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Theme parks are some of the best ways to go through movie experiences through attractions. I have worked at one of them for a few years. The criteria here is the excitement factor, faithfulness to its subject, and themed queue area. Some of the biggest movies have warranted attractions. This part covers the last 5 of the top ten list.
10 Men in Black: Alien Attack – this attraction is at Universal Studios Orlando. The ride has the oval white MIB building and the queue area is like the New York World’s Fair that was in the movie. All of your belongings are stored in a locker before you enter. An elevator takes you to MIB headquarters with worm guys and get your ready to use your S4 Alienator. You board a large ride vehicle and wield your neuralizer to zap some aliens. The ride goes through several scenes in an alien rampant New York and it spins to almost nauseating speed thus its placement on the list. The end whirls to a building sized bug. Will Smith as Agent Jay shows up at the end to note your shooting score.
9 Flight of the Hippogriff – this attraction is next to the Hogwarts Castle and is a more friendly roller coaster than the Dueling Dragons coaster. They are both re-purposed with the Harry Potter theming. In this case, the queue area is a walk around Hagrid’s Hut. The ride vehicle resembles a woven basket-like hippogriff. The highlight of the ride is the climb up the hill where you see Buckbeak in a nest of branches. He bows his head as you make your way up the hill. The rollercoaster offers a fast look around Hogwarts with some minor drops and turns.
8 Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye – this ride has great interaction in the queue area. Outside of the temple is a prop truck from Raiders of the Lost Ark. You enter the temple which has some archeologists working and you can pull ropes and set off sound effects and some audio of a startled archeologist. There are symbols along the walls that you could translate using a map. The chambers open to a room where John Rhys Davies as Sallah noting the dangers of the temple. The ride vehicle is the same as what was used in the Dinosaur attraction at Animal Kingdom. It resembles a jeep and has an independently suspended platform that carries the riders. The ride takes you through all of the dangers of the movie; snakes, bursts of flame, and puffs of darts. It crosses a bridge where the statue blasts fire at you. Robot Indy hangs from a rope as a boulder rolls. The ride drops and you makes your way past Indy and the crashed boulder. The new setting and robot Indy take away from the fun of movies.
7 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – the queue set in the faux run-down Hollywood Tower Hotel. The lobby is classic Hollywood though covered with cobwebs. This leads to an anteroom with objects from the Twilight Zone show; the bobbing devil head fortune telling machine from William Shatner’s “Nick of Time” episode and broken glasses from Burgess Meredith’s classic “Time Enough at Last.” A small tv shows Rod Serling, dubbed, explaining that the hotel in 1939 had passengers disappear in an elevator during a thunderstorm. You go through a basement boiler room. This is dark with steaming pipes that really brings up the tension. You enter the elevator with enough seats for riders. In the Florida version, it lifts up and then travels across a room where you can see ghostly figures until you reach the drop. The Disney California lifts up and you can see the ghosts, then up to the daylight with a good view of the park. Then there is the drop, more exhilarating than a death plunge, but it does get the heart racing.
6 Star Tours – The Adventure Continues – Star Tours of course is a must for every Star Wars fan. I had many guests ask me where is the Star Trek ride. The original was closed for the new 3D version. Besides the droids, there wasn’t any actors involved with the attraction. The almost trip to Endor was fun, but after time became predictable. The new ride of course has many variations though I keep getting Naboo and Kashyyyk. The queue area is impressive at Hollywood Studios since they have an Ewok village, Imperial walker, and various SW vehicles. The Disneyland version has the spaceport with large screen that runs videos of the new destinations. You can also see the Starspeeder with the new 2000 orange paint job. The G-2 droids are an interesting diversion from waiting in line. The ride begins with either Darth Vader or a probe droid searching for the Rebel spy, this is a capture of one of the attraction riders. It’s a good use of 3D, a Wookie claws the screen of the ship, and the Naboo ship pokes its tail through the screen.
What rides will top the list? When will there be an Avengers ride? Who knows the answer to that last one, but we will answer the top five attractions in the next installment.