Disney Films Based on Rides

Haunted Mansion Stand By Entrance Magic Kingdom

Nowadays most new and upcoming Disney rides are based on films. Tron Lightcycle Power Run, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, Epcot's Ratatouille ride. All coming to Disney World and all based on movies. But there is another pattern that has happened in the past and is starting to happen again: Disney making films based on their own Rides.

Some rides have achieved their own level of fame beyond the parks, enough that Disney thought it was warranted to make a movie based off them. We'll discuss them in the order they were created as well as a future film that is just being made.

Tower of Terror

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Walt Disney World

This is an interesting one. It is the first time a film was based on a ride and the only one to be released on TV. It was based on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror but has no relation at all to the Twilight Zone TV series. It instead took the ride and made an original story out of it based on the hotel's backstory.

Mission to Mars

This movie was based on a ride from both Disneyland and Disney World that had already been closed for years in both locations.

This movie barely made back its budget and was received extremely poorly. Also beyond the title and the main characters going to Mars, it had little to do with the actual ride
The Country Bears

Country Bear Jamboree Lobby Frontierland Disney World

The Country Bears was a movie based on the show of the same name from Magic Kingdom, Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland. It features many of the classic bear characters and a new one, Beary Barrington, around a story of saving their theater. Think the newer the Muppets film, but with bears. This did not, however, feature any of the music from the ride. It was poorly received, lost money, and it is mostly forgotten today, with the ride in Disneyland even having been closed before the movie opened. 

Swinging Teddi Berra Country Bear Jamboree Disney World

The ride continues to entertain guests more than the film ever did in Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Captain Jack Sparrow Character Disneyland

This is by far the most successful of any of the films, spawning a successful franchise and even changes in the original ride based on characters from the film. It has achieved fame even beyond traditional Disney fans, rebooting the whole pirate genre.

Pirates of the Caribbean Ride Exterior Entrance New Orleans Square Disneyland

Numerous sequels have cemented this ride in pop culture as permanently connected to the film series and characters like Jack Sparrow. The first film is the most connected to the original ride, featuring tributes to classic scenes like the dog in the prison. It also appears now the series may be rebooted and who knows if the new series will relate in any way to the ride.

Haunted Mansion

Hatbox Ghost Haunted Mansion Disneyland

This is one of the most classic Disney rides and should have been given a proper film in the same spirit of the movie. Unfortunately, that's not what we got. We got a film that fails to capture the spirit of the original, even while including so many characters from the original ride, from Madame Leota to the Singing Busts.

There has been talk over the years of this being remade in a more serious manner based around the Hatbox Ghost but unfortunately it appears those plans have been shelved indefinitely.


Tomorrowland Magic Kingdom Merchant of Venus

This is a more unique of the films, based around an entire land of the parks, but taking place in a world where Disneyland and other Disney Parks exist. It essentially says that Disney made a secret city in another dimension called Tomorrowland based around saving the world and making it a better place.

It includes trips to the 1964 worlds fair, the Eiffel Tower and more. It also casts audio-animatronics as evil sentient robots. It was not a successful film, despite including numerous rides and classic Disney characters.

Space Mountain Post Show From Peoplemover Tomorrowland Disney World

Jungle Cruise

Jungle Cruise Disneyland Entrance Sign

This is the only upcoming ride based film. This film features "The Rock" as a Jungle Cruise Skipper taking some tourists on a rescue mission against a rival cruise. It recently filmed in Kaui and is poised to be an action film.

Trader Sam and Elephant Jungle Cruise Disneyland

Rumors have already begun on how elements from the film will be incorporated into the rides.