12 Orlando Attractions with Celebrity Cameos

The biggest theme park rides are often more than mere rides. Often, they are narrated by familiar voices. At Spaceship Earth in Epcot, an unseen Judi Dench informs us, "Rome built the first World Wide Web, and it's leading us into the future." Dench herself replaced Jeremy Irons, who replaced Walter Cronkite. But most of the time, the stars appear in short filmed pieces, particularly in the instructions that precede the ride itself. In the biz, that's called the "pre-show" or the "spiel," and those warm-ups often feature well-known celebrities who play roles that help establish the backstory of the ride.

Disney and Universal don't usually promote these cameos beyond the rides' opening months, and IMDB.com doesn't list theme park attraction appearances, so there are rarely public reminders that these shadow credits exist on their résumés. And since taking photos is usually forbidden, the only images we have of these under-the-radar gigs are the ones that were surreptitiously shot by fans as they avoided being spotted by ride attendants.

So who's has starred in Orlando's biggest attractions? We'll show the outside of each one, followed by the star who has been seen surprising guests within—the photos were taken by fans eager to put these under-the-radar appearances on the record.


Jason Cochran is the author of Frommer's EasyGuide to Walt Disney World & Orlando.
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Universe of Energy, Epcot, Walt Disney World BR WDW/Flickr
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Ellen DeGeneres in Ellen's Energy Adventure Loren Javier/Flickr
Attraction: Universe of Energy (Ellen's Energy Adventure), Epcot, Walt Disney World (1996–2017)
Role: Herself, in a dream, playing 'Jeopardy!". Co-stars: Alex Trebek, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bill Nye The Science Guy.
Sample line: "Now some person I don't even know reminds me there's no eating, drinking, smoking, or flash photography allowed in my dream."
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Soarin' over California at Disney California Adventure & Soarin' at Epcot, Walt Disney World rickpilot_2000/Flickr
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Patrick Warburton, Soarin' over California at Disney California Adventure; Soarin' at Epcot, Walt Disney World Loren Javier/Flickr
Attraction: Soarin' over California at Disney California Adventure; Soarin' at Epcot, Walt Disney World
Role: Patrick, "Your Chief Flight Attendant."
Sample line: "If smaller aviators don't measure up to the height indicator on the seat, just put the belt through the loop in the center strap before buckling it."
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Dinosaur!, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World mrkathika/Flickr
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Phylicia Rashad, Dinosaur!, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Loren Javier/Flickr
Attraction: Dinosaur, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World
Role: Big boss of the Dino Institute. Co-star: Wallace Langham
Sample line: [stacotto, Claire Huxtable-style] "In a perfect blend of science and technology, the Dino Institute has created The Time Rover."
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Mission: SPACE, Epcot, Walt Disney World mrkathika/Flickr
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Gary Sinise, Mission: SPACE, Epcot, Walt Disney World Sam Howzit/Flickr
Attraction: Mission: SPACE, Epcot, Walt Disney World (2003–2017)
Role: Astronaut trainer at the International Space Training Center
Sample line: "I know you're probably feeling a little bit nervous right now, but don't worry. Every astronaut has felt that way one time or another."
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Men In Black Alien Attack, Universal Studios Orlando Universal Orlando Resort
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Attraction: Men In Black Alien Attack at Universal Studios Orlando
Role: Agent J from the Men in Black franchise
Sample line: "You people are M.I.B. material!"
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Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World & Walt Disney Studios, France Christian Lambert Photography
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Steven Tyler, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Loren Javier/Flickr
Attraction: Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World & Walt Disney Studios, France
Role: Himself, running late to a gig. Co-stars: Aerosmith and Illeana Douglas (Orlando version)
Sample line: [Looking toward the guests in line] "Wait a minute. We can't leave these people here like this!… How about some backstage passes?"
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Pirates of the Caribbean, Disneyland & Walt Disney World Raw Processor/Flickr
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Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean, Disneyland and Walt Disney World Disney Parks
Attraction: Pirates of the Caribbean, Disneyland and Walt Disney World
Role: Captain Jack Sparrow, Audio-Animatronic style
Sample line: "Drink up, lads. There's treasure enough for all!"
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Disaster!, Universal Studios Orlando Roller Coaster Philosophy/Flickr
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Christopher Walken, Disaster!, Universal Studios Orlando Roller Coaster Philosophy/Flickr
Attraction: Disaster!, Universal Studios Orlando (2007–2015)
Role: Frank, a disaster movie director
Sample line: "People come up to me every day, they say, 'Frank, why do you only make disasters?' Why did Picasso cut off his ear? I don't know!"
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Imagination!, Epcot, Walt Disney World HarshLight/Flickr
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Eric Idle, Journey into Imagination, Epcot, Walt Disney World BarryWallis/Flickr
Attraction: Journey into Imagination, Epcot, Walt Disney World
Role: Dr. Nigel Channing from the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids franchise. Co-star: Voice of Dave Goelz (the Muppets' Gonzo)
Sample line: "So, as you can plainly see, imagination works the best when it's set free."
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Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Islands of Adventure, Universal Orlando Universal Orlando Resort
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Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Islands of Adventure, Universal Orlando Universal Orlando Resort
Attraction: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Islands of Adventure, Universal Orlando
Role: Harry Potter. Co-stars: Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon. This is the rare ride appearance that is well-publicized.
Sample line: "Sorry about that! Those benches can be a bit dodgy. But we haven't lost anyone yet."
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Revenge of the Mummy—The Ride, Universal Studios Orlando daryl_mitchell/flickr
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Brendan Fraser, Revenge of the Mummy—The Ride</a> at Universal Studios Orlando
Attraction: Revenge of the Mummy—The Ride at Universal Studios Orlando
Role: An nasty version of himself asking riders if they had fun
Sample line: "It would have been even better if I'd gotten my cup of coffee!"
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O Canada!, Epcot, Walt Disney World Disney Parks
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Martin Short, O Canada!, Epcot, Walt Disney World
Attraction: O Canada!, Epcot, Walt Disney World
Role: Himself, as host of an 18-minute film about Canada
Sample line: "Here in Nova Scotia, our passion is sailing. This is the home of the legendary Bluenose, winner of four international races in her day. We're so proud of her we put her image on a coin. Check it out the next time you accidentally get a Canadian dime in your change."
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