Disney faces new Sony-backed theme park player
If you’ve ever been to an amusement park and thought, “You know, I really wish I could fight off a rush of angry hippos that would chase me off a gigantic waterfall and maybe rush me to my death on the rocky cliffs below”, so boy, do we have good news for you.
Alright, maybe this new experience won’t be this intense, but it certainly stems from that kind of thrilling adventure. And if that didn’t provide at least a few jaw-dropping moments, well, that just wouldn’t seem right.
This exciting new venture is a collaboration between Sony (END) – Get the Sony Corp report. Pictures Entertainment and Merlin Entertainment. The British entertainment company is the world’s second largest operator of tourist attractions and owns and operates Legoland resorts in seven different countries including the US, UK, Malaysia, Japan, Denmark, Germany and Dubai. It also plans to expand into China, South Korea and Belgium by 2026.
And if you haven’t guessed which box office blockbuster is next on Merlin’s list to turn into a proper adventure, I’ll save you more suspense: it’s “Jumanji.”
Here is an exciting forest adventure
The new deal between Merlin and Sony Pictures designates “Jumanji” as a multi-territory exclusive, meaning you’ll only be able to see it at Merlin’s parks. He plans to build themed attractions, rides, land, retail stores, and even hotel rooms, which we think you woke up to and found yourself smack in the middle of a rainforest.
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The plan is to start building them at Merlin’s parks across Europe and North America, the first of which will open in April this year at Merlin’s Gardaland Resort in Italy. It will be called “Jumanji – the Adventure” and is described as a “dark ride for adventure seekers of all ages” in the press release.
But the ride isn’t the only part of the launch. Merlin also plans to unveil fully themed “Jumanji” hotel rooms by then, so your dream of sleeping in a tangle of vines might come true sooner than you think.
Mark Fischer, Merlin’s Director of Development, seems extremely enthusiastic about this venture, and we can’t say we blame him.
“We are thrilled to take our relationship with Sony Pictures Entertainment to the next level with this strategic partnership,” said Fisher. “Sony is one of the best film companies on the planet and Jumanji is a multi-billion dollar brand that has wowed customers of all ages for over two decades. Our Merlin team is already hard at work developing brilliant creative concepts, that will bring the famous movie Jumanji to life in our theme parks and water parks. We look forward to delivering thrilling rides and experiences for guests and moviegoers! The game is definitely on!”
There are no dates when the “Jumanji” experiences might expand to North America, but since Merlin currently has no US-based parks that aren’t located in Legoland, it’s unclear. where we can expect them to appear. Merlin’s Peppa Pig theme park is adjacent to Legoland Florida, so perhaps we can expect “Jumanji” to appear similarly.