When it comes to Disney, there is an inherent link between the company's movie studio productions and its theme parks. It's a virtual guarantee that if a movie is successful, it will eventually appear in the theme parks in some capacity. While Disney almost invented the theme park concept, other movie studios have certainly seen the potential in making their movies come to life in a new way through rides and other attractions. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is probably the most successful non-Disney IP inside theme parks, but many others have appeared in parks all over the world. Now Jumanji has become the latest film franchise to become its own theme park ride.
Jumanji: The Adventure has been officially announced as coming to Gardaland, a theme park located in Ronchi, Italy. It is set to open sometime in 2022. While there aren't a lot of details regarding what the ride itself will be, it's being called a dark ride "for adventure lovers of all ages" and it promises to transport riders to the world of Jumanji. A promotional image shows riders on a ride vehicle resembling a jeep moving along a track, surrounded by what will likely be animatronic animals. It looks like fun. It also looks like Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland
Based on the art work, there's a pretty obvious comparison to something like Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland or Dinosaur at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Both use similar ride vehicles; the one on Indiana Jones is a jeep not unlike the one above, designed to carry a lot of guests. Both the Disney rides have some thrilling elements as the vehicle races away from threats or is attacked by animatronic creatures, and both are still classified as dark rides, as they move riders through a story. It's pretty easy to see Jumanji: The Adventure being put together in a similar way.
The fact that Jumanji: The Adventure looks similar to something like Indiana Jones Adventure isn't a bad thing. It makes a lot of sense. Both franchises include a lot of running around in jungle environments, so an attraction design that allows for dark ride style storytelling, while still including some thrilling elements only makes sense. It almost certainly won't feel like a carbon copy of Indiana Jones Adventure. Technology has advanced a great deal in the more than 25 years since the Disneyland ride arrived, and the Jumanji attraction will almost certainly take advantage of that.
What's unclear from the announcement is if the ride will be specifically tied to one of the Jumanji movies. While both the Robin Williams original film and the more recent sequels starring Dwayne Johnson and company are mentioned in the announcement, we don't know at this point if we might see their characters somewhere in the ride. These days, it's almost expected that when a ride based on a movie is built, it will include the actors from the film. Tom Holland appears in the new WEB-SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure at Disney California Adventure. Several actors from the Harry Potter movies appear throughout the various attractions at Universal Studios' resorts across the world.
Whether we'll see an animatronic Dwayne Johnson or Karen Gillan on a video screen in the queue remains to be seen, though it would certainly not be shocking. The two most recent Jumanji films were massive hits all over the world, including in Italy, so it would only help the new attraction's appeal to include them.
Gardaland Resort is home to the Sea Life Aquarium, the LEGOLAND Water Park and the Gardaland Park, which includes mostly unlicensed coasters, water rides and shows. It does have a land dedicated to Peppa Pig for the little ones, and the Kung Fu Panda Master roller coaster, a spinning wild mouse coaster similar to the recently defunct Primeval Whirl, just a few feet away from the Dinosaur ride at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Jumanji feels like the perfect candidate for a theme park attraction, the only downside being that we'll have to go to Italy to check it out. Maybe Sony will sign a deal with another theme park to bring the ride stateside.
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.