fi, space exploration film. The film does have NASA sending the mission to Mars, but this probably be a private firm like SpaceX.

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1 Tomorrowland (2015). This film is incredibly underrated, tanked by its confusing trailers, it’s a movie about hope and the future. It is a heavy feat by director Brad Bird to tackle a film with a theme park connection, an elaborate back story, and sci fi vision. Britt Robertson plays Casey Newton, a teen with a genius at “figuring things out”, caught up in the story of Tomorrowland exile, Frank Walker (George Clooney). They have to team up with the mysterious Athena (Raffey Cassidy) to uncover the mystery of Tomorrowland and somehow save it. Hugh Laurie plays Nix who runs Tomorrowland and wants to push the Earth to a Mad Max apocalypse. Key to travel to Tomorrowland is the pin, a T that is rocketing forward with an atomic symbol above it. This was rare, but not common at the parks. The park connection is there, young Frank Walker (Thomas Robinson) is able to reach Tomorrowland with his pin riding on It’s A Small World (the Disneyland version!) at the 1964 World’s Fair. There is glimpses of the Space Mountain structure in Tomorrowland, but the rest is an incredible look at the future.

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