What Should Be America’s Next Hit Theme Park Attraction?

August 27, 2022, 3:16 PM · Two popular attractions from top theme parks in Asia will be making their United States debut sometime in the next several months: Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood in California and TRON Lightcyle Run at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Florida.

But are these the imports you most want to see coming to America?

Disney and Universal theme parks in Japan and China offer several unique attractions that have inspired envy among jealous American theme park fans. Since executives at both Disney and Universal's theme park divisions want to deliver hits when they authorize budget-straining new attractions, an import of a popular attraction from another park in the company can be a smart business move.

So let's help them out by telling them which attractions fans would most like to see brought to the United States. As I mentioned, two of these are done deals. But I think it would be interesting to see where those rank among four other popular options that I have selected.

And those options are:

Super Nintendo World from Universal Studios Japan

This video game-themed land will offer a "real life" Mario Kart ride along with multiple interactive opportunities throughout.

TRON Lightcycle Run from Shanghai Disneyland

Ride a Lightcycle from the cult-favorite films on Disney's latest family-friendly roller coaster.

Mystic Manor from Hong Kong Disneyland

This homage to the Haunted Mansion includes some nifty new effects and plenty of references to Disney's Society of Explorers and Adventurers.

Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast from Tokyo Disneyland

A trackless dark ride through the Beast's castle, featuring the latest in Disney's Audio Animatronic tech.

Untrainable from Universal Studios Beijing

This "How to Train Your Dragon" production won our Theme Park Insider Award for Best Show last year.

Jurassic World Adventure from Universal Studios Beijing

Universal's newest Jurassic ride is a mixed-media motion-base ride with the big bad Indominus rex.

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Replies (33)

August 27, 2022 at 3:36 PM

I'm not sure where Jurassic World Adventure would fit domestically (without replacing one of the existing, great water attractions) so I went with Beauty and the Beast. It would be great for Disneyland's Fantasyland to get a real E-Ticket (of course, speaking of uh, fitting something somewhere — right).

August 27, 2022 at 3:42 PM

My choice would be Mystic Manor. But would it have to replace Haunted Mansion? At Disneyland, where would it fit in the park?

My second choice would be Beauty And The Beast. It could easily be inserted into Fantasyland.

Jurassic World Adventure looks pretty awesome. I wouldn’t mind seeing that one brought over as well.

August 27, 2022 at 4:10 PM

Had to go with Super Nintendo. Not only is it a whole land whilst everything else is an attraction but also I think its the most novel concept for a Theme Park. Its by far the most ambitious theme park land for interaction, it has the first use of AR in an attraction, and Donkey kong will also be a first for ride systems. BB and JP are probably the best though as standalone attractions.

August 27, 2022 at 6:51 PM

Tricky thing with Mystic Manor is having to replace one of the Haunted Mansions and hate losing a classic. But Beauty and the Beast is just the thing to spark Florida Magic Kingdom.

August 27, 2022 at 7:49 PM

I'm just gonna go down the list...

Super Nintendo World: Slam dunk for Universal and definitely the one from this list I'm most excited about seeing in the States.

Tron Lightcycle Run: I don't think Magic Kingdom needed this ride, but I do think it's a solid addition for Walt Disney World. That said, I don't particularly want a copy at Disneyland as there really isn't a good place to put it space or theme wise.

Mystic Manor: In isolation, this would be second on the list after Nintendo for ride I'd most like to see imported. However, there really isn't a great place to do it. None of the four WDW parks have a spot where Mystic Manor would fit, though in California you could probably stretch and fit it into DCA.

Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast: Although not as intriguing to me, realistically this is a much more likely candidate for importation than Mystic Manor. This would work well in either California's or Florida's Fantasyland as a new E-ticket dark ride.

Untrainable: Lower on the interest list, but I'd be shocked if Epic Universe doesn't have this show or something very similar in the How to Train Your Dragon land.

Jurassic World Adventure: While a cool ride, this is the one on the list that really has no need to come to the States as both Universal parks have Jurassic pretty well covered.

August 27, 2022 at 8:22 PM

Alice in Wonderland Maze

August 27, 2022 at 9:12 PM

AJ, I would love too see Mystic Manor at Disneyland. I agree they could make it work in California Adventure. But, since they already have Haunted Mansion, would it make sense to have another similar ride. Mystic Manor is Hong Kong Disneyland’s version of Haunted Mansion.

I agree, Beauty And The Beast is the most likely candidate, and makes the most sense. It would certainly fit into Fantasyland, at either Disneyland or Disney World.

August 28, 2022 at 12:52 AM

I don't see any reason Mystic Manor couldn't work alongside Haunted Mansion. While it is often compared to Haunted Mansion as it's the attraction Hong Kong Disneyland got instead, Mystic Manor is an entirely different attraction with a magical fantasy theme and no references whatsoever to ghosts or spirits. Even if both attractions were in the same park, my guess is the typical visitor would see them as two unique experiences, and if Disney was really concerned it would be easy to swap out the couple elements reused for the ride for something else.

August 28, 2022 at 8:14 AM

I voted for 'The Enchanted Tale of Beauty & the Beast' (Fantasy land WDW MKP.. 'Mystic Manor' might work in Adventureland. I've long thought that Disney should blow out the space behind the Jungle Cruise (GOAT) with walkways that travel beneath the monorail tracks.

August 28, 2022 at 9:53 AM

AJ, you’re right, it is themed differently then Haunted Mansion. Where would Mystic Manor fit at Disneyland?

August 28, 2022 at 11:11 AM

Understand why Robert offered up these particular questions. But it would have also been interesting to have an option "None of the Above -- I Prefer Original Concepts". Such as something brand new at 'Journey into Imagination'.

August 28, 2022 at 1:39 PM

As much as I love what I have seen of Beauty and the Beast, I would not want it at Disneyland. The ride system is the same as Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway. It's also a massive show building. I would likely exchange two smaller attractions for the size of that building.

I picked Jurassic World Adventure simply because it looks incredible. But not sure where it would fit domestically.

Truthfully, the most unique option would be Untrainable! Hopefully we will see it at Epic Universe.

August 28, 2022 at 4:09 PM

This is going to be all about Hong Kong Disneyland imports.

Big Grizzly Mountain from Hong Kong Disneyland is amazing and would be my pick! Now... the theme is a bit to similar to the classic Big Thunders out there but it's seriously a fun ride. The only place in which this ride would have the room and make sense is Animal Kingdom. But its theming is bears and not sure where it could go. Perhaps change Dinoland USA into a North America land. There were dinosuars in North America after all right?

Next door to it is Mystic Manor which is fantastic. Maybe DHS? Where Animation Courtyard is. Perhaps next to RnRC where the Lighting McQueen thing is. Make it a haunted corner of the park with Tower of Terror next door. Mystic Manor being much more family friendly.

Iron Man Experience isn't anything totally unique but it would be a solid update to Star Tours at both Disneyland and DHS. With the openings of Galaxy Edge who also has a simulator ride (Millennium Falcon) Star Tours seems a bit redundant. I enjoy Star Tours but feel Iron Man would freshen up that ride system. Plus you can also have him fight different villains in the same way Star Tours 2.0 changes things up.

I know it's over 20 years old but Journey to the Center of the Earth from DisneySea is fantastic. Those who haven't experienced it, the ride uses a similar ride system to Test Track and Radiator Springs. The giant mountain facade and ride building isn't something you can just transplant anywhere but it would be worth it. Depending on backstage areas this would be a prospective choice to replace the Imagination pavilion and make it a retro-future pavilion of some sort.

Any of these ideas have a 0 percent chance of happening and I do agree with a previous poster that original attraction ideas should take precedent. Nevertheless, it sure is fun thinking about this.

August 28, 2022 at 4:32 PM

Let me post this question to the panel: If you can take any 3 Disney international rides, and place them in Disneyland…what would they be?

August 28, 2022 at 7:28 PM

I don't think we'll ever get a copy of Enchanted Tale. I recall reading in several places that Japanese Disney attractions have exclusivity that prevent them from being cloned stateside.

August 29, 2022 at 2:38 AM

For years, I've been begging Disney to clone Mystic Manor and Shanghai Pirates. Those are the two world class dark rides that make North American theme park fans drool with envy. Shanghai Pirates would work great at DHS, since it's based on the Pirates movies. Not sure where Mystic would go -- maybe Epcot?

As for Universal, I am very disappointed that they are building a whole new theme park without including a Jurassic World section/land. Jurassic World Adventure puts the stateside dino rides to shame. I feel we got short changed when they built the best one in Beijing.

August 29, 2022 at 3:47 AM

To answer Timbo's questions, and assuming that Disneyland means anywhere at the resort, here's what I'd do...

First, Mystic Manor would be imported to DCA. This would be a replacement for the Monsters, Inc. corner of Hollywoodland, possibly with some minor thematic adjustments to match the location, and would be a good way to revitalize a pretty dead area of the park. While it might seem an odd choice, the facade for the ride is actually based on a mansion that formerly stood in the LA area and a private collection of artifacts fits with what you might expect to find under the ownership of a celebrity, so I say it's fair game.

The second ride would also be from Hong Kong Disneyland and imported into DCA: Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars. This would replace the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail and possibly more, perhaps taking over Little Mermaid's footprint as well and/or wrapping around the Grand Californian to run out to the Goofy's Sky School plot and back. Now, in this case the attraction would need to be modified in order to fit the space, but I think it would be feasible to squeeze it in. The benefit here is once again obvious...DCA doesn't have a proper family coaster (Goofy's Sky School doesn't count as it's nowhere near Disney's standards), and the theme would perfectly complement Grizzly Peak and the bits of California that remain in the park.

Choice three is going to seem like an oddball pick and will probably anger the purists, but here it is: Sindbad's Storybook Voyage as a replacement for the Jungle Cruise. Let's face it, Jungle Cruise is outdated and doesn't draw guests anymore, at least in California. Sindbad matches the Adventureland theme very well and would bring another all audiences animatronic-centric dark ride to the park, which is something Disneyland can never have too many of (especially since they're arguably about to lose one). Yes, it might be a bit strange to have another boat ride a stone's throw from Pirates of the Caribbean or It's a Small World, but if Fantasyland can host five spook-house style attractions that share walls with each other, three boat rides in separate lands is equally acceptable.

Will any of that happen? I doubt it. But, in the unlikely case it did, I think adding those three rides would do more for the resort's offerings than almost any IP-centric ride they'd be likely to come up with.

August 29, 2022 at 9:46 AM

@TH:

I agree with you about replacing Imagination with some original IP, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon with Chapek (and let’s be honest, Iger, as beloved as he was, was bullish on developing pre-existing IP attractions as well), so if push came to shove I’d love to see the technology and ride system installed into the Imagination Pavilion and themed to something like Pixar’s Inside Out. Or they could double down on the Nature theme for this side of the park and have an Encanto attraction themed to the jungle elements. Hell, Zootopia even…

August 29, 2022 at 11:57 AM

I voted for the Jurassic World ride. Not likely to happen but there's plenty of room for Jurassic World to take over the Lost Continent. Re-theme River Adventure change the Discovery centre to the new one and remove Poseidon Furry for this ride. Would be amazing! Mythos could easily be repainted and called Mythos at Isla Nublar or something like that.

Super Nintendo and Tron are already coming so no need to vote for that. Untrainable is 99% for sure going to be in Epic Universe and Beauty and the Beast is probably going to come at some point too. Mystic Manor looks really cool and I would love to try it but its very unlikely to ever come. Even though its different its still too similar to Haunted Mansion.

August 29, 2022 at 12:15 PM

@Still a Fan -- you beat me to it! My vote is none of the above in favor of the Shanghai version of Pirates. I would LOVE to experience that ride. However, I wouldn't want to see it replace our classic POC, but rather be an addition to it. I like the idea of putting it at DHS...

August 29, 2022 at 1:16 PM

Now, I have 1 more question: Would you replace any current Disneyland attractions, with any International ones? For example, would you replace Haunted Mansion with Phantom Manor? Would you replace Pirates, with Battle For the Sunken Treasure, from Shanghai? Would you replace Disneyland’s Peter Pan with Shanghai’s version?

August 29, 2022 at 1:27 PM

Mystic Manor to DAK in Florida. Anything to get more SEA connections into the parks and get us closer to the SEA Cinematic Universe (and a new Adventurer's Club) is good in my book.

August 29, 2022 at 1:57 PM

@timbo23 -- For me Pirates could definitely be re-themed. Growing up our family could not afford trips to Disney so I have no sentimental attachment to it. Haunted Mansion is really neat so I wouldn't want to get rid of it even for Mystic Manor.

August 29, 2022 at 2:04 PM

@Francis24, I love Haunted Mansion too. But it wouldn’t be Mysic Manor. It would be Phantom Manor, from Disneyland Paris. Which one would you rather have?

August 29, 2022 at 2:10 PM

AJ, I like / agree with your choices of bring those to DCA (especially mystic Manor where Monsters Inc is located in Hollywoodland)

August 29, 2022 at 5:10 PM

@timbo23 oh lol forgot there was one in Paris too. When you asked originally I thought you met the Hong Kong one. Having re-watched the POV's Phantom Manor is cool but I would keep Haunted Mansion as is.

August 29, 2022 at 5:35 PM

Ditto on Shanghai’s Pirates. And I’d even be fine with Disney replacing the lackluster version at Magic Kingdom for it.

August 29, 2022 at 5:53 PM

@Francis24, I totally respect your view and opinion on Haunted Mansion. I’ve been on Phantom Manor…it’s very good. But I also love Haunted Mansion. So I’m good with keeping Haunted Mansion as is.

Pirates is interesting. I love Disneyland’s version. I haven’t had the opportunity to ride Shanghai’s version. But it looks pretty awesome! So I’m open to brining Shanghai’s version over.

August 30, 2022 at 6:55 PM

Mystic Manor, theming wise, would fit in Adventureland(For Both coasts) because the the manor is located in South America and since it’s part of the S.E.A. lore. As for how to make it fit(Especially for Disneyland) just make Jungle Cruise smaller.

August 30, 2022 at 9:18 PM

"As for how to make it fit(Especially for Disneyland) just make Jungle Cruise smaller."

Congrats, Agustin. You just made TH's list.

August 31, 2022 at 9:23 AM

@James Trexen... lol Then I probably shouldn't say forget about making it smaller and just remove the whole thing. Think about all that room Jungle Cruise takes!!!

August 31, 2022 at 11:02 AM

Prior to the pandemic I was all for clones of overseas rides come to the US as it would give us some of the worlds best rides and Disney could build them cheaper and faster than having to develop a completely new ride. However, as long as it took to build Remy and the still unopened Tron, I’m not sure that is the case anymore.

August 31, 2022 at 11:21 AM

Personally, I’m not a fan of clones because it gives me less incentive to visit the other parks. It’s the reason why Universal Studios Florida is a quarter of a day park for me because most of its rides are available at the Hollywood park.

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