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What you need to watch to prepare for upcoming theme park attractions

by Jeff DePaoli

Theme park fans all over the world are mourning the closure of their favorite parks during this unprecedented time — but that doesn’t mean we need to stop dreaming about the upcoming attractions we’re excited to experience.

theme park

A well-designed and executed theme park attraction stands on its own, but if you want to plus your attraction experience, it’s always beneficial to do a bit of research before experiencing a new ride. Being “in-the-know” will help you notice smaller details in attractions that you may not appreciate otherwise. It’s also helpful to have a clear understanding of who characters are and what motivates them.

Since we all have a considerable amount of time indoors these days, now would be the perfect time to start watching the movies that have inspired the attractions coming soon to theme parks around the U.S.

Below you will find a list of the content to watch and ensure you’re ready for when the theme parks re-open and these rides have their grand openings. I’ve also included information about where you can find these films:

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

guardians of the galaxy

Coming to Epcot – Walt Disney World Resort
This attractions is based on characters from Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.”

  • “Guardians of the Galaxy”
    • Stream with Subscription: Disney+
    • Rent or Buy: Amazon, YouTube, Apple, Fandango and more
  • “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2”
    • Stream with Subscription: Disney+, fuboTV, TNT
    • Rent or Buy: Amazon, YouTube, Apple, Fandango and more

Untitled Mary Poppins attraction

theme park

Coming to Epcot – Walt Disney World Resort
Based on the concept art released by Disney (but not confirmed), it does look as though this may be more inspired by the film “Mary Poppins Returns” rather than the original. It would make sense, considering Disney often likes to promote its newer properties.

  • “Mary Poppins Returns”
    • Stream with Subscription: Netflix
    • Rent or Buy: Amazon, YouTube, Apple and more

Journey of Water – Inspired by Moana

moana

Coming to Epcot – Walt Disney World Resort
This lush exploration trail will invite guests to meet and play with magical, living water.

  • “Moana”
    • Stream with Subscription: Disney+
    • Rent or Buy: YouTube, Apple, Fandango and more

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

theme park

Coming to Epcot – Walt Disney World Resort
This family-friendly attraction will invite you to shrink down to the scale of a rat for a culinary adventure with Chef Remy.

  • “Ratatouille”
    • Stream with Subscription: Disney+
    • Rent or Buy: Amazon, YouTube, Google Play and more

DuckTales World Showcase Adventure

ducktales

Coming to Epcot – Walt Disney World Resort
Through the Play Disney Parks app, guests will join Scrooge McDuck, Donald Duck, Launchpad McQuack, Webby, and the nephews in search of priceless treasure. Travel around the World Showcase to discover unique destinations, mysteries, and maybe even a few thieves, villains, and supernatural guardians of ancient artifacts. Based on the concept art, this adventure will feature characters from the current animated series.

  • “DuckTales” (2017)
    • Stream with Subscription: Disney+, DisneyNow app (with cable subscription)
    • Buy: Apple, Google Play

Tron Lightcycle Run

theme park

Coming to Magic Kingdom – Walt Disney World Resort
This roller coaster attraction is based on the 2010 film rather than the original 1982 film.

  • “TRON: Legacy”
    • Stream with Subscription: Disney+, Starz, DirecTV
    • Rent or Buy: Amazon, YouTube, Apple, Fandango and more

Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant

roundup rodeo

Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Walt Disney World Resort
This new restaurant is inspired by the fictional TV show “Woody’s Roundup,” which is introduced in “Toy Story 2.”

  • “Toy Story 2”
    • Stream with Subscription: Disney+
    • Rent or Buy: Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, Apple and more

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser

theme park

Coming to Walt Disney World Resort
This experience will invite guests aboard the Halcyon, a starcruiser known throughout the galaxy for its impeccable service and exotic destinations. Onboard, they will stay in well-appointed cabins, experience onboard dining, make a planet-side excursion to Black Spire Outpost on Batuu, and much more.

Since this experience takes place on a spaceship, I would suggest watching the Star Wars films that feature more scenes in spaceships. This may give clues into designs and experiences possibly found on the starcruiser. I would suggest the following films:

  • “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”
    • Stream with Subscription: Disney+, DirecTV
    • Buy: Amazon, YouTube, Fandango, Apple and more
  • “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
    • Stream with Subscription: Disney+
    • Rent or Buy: Amazon, YouTube, Apple, Fandango and more

Avengers Campus

avengers campus

Coming to Disney California Adventure – Disneyland Resort
Since the first ride to open will be Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure, you may want to start with the first Spider-Man film starring Tom Holland. As the entire land will feature meet and greets as well as details based on the Avengers, you may want to check out the beginning of the Infinity Saga as well.

  • “Spider-Man: Homecoming”
    • Stream with Subscription: FXNow
    • Rent or Buy: Fandango, YouTube, Apple, Google Play and more
  • “The Avengers”
    • Stream with Subscription: Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, DirecTV, Epix
    • Rent or Buy: Amazon, YouTube, Apple, Fandango and more

The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!

theme park

Coming to Universal Studios Hollywood
This innovative adventure will blend live, dimensional, and animated characters with hyper-realistic media as guests zip along a track aboard ride vehicles through bustling New York City streets towards the Pet Adoption event and the ultimate happy ending: forever homes. Along the way, you’ll see your favorite charcters from “The Secret Life of Pets” movies.

  • “The Secret Life of Pets”
    • Rent or Buy: Amazon, YouTube, Apple, Fandango and more
  • “The Secret Life of Pets 2”
    • Stream with Subscription: Netflix
    • Rent or Buy: Amazon, YouTube, Apple, Google Play and more

The Bourne Stuntacular

bourne stuntacular

Coming to Universal Studios Florida – Universal Orlando Resort
The show will be based on Universal Pictures’ “Bourne” film franchise, following the character of Jason Bourne around the world as evil pursues him.

Fans can expect to see exciting chase scenes, fistfights, death-defying leaps and more – all happening right in front of your eyes with live performers, high-tech props, and a giant LED screen. I would suggest starting at the beginning for this upcoming attraction.

  • “The Bourne Identity” (2002)
    • Rent or Buy: Amazon, YouTube, Apple, Google Play and more

The Lego Movie World

theme park

Coming to Legoland California Resort
I would suggest starting at the beginning of the Lego feature films to get familiar with the characters.

  • “The Lego Movie”
    • Rent or Buy: Amazon, YouTube, Apple, Google Play and more

Sesame Place San Diego

sesame place

Coming to San Diego, Calif.
The characters sure to populate this theme park are rock stars to toddlers, but perhaps you need a refresher or introduction to some of the characters featured on this hit children’s television show.

  • “Sesame Street”
    • Stream with Subscription: Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Now
    • Buy: Amazon, Apple, Google Play

You can keep up with the latest opening dates, delays, details and more at AttractionsMagazine.com/ComingAttractions.


Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your free gift of “America’s Hidden Mickeys: Lesser Known Disney Destinations Around the U.S.A.” at DizneyCoastToCoast.com.

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