And action! Today, we're diving into Hollywood and some of its most iconic films on none other than the secret history of The Great Movie Ride. This favorite Disney ride guides guests through a journey of classic movie scenes—even young tadpoles like Lily have heard of the films! So grab some popcorn and kick your shoes off for this secret history.
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The Secret History of The Great Movie Ride
Housed inside a replica of the Grauman's Chinese Theater at Disney's Hollywood Studios, the Great Movie Ride opened on May 1, 1989. This was during the time Hollywood Studios was actually named Disney's MGM Studios and the theater was known as "Mann's Chinese Theater" since it was owned by the Mann film theater group!
The idea of the attraction was originally meant for EPCOT Center. Randy Bright and Marty Skylar were head of the Imagineer group creating two pavilions for Future World. One of these pavilions was deemed the Movies Pavilion; Disney CEO Michael Eisner set aside the idea of a Movies attraction. Once the idea of Disney's MGM Studios came into place, Disney Imagineers decided the Movie attraction (as well as the Great Moments attraction) should be the focus of the park.
Disney MGM Studios was to be designed to reflect the Golden Age of Hollywood, which consisted of the 1920s-'30s. The Imagineers also decided that since the attraction would no longer reside in Epcot, the park more focused on education, the Great Movie Ride could be more focused on entertainment rather than educating.
Taking guests through a series of classic film scenes, The Great Movie Ride has only had few major refurbishments. Via The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World by Susan Veness, one of those changes, The Footlight Parade at the very beginning, was simplified because the cake and water pumps were expensive to maintain. The Audio-Animatronic Wicked Witch of the West was also upgraded with a newer model, and in 2015, Turner Class Movies became the new sponsor of The Great Movie Ride. With this new sponsorship, the ride's pre-show and closing montage were updated to reflect TCM, along with the narrator of the attraction becoming TCM host Robert Osborne.
The Great Movie Ride Fun Facts
- According to The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World by Susan Veness, many of the props used in the queue are originally movie props, including the carousel horse from Mary Poppins!
- You just might spot Mickey Mouse's silhouette as you pass through the gangster scene; look toward the right-handed corner of the Western Chemical Company's upper window.
- Via The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World by Susan Veness, you'll notice a hieroglyph featuring Donald Duck as an Egyptian servant giving a cheese slice to Pharaoh Mickey Mouse on the left-hand wall in the Well of Souls scene.
- There are more than 50 Audio-Animatronics of iconic movie stars inside The Great Movie Ride! A crazy fact—the main animatronics have real human hair!
- You'll find over 100 handprints, footprints and signatures of Disney stars in the cement outside of the attraction.
- Via WDWFanZone.com, the ride's original name was to be the Great Moments Movie Museum.
Hope you enjoyed the celebration of Hollywood's greatest films on the secret history of The Great Movie Ride! Don't forget to check out The Great Movie Ride wait times, ride details and more! What's your favorite movie scene on the attraction? Let us know in the comments below!