When you think of heading to a Disney theme park for a family vacation, you probably think about heading to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, or Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, right? In fact, there are actually 12 Disney theme parks around the world. In addition to the two parks in California and the four in Florida, Disney has two parks in Tokyo, two in Paris, one in Hong Kong, and one in Shanghai. While some rides — like “it’s a small world” and some variation of The Haunted Mansion — are staples across continents, there are some rides that you’ll have to travel a long, long way to experience. Unless, of course, these rides come to the American parks.
Some of the marquee attractions from Disney parks around the globe are already on their way to the U.S. In 2017, Disney announced that Ratatouille from Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris will be coming to Epcot and the thrilling Tron Lightcycle Power Run from Shanghai Disneyland is on its way to Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom. And that got us thinking… What other international Disney theme park rides do we want in America?
So we scoured the six international parks for their best and most unique attractions that would fit in somewhere at Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom. Of course, we got a little selfish with our list — but hey, if Disney taught us anything, it’s that we should dream big. And these are our dream Disney attractions for American parks.
ゆ〜じ I. / Yelp
The concept of a runaway mine train rollercoaster is not unknown to American Disney park fans: It’s called Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This twist on the concept stars a family of bears and features captivating special effects and a backwards section not unlike one of the best Disney attractions of all time, Expedition Everest.
Where We Want It: Frontierland, Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom technically already has two mine train rollercoasters: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Seven Dwarves Mine Train. Because there’s a superior version of Big Thunder with explosive effects at Disneyland, Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars could be a thrilling replacement for the East Coast’s coaster, while still allowing American fans to experience Big Thunder with ease. It’d also establish a subtle bear theme throughout Frontierland, thanks to Splash Mountain’s Br’er Bear and the Country Bear Jamboree.
The newest Disney park has some of the flashiest attractions in Disney history, but it also has some great back-to-the-basics experiences. Camp Discovery is an obstacle course consisting of various rope challenges. As guests explore Roaring Mountain, they’ll encounter various challenges, such as a bridges, waterfalls, and caverns. Each obstacle has an easy, medium, and difficult level, so it’s fun for all ages and abilities.
Where We Want It: Adventureland, Disneyland. What’s an Adventureland without a little adventure, right? Does Disneyland Park have the space for this mountainous attraction? We’re not sure. But would it be loads of fun for guests of all ages to traverse this obstacle course as waterfalls flow around them and the rest of the park gets smaller and smaller beneath them? Absolutely.
Iron Man Experience has a lot in common with similar motion simulators in Disney parks, like Star Tours, but it brings Avengers favorite Iron Man to life as guests help Tony Stark fight off an attack from Hydra. It’s a quick, simple, and fun adventure that will satisfy even the most casual Avengers fan.
Where We Want It: Marvel Land, Disney’s California Adventure. A Bug’s Land at California Adventure is not long for this world; it’s due to be replaced by a Marvel-themed area in 2020. We have a feeling this ride will make the cut for the West Coast land, due to its budget-friendly nature and ease of transfer. Of course, instead of taking place in Asia, this ride should have a major anchor to California, helping once again to bring back the original theme of this park.
H Q. / Yelp
Journey to the Center of the Earth takes you beneath the planet’s surface and under the sea in caverns and crevasses filled with adorable creatures (and some pretty intense monsters). The final race out of the Earth is a thrill that no POV video can come close to replicating.
Where We Want It: Dinoland U.S.A., Animal Kingdom. While we love the inclusion of dinosaurs at Animal Kingdom, Dinoland — with its off-the-shelf wild mouse coaster and another aerial carousel Ticeratop Spin — is not working. Why not replace the area with more mysterious beasts like the ones in this ride?
With a slight nod to Fantasia, this stage show features a mystical magician and his apprentice, Mickey Mouse, who is tasked with cleaning the magician’s workshop at night. Of course, the room gets sprinkled with a bit of pixie dust, and Mickey finds himself in the worlds of classic Disney films like Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin, and Frozen, all while the songs from these iconic movies are sung and magic lights up the theater.
Where We Want It: Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom. While Magic Kingdom already has plenty of Mickey with a character meet-and-greet, a castle stage show, and the Philharmagic 3-D movie, none of those things have quite the wow factor of this special stage show. And speaking of Philharmagic, this theater would be a great space for Mickey and the Magician. The 3-D effects in this show may have been great when the attraction opened in 2003, but it’s starting to show its age.
Interactive rides elements always make a ride more fun, and Tokyo Disneyland’s Monster’s Inc. Ride & Go Seek is no exception. This dark ride features those lovable, not-so-scary monsters creeping behind doors and corners and hiding in mailboxes, trash cans, and TV sets. What makes this ride so unique is that riders are given flashlights to seek these monsters out and make them interact, meaning no two journeys are the same.
Where We Want It: Hollywood Land, Disney’s California Adventure. Hollywood Land may seem like a weird fit for a Monsters, Inc. attraction, but this area already houses Mike & Sulley to the Rescue. While that attraction is little more than a redress of one of Disney’s worst rides of all time, Ride & Go Seek is innovative and engaging.
Carolen M. / Yelp
This twist on Haunted Mansion takes you on an enchanted tour through Henry Mystic’s house, which has been disturbed by a magical music box. The visual effects, animatronics, and set pieces in this ride are so detailed and so colorful that a new standard for Disney dark rides has been set.
Where We Want It: World Showcase, Epcot. OK, it may seem more logical to place this attraction in an existing American Haunted Mansion, either at Disneyland or Magic Kingdom. But those rides are distinctive enough from each other and so iconic, they deserve to stay. So where to put this ride? How about in the Chinese pavilion at Epcot. In addition to telling its charming story, this ride could perhaps be altered to teach more about Chinese culture and mysticism. Really though, we just want to have it all.
みずえ S. / Yelp
Disney parks are no strangers to Pooh-themed rides, but Pooh’s Hunny Hunt at Tokyo Disneyland is some next-level stuff. This ride’s state-of-the-art trackless technology and merry animatronics make this ride all-enveloping and a pure joy that is not to be missed in any Disney fan’s lifetime.
Where We Want It: Critter Country, Disneyland. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh at Disneyland is a favorite of the park’s youngest guests, but it’s nothing to write home about and rarely accumulates much of a wait at the crowded park. We know Disney can do amazing things with Pooh, so why not bring that spectacular element to America?
There’s something about going through a dark ride while sitting in a boat that is so… Disney, and so wonderful. Add in a catchy song (see: “it’s a small world,” Pirates of the Caribbean), and you have a complete and total winner. Tokyo DisneySea’s Sinbad’s Storybook Village takes a page right out of those rides’ book. It tells the charming tale of Sinbad and his tiger sidekick Chandu as they go on a magical adventure.
Where We Want It: Adventureland, Magic Kingdom. Walt Disney World has no shortage of boat rides, but we love boat rides the most, so why not add in one more? Sinbad’s aesthetic and earworm song would fit in seamlessly to the Arabian Village theme of Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland.
This ride at Disneyland Paris is simple. You climb into one of the toy soldiers’ parachutes and rise and fall as you take in the sights of a toy-filled landscape. It plays off the scene in Toy Story when the green army men look at Andy’s presents, and it’s a fun and cute nod to an iconic franchise.
Where We Want It: Toy Story Land, Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Disney’s newest land, Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, has three family-friendly attractions: Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers, and Toy Story Mania. But only the first two are new. This small drop ride would help give the toy soldiers that march around the park a presence as an attraction and could prep weary kids for a ride on the much more daring Tower of Terror.
Shanghai Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure takes you into the middle of a pirate battle for that always-alluring treasure. You travel underwater to the depths of the sea and encounter ghost ships, swordfights, and of course, the elusive Captain Jack Sparrow. The visual elements of this engaging, immersive ride cannot be overstated nor can they truly be enjoyed by just watching videos on YouTube.
Where We Want It: Adventureland, Magic Kingdom. Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean is a true original and an iconic attraction; it’s leaps and bounds better (and longer) than the equivalent in Walt Disney World. Why not give the Magic Kingdom its own distinctive Pirates attraction? Well, because that would mean you’d have no reason to go to Shanghai Disneyland, an experience that is a must for any Disney fan’s bucket list.
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