Which Fox franchises will Disney use in its theme parks?

March 20, 2019, 1:35 PM · Now that The Walt Disney Company has closed its deal to acquire 21st Century Fox and its many entertainment franchises, let's rank the top 10 of those properties based on their likelihood of someday making it into a Disney theme park.

Before I start, a few caveats. First, Disney already has Avatar, which is the highest-grossing film in Fox's portfolio (and movie history). So there's no need to include it here. Fox's Fantastic Four and X-Men will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but they remain off-limits to Disney for theme park use in Florida, due to Marvel's contract with Universal Orlando. So that's why you won't find them on this list, either. And The Simpsons also remains Universal's theme park property, so it's out, too.

10. Family Guy — Seth McFarlane's series hits many of the same beats at The Simpsons, but often with far more irreverence. Disney knows better than to try to out-snark Universal. No chance.

9. Futurama — Matt Groening's other series offers some fantastic world-building opportunities, but it's just not a big enough name these days to crack Bob Iger's to-do list.

8. Bob's Burgers — Another animated Fox TV series. If the planned movie version hits next year, this could provide an easy overlay for a theme park restaurant someplace, so we're entering the territory of "I guess it's possible" here. Unfortunately, as much as I would love to see Fox's other H. Jon Benjamin-fronted animated series also brought to life in a theme park, there's zero chance that Disney does anything with Archer. But we'll always have phrasing.

7. Independence Day — A big hit, and I am 100% on board with anything that gets Jeff Goldblum into a Disney theme park. But where's the world building opportunity here?

6. Alien — Walt Disney World already had an Alien scene in its Great Movie Ride, but Disney closed that attraction to make room for its upcoming Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway. Yet if Walt Disney Imagineering saved those animatronics someplace, I guess there's hope.

5. Maze Runner — Here's my sleeper on this list. This YA dystopia did respectable global box office, and would allow Disney to hit a teen demo it can be weak with. There are some decent world building opportunities here, too. But does Disney want to embrace a dystopian theme in its parks... I mean, beyond the morning rope-drop rushes?

4. Planet of the Apes — This is where pre-teen Robert gets excited. A proven franchise with multi-generational appeal, recent movies and amazing world building potential — what's not to like here? This would be a strong candidate for theme park treatment... except that it hits some of the same beats as Avatar, knocking it down the priority list.

3. Rio — There's been a 4D version of this playing at several parks around the world, but this would seem an even more obvious overlay for Animal Kingdom's bird show than Up has been.

2. Night at the Museum — Oh dear Lord in heaven, please give me a trackless dark ride themed to this. This could be Disneyland's or Disney World's Mystic Manor.

1. Ice Age — Fox's biggest animated franchise, this is an easy fit for a dark ride or parade float pretty much anywhere in Disney's theme park portfolio. I suspect that a large percentage of the audience already thinks this is a Disney franchise, anyway. If Disney wants to make a symbolic gesture demonstrating its acceptance of Fox franchises into the company, dropping an Ice Age float into a parade would be a quick, easy, and effective way to do that.

How would you rank Fox's franchises on this list?

Replies (29)

March 20, 2019 at 1:49 PM

I don't think any of those that you listed will ever have any presence whatsoever in Disney's Parks. If anything I think its more likely Disney will close the studio that made Rio and Ice Age.

The X-Men and Fantastic 4 seem like the most likely candidates for the parks (but like you said not in Florida).

March 20, 2019 at 1:49 PM

I don't doubt that Blue Sky Studios is done. But these franchises remain assets, and Disney will not throw away that value. If it sees a fit and opportunity to get value from a theme park deployment for any of them, it will do that.

March 20, 2019 at 2:01 PM

My dream ride is a super long shot, but Disney owns Buffy the Vampire Slayer now.

March 20, 2019 at 2:02 PM

Light bulb! FINALLY take out Stitch's Great Escape and make it a new ALIEN Encounter using the movie Xenomorph.

March 20, 2019 at 2:02 PM

The Simpsons may be off limits in the US parks, but I bet Disney could use it at Walt Disney Studios Paris. Universal doesn't have a theme park in Europe and the Simpsons are very popular in Europe. While Universal also has parks in Asia, the Simpsons aren't well liked in Asia, like in Japan, China, or Singapore. But I bet they could re-theme the Toon Studio at WDS Paris to Springfield and put a Simpsons' dark ride. That could be cool!

March 20, 2019 at 2:16 PM

Yippie Ki-yay....is all I need to say!

It might also be interesting to see if Disney can revive the Chronicles of Narnia after they let the rights go to Fox.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid isn't a huge franchise, but could be strategic to attract tweens.

I'm waiting for Deadpool to chime in to take offense at being lumped in with the MCU. He might enjoy appearing in a stunt show with John McClane.

March 20, 2019 at 2:24 PM

Russell, Ryan Reynolds already tweeted an image of Deadpool wearing a Mickey hat in an obvious suck-up attempt.

March 20, 2019 at 2:28 PM

I was referring to TPI's Deadpool that occasionally chimes in about his dream theme park.

March 20, 2019 at 2:28 PM

I could see the parks capitalizing off the success of The Greatess Showman and Bohemian Rhapsody. Neither of which I thought were good but were popular enough that Fox double dipped by releasing song-a-long versions in theaters.

RocknRoller Coaster could use a Queen refresh and Showman has enough fans to come out for a live show, that would be fairly cheap to put together. Maybe replace one of the princess shows at Hollywood Studios that we’re supposed to be temporary.

March 20, 2019 at 2:43 PM

Don't foresee any of the acquired 20th Century Fox IP making it to any of the Disney theme parks and Anastasia will never pass the background check to become a Disney princess. This takeover truly is all about other parts of Darth Iger's empire and other than stopping the Resorts World Genting 20th Century Fox World theme park from opening as part of an integrated resort with casino gambling, there's no impact on the theme park industry whatsoever.

March 20, 2019 at 2:51 PM

You had me at Bob's Burgers....You lost me at Planet of the Apes.

March 20, 2019 at 5:19 PM

Let's be honest, until any of these properties have higher box office grosses than properties Disney already owns, you won't be seeing them at the theme parks.

March 20, 2019 at 5:31 PM

I can't see any of Fox's franchises having any meaningful presence at Disney's parks. I could imagine a few possible attempts to freshen up some existing rides, but even they aren't really likely:
Mission: Space could be tweaked so that you're going to rescue Matt Damon, but would anyone really be that enthusiastic about that?
Splash Mountain could be rethemed to Life of Pi. However, that's a big job for not much payoff.
As mentioned above you could change Rock'n'Rollercoaster to Queen, but I think Tyler's personality fits the pre-show excellently.

March 20, 2019 at 5:41 PM

^^^I could totally get behind a Matt Damon-themed Mission: Space overlay. Especially if the nearby restaurant under construction features potato products that, in fitting with Epcot's message, are grown through unconventional means...

March 20, 2019 at 7:48 PM

I can see Ice Age easily showing up in the parks. And *MAYBE* the MCU additions in the non-Florida parks. Everything else? No.

March 20, 2019 at 10:12 PM

If Disney wants to put a stop to those annoying attendance gains up the road at Sea World, Ice Age would do the trick. Everyone would care even less than they do now about Antarctica. And Disney would do it a lot better.

I can definitely get behind the Walt Disney Studios Springfield makeover. I haven't been there, and I kind of want to go. But give me something more, Paris!! I have little doubt that Disneyland Paris will be the most beautiful I've seen. But its sister park still needs a lot of work. How they bungled it so badly is beyond me.

March 21, 2019 at 3:21 AM

Fox has a much better Christmas movie collection than Disney. Nakotomi Tower projected ToT would be nice and I’d bet Home Alone will be added to Jingle Bam. John Williams music always makes the bet fireworks music.

March 21, 2019 at 5:34 AM

There is no much more Disney can do now.
Mickey's not so scary Halloween party must add American Horror Story.
The hall of presidents could easily add Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter.
It's a small world only can get better with Deadpool.
Journey into your imagination could be re-branded with Shame (journey into your sex addiction).
The Norway pavilion should get a Viking make over.
A South Park land with musical stage production is a given.
This list goes on and on. Disney actually could become fun. ;-)

March 21, 2019 at 5:53 AM

Rumours have resurfaced (again) about a fifth gate at Disney World. What better way to build something new and different, than to create a trendier, hipper, more thrill based theme park with a Fox attitude? Something less geared towards families, and more towards teens and young adults.

When Universal Studios moved into the neighbourhood, Disney opened the Studios (nobody believes you, Michael Eisner, when you say it was a coincidence). When they saw how much money nature themed parks like Sea World and Busch Gardens were taking, they opened Animal Kingdom. When Church Street Station was stealing guests all those years ago, they opened Pleasure Island.

Despite having some of the best thrill rides in the world, Disney always has that family-friendly-slow-dark-ride reputation; dependable, comfortable, safe, fun and constant - like the parents in a family sit-com. Universal, by comparison, has a reputation of being the zany Aunt or Uncle who drops in for a wild adventure of questionable supervision and safety.

A new "Fox World" would allow Disney to create something a little less "Disney", without tarnishing their brand, and compete directly with their #1 competition down the street.

March 21, 2019 at 6:41 AM

Ice Age will pass the test, possibly not in the American parks unless WDW builds the 5th gate but certainly elsewhere. I need a Meet & Greet with Sid.

March 21, 2019 at 7:56 AM

Bluth's Frozen Banana stand at Food & Wine, or I'm out.

March 21, 2019 at 1:45 PM

I think the idea Disney utilizes this IP in any existing parks is unlikely at best. None of the franchises mentioned in this piece fit with the Disney Parks brand, which is one they've tirelessly worked to differentiate from Fox's sub par franchises.

March 21, 2019 at 6:18 PM

Deadpool could be added to any ride to make it instantly better. It might not make sense to the story, but it would be better!

I can't see WDW building a 5th gate that moves away from their core demographic. Plus I think a most of the Fox films don't have the same sort of staying power, and anything that is out there now could be completely irrelevant and forgotten by the time they get a new park open. It's possible that they will look at remaking some Fox properties and having the movie's releases coincide with a ride openings, but that's risky as it means guessing how popular the film will be.

March 22, 2019 at 7:09 AM

I don’t think anything on this list is a real good idea, besides Rio and Ice Age. The demographic for most of Fox’s movies are just too different from Disney theme parks and what is considered Disney in general. And that is why I hope all non Disney branded movies including Marvel and once again Lucasfilm would use the Fox name and somewhat distance itself from Disney. As much as I enjoy the MCU, I don’t like that its advertised on Disney Channel, and how many kids under 10 are the theaters. Either the more adult elements of the MCU like drug and sex references need to be removed, or Disney should not be marketing it towards kids. As long as those elements are absent, I have no problem with Marvel at Disney theme parks.

March 22, 2019 at 2:38 AM

Assuming a Fifth Gate "Fox World" never gets built, than the likliest home for any of these properties within current Disney property I think would be Animal Kingdom. Alongside the aforementioned Rio overlay for the Bird show, I can also very likely see Ice Age replacing the much-maligned Dinorama area within The Animal Kingdom, and with Dinoland, U.S.A., as a whole being re-named to something like "The Lost Kingdom", featuring extinct animals from any era, including dinosaurs and the Ice Age. Also, possible is the Finding Nemo theatre being torn down and replaced with an Ice Age dark ride, alongside newly themed flat rides to replace the rides and games at Dinorama.

Secondly, Don't forget that as part of Disney's acquisition of Fox, Disney now owns National Geographic, which is a brand that blend quite seamlessly into either Animal Kingdom, or possibly even the Seas or Land pavilions at Epcot.

March 22, 2019 at 11:58 AM

Huh, Ice Age over Dinoland actually makes sense....

March 22, 2019 at 4:10 PM

Do the thousands of pink slips in Century City for redundant Fox folks now become Disneyana Collectibles?

March 23, 2019 at 9:03 AM

Sheesh Disney should just buy Comcast and be done with it.

March 25, 2019 at 9:08 AM

I agree with all the good stuff.

Sorry. It's been a long week of trying to not be fired by my new mouse overlord.

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