Saturday, June 18, 2016

Celebrities who starred as themselves in Theme Park Rides

               While television and movies are an actor’s livelihood, a celebrity starring in or giving a cameo to a theme park ride can give more excitement to a theme park ride and/or show.  For this list, we are focusing on celebrities who appeared as themselves, instead of say, rides that featured the characters they characters the portrayed, like say, the Simpsons voice over actors or the Harry Potter actors reprising their roles for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
                “Oh Canada,” starring Martin Short, premiered in 2007 in the Canada pavilion in Epcot.  A Circle-Vision 360˚ film where the audience can see in 360 degrees in every direction, this Canadian-born host replaced the outdated version that debuted in the 1980s.  Martin Short hosted a humorous yet informative overview of many things Canada has to offer.  There are several Meta jokes as well as jokes Martin good-naturedly makes about himself, making the thirteen-minute film well worth the effort.  
                “Ellen’s Energy Adventure,” starred Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye (“The Science Guy”) as themselves (and also featured Jamie Lee Curtis, but she played a character named Judy), opened in 1996 in the Universe of Energy pavilion in Epcot.  In this ride, Ellen falls asleep and becomes a contestant on an energy-themed Jeopardy.  From there, the audience boards a ride vehicle which takes them to a theater with a video about the Big Bang, then through a diorama with dinosaurs, to a different theater where the main characters talk about various energy productions, and finally back to the original theater where Ellen uses her new knowledge to finish the Jeopardy competition. 
                Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster, which was starring the band Aerosmith, premiered in 1999 in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  This roller coaster is an inside steel roller coaster.  In the pre-show, Aerosmith has been practicing their song “Walk This Way” in the studio when the manager appears and tells them they are late for a concert downtown.  Steve Tyler and the other band members demand that the “guests” (the riders) join them on the ride to the concert, and the manager reluctantly calls for a “super stretch” limo.  From there, the riders board the ride, which is supposed to be an out of control limo on the highway. 
                The “Studio Tour” in Universal Studios Hollywood features Jimmy Fallon who appears on video screens during the tram tour, featuring humorous bits to complement the live host’s narration.  The tour is 45 to 60 minutes long.  The first bit covers the soundstages, then moves to a “metropolitan area for major cities like New York, and then on to a Mexican street and Six Points Texas, an old west town.  The ride also explores many sets from various films.  There are two mini-attractions inside the studio tour, one being “King King 360 3D,” which is a 3D show/ride with wraparound immersive screens (which happens immediately after the Metropolitan area), and the second, “Fast and Furious: Supercharged” which is part show/part 3D ride to finish off the studio tour.  The tram videos also feature cameos from other actors/hosts, including Carson Daly, who hosts The Voice at stage 12, Peter Jackson, who introduces the King Kong 360 3D ride, and Al Roker, who gives a humorous weather report before entering Six Points Texas. 

                The first three attractions can be found at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, while the Studio Tour is located in Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City, California.  Whenever you’re in one of the theme parks, check out these celebrity appearances on these popular attractions.  Join me next time when I detail the Disney Actors who reprised their original roles in Disney World theme park rides.

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