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The Ultimate Movie-Themed Rides at Disney Parks

When it comes to attractions at Disney Parks, whether it’s a slow dark ride or one that appeals to the thrill-seeker in us, basing it on a beloved movie is the magic ingredient to making it particularly memorable and one that entices moviegoers and theme park-lovers alike in the first place.

The Great Movie Ride

Photo Credit: Disney

But which movie-themed rides are the best? Well, you don’t need to scour the Internet or visit every Disney theme Park Resort on the planet (though we would fully support such an adventure) because we’ve carefully selected the best movie-themed attractions at Disney Parks for you.

7. Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin – Disneyland Resort California & Tokyo Disneyland

What’s great about Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin is that it sits somewhere between the real world and a cartoon. Yes, it’s animated in style, but everything is right there in front of you. After catching a cab, you’ll be dropped into the wacky and whimsical world of the toons, whose color-splashed urban and industrial aesthetics have been plucked right out of the classic movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? And all around you, everything is moving – but your cab even turns so that you can see it all!

Roger Rabbit pops up several times too, and he looks pretty spectacular. But perhaps the most memorable part of the ride is the end when Roger opens an inky black portal for you to go through – it looks just like a real cartoon! Both California and Tokyo rides are pretty much the same, although the latter has more in the way of neon and strobe lighting. Either way, you’ll agree that this ride feels alive, so much so that you’ll leave thinking toons really are a part of this world.

6. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Walt Disney World & Disneyland Resort California

It’s hard to think of a Star Wars ride that’s bad, but Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance really raises the bar. First, you’ll explore by foot, during which you’ll meet Rey in hologram form and an Admiral Ackbar audio-animatronic. Then you’ll board a shuttle and navigate an Imperial setting, passing a company of First Order Troopers and towering AT-ATs, as well as a terrifyingly close encounter with Kylo Ren, before being immersed in your own incredibly photo-realistic galactic flight.

Rise of the Resistance Ride

What this attraction offers that other Star Wars-themed ones don’t is variety. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is an immersive experience that gives you a bit of everything where adventure is concerned. And though it lacks any material from the first six episodes in The Skywalker Saga, focusing only on the sequel trilogy, there’s still plenty to evoke waves of nostalgia, from AT-ATs to epic dogfights all around you as you go, which make this attraction a ‘Force’ to be reckoned with.

5. Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek! – Tokyo Disneyland

We clearly have a penchant for rides that are based on cartoon-animated or CGI movies, but that’s probably because the characters that populate them look just like their on-screen counterparts, whether it’s Belle, Elsa, Ariel, or Olaf. In this case, it’s Sulley, Mike, Randall, and Boo. There’s just something about how these characters move and interact with their environment, with Boo being the best example – her curious eyes and playful chuckles are enough to melt your heart.

As for the ride itself, it’s a wonderful whistle-stop tour of Monstropolis, whose vibrant designs will make you feel like you’ve actually stepped inside a closet and come out the other end. There’s a similar version of this monstrous masterpiece at Disneyland California in the form of Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue; however, Ride & Seek’s animatronics feel far more animated. And while it’s a dark ride filled with monsters, you’re far more likely to laugh than you are to scream.

Credit: Pixar

4. Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast – Tokyo Disneyland

Talking about all these movie-themed rides without including one that’s also fairytale-themed would be a crime. Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast might seem like it belongs in Disneyland Paris, but even in Tokyo Disneyland you’ll feel like you’re being transported across the continents. Inside the castle, you’ll marvel at lavish surroundings – including the furniture, which before the ride starts isn’t so animated. But after the grand staircase, you’ll board an enchanted serving dish!

The “Be Our Guest” number is exquisite, and its practical effects are astounding. You’ll even see an absurdly realistic audio-animatronic Belle enjoy a spot of supper at the table. As Beast sings up on a balcony, Belle tends to Philippe before you pass through wintry forests. Then, Beast’s transformation back into a human is incredibly atmospheric. And the end dance, to which you’re obviously invited, proves that all the inhabitants of this castle want are for you to be their Guest.

3. The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure – Disneyland California and Walt Disney World

The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is yet another animatronic-based ride inspired by a classic Disney animated movie that has found its way onto this list. While, of course, not actually set underwater, the slow ride plunges you into the deep watery world of Ariel nevertheless, as you revisit memorable scenes from  The Little Mermaid, all the while iconic musical numbers play, including “Kiss the Girl” and “Part of Your World.”

After boarding a clamshell, you’ll enter a magical underwater realm, where Scuttle the Albatross’ audio-animatronic is hugely impressive, and the “Under the Sea” scene that follows is infectious. And while Ursula is frighteningly realistic, Ariel and Eric’s moonlit boat ride and picture-perfect wedding ceremony that follow are heart-warming. Fans of the 1989 classic will adore this ride, while even non-fans will find its color-soaked reefs and hypnotic watery reflections deeply immersive.

2. Avatar Flight of Passage – Walt Disney World

It’s impossible not to think of this ground-breaking attraction when considering the best movie-themed rides at Disney Parks. And as it’s found only at Walt Disney World, Avatar Flight of Passage is a rare treasure. Even if simulators aren’t your thing, this is an experience definitely worth checking out. Its ‘wrap-around IMAX  screen brings a CG recreation of Pandora bursting to life, and the rest unfolds all around you after you mount a sky banshee.

Credit: Disney

You’ll tear through the open skies of the tropical exoplanetary moon, gliding high as you soak in the majestic landscape below. You’ll descend too, flirting with monstrous waves, winding in and out of deep canyons, and dancing over herds of majestic alien creatures. What really sets this ride apart from other simulators is it’s immersive – you’ll feel a part of the landscape very much, like a part of Pandora.

1. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure – Disneyland Paris (and soon Walt Disney World)

We’ve talked a lot about CG movie-inspired rides, whether they plunge you into the world of cartoons, the world of monsters, underwater realms, magical fairytales, or faraway galaxies. But none of them ‘shrink’ you to the size of a rat. Using a giant screen and original CG footage created specifically for the attraction, this trackless ride shows you what life is like as a rat in a busy Parisian kitchen and beyond!

At rat-level, everything will look enormous, and before long, you’re off on a wild adventure where everyday things like mops and feet are now incredibly hazardous! And beyond the kitchen, you’ll cause panic as you scurry around Gusteau’s Restaurant. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure couldn’t be better placed at Disneyland Paris. Still, on October 1 this year, it will also scurry into EPCOT at Walt Disney World, just in time for the 50th anniversary celebrations.

Credit: Disney

You might not agree with every attraction on this list, or maybe you love each and every one of them. You’ll undoubtedly have more favorites, though, as there are so many movie-themed rides that span the Disney Parks. And whether you love the films they’re based on or not, turning down the offer to enter these fictional worlds just wouldn’t make any sense.

About Daniel

Dan is a huge fan of Star Wars, Disney, Jurassic Park, Ghostbusters, TMNT and Harry Potter, and has written for numerous film-focused and Disney-related sites, including Epicstream, Theme Park Tourist and Homey Hawaii. He has also recently completed his first children's novel, which he hopes to get published within the next year.