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Walt Disney World and the Movies

Is that the only ride in Disney World that was ever made into a film?

While Disney will often create an attraction based on a popular movie (such as “The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular,” “Star Tours,” “Voyage of the Little Mermaid,” “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience,” and “It’s Tough to Be a Bug” just to name a few), they recently said to themselves, “Hey, if we can make a great ride based on a movie, I’ll bet we can make a great live-action movie from a popular ride!” Well, these folks sure know what they’re doing.

In 2002, Frontierland’s Country Bear Jamboree inspired the “The Country Bears” movie, starring Haley Joel Osment. 2003 saw two movies based on classic Walt Disney World (and Disneyland ) attractions. Released on July 9, 2003 , “The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” starring Johnny Depp, and directed by Gore Verbinski, quickly became producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s biggest hit with a worldwide total of $563 million as of late 2003, pillaging and plundering its way to the 20th spot on the all-time worldwide box office list. (Can you say, “sequel”?) “The Haunted Mansion ” opened on November 26, 2003, and stars Eddie Murphy as Jim Evers, a Louisiana real estate agent who takes his family to a spooky mansion that just came on the market. In fact, many of the sets from the movie were moved to the Disney-MGM Studios, where they were installed in Soundstage 4 for a self guided tour, which opened at the same time as the movie.

Of course, many existing WDW attractions were based on Disney feature films and shorts. For example, here are a list of some Walt Disney World attractions and the films they were inspired by or based on:

Peter Pan’s Flight – Peter Pan (1953)
Tom Sawyer’s Island – The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1973)
Mad Tea Party – Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Snow White’s Scary Adventures – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Jungle Cruise – Walt Disney’s True Life Adventures -The African Lion (1955)
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin – Aladdin (1992)
Swiss Family Treehouse – Swiss Family Robinson (1960)
Splash Mountain – Song of the South (1946)
Dumbo the Flying Elephant – Dumbo (1941)
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – Toy Story (1995)
It’s Tough to be a Bug – A Bug’s Life (1998)
Legend of the Lion King – The Lion King (1994)
Voyage of the Little Mermaid – The Little Mermaid (1989)
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
Stitch’s Great Escape – Lilo & Stitch (2002)
Star Tours – Star Wars (1977)
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Tarzan Rocks! – Tarzan (1999)
Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends – Pocahontas (1995)
Turtle Talk with Crush at the Living Seas – Finding Nemo (2003)
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (extinct) – 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

Speaking of Disney and the movies…

Walt Disney, one of the most influential producers in filmmaking history, has received more Academy nominations (59) and awards (22 competitive and 4 testimonial awards) than anyone else. He received 32 personal Academy Awards before his death in 1966.

In total, Disney has received more than 950 honors and awards from all over the world. A total of 48 Academy Awards and seven Emmys have been won to date.