A Jumanji Amusement Park And Hotel Are In The Works

Announced in Variety today, the British company Merlin Entertainments, the parent company behind Legoland, Madame Tussaud's, and several other international amusement park chains, will be opening multiple theme parks based on the "Jumanji" film franchise across Europe and North America starting in 2023. This massive undertaking will debut this April with a "Jumanji" ride in Gardaland, located in Castelnuovo del Garda, Italy. The Gardaland experience will be a theatrical ride/movie hybrid wherein the audience finds themselves trapped inside a jungle-themed video game. It has not yet been announced if any of the actors from the "Jumanji" feature films will be involved. The launch of this experience will coincide with the opening of "Jumanji"-themed rooms to be installed in the theme park's adjacent hotel. There will also be "Jumanji"-based retail outlets. 

This will deepen a collaboration between Merlin and Sony, who have already worked together on several theme part attractions, including Ghostbusters 5D in Hedie Park in Soltau Germany, and The Ghostbusters Experience in Madame Tussaud's in New York. Overall, Merlin hosts 135 theme parks and other tourist attractions in 24 countries. 

Jumanji: The Adventure

The entire project will be sold under the banner of "Jumanji: The Adventure," and will draw imagery and scenarios from the films "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" (2017) and "Jumanji: The Next Level" (2019), both directed by Jake Kasdan, and starring Karen Gillan, Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black. The premise of those two films involves a group of teenagers who find a magical video game cartridge that transports them into the world of a jungle adventure video game wherein they occupy the bodies of the stars. The two films were, in turn, sequels to a 1995 Joe Johnston film, "Jumanji," about a magical board game that alters reality as you play it. The 1995 film was based on the 1981 children's book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. Also a potential part of the series — and also based on a book by Van Allsburg — is Jon Favreau's 2005 sci-fi film "Zathura: A Space Adventure," which shares its premise with "Jumanji." There is no announcement by Merlin Entertainments about "Zathura."

The "Jumanji" feature films have largely been enormous hits, with the 1995 film making over $200m, and the Kasdan films making $1.8b between the two of them. The film series has also spawned seven video games, and a three-season UPN animated series that ran from 1996 to 1999. 

A fourth "Jumanji" feature film, also to be directed by Kasdan, was announced in 2019, and is currently in development. Until the theme parks open, in the jungle we must wait, until the dice read five or eight.