INFO: The Great Movie…Ride Refurbishment complete by Bill Iadonisi
The Great Movie…Ride Refurbishment complete by Bill Iadonisi
Ever since the announcement last November that the iconic network, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and the Disney Company were teaming up in a joint effort to showcase classic Hollywood films for family entertainment and that TCM would be a major part of the refurbishment of Disney’s Hollywood Studios “The Great Movie Ride” Disney fans worldwide were anxiously awaiting how this “Classic” attraction would turn out.
All Disney fans know that Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Formally Disney MGM Studios) represents Hollywood’s “Golden Age” from the 1930’s to Late 1940’s. And the Great Movie Ride showcases some of Hollywood’s classic blockbuster films over the years, including some modern-day hits. But like many of Disney’s iconic attractions, it was in need of some freshening up. And what better partner for Disney than Turner Classic Movies. This network, the recipient of two Peabody awards, debuted on April 14, 1994 and is currently seen in more than 85 million homes, shows classic films uncut and without commercial interruptions. It also offers critically acclaimed original documentaries and specials. This is not the first time TCM has partnered with Disney…In 2012 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival in Hollywood featured a multi-film collection of Disney classics presented in collaboration with D23, the official Disney Fan club. In October of 2014, TCM was on the Disney Magic as part of its fourth TCM Classic Cruise. And in 2014, the TCM Classic Film Festival featured the 50th Anniversary screening of one of Walt Disney’s most beloved films, Mary Poppins in the El Capitan Theatre.
For the new additions to the ride attraction, you will notice that Turner Classic Movies have their branding in the banners, posters, many displays in the queue, and of course on the new Marquee. The biggest changes guests will see are in the beginning queue and the final movie montage at the end of the ride. As you walk into the queue, you will immediately notice many LED movie posters, which every few seconds will change from one classic movie poster into the next. Films you have not seen mentioned before, John Wayne in “Who Shot Liberty Valance”, “Jaws”, Bogart in “To Have and Have Not”, the classic 50’s horror film “The Thing” and many more.
In addition, this re-imagined queue now displays all new props from classic movies…The coat Kate Winslet wore during the film “Titanic”, the Shirt and Pants worn by Gene Kelly in the 1948 film, “The Pirate” even the “Bowler Hat worn by Malcolm McDowell in the 1971 futuristic film, “A Clockwork Orange” and many others. We all remember that 18 minute pre-ride video, showcasing several classic movie clips from Wizard of Oz, Alien, Raiders of the Lost Ark, etc. Well, we now have a 40 minute video, but with much more in-depth discussion, facts and trivia about the clips, hosted by TCM host Robert Osborne. With the old clips, sometimes you had to go through two or three showings before boarding the ride. Now, I actually had to ride the attraction about 5 times just to see the complete film!
But this film and the fine job by host Robert Osborne is a vast improvement. The clips of the movies shown are longer, more diverse and Mr. Osborne and his information and trivia, film history and the like make the waiting much more enjoyable. Once you enter the boarding area, you will immediately notice the new movie marquee over the entrance to the ride…”The Ultimate Celebration of Classic Movies”, presented by TCM, Turner Classic Movies. You will also notice some of the props have changed, but nothing else. The scenes in the GMR are the same, but host Osborne now has a canned spiel about the scenes of the ride, but the Cast Members driving the tram still have a speaking part also. (Unlike the Living with the Land Boat ride!)
For the finale, you again are treated to a major film collage on the big screen. Many of your favorite “Very Short” clips are still there, and many, many new additions are added. Disney again has done another remarkable job of maintaining the original flavor of the attraction, and blending in the new additions seamlessly. Now that the Sorcerers Hat is gone, the freshening up of the Chinese Theater façade, it really points to the history of Hollywood in the ‘30’s and ‘40s.
I have included a nice group of pics from the queue line movie and end movie, plus pics of the new queue line. Enjoy these, and make a point on your next trip to the World to take in the Newly rehabbed, Great Movie Ride.