Disney’s Hollywood Studios has closed one of its most iconic rides–The Great Movie Ride–to make way for the first Mickey Mouse ride in any of the Disney parks. While I am excited about the new ride, I am sad to see the Movie Ride go.
The ride helped shaped Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Originally designed for a pavilion at Epcot (and would have been called “Great Moments At The Movies”, which would show you how movies were made, and take you through the movies themselves) former Disney CEO Michael Eisner and WDI president Marty Sklar decided the ride was strong enough to carry an entire theme park, and thus Hollywood Studios was born.
Imagineers had decided to design the outside of the ride based on one of Hollywood’s most iconic landmarks–Grumman’s Chinese Theater (the original blue prints for the theater were used to design the replica). You could see the theater from the front of the park, giving Hollywood Studios a distinct skyline. The ride also became more about entertaining than educating, with many plot points changing before the ride opened. There was to be a comedy scene in the ride, which would have featured animatronics of Mae West, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and more. The ending would have been a dimly lit room showing some of Hollywood’s greatest characters, ending with Mickey Mouse. There was also to be more Wizard of Oz, but MGM was unwilling to give out more than what they had already given Disney, and Disney didn’t want to pay for more either. If you’re familiar with the ride you’ll no doubt remember the Wizard of Oz scene, where the Wicked Witch appears in a cloud of red smoke.
The Great Movie Ride opened May 1, 1989. The ride has largely been unchanged since it’s opening, save for some technical problems that were solved or removed all together. The ride had two different attraction plots too–one was a gangster scene (where the vehicle would be hijacked by a gangster through several scenes), and the other featured an old west outlaw. I had only been on the ride a handful of times, and each time I got the gangster. The ride ran 22 minutes, and housed 59 animatronics. Some people believed the plane in the Casablanca scene was from the film, but it was not. The front of the plane is seen in The Great Movie Ride, while the back of the plane is in The Jungle Cruise ride in Magic Kingdom.
With the ride now closed (as of August 13, 2017) I am genuinely curious as to where the animatronics and movie props will go. It would be a shame to not use them anymore, and they could feasibly use them around the park. I am genuinely excited through for the Mickey Mouse ride, but I will miss this ride. WDW News Today posted pics from the ride after it closed, showing signage for the new ride.
Thanks for the memories.