Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort have been the inspiration for several movies in recent years. Now it looks like the Disney theme parks will provide the focus for a new series at ABC.
As you probably know, Disney owns the ABC network. So the opportunity to create some corporate synergy between the network and the theme park business is surely tempting. ABC already airs the series Once Upon a Time, which takes inspiration not just from fairy tales, but from the Disney animated interpretations. ABC is also the home of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., from corporate sibling Marvel Studios, which is also owned by Disney.
A Disney Theme Park TV Series
The new proposed series comes from producers Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters. The duo were the showrunners on Marvel’s Agent Carter, which also aired on ABC. According to Deadline, the plot has not been revealed. It is a drama series, though, and the show is “based on the Disney theme park mythology.”
What exactly does that mean, though? Is the show based on the mythology of the building of the park(s)? Is it based on a specific ride or attraction at Disneyland or Disney World? Or could it be some blend of storylines from all of the Disney theme park rides and attractions? That would make it sort of like Once Upon a Time, only based on the theme parks instead of the Disney movies.
Disney Attractions on Film and Television
There have already been multiple movies based on rides and attractions at Disneyworld and Walt Disney World.
Tower of Terror
In 1997, ABC aired the television movie Tower of Terror. It starred Steve Guttenberg and Kirsten Dunst. Unlike the Disney theme park ride, it was not connected to The Twilight Zone in any way. It was aired as part of the revived version of The Wonderful World of Disney.
Mission to Mars
In 2000, acclaimed director Brian DePalma directed Mission to Mars, loosely based on the long-running Disneyland attraction. It was a massive critical and financial disaster.
The Country Bears
Two years later, Disney released The Country Bears. It starred Christopher Walken and was based on the Disney theme park attraction, The Country Bear Jamboree. It was another failure with both audiences and critics.
Pirates of the Caribbean
In 2003, Disney launched the only successful adaptation of one of its theme park attractions: Pirates of the Caribbean. It eventually spawned three sequels with another, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tells, coming in May 2017.
The Haunted Mansion
That same year, Eddie Murphy starred in The Haunted Mansion, based on the famous Disney park haunted house. The film took a comedic slant and was a disaster.
In 2015, The Incredibles director Brad Bird enlisted George Clooney for the big budget film, Tomorrowland. Inspired by the themed land at Disney theme parks, the film was a financial and critical disappointment.
Miles From Tomorrowland
In addition to the films, Disney Junior is currently aired an animated kid’s show called Miles From Tomorrowland. Like the aforementioned film, the series is inspired by the Tomorrowland area at both Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort.