Ralph to the Rescue?
Upcoming Animated Feature Well Suited for Disney Attraction
By Stephen “Crave” Cravak
Pixar’s Brave audiences were treated to the first glimpse of Walt Disney Animation Studio’s next theatrical production, Wreck-It Ralph. Slated for release on November 2nd, the movie promises to be a hip departure from folk-lore inspired classics. From the 2 minute plus trailer, there also doesn’t appear to be a damsel in distress. Instead, the hero of the story is a donkey kong-esque villain who dreams of being a hero. In many ways, Wreck-It Ralph promises to be the “Toy Story” of the video game world pitting original main characters within an existing world of pop icons.
When it comes to turning movies into attractions, or attractions into movies, Disney has a resume long enough to empty your ink cartridge. Especially with the ability to include classic 80s and 90s villains from Super Mario, Sonic, Pac Man, and Street Fighter, Wreck-It Ralph would lend itself well to any Disney park. The film’s pixelated logo has a nostalgic look and would look appealing on a T-shirt. A hyper cast member could easily jump into the costume of the title character or the mario-esque Fix-It Felix. While there is a Sonic Spinball themed coaster in Tokyo, the amusement industry has long ignored video games as potential tie-ins. Wreck-It Ralph provides Disney with the chance to strongly promote one of its own, non-Pixar films, while tapping into a lucrative industry.
Disney may have longer queues than other parks, but officials have long implemented time saving methods. Fastpass, introduced in 1999, allowed visitors to obtain a reservation ticket for a later time while only having to wait a fraction of the time. More recently, Disney imagineering unveiled the latest line improving concept. As part of the Magic Kingdom’s new Fantasyland improvements, guests wishing to ride Dumbo the Flying Elephants receive a pager and are ushered into a circus tent where children can play in a massive jungle gym allowing Mom and Dad to have a seat. When it’s time to ride, your pager buzzes and virbates much like waiting for a table at a busy restaurant.
The queue playground element would lend itself beautifully to a Wreck-It Ralph ride or attraction. Imagine having unlimited access to an arcade while waiting to ride. This concept could also work for a queue area for a Tron themed ride. Given Disney’s past history, they’ll wait to see how the film does before they invest millions of dollars into a new attraction. In Disney’s Hollywood Studios early history, a Dick Tracy shoot-em-up interactive dark ride was never built due to poor reception of the film.
Where does a Wreck-It Ralph attraction fit in? Naturally, Walt Disney World seems like an obvious fit, specifically Epcot Center or Disney Hollywood Studios. In the case of Epcot, Ralph could easily slide into Innoventions. A ride wouldn’t even be necessary, just the arcade could help to draw attention to the film. Though, a more expensive route would have Future World install a video game themed pavilion. A Tron themed coaster similar to what’s expected for Shanghai Disneyland would serve as the pavillion’s E-Ticket anchor attraction, while a light-hearted Ralph dark ride or flat ride could balance the crowds.
Hollywood Studios typically focuses on movies, though some of the park’s attractions such as the Rock’n’Rollercoaster, and the Tower of Terror lack such tie-ins. Adding a video game themed attraction seems like a sound business decision. The obvious dark ride would be a take off of the interactive Toy Story Mania where riders would help bring back Ralph while fighting familiar video-game foes. Unfortunately, Hollywood Studios already has a Toy Story Mania. A quick and cheap fix would be a flat ride with a giant Ralph wrecking a brick building as seen in the trailer. The building could serve as a walk-through fun house, or there could be a top-spin style flat ride attached to Ralph’s giant arms.
Regardless if Wreck-It Ralph morphs into a Disney park attraction, it’s delightfully productive to think of the possibilities. Let’s hope imagineering and the budget police at Disney agree.