Between Disney’s six major theme park resorts around the world, there are countless inspiring, thrilling, and memorable attractions. While some are just replicas of those found at the US Disney parks, the overseas theme parks have a lot of great rides that are either completely unique, vary slightly from the originals, or have upgraded and improved technology and features.
In this article:
Why International Disney Parks Often Get Rides First
Disney is constantly developing new theme park attractions for their theme parks around the world. In fact, the Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products has said that over the next 10 years Disney Parks plans to have more projects in development than ever before.
Internationally Disney has a couple of different models for how the business of their different theme park resorts are structured. Disney has four international theme park resorts – Shanghai, Paris, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. In Hong Kong and Shanghai, Disney is a partner in the projects with local government-supported entities that own percentages of the destinations. In Tokyo, the deal is more of a franchise model where a third-party group owns the parks and has a small payment structure back to Disney and works within creative guidelines. Disney now owns the Paris park outright.
In Shanghai and Hong Kong, Disney can develop an attraction with their international partners and have that park pay for part of the bill of the development. They can then take that attraction or technology and bring it back to the United States. You can thank Shanghai and their international development dollars for the updated Soarin’ film, Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, and the new Tron rollercoaster. The massive new Frozen land may also eventually come here.
Now, let’s get into the rides internationally that we would like to see in the US parks.
Rides That We Would Love To See In US Disney Parks
Disneyland and Walt Disney World have many attractions that are classic and beloved by guests, but they can always use some improvement. We think that Disney should invest more in their U.S. theme parks and bring over some of the best rides found overseas. Keep reading to find out our top picks!
We share which attractions we like best and then our big dreams of how we’d love to see these attractions fit into the US parks. Come do some armchair Imagineering with us.
While Disneyland and Walt Disney World have many roller coasters between their six theme parks, there are only a handful that are geared more toward children. We believe that EPCOT in particular could use a new thrill ride that is exciting for kids since there isn’t a coaster like Slinky Dog Dash or Goofy’s Sky School to fill that spot currently. This is why we wish Disney would bring Crush’s Coaster overseas to Disney World.
Crush’s Coaster can be found in Worlds of Pixar at Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris. The ride takes you on an adventure through the ocean with Crush and Squirt from Finding Nemo. Since there is already a space dedicated to learning about the seas that features Nemo, Marlin, Dory, and the rest of the characters from the film, it would be a perfect fit to round out the pavilion’s attractions.
Pooh’s Hunny Hunt
There are a few attractions on this list that aren’t necessarily completely unique creations but rather upgraded versions of popular attractions at the Disney Parks in the States. One such ride is Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, located in Fantasyland at Tokyo Disneyland. It’s very similar in concept and storyline to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh at Walt Disney World and Disneyland but with new and improved technology and ride features.
Although the classic attraction is beloved by guests in the United States Disney Parks, the ride itself could definitely use a little love. We believe that updating the ride to have the trackless system that is featured on Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and several other recently built attractions would give it a fresh feel and a much smoother ride experience. Plus, there’s more that can be done with the animatronics and ride screens if the Hunny Pots are able to move freely around the ride, making it even more enjoyable.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Nano Battle!
Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure already holds two great rides, but a third attraction we think would be an excellent addition to the area is Ant-Man and the Wasp: Nano Battle! This interactive ride, which can be found in Tomorrowland at Hong Kong Disneyland, uses the same layout and track as Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters with a Marvel twist, with guests helping protect S.H.I.E.L.D. Science & Technology Pavilion’s Data Core which is under siege by Hydra.
Plus, with Pym Test Kitchen being the primary dining location in Avengers Campus, a ride that features Ant-Man and the Wasp would fit in very well into the area.
Mystic Manor offers a slightly different take on The Haunted Mansion attraction, where guests are given a tour of the private museum of Lord Henry Mystic and his monkey Albert. This ride can only be found in Mystic Point at Hong Kong Disneyland, but we would love to see Disney bring it over to the states. More specifically, we would love to see it placed in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom.
We believe Adventureland would be the perfect location for Mystic Manor for one reason: The Society of Explorers and Adventurers, also known as S.E.A. If this “organization” sounds familiar, it’s because it is—Skipper Canteen restaurant contains a reference to the same idea. In the Mystic Manor attraction, Lord Henry Mystic is part of S.E.A. and his museum is made up of items collected by other members of the team. We think the tie-in with that section of Adventureland would work well and continue to build on the narrative of the Society. We know that this is unlikely as Mystic Manor is really Hong Kong Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion but we can dream.
Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek!
There are only a few truly interactive rides at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, where guests of all ages get to actively participate in the attraction rather than just sitting back, relaxing, and looking at everything. Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek! which can be found in Tomorrowland at Tokyo Disneyland, would be a great option to bring over to the U.S. parks.
As riders move through this attraction, they must shine their flashlights at all corners of each room to try to catch the Monsters, Inc. characters while they’re playing a game of hide and seek. It’s a unique concept where all ages can join in the fun without having to be in competition to “win” the ride. Since Disneyland already has a Monsters, Inc.-themed attraction, we think that this ride would work best situated in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom.
Journey to the Center of the Earth
One of the thrill rides we would love to see brought to the U.S. Disney Parks is Journey to the Center of the Earth, located on Mysterious Island at Tokyo DisneySea. Although the “runaway train car” concept of the attraction is comparable to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Expedition Everest, this coaster is completely unique in its storyline and theming. In this ride, guests board subterranean vehicle to venture to the center of the earth, but a volcano eruption sets the journey off its planned path into unexpected dangers.
We think Journey to the Center of the Earth would be a great addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, since the two aforementioned thrill rides are at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom, and it wouldn’t really fit the theming of EPCOT. We could see it being placed near (or even replacing) the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular since it has a very similar feel. It would also work nicely as a replacement for Grizzly River Run at Disney California Adventure if they ever decided to retire it.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril
We think another great roller coaster option would be Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril from Disneyland Paris. Although this ride can be found in the Adventureland section of that theme park, we believe it would be much better suited to Disney’s Hollywood Studios than Magic Kingdom.
Indy already has a presence at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so it would be an easy transition to add in the Temple of Peril rollercoaster. Plus, adding in another major thrill ride would enhance Hollywood Studios’ reputation for being the Disney park most comparable to Universal Studios. This would be valuable for Disney, since some families with older kids prefer to take their vacations at theme parks with more intense ride options.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure
It’s no secret that most Disney theme park fans feel that the worst version of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction is at Walt Disney World. It’s much shorter than the other iterations, it doesn’t have much of a storyline, and it generally feels like a hodge-podge of random moments plucked from the original Disneyland attraction. This is why we’d love to see Disney bring Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure to Magic Kingdom.
Located in Treasure Cove at Shanghai Disneyland, Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle of the Sunken Treasure is the only version of this attraction that was based on the film franchise rather than inspiring it. It has a strong storyline, great theming and design, and includes some of the already-well-known original characters from the movies like Captain Barbossa, Davy Jones, and of course Captain Jack Sparrow. We think updating Magic Kingdom’s attraction to reflect this one would be a smart move.
Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage
A lot of great new attractions have been built at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland over the past several years, but most of them have been based on characters and themes from popular Disney movies and franchises. One thing that we haven’t seen recently is brand-new rides with unique storylines that aren’t based on Disney movies or shows. We believe that the best way to change that would be for Disney to bring Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage to the United States.
Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage is your classic, slow-moving boat ride, similar to “it’s a small world” at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom and The Three Caballeros at EPCOT. It’s located in the Arabian Coast area of Tokyo DisneySea, and it’s a one-of-a-kind attraction featuring entertaining characters and catchy music that can’t be found at any other Disney theme park. We think this one would fit best at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, since this park doesn’t have many attractions that all ages and heights can enjoy, and the design of the building and ride concept would fit the theming of the park very well.
One of the most popular attractions at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World is the Haunted Mansion. It’s one of the classics, and the characters from the ride—like Madame Leota, the Hatbox Ghost, and the Hitchhiking Ghosts—are well-known by most Disney fans. However, these two versions lack a consistent storyline and more information about the characters’ backgrounds.
Enter Phantom Manor, located in Frontierland at Disneyland Park in Paris, with a distinct and compelling storyline. We think updating the Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom to this version of the attraction would make the most sense, since Liberty Square merges directly into Frontierland, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is visible from the outdoor queue. Plus, it would give the ride a fresh feel without taking away too many of the aspects that guests love so much.
Interested in experiencing all of these overseas attractions in one amazing, once-in-a-lifetime trip? Be sure to check out our article about Disney’s private jet trip that goes to every Disney park in the world.
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