5 Awesome Movie-Inspired Theme Parks
The idea that movies could inspire theme park rides and activities is not new – Disney has been doing it for decades with their animated movies coming to life in all manner of fantasy castles and magic kingdoms.
Now, other film studios are jumping on this bandwagon by building theme park attractions around their blockbuster movies in key parks around the world.
The New York Times reports that The Walt Disney Company and NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast, are pouring billions of dollars into bringing movie-inspired attractions to their resorts.
21st Century Fox, for instance, is working on a major project in the Middle East while Fox movies in the pipeline include Avatar, Ice Age and Planet of the Apes.
Note that these are always not standalone theme parks, rather they would be movie ‘experiences’ built into already existing theme parks to add to the attractions.
1. The Hunger Games
One of the most anticipated is the Hunger Games attractions by Lionsgate Entertainment Corp. The first park based on Katniss Everdeen’s thrilling adventures will open in October at Motiongate in Dubai at the massive Dubai Parks and Resort complex in the UAE.
Hunger Games rides include a simulated hovercraft run through Katniss Everdeen’s mining town and a ‘bullet train’ roller coaster ride based on the movies’ high-speed Capitol trains.
An artist’s impression of the Hunger Games zone at motiongate Dubai, Dubai Parks and Resorts
photo credit: screamscape.com
Two additional Hunger Games mini parks are planned for Macau in China and in Atlanta, Georgia in the USA in the near future.
Lionsgate is currently planning several other theme park exhibits around its film properties, including the popular Divergent and Now You See Me, which centres on a troupe of illusionists who are implicated in a heist.
Lionsgate will be following the Warner Bros. model of licensing its properties to park developers rather than building the parks itself
Warner Bros. has licensed its characters, which include Batman and Bugs Bunny, to theme parks such as Six Flags for some time now.
Star Trek ride in Jordan
The Middle East scores again with the promise of Paramount’s amazing Star Trek movies being made into a theme park in Aqaba on the northern-most tip of the Red Sea.
The Red Sea Astrarium is a planned 184-acre Star Trek theme park that received $1.5bn in funding and the official backing of Jordan’s King Abdullah, an ardent Trekkie who even appeared as an extra in Star Trek: Voyager.
The park will feature Star Trek Experiences based on the movie franchise. These include night-time shows, a state-of-the-art space flight adventure simulator ride, restaurants, four hotels and numerous shops.
Other attractions in the park will feature Jordan’s Nabatean, Babylonian, British and Roman influences, along with theatrical productions, night-time shows, restaurants and shops. The Star Trek ride is rumoured to be the first attraction ever made to be 4D with actual freefall mechanism.
Unfortunately, it seems the Trekkies will not ‘live long and prosper’ just yet – political unrest in the region has seen tourism plummeting and although construction experienced a slow-down, developers are still aiming for a 2017 opening.
Something to look forward to, Universal Parks & Resorts, which licenses movies from various studios, is looking at a Transformers park experience from Paramount Pictures as well, although it’s not clear where.
An artist’s impression of the Red Sea Astrarium in Aqaba, Jordan
photo credit: trekmovie.com
Universal Orlando opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure in 2010. In July 2014 it opened the adjoining Diagon Alley; an expansion on the original park.
The park is based around the wizarding village of Hogsmeade with dozens of magical shops, including Honeydukes, The Hog’s Head, Dervish and Banges and Zonko’s.
Guests can experience exciting rides including Dragon Challenge™, Flight of the Hippogriff™, and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™, a state-of-the-art attraction that brings the magic, characters, and stories of Harry Potter to life in ways never before imagined. An exciting new, immersive attraction is a ride called Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.
Famous Butterbeer and English pub fare will be served at The Leaky Cauldron, a wizarding pub and inn from the series.
Universal Studios also have brought MEN IN BLACK, Shrek, The Simpsons, Terminator and E.T to life at theme parks.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. Source: Wikepedia
photo credit: wikimedia.org
That’s our favourite movie theme parks this year, although we’d like to add a special mention for Noah’s Ark, or Ark Encounter, set to open July 7, in Williamstown Kentucky.
The enormous ark was built according to the dimensions given in the Bible and the park includes friendly animals, great exhibits. Here’s a sneak peek via the Ark Encounter Facebook page.
Look forward to immersing yourself in your favourite Hollywood movie at a theme park near you!