These 8 underrated Disney attractions can be great for a movie adaptation

Sure, Disney parks have scores of big attractions for a movie but these 8 underrated ones could be surprisingly great for the big screen!
50th anniversary statues will be staying around the four Disney World parks. Photo credit: Brian Miller
50th anniversary statues will be staying around the four Disney World parks. Photo credit: Brian Miller /

Disney’s recent announcement of a movie based on their Club 33 has been surprising folks. With so many huge Disney park attractions around the world, a movie based on the exclusive club seems offbeat. Yet it shows how Disney leaves no stone unturned searching for inspiration from the parks and that could lead in interesting directions. 

Of course, there are the big rides to base a movie on: the various Mountains, Soarin, Tower of Terror, It’s a Small World and stuff like Mystic Manor. But there are a few attractions, past and present, at Disney parks that could surprisingly lend themselves to a movie. They can use the original themes for some magical tales and provide some sleeper successes or the next blockbuster franchise. 

So, while folks may look at the big guns of a Disney park for a movie, these are eight underrated attractions that might end up becoming surprisingly good big-screen fodder in the future. 

1. Kitchen Kabaret/Food Rocks

If Pixar wants to revive its past glories, they can look at these two AA attractions that once filled the Land pavilion at Epcot. The first was a bit off beat with songs based on the 1940s and 60s with the latter updating it more for classic rock. Either way, they were presented by anamorphic foods with cheesy names like Bonnie Appetite and the Peach Boys which was fun. 

An animated movie based on these in a world of living food groups could be a great idea. A wonderful plot would be the old-school Kabaret musicians thrown at the Food Rocks stars stealing their thunder and building to a “battle of the bands” encounter. Pixar loves these types of worlds, and the music would be up Disney’s alley, so this should be a no-brainer of a movie. 

2. The People Mover

Magic Kingdom - People Mover
The "people mover" ride at Magic Kingdom. Photo Credit: Brian Miller /

Disney struck out with Tomorrowland yet a film based on the long-running Tomorrowland Transit Authority might just click. It can utilize a time travel motif, a company cracking the time barrier and so selling off rides to the past and future. Of course, something goes wrong with one traveler accidentally altering the past. 

Time travel movies are always a blast and mixing it with some Disney magic can provide more entertainment with the People Mover craft used to explore different periods. It could even pay tribute to other past Disney attractions like a future based on the beloved Horizons ride. Sure, it sounds weird but then so do other ideas that work out so this project may move a few filmgoers. 

3. Kilimanjaro Safari

Giraffe Calf Joins Herd on Disney's Animal Kingdom Savanna
Guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, may be able to spot a new addition on the Kilimanjaro Safaris savanna. A 2-month-old male Masai giraffe named Jabari (center) has officially joined the giraffe herd. Jabari, which means “brave one” in Swahili, is a bold, curious and courageous calf and his name celebrates his spirit. Standing seven feet tall, Jabari has spent the past two months bonding with his mom, Mara, in a backstage habitat. True to /

This may seem unusual but there’s some potential in this mainstay of the Animal Kingdom since it opened. A movie set in the African wilderness with top-notch action and the gorgeous vistas is prime for some great entertainment. It could easily work as a family moving to Africa and getting closer to nature.

There’s also the old plotline of a gang of poachers hunting a baby elephant. That’s easy fodder for a movie of the family protecting the creatures for some chase scenes and other escapades. So you get not only a good adventure but an environmental message to boot to win viewers over. It may not be the most iconic Disney ride, but it could make for a truly wild family film adventure. 

4. Maelstrom

Norway pavilion at Epcot
The Norway pavilion at Epcot is home to the Frozen ride and the meet and greet area for Queen Elsa and Princess Ana. Photo by Brian Miller /

The original Norway boat ride still has fans even after it was transformed into Frozen. It may be a bit offbeat to base it on a single nation’s culture, but there could be potential for an adventure through Norse history with trolls and other creatures. 

How about making this a sequel to Jungle Cruise with Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt heading to Norway for a treasure hunt that leads them to some ancient ghosts? You keep the boat theme, throw in more stuntwork in maybe some ice temples and involving the Norse Gods and show it doesn’t have to be just a current Disney ride that can inspire a fun movie. 

5. The Enchanted Tiki Room

Enchanted Tiki Room
"Where the birds sing tunes and the flowers bloom" Disney's Tiki Room welcomes you! /

Something about this attraction still draws in families, especially the kids. They can’t get enough of these singing birds and some fun effects and it could work for a movie. A wild pitch: A 1950s nightclub operated on a tropical island only for the owner to anger the spirits who cursed him and his staff into becoming talking birds. 

Years later, someone stumbles onto the club and is compelled to break the curse while the birds put on some shows. There’s also a possible idea that the birds are just somehow able to talk naturally, and a corporation wants to use them. Either way, seeing CGI birds talk and sing some fun tunes can draw in families and be a delightful turn on the usual Disney film fare. 

6. Journey Into Imagination

EPCOT - Figment Imagination
The entry point to Imagination, a Figment ride. Photo Credit: Brian Miller /

Once one of Epcot’s best pavilions, the Journey into Imagination ride has slumped over the years with some bad makeovers. Yet the concepts are there from the wonderful Dreamfinder to the beloved dragon Figment. A movie can play on the idea of Dreamfinder as a guardian of imagination with Figment as his faithful sidekick. 

Perhaps like Monsters Inc, a human child somehow stumbles onto their world with Figment being their guide. It can also be Figment causing a mess that threatens the world of dreams and has to fix it. It’s fodder for some spectacular CGI sequences and a tribute to Imagination. If it means a much needed revival for the pavilion, so much the better to be a winner for fans. 

7. Raging Spirits

Disney Fans Attend "Minnie Besties Bash!” Parade
Disney Fans Attend "Minnie Besties Bash!” Parade / Tomohiro Ohsumi/GettyImages

Forget Big Thunder Mountain or Expedition Everest. If you want a movie that brings a roller coaster mountain to thrilling life, pick one based on the Tokyo Seas attraction. The setup is perfect: a group of explorers find an ancient temple with statues representing two gods, one of fire, the other of water. They foolishly move the two statues to face each other which reignites the feud of the gods. 

So now you have the group caught between these two forces with ideas like using avatars of fire and water to attack them. Toss in a raging mine car and a race against time to stop the battle before the gods get loose and it’s fantastic fodder for a Jungle Cruise-style thrill ride that can be a fantastic adventure. 

8. Extra TERRORestrial Alien Encounter

Stitch’s Great Escape is an okay show but it pales next to the original Alien Encounter. Arguably the scariest attraction in all of Disney lore, this freaked people out with the special effects and the sight of this monstrous alien beast yet it was what you couldn’t see that scared you far more. In short, it’s a perfect attraction for a movie.

It can keep the plotline of an alien company showing off their teleporter tech, which backfires big time to bring some monster there. Cue a take on classic sci-fi movies of this creature stalking a building of people while the corporation is more interested in covering their own complicity than stopping it. It’s a nice reminder of this underrated attraction and could serve as a fun thriller, unlike most Disney film fare.