In many ways I hate that I am writing this post but I also know that, especially at Walt Disney World, change is constant. Walt Disney said, “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” We all know that goes for all of the Disney Parks as well. On July 15, 2017 at D23 it was announced that The Great Movie Ride would be closing forever on August 13, 2017. This announcement left the Disney community in shock and sadness.
I think many Disney fans are mourning the loss of this ride especially hard for a few reasons:
- The Great Movie Ride is the last of the 5 opening day attractions that was still in operation.
- The Great Movie Ride is one of the last nods to the glitz and glamour of old Hollywood represented when the park was called Disney-MGM Studios.
- The recent passing of Disney Legend and Imagineer Marty Sklar, the creative leader for what is now Disney’s Hollywood Studios makes this closing even harder.
In 2014, Turner Classic Movies became the sponsor of the ride and by mid-2015 some changes were made. We were not fans of the changes. The queue line movie changed and was now hosted by Robert Osborne from TCM. The changes didn’t end there. The role of the Disney Cast Members was diminished so that instead of their usual spiel, Robert Osborne would do more of the narrating. This change didn’t kill the ride but it really wasn’t a welcome change. The closing movie changed at this time as well.
Mom Maven’s Thoughts on The Great Movie Ride
Personally, The Great Movie Ride had to grow on me, I wasn’t a fan at first. The Alien scene always felt out of place to me, especially in a family ride. My kids were always told to close their eyes or bury their heads in my shoulders for that scene. One time the cast member leading the tour picked on us for closing our eyes, but we didn’t care. Over the years The Great Movie Ride became a family favorite and a must-ride on every trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Honestly, I just started keeping my eyes open during the Alien scene in the past year.
I think what made this ride a favorite wasn’t the recreated classic movie scenes or the animatronics, it was the cast members. In The Great Movie Ride the cast members got to be a part of the story, not only did they put their own twist into the scripted spiel, they acted, some well, some not-so-well. They were the big twist whether they were in the role of host, bank robber, or gangster. Having live actors helped to humanize all of the animatronics as well.
On Friday, August 11, 2017, two days before The Great Movie Ride closed forever, Ron, Jordan, our friend Verlin, and myself took our last ride on this classic attraction. Unfortunately our host was overacting and just wasn’t that good. My friend David would tell you that the best host ever was Tess, who was part of the Disney College Program a few years ago. We had the pleasure of riding with her a few times, and she was wonderful.
Change happens and we keep moving forward. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be replacing The Great Movie Ride in the near future. It is time for the first ever Mickey Mouse themed ride at a Disney Park and I am sure it will be amazing. So, in the spirit of the Mickey Mouse Club Theme Song, “Now it’s time to say goodbye”…to The Great Movie Ride.