There has always been somewhat of a correlation between theme parks and what appears on the big screen. It’s a natural bridge to cross, given the appeal of both leans heavily in favor of children. Think about it. The most famous theme park in the world is Disneyland, which aims to capture the imaginations of young children. That’s why so many other amusement parks follow the same pattern. Rides and roller coasters based around Hollywood blockbusters.
The cynical among you will say that it’s just a marketing ploy. But isn’t there something to be said for bringing the big screen to life? The movies are one of life’s greatest escapes. We like to get lost in the stories told on the big screen. What better way to celebrate that than to live vicariously through them in the form of an exhilarating ride?
There are, quite literally, thousands of theme park attractions to choose from for the regular movie buff. It’s an exercise in clever branding. Why wouldn’t a thrill seeker want to go and take on that terrifying new ride in the name of their favorite movie? Hell, there’s even a relationship between theme parks and what happens behind the camera. That famous Merry-Go-Round featured in Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas? You can go and take a ride on it yourself. Hopefully, you’re not as worse for wear as Benicio del Toro, though.
With all that being said, we figured it’s high time that somebody took a look at some of the best movie-themed attractions in the world. The ones that you and your family can go and try on for size right now.
Avatar Airbender, Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Based on The Last Airbender, which originally aired on Nickelodeon, is the Avatar Airbender. Found in the heart of England, or in the Mall of America, the 70ft ride replicates the feeling of the show and movie. Everything about this ride is a throwback to the popular television series.
Even the queue is adorned with the lush foliage you’d expect, along with the famous guardian statues. From there, you approach the giant disk and begin to hope for the best. The half pipe roller coaster track gets faster and higher as it goes, as you “ride the airwaves.”
Batman Adventure, Parque Warner
There is perhaps no superhero that is more world-renowned than The Dark Knight himself. The man has undergone a million different renditions. From its humble beginnings as the corny comic-book hero, to Christopher Nolan’s most recent offerings. Batman really does have something for everyone, depending on your personal tastes.
The Batman Adventure experience in Spain pays homage to Tim Burton’s much-maligned series. As you might expect from Tim Burton as a director, the four films are certainly larger than life, to say the least. The roller coaster in Madrid’s Parque Warner is still open today, and has that same dark feel that you would expect.
The ride begins on the outskirts of Wayne Manor. You then make your way through, into the super secret Batcave. That proves to be the calm before the storm, as you’re suddenly whisked off into the Gotham night. Its setting is that of a high-speed pursuit, and you can expect to encounter the caped crusader himself, along with a number of his enemies.
Journey to the Center of the Earth, Dollywood
What’s better than a ride involving Brendan Fraser, you might ask? Well, how about a ride involving Brendan Fraser in 4D? We weren’t quite sure what 4D actually entailed when we started compiling this list, so we had to run a quick fact check. It essentially boils down to 3D with moving parts and special effects.
This ride can be found all over the world, so it doesn’t matter where you are located. The Philippines? Check. New Zealand? Check. Tennessee? Check. It’s a fifteen-minute adventure thrill ride that takes you to the heart of the earth’s core. Definitely, worth your time if you’re going to be heading that way anyway.
Ratatouille, Disneyland Paris
There are many people that don’t understand the discernible differences between Disneyland and Disneyworld. The French park, you see, boasts an entire section of the park dedicated to rides you can’t find in the United States. One such ride is based on the French cult classic Ratatouille.
This roller coaster is particularly different if you’re looking for a sense of perspective. You see, you’re given the role of rats throughout the ride. Everything you see, hear, and sense will be from the perspective of a rodent. Where this ride is particularly notable is in its use of motion sensors to guide the cars rather than a traditional track. Technology, huh?
Terminator X, Six Flags
Located in the Mexican branch of Six Flags, you can find Terminator X: A Laser Battle for Salvation. If that isn’t a title that gets your heart racing, I fear you may never be satisfied. Is there anything more fun in this world than laser tag? Not to our knowledge. And likewise, Terminator is just about the quintessential action hero. Put the two together and what do you have? One hell of a ride.
To cut a long story short, Terminator X is your standard laser tag adventure, but set in the Terminator universe. It’s a pretty standard parallel to make. Arnie loves his lasers. The amusement can be found at Six Flags locations around the world, including Mexico and Canada. Should you be interested, there is also an Alien vs. Predator version of the same game.
As you can see, no matter where you are in the world, there will be a ride that accommodates your favourite movie. The relationship between the big screen and theme parks is only going to get stronger. Each time Hollywood releases a new blockbuster, you can be sure that a roller coaster will be designed in its image. You should check the above out while you still can, as no doubt they’ll one day be replaced by younger models. What are some of your favourite movie-themed roller coasters and why?