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IP-themed rides that have outgrown their IP?

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Hi guys. When parks are building an attraction, they may often employ an IP to increase the marketability of the attraction and add appeal for those who may already be attached to the IP being used. This is particularly prevalent in Disney and Universal theme parks. But my question to you today is; do you think that there’s ever been a case where the attraction has been so well-designed and loved that its legacy has outgrown that of the IP it’s based on?

I can think of a couple of examples for sure; interestingly, all of them are in Disney and Universal parks.
  • One of the best examples I can think of is the Tower of Terror attractions at various Disney parks. These are iconic attractions, and arguably key cornerstones of the parks they reside in. However, in spite of the rides having the Twilight Zone as an IP, I’d guess that 90% of people who ride Tower of Terror and love it have never even heard of the Twilight Zone, and most probably don’t even associate the ride with the Twilight Zone. Tower of Terror is a perfect example of an IP-themed ride that isn’t defined by its IP, in my opinion.
  • I’d also suggest Revenge of the Mummy as another candidate. Despite being based off of the Mummy franchise from the late 90s, I never actually even knew that the ride was based off of a film when I first rode the Florida version; I thought it was just a cool, Egyptian themed coaster! I’d argue that for many, the ride itself has become an icon on its own, with its unique effects and thrilling coaster experience making it loved among many, while I’d personally argue that the Mummy film franchise it was based off of is not quite as iconic.
  • Another arguable candidate for me is Splash Mountain. Yet again, I never even knew this was based off of an IP when I first rode; I just thought it was a cute little ride with lots of singing animals! Of course, the links to Song of the South do still linger, because that’s why the rides are being rethemed soon, but the IP certainly doesn’t define Splash Mountain, in my opinion. Despite the film it has links to being buried in history, the ride has arguably become quite the icon in its own right with its fun-filled drops and catchy songs.
But can you think of any IP-themed rides that have outgrown their IP in this manner?
 

Howie

Active Member
Add me to the list of people who didn't know that Splash Mountain was an IP.

While we're on about Magic Kingdom, have you heard about that new coaster they're building? State of the art, launched motorbike coaster it is, with graphics and projections and mirrors and all manner of sensory goodness.... based on, wait, what? Tron?? THE Tron? That crappy movie off of the 80's?
Yep, that Tron.
 

Pokemaniac

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While we're on about Magic Kingdom, have you heard about that new coaster they're building? State of the art, launched motorbike coaster it is, with graphics and projections and mirrors and all manner of sensory goodness.... based on, wait, what? Tron?? THE Tron? That crappy movie off of the 80's?
Yep, that Tron.
At least Tron was somewhat famous once. They even made a Daft Punk music video as a sequel a decade or so ago.

Which is more than can be said for 1995's Waterworld starring Kevin Costner. Its only claim to fame is costing so much money to make, and earning so little of it back. It's only well-known for being a big box office flop with little lasting cultural impact.

So naturally, they're building a big live show themed to it at Universal Studios Beijing.
 

Hyde

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Splash Mountain is the absolutely top of this list... because Songs of the South was never released in America. 😅 So the story of briar rabbit is completely lost on the American public (only Zipedity Doo Da was ever released as a Disney sing along in after-school TV specials); so the success of the ride has been with complete lack of IP.

I'd clump all of Cedar Fair's Planet Snoopy/Camp Snoopy attractions together; from the start, Cedar Fair wanted to seek out a cheap IP that was recognizable and could easier be replicated across their park chains (usurbing my beloved Bearenstein Bears) - the popularity of these child attraction areas is not a draw to "Snoopy", but just a collection of good Zamperla, etc. family attractions.

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride in Disneyland remains spared the Winnie-Poofication the WDW version suffered - again, a lot of the Mr. Toad stories are probably lost on the general public, but it remains one of the "OG" staples of Fantasyland.

Thinking about Fantasyland, how about Tom Sawyer's Island? Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are still in good story circulation, but comes to mind as another decades-old attraction that remains with popular draw.

And finally, might I humbly submit Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, as we now face an ever-growing rumor mill of retheme, can we all agree Aerosmith still far lags the popularity of RnR? I mean, even Aerosmith was the second choice theme for the coaster.
 

nadroJ

Well-Known Member
Shout out to Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom. Originally opened as Countdown to Extinction but quickly had the Dinosaur IP slapped on it to tie in with a 2000 Disney animated feature that the majority of people have now forgotten exists.
 
Add me to the list of people who didn't know that Splash Mountain was an IP.

While we're on about Magic Kingdom, have you heard about that new coaster they're building? State of the art, launched motorbike coaster it is, with graphics and projections and mirrors and all manner of sensory goodness.... based on, wait, what? Tron?? THE Tron? That crappy movie off of the 80's?
Yep, that Tron.

Isn't the Tron ride based on the sequel Tron:Legacy? Which whilst being over 10 years old is certainly not from the 80's.
 

emoo

Member
Journey to the Centre of the Earth is another (Disney) ride that works on its own merits. It's more of a fun fact to where the inspiration came from than a selling point. Would the lure of Joules Vern ever have make enough people go to a theme park to make a financial benefit who's fans would otherwise not go? Tomorrowland in Paris also takes heavy influences and I am not aware the French were swayed by this - with or without the initial distractions of the company's international expansion business approach.

I am all for an IP just being used as inspiration to a ride that is a draw itself - ideally the source material isn't troubling.

Thorpe are possibly the main offenders for using IPs that won't have lasting drawing power. Saw at least has enough going to make it a well rounded ride experience. But those other mazes and nonsense have helped drain my interest for going in the first place. It's even slightly shameful when an international visitor gets to see one of the UK's top parks for the first time.

I wonder if the London resort rides IP will be out of date the moment they are built ;)
 

Hyde

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Eh? Of course it was released. In fact, according to Wiki it was actually re-released five times between 1956 and 1986, the last time as a promotion for Splash Mountain.
Sorry, I should have been more specific, while there have been a few short-run theater engagements, Song of the South has never gone to print for home media consumption (VHS, DVD, etc.) nor seen any semblance of wide circulation in the States. At this point, you are looking at generations of Americans who haven't a clue what the title Song of the South would even reference.
 
Song of the South has never gone to print for home media consumption (VHS, DVD, etc.) nor seen any semblance of wide circulation in the States. At this point, you are looking at generations of Americans who haven't a clue what the title Song of the South would even reference.
Ah okay - fair enough. It's probably much more famous in the UK due to frequent TV screeings. It was last on the BBC as recently as 2006 - at 10 in the morning, fully uncut!
 

ThrillsExpress

New Member
While we're on about Magic Kingdom, have you heard about that new coaster they're building? State of the art, launched motorbike coaster it is, with graphics and projections and mirrors and all manner of sensory goodness.... based on, wait, what? Tron?? THE Tron? That crappy movie off of the 80's?
Yep, that Tron.
Tron: Legacy is from 2010 and that was a great movie in my opinion, also the soundtrack is just so cool.
 
I'm going to vote Arthur - still never seen the films - but the Genius of the europa ride/area is that they chose an IP with a strong Aesthetic that surpasses the movie - and is simple just a world you want to spend time in.

and a vote to Avatar - only seen once on DVD - but I LOVE the world of Pandora (not so much the rides - just the land itself)

oh and King Kong at IOA - ride debuted years after the film it was based on - and weirdly came out at similar time to the Skull island reboot film - although it was based on the previous 2005 film yet kept 'Skull island' in the ride name....... confusing!
 

Crazycoaster

Active Member
I believe Arthur and the Minimoys was actually really popular in france or something, and because that's a key demographic for EP being just up the road, that's why they went for that.
 

solarfall

New Member
This may or may not 100% be what the thread was going for, but I believe both Mr. Freeze roller coasters (at SFOT and SFSL) were meant to tie into Joel Schumacher's now-infamous film Batman & Robin (1997). Safe to say the rides have outlasted the movie's legacy.
 

cocoa

Member
I mean, speaking of Jules vernes' related attractions, Worlds of Fun was originally meant to replicate "around the world in 80 days". It was always a bit middling theme-wise, and got worse over the years, to the extent where I seriously doubt any member of the public would have any clue that's the origin. There are vestiges of themes in the Americana areas, the sort-of-scandinavian entrance, and africa and asia have some light atmosphere. Better than the average CF park but still a long shot from the original idea.

in terms of discoveryland at disney paris, my understanding was that that area sort of saved the park? the jules-verne-esque space mountain and surroundings were built a couple years after opening and saw a massive surge in attendance that the park desperately needed. it clearly resonated with french people.

I've always thought of vernes as being a fairly popular and well known author- seems like every decade has seen a big budget hollywood movie based on his work, and most of the famous books are in like top 50 most read on goodreads, etc. that said, I have no idea how much say the average disneysea attendee knows the source material, which to be fair is only tangentially connected to the actual area and the ride narratives. that area is my favorite part of any theme park anywhere, but I don't think it has much to do with the fact that I grew up reading Jules vernes (including the actual "mysterious island" book... I don't recommend it! long and boring)
 

gavin

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The whole Jules Verne thing is practically irrelevant to be honest. There's absolutely no need to have any knowledge of the books (or films) to understand what the rides are about. The names of the rides tell you all you need to know and they can be easily appreciated on their own merits.

Spoiler alert: Journey to the Centre of the Earth at DisneySea bares almost no resemblance to the book other than the idea of an underground world.

To be honest, the same can be said for a lot of IPs. The ones that work well in terms of rides and shows are either those that have a huge IP that has become part of modern culture (Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, King Kong, Jaws etc.) or those that don't require a previous knowledge of the source material for the attraction to still "work". The best ones cover both aspects.

Waterworld is a prime example of the "lack of previous knowledge" thing not mattering; it's an excellent show which easily stands alone apart from the terrible source material that barely anyone in the parks has seen.

Thorpe is a perfect example of the exact opposite, buying outdated IPs with diminishing public interest but not creating anything around it which works on its own merits.

Sent from my Redmi Note 7 using Tapatalk
 

Tonkso

Member
Thorpe is a perfect example of the exact opposite, buying outdated IPs with diminishing public interest but not creating anything around it which works on its own merits.
Meanwhile, Chessington's Gruffalo theme is probably going to stay relevant for decades. Give me Wardley's original Burp any day of the week, but Gruffalo is a popular book that isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and you don't need to know the book to enjoy the ride.
 
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