If you’ve ever been at a theme park and thought to yourself, “You know, I really wish I could fight off a stampede of furious hippos that would chase me off a gigantic waterfall and possibly hurl me to my death on the rocky cliffs below,” then boy, do we have some great news for you.
Okay, maybe this new experience won’t be that intense, but it certainly hails from that sort of pulse-pounding adventure. And if it didn’t at least provide a few heart-stopping moments, well, it just wouldn’t seem right.
This exciting new venture is a collaboration between Sony (SNE) – Get Sony Corp. Report Pictures Entertainment and Merlin Entertainment. The British entertainment company is the second largest tourist attraction operator in the world and owns and operates Legoland resorts in seven different countries, including the U.S., The 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 what box office blockbuster is next up on Merlin’s list to transform into a real life adventure, I’ll save you any more suspense: It’s “Jumanji.”
Here Comes an Exciting Forest Adventure
The new agreement between Merlin and Sony Pictures names “Jumanji” as a multi-territory exclusive, meaning you’ll only be able to see it at Merlin’s parks. It plans to build out attractions, rides, lands, retail shops, and even themed hotel rooms, the latter of which we’re guessing will look like you woke up and found yourself smack in the middle of a tropical rainforest.
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The plan is to start by building these into Merlin’s parks across Europe and North America, the first of which will open in April of 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 lovers 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 bedrooms by then as well, so your dream of sleeping in a tangle of tree vines might be able to come true sooner than you think.
Mark Fischer, Chief Development Officer for Merlin, sounds extremely hyped up about this venture, and we can’t say we blame him.
“We are excited to be taking our relationship with Sony Pictures Entertainment to the next level with this strategic partnership,” Fisher said. “Sony are one of the top movie companies on the planet and Jumanji is a multi-billion-dollar brand which has appealed to guests of all ages, for over two decades. 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. We can’t wait to deliver thrilling rides and experiences for guests and film fans alike! The game is certainly on!”
There’s no dates named for when the “Jumanji” experiences may expand into North America, but since Merlin doesn’t currently have any U.S.-based parks that aren’t Legoland locations, 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 pop up in a similar fashion.