Blockbuster-inspired theme parks are spreading all over the world, turning the Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and more movies into rides you can experience in real life.
Your favorite dystopian thrillers, high-flying action flicks, and wildly original comedies are soon going to become rides you can experience in real life. Some of the most thrilling films to ever exist are coming to theme parks new and old around the world, and it’s only a matter of time before you get to live like a vampire, a renegade, or a Smurf in the same day. Netflix and chill? Yeah, right. Get the heads up on these straight-from-Hollywood coasters and thrills before they woosh right past.
Experience Dystopia First-Hand
The post-apocalyptic premise of Zombieland will become deeply ironic as guests explore a dilapidated and abandoned theme park inside the very new Motiongate Dubai at Dubai Parks & Resorts, opening October 2016. Not heart-stopping enough? Visitors can also fight zombies in the most terrifying way possible: from aboard a 180 foot free-fall tower.
Perhaps the most anticipated news from Motiongate—and why you may have already heard about it—is that it will be home to the first-ever Hunger Games park. Visit Peeta’s family bakery, walk through Katniss’ mining village, and even explore the world of Panem from a virtual hovercraft as you dive into the war-torn land yourself. Can’t travel that far just to take a high-speed rollercoaster from District 12 to the Capitol? Experiences and rides based on the post-apocalyptic series will also be coming to Atlanta when Avatron Park is projected to open in 2019, as well as Lai Sun park outside Macau in 2018. Details are still fuzzy, but it appears that Divergent—yes, the other massive dystopian book-turned-blockbuster—will be coming to both as well.
Toy Story will soon be hitting Disney parks in an even bigger way than before. Sleep in a themed hotel covered in Andy’s room wallpaper at Shanghai Disneyland when it opens later this year, or ride on a Slinky Dog rollercoaster when Toy Story Land is launched at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As your children have let you know, a Frozen ride is coming to Epcot this spring, but a just-announced interactive Finding Nemo ride will shrink you all down to the size of their favorite fish at Tokyo DisneySea in 2017.
When Motiongate Dubai opens in October, kids will be able to explore a 30,000 square foot Hotel Transylvania castle, extend their hotel-for-monsters visit with a themed restaurant and meet-and-greets, and hop on a rollicking river ride through a jungle preserve filled with “foodimals” from Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs. Motiongate will also house an entire immersive Dreamworks land with 12 different attractions, letting guests experience Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, Shrek and How To Train Your Dragon like never before. An adventure zone complete with Mastermind, Mr. Peabody and Sherman and The Croods experiences will be hitting MAPS, Asia’s first animation-themed park, when it opens in Malaysia as well.
And, for old-school lovers of the Smurfs? Well they can expect thrills at MAPS and plenty more at Motiongate, where an entire mushroom-capped village with five family rides will welcome guests.
Superheroes En Mass
When Iron Man Experience opens at Hong Kong Disneyland in late 2016, it’ll be the first stand-alone ride from Disney’s acquisition of Marvel. Set at Stark Expo, the motion simulator will utilize an update on Star Tours’ technology to take guests on a wild ride and battle throughout the city. The rest of the gang will band together in Avengers: Battle of Ultron 3D at IMG Worlds of Adventure, the world’s largest indoor amusement park, set to open in Dubai in early 2016 with additional Marvel experiences and rides. And, despite the movie’s lukewarm reception, a Green Hornet ride will be opening at Motiongate Dubai in October as well. Superheros will come stateside too, though—Six Flags parks throughout America and Mexico will introduce a wide range of Batman and Justice League rides throughout 2016, with the Joker, the Riddler, Harley Quinn and Catwoman at the helm.
Action, Action, and More Action
One of the best parts about rides from action films is that the experience can be as intense as the movie plots themselves. When TRON Lightcycle Power Run opens at Shanghai Disneyland, it will utilize incredible new rollercoaster technology to allows riders to board the famed futuristic motorcycles. Pandora—the World of Avatar could very likely introduce guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to its bioluminescent forest, floating mountains, and innovative new rides by the end of 2016, and Fast & Furious: Supercharged, a 4D adventure which opened recently at Universal Studios Hollywood, will also be coming to Universal Studios Orlando in 2017.
Always wanted to partake in a death-defying battle or witness the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man first hand? The forthcoming Ghostbusters ride at Motiongate Dubai will allow guests to join the crew and save New York from destruction. Skull Island: Reign of Kong, which will have visitors “fighting to survive” throughout a landscape inspired by the Peter Jackson-helmed movie, opens at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in Orlando in summer 2016. And Underworld: Awakening, another thriller coming to Motiongate Dubai, will be enhanced into a suspenseful 4D journey with the powerful vampire Selene at the helm.
More From Your All-Time Favorite Movies
You’ve likely already heard of Star Wars Land coming to both Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and Disneyland in California, but while that countdown hasn’t even begun, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will open the doors to Hogwarts castle at Universal Studios Hollywood in April 2016. Guests can be fitted for a wand at Ollivanders, explore Hogsmeade, experience a themed parade and ride two of Universal Studios Orlando’s best attractions, Flight of The Hippogriff and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
While the successful movie series was originally based on the ride, Pirates of the Caribbean is coming to Shanghai Disneyland in a massive, unparalleled way. A new pirate-themed land called Treasure Cove will take guests on an impressive new reimagining of the original boat ride, allowing them to experience a stunt show starring Captain Jack and explore the world of the Johnny Depp-starring series like never before.
And, though Jurassic Park experiences already exist, Universal Studios Japan is prepping one for the record books. The Flying Dinosaur, set to open in 2016, will take passengers through the longest track and steepest drops this coaster style has ever seen as they cruise through the skies in the talons of a pteranodon.
And That’s Not All…
Though details are minimal, 20th Century Fox World, which will be opening in Malaysia and Dubai, is set to contain a combination of rides from movies that will be beyond experiential.
Kid favorites such as Night at the Museum, Rio, and Ice Age, old-school classics like Planet of the Apes and Aliens and even the dumbfounding addition of Titanic are all slated to be rides within the amusement park. Lionsgate, who will bring rides to parks in Atlanta and Macau hope to include a Twilight aspect and, confoundingly, an in-park experience from the magic-filled movie Now You See Me. It could very well be a performance or show, which wouldn’t be surprising. Step Up: All In is already being repurposed as a staged dance spectacular at Motiongate Dubai, and could end up at future parks throughout the world, too.
Not into American films? Bollywood buffs will be pleased to know there’s an entire standalone park opening in Dubai dedicated to the biggest blockbusters, world-renown stars and even a stunning live musical performance inside the glimmering Rajmahal theatre. A little something for everyone, no matter what you like—that’s exactly what’s next for movies inside theme parks.