The next stop on the history of rides tour is a tough one, The Great Movie Ride. This will be a tough one to report on this week as even though it has been two years since the ride has closed, we are still mourning the loss of this ride. Let’s find out why this ride was so great!
The Great Movie Ride was located in the center of Hollywood Studios. Located inside a replica of the Grauman’s Chinese Theater, this ride originally opened May 1, 1989, when Hollywood Studios was still named Disney MGM Studios. Fun Fact: The Grauman’s Chinese Theater was originally named Mann’s Chinese Theater after the Mann’s Film Theater Group.
The Disney MGM Studios was designed by Imagineers to reflect the Golden Age of Hollywood of the 1920s and 1930s, but The Great Movie Ride wasn’t actually destined for MGM Studios. Disney Imagineers Randy Bright and Marty Skylar originally created the idea of the ride for EPCOT. Bright and Marty were in charge of creating two pavilions for Future World, one idea was to create a Movies Pavilion. However, Disney CEO Michael Eisner deciding against the idea.
Once the idea of Disney MGM Studios came to light, the idea of The Great Movie Ride was destined to be the main attraction of the new park.
The ride takes guests through a series of classic film scenes. As guests entered the queue, they were immediately surrounded by original movie props, such as costumes, small props, and even the carousel horse from Mary Poppins! As you traveled through the scenes on the ride hopefully you took a look around! Guests should have found a few hidden Mickey’s along the way. During the gangster scene, guests on the ride would be able to spot Mickey’s silhouette toward the right-hand side of the Western Chemical Company’s upper window. Lastly, during the Well of Soul scene, the scene featured a hieroglyphic Donal Duck feeding cheese to the Phara0h Mickey Mouse on the left-hand wall.
Throughout the ride, the ride featured over 50 Audio-Animatronic iconic movie stars. However, did you know that the main animatronics featured real human hair?
Before closing on August 13, 2017, The Great Movie Ride underwent three renovations throughout its lifespan. The first renovation was to simplify the Footlight Parade at the beginning of the ride. Imagineers discovered the cake and water pumps were too expensive to maintain, therefore, the scene was ultimately shortened to help combat the problem.
The second refurbishment was to the Wicked Witch of the West. The witch needed an upgrade to a “newer model”. Lastly, the last refurbishment took place in 2015 after the Turner Classic Movies became the new sponsor of The Great Movie Ride. With the new sponsorship, the pre-show and closing ceremony were upgraded to reflect TCM. In addition, TCM upgraded the narrator of the ride to TCM host Robert Osborne.
Unfortunately, after 28 years of operation and the only remaining opening day attraction, The Great Movie Ride officially closed its door on August 13, 2017, to make way for a new Mickey’s Runaway Railroad. Do you miss this ride? Would you want Disney to bring it back?
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