Report: Great Scott! Time travelling in Movieland’s We Are Back – Kids from the Future 

We Are Back - Kids From The Future
The façade for We Are Back: Kids from the Future

Movieland Park (Pacengo – Italy) is home to many unique experiences and attractions. The park, completely set in a movie-theme, presented a new attraction this year: We Are Back: Kids from the Future. It is a retheme of the former Android – The Final 3D Battle -simulator that operated until last year. The theme of We Are Back is tied to the Back to the Future films. With the franchise having such a large following, it could be tricky to use it as a theme for an attraction. Did Movieland Park succeed, or did they butcher the franchise? We visited Movieland recently to tell you all about it. 

On the shore of the popular Lake Garda in Italy lies the CanevaWorld Resort. It consists of a waterpark, theme park and three themed restaurants, and the resort, privately owned since it got started in 1965, began with a club named Dancing La Caneva. Caneva means ‘Wine Cellar’ in a local dialect and the club was themed as one.  

After the initial success of the club, owner Alfonso Amicabile started to think bigger and created Caneva Aquapark, the first waterpark in Italy. It opened in 1982 and soon became a success, attracting all the tourist that visit Lake Garda for their holiday. However, due to its nature, the Aquapark had a relatively short opening season.  

To expand business beyond the season of the Aquapark, Amicabile decided to create a theme park next to the water park. Since Gardaland was already a few kilometres down the road, he decided to give his park a completely different theme and thus went with a movie theme. Movieland Park was born.  

The entrance gate to Movieland

The park opened in 2002 and was originally called Movieland Studios. Since then, the park has switched names a couple of times, but the name has always contained ‘Movieland’ and is commonly referred to as such. Over the course of its existence, Movieland has had many very unique attractions that the park mostly developed themselves. 

Two of such examples are Magma 2.1 and U-571. Magma 2.1, which is an updated version of one of the parks original attractions, Magma, is one of the most popular attractions in the park. In Magma 2.1, riders take a seat in the back of a truck that is driven through a variety of scenes by a park employee. It’s an action-packed ride in which only few riders will achieve to keep dry. 

Another unique experience is the U-571 Submarine Simulator. It is loosely tied to the U-571 movie and simulates a dive in a submarine. During the dive, several pipes in the boat start to leak, drenching some of the riders (getting wet seems to be a gimmick in the park, be prepared for that). To achieve the simulation, the park cleverly modified an old Astroliner-simulator to double as the submarine. 

U571 2
The U-571 Submarine Simulator (in 2022)

In 20 years’ time, the park has grown to a size of 84.000m2 and attracts about 300.000 visitors a year. Nowadays, CanevaWorld Resort is run by Amicabile’s son Fabio. Both of them can regularly be found in the parks.

From Terminators to Androids 

For the 2004 season, the park added a new show: Terminator 2: Live. The show was very similar to the Terminator 2: Judgement Day show in Universal Studios theme parks, which in turn was based on the Terminator 2: Judgement Day movie.  

In the movie, an Artificial Intelligence developed by the army, called Skynet, takes over the world and attempts to wipe out humanity. In an attempt to assassinate the leader of the human resistance, John Connor, Skynet sends a machine called the Terminator back in time to kill him as a child.  

The show ran for three seasons before it got turned into Terminator 5D the Game for the 2007 season. Terminator 5D was a (standing) interactive theatre that featured a themed set in front of a projection screen. The set contained animatronics of the Terminator robots and fire effects, creating a nice hybrid between a screen ride and physical set. It had space for 50 guests that had to shoot at the Terminator robots which were trying to kill the audience. 

This Terminator attraction closed at the end of the 2016 season to make way for a new experience, Android – The Final 3D Battle (also referred to as just ‘Android 3D’). It opened in 2017 and reused some of the elements that were present during the Terminator time but introduces a new theme and ride system. 

Android – The Final 3D Battle (in 2022)

Android 3D was not an interactive ride, so the guns of the Terminator ride were removed in the retheme. The story of Android 3D was inspired by both the Terminator and Transformers movies, making it thematically close to the previous Terminator ride. During the ride, robots (or androids if you will) tried to take over the world. The army is both trying to fight the androids and evacuate civilians (the riders). For the evacuation, the army has special vehicles. The whole room of main show represents this vehicle.  

The show also featured a live actor who played the driver of the vehicle. During the ride through the city, the vehicle encountered numerous battles between the army and the androids.  

The new ride system consisted of 2 rows of 4 vehicles. Each vehicle seats 6 riders, making a total of 48 per ride sequence. The new ride system was built by Italian-based Moviemex3D. Much of the set that was in front of the screen remained, but the Terminator animatronics were replaced by those of Androids. 

We need to get back

Movieland is always evolving and thus the time came to close Android 3D to make way for a new experience. The development of the ride was kept somewhat secretive, but the park eventually published a video announcing several new attractions for the 2024 season.  

The park itself seemed most excited about Disaster – The Blockbuster Tour, the biggest ride for the park so far. It is scheduled to open in July and takes riders on a 20-minute studio tram tour through ten scenes that simulate all types of disasters that we’ve seen in movies. 

However, in terms of dark and show rides, the most exciting ride had to be the announcement of a Back To The Future-themed ride. For a while it was unknown what could be expected, but eventually it turned out to be a retheme of the Android 3D-simulator.  

The apocalyptic theme has made way for a much lighter theme that is set in the world of one of the most popular science-fiction film franchise in the world, while also introducing a new story. We Are Back – Kids From The Future revolves the story of the children and grandchildren of Emmet ‘Doc’ Brown, the inventor of the time machine in the films. 

We Are Back - Kids From The Future
Entrance to We Are Back: Kids from the Future

In this new experience, the infrastructure of the ride remained the same. Queue line, pre-show rooms and main show all remained, but were rethemed to fit the new experience. The set of the main show does still show similarities to Android 3D but contains new elements and mostly references the flux capacitor, a device that powers the time machine. We Are Back also reuses the existing ride system. 

We Are Back - Kids From The Future
Part of the queue line

The Experience

We Are Back: Kids from the Future takes place many years after the end of Back to the Future: Part III. Jules and Verne, the sons of ‘Doc’ are all grown up and run a company, called ‘Dr. Brown & Sons Enterprises’, which specializes in the time travel technology that their father invented.  

A (sort of) promotional video of the company plays in the queue line, giving a bit of background to both the story of the attraction and what guests might have missed if they haven’t seen the movies. It shows Jules and Verne explaining the audience about a new machine they created to make time travel available for everyone: the Time Shuttle. They invite us for a test flight. 

The test flight will take us to the year 1855, when the first oil wells were built, followed by a visit to the London World Expo. Travelers are not allowed to leave the Time Shuttle, to make sure that nothing happens with our timeline. They stress the riders that this could have a devastating effect. 

We Are Back - Kids From The Future
Jules and Verne Brown, leading Dr. Brown & Sons Enterprises

Every ride cycle, a group of people is led from the queue into the next room. An office of the company is visible behind a few large glass windows. The office is a mess and right in the middle is the DeLorean time machine, that has crashed into the building. The Flux Capacitor is still glowing inside the car. The DeLorean was actually present in the park before as a set piece on the main street. 

We Are Back - Kids From The Future
The queue line with video screen of Jules and Verne at the end
We Are Back - Kids From The Future
The DeLorean in the office
We Are Back - Kids From The Future
Close-up of the time machine

After taking a good look at the time machine, the group is divided into two smaller groups and led into separate pre-show rooms. Another video plays on a screen here, on which we can see another introduction of Jules and Verne. They are standing in front of a steam locomotive in the year 1855. It is the locomotive of their father, that was seen in Part III of the trilogy. They went ahead to see if everything is safe for us to arrive. 

We Are Back - Kids From The Future
Jules and Verne in the pre-show

The broadcast is interrupted by two teenagers, who say they are from the year 2055. They introduce themselves as Jessy and Zack Brown, the children of Jules and Verne and thus cousins.  

They came to the present day, because they know that something bad has happened. They found the remains of the DeLorean time machine (that was destroyed at the end of Part III) and rebuilt it to save their fathers who appear to be stuck in the past with not enough plutonium to get back home. 

They ask us to board the Time Shuttle and follow the DeLorean to bring additional plutonium to their fathers. Because if we don’t, all we know will seize to exist. 

We Are Back - Kids From The Future
Jessy and Zack take over the broadcast
We Are Back - Kids From The Future
Zack explains the workings of the Flux Capacitor 

After the pre-show, the groups are led towards the main show. Along the way, they are handed 3D glasses.  

We Are Back - Kids From The Future
© Dark Ride Database (18-05-2024)

The whole room we are in represents some sort of cargo vessel that can travel through time, just like the DeLorean. The main show starts with an actor coming on stage. This actor is wearing a radiation protection suit and takes the role of Zack. He places a container of plutonium in front of the screen before walking off stage again. 

We Are Back - Kids From The Future
The actor playing Zack, places the container of Plutonium on the vessel

The main show starts with a departure from the lab. The vessel the guests are in follows the DeLorean by flying after it. It flies over familiar places from the movie, like the Lone Pine Mall and the town square with the clock tower. When the DeLorean gets hit by lghtning, we uncontrollably start to travel through time.

We Are Back - Kids From The Future
The Lone Pine Mall is where the Time Machine was first tested in the movie
We Are Back - Kids From The Future
The town square with the clock plays a crucial role in Back to the Future: Parts I and II

We end up in the future, much like the sequence seen in Back to the Future: Part II, before we get to the past. The time machines go back way too far, and we have an encounter with dinosaurs. 

We Are Back - Kids From The Future
A fire effect is triggered during a scene involving a volcano

Eventually, the vessels find their way to the right time period, where they meet up with Jules and Verne. The actor comes back on stage to pick up the plutonium and walks off stage again. On screen, he then hands it over the plutonium. Mission accomplished. 

We Are Back - Kids From The Future
Jules and Verne are found in the final scene, where the live actor picks up the plutonium again
We Are Back - Kids From The Future
Zack Brown, appearing on screen with Jules and Verne

We shot a video of the complete experience while we were there. Take a look at it yourself in the video below: 

Great Scott!

It is always tricky for a theme park to use a popular IP such as Back to the Future. Especially in the case of Back to the Future, fans can be very conservative. They generally don’t want any more sequels or remakes/reboots of the series, as they want the trilogy to be left as it is. 

For that reason, We Are Back: Kids from the Future, may not be received too favourably by everyone. However, visitors who are less conservative or knowledgeable about the franchise may enjoy this ride after all. By setting the story many years after the ending of the third part, the park has created a whole new chapter in the story that stands on its own. People can take it or leave it. 

But perhaps it won’t even matter for most of the fans. The DeLorean’s ability to transport riders through time while flying might be a compelling reason to convince them. This remains to be fun experience, especially so many years after the closure of the Back to the Future-simulators in the Universal Studios parks. 

Overall, it’s a fun experience with some nice special effects, like fire and the actor coming on and off stage at the beginning and end of the show. This gives the ride a plus compared to other similar rides (Although Android 3D had better use of an actor). From a creative standpoint it was a clever idea to have the actor wear a yellow protection suit, so no one notices that it is actually not the same actor who played in the media. For all we know, the role during the ride can be played by a woman too. 

One comment on the ride is one that applied to Andriod as well. While many attractions in Movieland have a very distinguished style in design, especially compared to rides in other theme parks, We Are Back is not that different compared to other simulators elsewhere in the world. The Movieland-signature that fans of the park love so much, is not really there. That might be a bit of a let-down. 

With Movieland mostly consisting of rides in a cinematic theme, but not based on an actual movie, it’s nice to see that they created a ride that is tied to an IP again. The ride has some great nods to the franchise. Of course, Movieland’s budget did not even come close to the budget of a ride in Universal Studios, but they have used it well. 

Movieland is always improving, expanding and evolving and We Are Back – Kids from the Future is definitely a step up compared to Android 3D. The park has a new fun experience that the whole family can enjoy. There is no need to build a time machine and stop this ride from ever being built. 

We Are Back - Kids From The Future

© 2024 Dark Ride Database
Visit on: 18 May 2024
Visit, report and photos by: Erik (2022 photos by: Luc)