Why Universal's Stephen King Theme Park Ride Never Happened
If you are a Stephen King fan, 2017 is going to be a great year for you. The Dark Tower movie adaptation is finally happening, after the project spent years in development, a new, terrifying version of IT is one the way, Castlerock is heading to Hulu, and the author has a new book coming out. So what could possibly make this year better for fans of the horror icon? How about a theme park ride? It turns out that almost happened not once, but twice, and we have some details on why these awesome sounding attractions never came to be.
Per Bloody Disgusting, the time that Universal Studios Florida was toying with doing a Stephen King themed attraction was much closer to happening. There aren't a lot of details known about the horror-themed ride that never was, but Bloody Disgusting did manage to unearth some details about how the ride would have ended, and it would have been a total thrill for fans of IT and The Shining. Here's how they are describing the climax of the scrapped Universal Studios ride.
"Part-way through, riders would pull into the unload station and hear the usual instructions on how to exit without extensive bodily injury. But the restraints wouldn't lift and the ride wasn't over. A Shining-sized deluge of blood would flood out of the exit doors, Pennywise Itself would spring from the control room and riders would hurtle deeper into the nightmare/toward the gift shop."
The ride was ultimately scrapped in favor of Men in Black: Alien Attack. There were also reportedly plans for a ride based on Apollo 13 and a possible attraction based on The Simpsons that would have been quite a bit different than the one that exists now. As exciting as the wall of blood would have been for horror fans and thrill seekers, that was actually part of the problem and why this Stephen King ride wound up not happening. The plumbing system that would have needed to be in place for this blood was something that couldn't be justified by those in charge. So it was scrapped.
Disney's MGM-Studios also came closer to getting a Stephen King attraction in the early 90s, but very little is known about this one since it didn't get overly far in the development process. Demand for the park was dramatically underestimated, so the park needed to expand rapidly. They ultimately did wind up with a horror-themed ride, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, but a Stephen King ride was on the table. It was decided by Disney that Stephen King and the Mouse House weren't really a good fit for one another, so the project died quickly. There aren't even any confirmed details as to what books the ride may have taken inspiration from.
If 2017 is the massive year for Stephen King in pop culture that it looks like it could be, the idea of a theme park ride centered on his creations, perhaps the idea could be revived. The closest we can get is some repurposed ideas for the Universal Studios attraction from ride designer, John Murdy. He reused some of the ideas in Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride, but it doesn't have quite the same feel as it may have otherwise. And it certainly doesn't have Pennywise.