Move over, 'Jungle Cruise': These are the Disney rides that should be movies, stat

·4 min read

Grim grinning ghosts come out to monetize.

From “The Haunted Mansion” to “Tower of Terror,” Disney has mined some of its most popular attractions for the big and small screen. But for every “Pirates of the Caribbean”-sized hit – which earned Johnny Depp a best actor Oscar nod and spawned four sequels (and counting) – there are also box-office duds like George Clooney's “Tomorrowland” and 2002's “The Country Bears” that probably should have never left the Magic Kingdom.

With Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt's “Jungle Cruise” now in theaters and onto Disney+ Premier Access, I decided to dream up my own ideas for which Disney theme-park rides should be movies next (including suggested plots).

Emily Blunt, Dwayne Johnson interview: 'Jungle Cruise' stars reveal most awkward on-screen kiss, dirty jokes cut by Disney

The long-running Jungle Cruise ride at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., has been translated into a Disney movie.
The long-running Jungle Cruise ride at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., has been translated into a Disney movie.

The ride: Test Track

My pitch: A soft reboot of the "Fast and Furious" franchise, in which the most charming man alive, Corey Hawkins ("In the Heights"), becomes a human test dummy for a top-secret sports car, engineered by none other than Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). Johnson co-stars as a "Felliniesque" rival mechanic.

The ride: Matterhorn Bobsleds

My pitch: Angela Bassett, Dianne Wiest, Michelle Yeoh and June Squibb play longtime friends who need some R&R away from their high-stress jobs and lousy spouses. Cut to a bobsledding trip through the Alps, which goes hilariously awry when one of them gets eaten by the fearsome Yeti.

The ride: Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

My pitch: Isabelle Huppert is a hardworking PR exec looking to spice up her marriage when she surprises her wife ("Minari" star Yuh-Jung Youn) with VIP tickets to an Aerosmith concert. But when a pre-show meet-and-greet turns into a raucous party at the band's recording studio, the couple must race to make curtain time (with Steven Tyler in tow) in this "Grand Theft Auto"-inspired comedy.

The ride: Maelstrom

My pitch: Eager to give Disney+ subscribers a kid-friendly "Midsommar," the Mouse House hires Ari Aster to make a surreal Norwegian nightmare based on the former Epcot log ride. Returning to her "I Know Who Killed Me" horror roots, Lindsay Lohan plays an American tourist who slowly loses her mind after she's cursed by a three-headed troll (Danny DeVito).

The ride: It's a Small World

My pitch: A "Babel"-esque drama about a global cast of characters interlinked by a dark secret spanning generations. "You know, it's true what they say: It really is a small world," Ben Affleck tells Jennifer Lopez in their future Oscar clip scene, as the now-newlyweds compete against one another in a genderless supporting acting category.

It's a Small World, a classic attraction at Disneyland, could be a big success as a movie.
It's a Small World, a classic attraction at Disneyland, could be a big success as a movie.

The ride: The Hall of Presidents

My pitch: Sorry, history buffs, but many of us agree that this is by far the most boring Disney attraction. (Seriously, if I wanted a 25-minute lecture about the Constitution, I'd just call my dad.) But "Night at the Museum" is quaking at all the movie possibilities here: Imagine if Daniel Day-Lewis reprised his Oscar-winning role in "Lincoln" to play an animatronic Honest Abe, who gets high off talking to tourists and decides to run for president again in 2024? Michael Douglas will finally clinch an MTV Movie Award for his wisecracking supporting turn as Robot George Washington.

The ride: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

My pitch: How this movie hasn't already been greenlit just boggles the mind: Nicolas Cage plays a grizzled prospector who's tasked with stopping a runaway mine train in a "The Taking of Pelham 123"-style Western thriller. We accept Venmo or PayPal.

The ride: O Canada!

My pitch: The now-shuttered Epcot attraction – essentially a 14-minute advertisement for the majesty of Canada – was honestly just gorgeous to look at. Where's the feature-length version? The Great White North's finest filmmaker, Sarah Polley, directs this heartfelt and eye-popping documentary, narrated by another of Canada's best, Keanu Reeves.

All 46 U.S. presidents are featured in The Hall of Presidents, including Joe Biden, who will be added next month.
All 46 U.S. presidents are featured in The Hall of Presidents, including Joe Biden, who will be added next month.

The ride: The Great Movie Ride

My pitch: As a Patrick J. Ryan who is also a movie buff, this ex-Hollywood Studios ride was my everything growing up. (I obviously lost my mind every time we passed Patrick J. Ryan's Bar from 1931's "The Public Enemy.") Now that "Space Jam: A New Legacy" has proven that no IP is sacred, why not have Tiffany Haddish host a rip-roaring adventure into cinema history? Jesse Plemons, wonderfully unhinged in "Game Night" and "Jungle Cruise," gets a long-awaited Oscar nod playing the weaselly gangster who hijacks the tour.

The ride: Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular

My pitch: Now that Phoebe Waller-Bridge has successfully overtaken the "Indiana Jones" franchise, Harrison Ford is making peanuts working at its theme-park incarnation. But when a Slovakian scientist (Florence Pugh) harnesses the power of chickpeas to create an atomic bomb, Ford reluctantly recruits a group of audience volunteers to end her plant-based reign of terror.

Review: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt are well-matched heroes on a cheesy-fun 'Jungle Cruise'

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Jungle Cruise': These Disney theme-park rides need their own movies

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