by Joe Tracy, editor of Theme Park Magazine
Jumanji is about to be branded into several theme parks and themed experiences thanks to an agreement last year between entertainment company Merlin Entertainments and Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Jumanji is a popular fantasy adventure movie from 1995, which featured Robin Williams, Bradley Pierce, and Kirsten Dunst. It told the story of a supernatural jungle-themed board game that, when played, instantly sprang forth dangerous real-life jungle hazards that users had to overcome in order to beat the game and eliminate the curses. The movie cost $65 million to make and was a huge hit at the box office, bringing in $263 million. It spawned an animated TV series, two rebooted “sequels,” and a “spiritual successor,” Zathura: A Space Adventure.
With its strong jungle and animal-theming, Jumanji was ripe to become an attraction for theme parks and themed experiences. Jumanji lovers can expect to see theme park attractions, themed hotel rooms, and themed lands based on this new partnership.
Jumanji – The Adventure Ride
The resort to be the first to benefit from this partnership will be Gardaland Resort on the eastern shore of Lake Garda at Castelnuovo del Garda in Italy. A new dark ride, Jumanji – The Adventure will open at Gardaland Resort on April 2, 2022. The ride will take guests on a 4×4 off-roading vehicle that travels deep into the world of Jumanji where new dangers await. There are 12 scenes total as riders seek to find a sacred jewel to save Jumanji.
Merlin Entertainments, Oceaneering, and Framestore developed Jumanji – The Adventure dark ride. It replaces Ramses: II Risveglio, which closed in 2021 so that the construction of Jumanji – The Adventure could begin.
Jumanji Hotel Rooms
To celebrate the launch of Jumanji – The Adventure, Gardaland Resort has unveiled several Jumanji-themed hotel rooms for guests. Merlin Entertainments shared a photo of one of the themed rooms in which the jungle is coming out of the walls. The floors, beds, bed frames, curtains, pillows, lighting, and more are all themed to Jumanji.
More Jumanji Lands, Hotel Rooms, and Attractions
Merlin Entertainments plans to use the Jumanji intellectual property in several of its theme parks going forward. More rides, lands, hotel rooms, and experiences are expected. The company is teasing the launch of a “second activation” of Jumanji “already in development at a different theme park for a 2023 launch.”
“Our Merlin team are already hard at work developing brilliant creative concepts, which will bring to life the blockbuster-famous Jumanji film across our theme parks and waterparks,” says Mark Fisher, Chief Development Officer for Merlin Entertainments. “We can’t wait to deliver thrilling rides and experiences for guests and film fans alike! The game is certainly on!”
According to Sony Entertainment’s Jeffrey Godsick, what made this partnership attractive was Merlin Entertainments’ strategic dedication to storytelling and quality craftsmanship that he believes will “ensure that fans of Jumanji will be fully immersed into the worlds of our films and have an unforgettable experience.”
Merlin Entertainments Theme Parks, Water Parks, and Attractions
Merlin Entertainments operates more than 135 attractions in 24 countries. Some of the brands that Merlin Entertainments operates include LEGOLAND, SEA LIFE, Peppa Pig, and Madame Tussauds.
This isn’t the first collaboration between Merlin Entertainments and Sony Pictures Entertainments. The two companies collaborate for two other themed experiences: Ghostbusters 5D (Heide Park in Germany) and the Ghostbusters experience at Madame Tussauds New York.