(Originally published in OC WEEKLY, Thursday, October 12, 2006)
With The Haunted Mansion, The Country Bears, The Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy and the just-announced Jungle Cruise, Disney seems determined to turn every single ride in Disneyland into a movie. But while you might imagine they’re rapidly running out of any rides they could possibly base movies on, you’d be underestimating the endless resourcefulness of the studio’s marketing monkeys. The other day, while we were rooting around in the dumpsters behind Disney HQ doing research for our upcoming exposé on the 1979 suicide pact that tragically took the lives of Huey, Dewey and Louie, we discovered the following confidential memo announcing the studio’s production slate through the rest of the decade:
Small World, Big Trouble (December 2006): We’re all totally jazzed about this one down here in the Marketing Grotto! The action starts when terrorists hijack It’s a Small World, announcing that if the ride slows to less than 2 miles per hour, it will explode. But they didn’t count on Rock Jodd (Vin Diesel), a tough New York cop who is aboard the ride with his wife (Téa Leoni) and daughter (Dakota Fanning). Now Rock faces off with the terrorists in a deadly fight at a breakneck 3 miles per hour. It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears . . . and the terrorists are about to enter a world of hurt!
Li’l Peckers (May 2007): We’re so excited about this one, our stomachs hurt! Milo (that kid from Phil of the Future), a clumsy Disney park employee, accidentally leaves the door to the Enchanted Tiki Room open, allowing the wacky birds to escape. Now loose in the wilds of Southern California, the birds (depicted through state-of-the-art CGI and voiced by such stars as Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Academy Award-winner Charlize Theron) get into mischief while Milo tries to round them up. But these ain’t your grandma’s macaws! They’re butt-kicking birdies for a new generation: “Try and put me in a cage, will ya? Polly wanna crack your skull!”
Escape From Walt’s Mountain (November 2007): Just thinking about this one makes us all moist and tingly! Two adventurers (Nicolas Cage, Danny Glover) scale the Matterhorn ride on an expedition into the Mystery Cave, which legend says contains one of the park’s most priceless treasures: Walt Disney’s frozen head. But the legends also speak of something else that dwells in the cave: the yeti (the WWE’s Chris Jericho)! Will our heroes find Walt’s frosty noggin before they end up as yeti chow or get buried beneath an avalanche of fiberglass boulders?
That’s So Lincoln (January 2008): This one is almost too good for the filthy rabble who will go see it! Raven (Raven Simone), a young girl visiting the park, discovers that the Abe Lincoln robot in the Hall of the Presidents somehow contains the actual spirit of Lincoln (Christopher Lloyd)! Abe is restless after decades in the hall, so they leave the park together and she introduces him to the wonders of the 21st century . . . like karaoke, skateboarding and shopping at Wal-Mart! (Excellent tie-in potential there.) Sadly, Abe must return to the park after he short-circuits while surfing in San Clemente, but not before he and Raven have forged memories that will last at least four score and seven years!
Sunday in the Parking Lot With George (July 2008): When we think about this one, we touch ourselves! George (Tim Allen) and his family have just finished a fabulous vacation at Disneyland, but now they can’t find their car. No, they really can’t find their car! Was it parked in the Donald section of the lot? Pluto? Maybe Clarabelle Cow? Chevy Chase co-stars as George’s wisecracking father-in-law (“We shoulda parked in the California Adventure lot! It’s always empty!”) and Christie Brinkley has a cameo as the Girl in the Ferrari! We’ve got one sequence planned on the trams that’s really tram-atic. Ha!
This Island Sawyer (November 2008): We love this one so much we almost hate it! During a trip to Tom Sawyer’s Island, two boys (those kids from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody) pass through a strange mist and discover they have somehow crossed over into the world of the real Tom Sawyer! Now they’re sailing downriver with Tom, Huck and African-American Jim (Cedric the Entertainer) and turning the abolitionist movement upside down!
Captain Eo (Summer 2009): This one’s so great it can cure cancer! We see oodles of potential in this classic tale of the spacefaring adventurer and his crew of musical androids and freaky little flying fuzzball monsters, and this could be a fabulous comeback role for Jackson. Of course, if he’s in the middle of another child molestation lawsuit at that point, we’ll need a replacement. We’re thinking Halle Berry.
Snow White’s Scary Adventure (Winter 2009): We’ve been having wet dreams about this one for weeks! It’s the movie based on the ride based on the movie! And if it’s a hit (If? IF?!), we can base a new ride on it! And then we can base a new movie on that ride! Movies! Rides! Movies! Rides!