Disney Parks: The 10 Best Non-Movie Themed Rides

There is currently a lot of enthusiasm for a new guardians of the galaxy-inspired attraction at Epcot, especially with Marvel hits like Thor: Love and Thunder and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness released this year. Yet not all rides created at Disney parks are inspired by a beloved Disney classic. More often than not, the quirky rides that continue to stand out in parks are based on the early days of Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

While some have been tweaked in the years since and a few of those famous concepts have now been based on movies, there’s still something so intriguing about a ride that boasted a distinct history of everything fans had seen on the big or small screen in the past. These in particular have never been adapted.


ten The world is small

by Disney "the world is small"

With the famous repeating song and details of all the tiny animatronic dolls, It’s A Small World has definitely become one of Disney’s most famous attractions, and there’s a variation of the little ride at nearly every Disney park. The calm nature of the moving boat is definitely a breath of fresh air from some of the faster areas.

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Several nations around the world and their incredible cultures are all represented on this ride and there is a real sense of authenticity with what Disney portrays. While some versions are being revamped, there’s no sign of it being phased out soon or any sign of screen adaptation for that matter.

9 big thunder mountain

Big Thunder Mountain is a truly impressive structure that can usually be seen through the parks. It’s not a roller coaster based on a movie or TV show, but it does have its own narrative that can be seen as guests travel around the attraction. The Runaway Cart is definitely a fun ride to get involved in.

Much like the other attractions the Imagineers have put on, there is a level of immersion with Big Thunder Mountain, with the feeling that guests have been transported back to the days of the Last Frontiers. It’s a thrill ride that always seems accessible to everyone.

8 Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth is an educational ride that takes guests through humanity’s innovations and what the future could look like thanks to them. It’s an ingenious piece of engineering, and from the outside, the Spaceship Earth sphere has come to define Epcot.

It’s not a thrilling, fast-paced attraction or built on a fictional narrative. Instead, it feels like a moving documentary, a real-life investigation into what has allowed humanity to grow the way it has. Attractions like this showcase the diversity and versatility of Disney Parks and explain why they are among the best theme parks in the world.

seven Enchanted Tiki Room

The Enchanted Tiki Room is an animatronic show, which includes another immersive area that guests can enter. The coin features a range of technological innovations and is where customers can purchase the beloved Disney Dole Whip.

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The mechanics involved in setting up this room, which is full of talking and moving electronic birds as well as scenery that interacts with the musical number, is definitely a marvel to behold. The parks have come a long way since that inception, but there’s something magical about its place in Disney history.

6 Matterhorn Bobsleds

The Matterhorn Bobsled was an instant hit when it was created. It features its own narrative that includes an expedition into the mountains, where bobsleds will race in a remarkably realistic setting. From afar, the Matterhorn area is absolutely stunning and stands out from the park.

But the speed at which the bobsleighs move is quite incredible. It is very simple in design but definitely stands out from the more traditional Imagineering style seen with Big Thunder Mountain. Maybe there’s a movie adaptation to be had in this ride.

5 Rapids of the Kali River

Rapids of the Kali River

There aren’t many water rides in the Disney parks, but the Kali River rapids definitely stand out for their originality, colorful design, and, again, simplicity. The rapids take guests on a seemingly dangerous journey, as they are thrown into something considerably more exciting than cruising through the jungle.

There is less of a story in this ride, allowing the audience to engage with the splashing experience itself and rely on the decoration and design of the surrounding animal kingdom. Thematically, it fits perfectly into the park.

4 mystical mansion

The Haunted Mansion is the traditional take on the design that guests around the world will be familiar with. He has his story, which has inspired two screen adaptations (the Eddie Murphy adaptation and Muppet Haunted Mansion)and with Disney Parks stating that there is a third on the way. However, Mystic Manor took a very different approach.

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A more recent addition to the Disney parks and which can be located at Hong Kong Disneyland, the Mystic Manor features its own storyline that meets the rest of the surrounding park. From the outside, it is beautiful and the sights and mysteries there are well worth exploring.

3 To skyrocket

One of Soarin's vehicles

Soarin’ takes guests on a magnificent journey around the world, from a paraglider. It’s brilliant technology used here, given that the majority of this show is created with a moving screen and powered flight system. It is for this reason that it is considered one of the most immersive attractions in the Disney Parks.

It’s a way to see the natural beauty of the world from a very different perspective. There are no other rides like this through the parks and while a movie could never be made from this one, it’s the kind of play that could inspire a documentary series.

2 Journey into the imagination with Figment

Journey into the imagination

Journey Into Imagination With Figment is aimed at children, but can still be enjoyed by all ages. A slower-paced play, this attraction falls into the educational category, with science and invention explored by Figment, the imaginative and beloved purple dragon created by Imagineers.

It’s a big surprise that there hasn’t been a TV series starring Figment yet. That alone baffles many fans, who love this ride for its commitment to the non-fiction genre and the way it handles seemingly complex subject matter with great humor and simplicity.

1 space mountain

Space Mountain has been moved to select parks to evolve into Hyperspace Mountain, taking its audience to the galaxy far, far away. However, the original intention of the ride was to help guests soar into space, with a massive liftoff for ages.

It is a great design from the outside and looks very futuristic. It’s also fun to see that some versions of the attraction allow guests to view the ride from the outside, since it launches at such speeds. There’s a bit of history involved in this project, but clearly, it was never enough to inspire an adaptation.

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About the Author

Herman C. Harkins