Ready when you are, C.B.!
If you are hearing those words, then you are about to embark on a fabulous adventure through the movies on The Great Movie Ride in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Showcasing a wide array of movies ranging from Alien to Singin’ in the Rain, this attraction takes you up close and personal through classic scenes from some of the most beloved films of all time. I consider this to be a “must see” attraction in Hollywood Studios, so let’s take a closer look into what you will find on your journey through the movies!
Situated at the end of Hollywood Boulevard, The Great Movie Ride was once the “weenie” of Hollywood Studios. What is a “weenie?” Simply put, it was the word used by Walt Disney himself to describe an object or building that catches guests’ eyes and draws them into the parks. For example, Cinderella Castle is the weenie of the Magic Kingdom, Spaceship Earth for Epcot, and the Tree of Life for the Animal Kingdom. So why did The Great Movie Ride used to be the weenie of Hollywood Studios? In 2001 the Sorcerer’s Hat was placed directly in front of the attraction, making it the new focal point of Hollywood Boulevard. Many people panned the addition of the hat and still argue for its removal today in favor of bringing back the full view of the Great Movie Ride.
Why such clamor to bring back the original view of The Great Movie Ride? The gorgeous show building itself. The show building which houses the attraction is a beautiful replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, and stands a symbol of the glitz and glamour of old Hollywood as many famous films had their premiers in that very theater. As you approach the building, be sure to take in all the wonderful details that make it such a great symbol of the Hollywood theme of Hollywood Studios. Also opt to wander in the front courtyard before entering the attraction. There you will find the hand prints and footprints of many famous actors as well as a few familiar Disney characters. Also take time to linger in the art deco-inspired lobby of the attraction to view props from films such as Mary Poppins and Shakespeare in Love.
After you move through the first room of the queue, you enter my personal favorite part of the attraction- what I refer to as the “preview room.” It’s a room full of switchbacks leading to the loading area featuring a full size movie screen portraying classic previews of many of the films you are about to experience firsthand once on the actual attraction. Just like a preview is supposed to do, this room gives you a sense of what is to come and creates a feeling of excitement. The constant playing of previews to distract you also helps the wait time feel much shorter than it actually is on those crowded days in the park !
After the preview room, you finally board your attraction vehicle and are off on your journey through the movies! As I mentioned in a previous post all about my favorite Hidden Mickeys, keep an eye out for the hidden Minnie located in the mural along the left hand side of the attraction vehicle. Once you are off, your adventure starts in the genre of classic musicals and progresses through almost every genre of film including horror, action, westerns, sci-fi, and many more. Soon you will realize that everything is possible in the movies when your vehicle and guide become part of the story–in either a gangster or cowboy scenario. In both versions, you experience a shootout, some explosions, and a new, somewhat unsavory guide. Eventually the new guide gets what’s coming to them using a little movie magic. Be sure to keep riding until you have experienced both options!
While moving through the attraction, be sure to look for the little details which add a great level of depth to your experience. These details are what make the attractions in Walt Disney World so special to me, and I love sharing as much as possible about them! One great detail to notice requires you sitting on the left hand side of the attraction vehicle and looking down near the floor in the Alien scene. Notice a list of crew with white writing? Those names are actually Imagineers who contributed to the attraction. A great example of how Disney is able to sometimes make use of props in multiple ways lies in the Casablanca scene. The plane located there has another half residing in The Jungle Cruise over in the Magic Kingdom! See if you can find it.
The Great Movie Ride has always been one of my favorite attractions in Disney’s Hollywood Studios because it is such a classic example of the spirit and glamour of old Hollywood. You truly feel as though you are a part of the movies as you travel through the different scenes and experience your favorite films up close. I would however, enjoy the addition of a few more recent Disney films. There have been some additions of more contemporary films, mostly showcased in the final movie montage at the end of the attraction, but I would love to see how the Imagineers would work in some new movie magic! Either way, I always make sure to take the time to stop and enjoy the attraction at least once every time I am in Hollywood Studios.
What is your favorite scene in The Great Movie Ride? Any films you would love to see added one day? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!
Caitlin Corsello was born and raised in New York. She graduated from Adelphi University with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling in 2012. Her love for Disney started as an infant and has continued to grow with family vacations to Disney parks almost every year since. She holds a particular interest in WDW’s parks and attractions, never passing up an opportunity to visit. She looks forward to continuing to explore and learn about all things Disney and to share that passion with readers.