Disneyland Rides and the Movies They’re Based On

DIS
Here you leave today and find the inspiration for attractions in the lands of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy…

I love going to Disneyland. Love it! I just love being there. I would enjoy myself even if every ride was closed for repairs. The sights, the sounds and the history of Walt’s first park are all so interesting. It still surprises me that they have rides made out of movies that many adults have never even seen! Yet, these are some of the most popular rides that Disneyland has to offer.

This blog is a brief summary of the attractions’ name, the year they opened, and the movies that inspired each of them.

Main Street U.S.A. (1955)

  • “Partners” Statue (1993) – Themed around Walt Disney, founder of the Disney company and host of the 1954 TV show Disneyland. Also themed around Mickey Mouse, a character first appearing in Steamboat Willie (1928)
  • Disneyland Railroad (1955) – Not based on a movie. The earliest plans for his theme park always included a train surrounding it.
  • The shops and vehicles of Main Street (1955) – Not based on a movie. Inspired by Walt’s childhood town of Marceline, MO and the city of Fort Collins, CO.

Adventureland (1955)
Dland 2

  • Indiana Jones Adventure (1995) – Themed to the 1981 movie Raiders of the Lost Ark and its sequels. This was not a Disney franchise at the time, but has since been purchased by Disney.
  • Enchanted Tiki Room (1963) – Not based on a movie. Disney’s first attempt at audio-animatronic figures.
  • Jungle Cruise (1955) – Inspired by Disney’s 1955 True-Life Adventure movie The African Lion. Many design ideas came from the non-Disney movie The African Queen.
  • Tarzan’s Treehouse (1999) – Themed to the 1999 movie Tarzan.

New Orleans Square (1966)
Dland 7

  • Pirates of the Caribbean (1967) – Themed to the 2003 movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and its sequels. This ride was not originally themed to the movie. The ride inspired the movie which in turn inspired updates to the ride!
  • Haunted Mansion (1969) – Not based on a movie. But it did become one!

Critter Country (1988)
Dland 3

  • Splash Mountain (1989) – Themed to the 1946 movie The Song of the South.
  • Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes (1971) – Themed to the 1954-55 mini-series Davy Crockett.
  • Winnie the Pooh (2003) – Themed to the 1977 movie The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

Frontierland (1955)
Dland 6

  • The Golden Horseshoe (1955) – Almost identical design to the saloon in the non-Disney movie Calamity Jane.
  • Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island (1956) – Not based on a movie. Inspired by the Tom Sawyer novel, themed to pirates in 2007.
  • Mark Twain Riverboat (1955) – Not based on a movie. A 5/8 scale sternwheeler.
  • Sailing Ship Columbia (1958) – Not based on a movie. A replica of the Columbia Rediviva, the first ship to sail around he world.
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (1979) – Not based on a movie.

Fantasyland (1955)
Dland 1

  • Matterhorn Bobsleds (1959) – Not directly based on a movie. Inspired by the 1959 movie Third Man on the Mountain, which was filmed in Switzerland, the sight of the real Matterhorn Mountain. The ride is 1/100th scale.
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey (1983) – Themed to the 1940 movie Pinocchio.
  • Snow White’s Scary Adventures (1955) – Themed to the 1937 movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough (1955) – Themed to the 1957 movie Sleeping Beauty.
  • King Arthur Carousel (1955) – Themed to the 1963 movie The Sword in the Stone. Also uses pictures from Sleeping Beauty.
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train (1955) – Themed to the 1941 movie Dumbo.
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant (1955) – Themed to the 1941 movie Dumbo.
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (1955) – Themed to the 1949 movie The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.
  • Peter Pan’s Flight (1955) – Themed to the 1953 movie Peter Pan.
  • Mad Tea Party (1955) – Themed to the 1951 movie Alice in Wonderland.
  • Alice in Wonderland (1958) – Themed to the 1951 movie Alice in Wonderland.
  • Pixie Hollow (2008) – Themed to the 2008 movie Tinker Bell and its sequels.
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats (1955) – Themed to include scenes from several Disney stories:
    Pinocchio (1940)
    The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
    Aladdin (1992)
    Peter Pan (1953)
    Cinderella (1950)
    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
    Alice in Wonderland (1951)
    The Three Little Pigs (1933)
    The Little Mermaid (1989)
  • it’s a small world (1966) – Themed to include characters from several Disney stories:
    Alice in Wonderland (1951)
    Peter Pan (1953)
    Cinderella (1950)
    Pinocchio (1940)
    Mulan (1998)
    Aladdin (1992)
    The Lion King (1994)
    The Three Caballeros (1944)
    The Little Mermaid (1989)
    Finding Nemo (2003)
    Lilo and Stitch (2002)
    Toy Story 2 (1999)

Mickey’s Toontown (1993)
Dland 5

  • Gadget’s Go-Coaster (1993) – Themed to the 1989-90 TV series Chip ‘N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers.
  • Goofy’s Playhouse (1993) – Themed around Goofy, a character first appearing in Mickey’s Revue (1932).
  • Donald’s Boat (1993) – Themed around Donald Duck, a character first appearing in The Wise Little Hen (1934).
  • Chip ‘n’ Dale Treehouse (1993) – Themed around Chip and Dale, characters first appearing in Private Pluto (1943).
  • Mickey’s House (1993) – Themed around Mickey Mouse, a character first appearing in Steamboat Willie (1928)
  • Minnie’s House (1993) – Themed around Minnie Mouse, a character first appearing in Steamboat Willie (1928)
  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin (1993) – Themed to the 1988 movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.

Tommorowland (1955)
Dland 4

  • Star Tours (1987) – Themed to the 1977 movie Star Wars and its sequels. This was not a Disney franchise at the time, but has since been purchased by Disney.
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (2007) – Themed to the 2007 movie Finding Nemo.
  • Disneyland Monorail (1959) – Not based on a movie.
  • Autopia (1955) – Not based on a movie.
  • Space Mountain (1977) – Not based on a movie.
  • Astro Orbitor (1998) – Not based on a movie.
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (2005) – Themed around Buzz Lightyear, a character first appearing in Toy Story (1995)

Many of the these rides and attractions replaced similar versions of themselves themed to different movies from the past. Some have had movie characters added to them to make new connections with Disney films. All of them are still fun ways to experience Disneyland! Check out tomorrow’s blog post to find out all about what rides later became movies!

Were you surprised that some of those rides were based on movies? What is YOUR favorite Disneyland ride?

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One thought on “Disneyland Rides and the Movies They’re Based On

  1. Pingback: Disneyland Movies and the Rides They’re Based On | Blogs From Geekdom

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