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The Great Movie Ride History, Trivia Secrets and Stories Part 1 & Disney Trivia Contest


Hello and welcome to The WDW Radio Show – Your Walt Disney World Information Station. I am your host, Lou Mongello, and this is show #329 for the week of July 7, 2013.

We’ll visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios this week and take a close look at the history, stories and secrets of The Great Movie Ride. We’ll explore not just how it came to be, its changes and details, but virtually visit each scene and also discuss what we could change, and why… and then ask you to do the same!

I’ll have the answer to our last Walt Disney World Trivia Question of the Week, and pose a new challenge for your chance to win a Disney prize package.

Stay tuned as I’ll have some announcements including information about our upcoming E-Ticket event, and play some of your voicemails at the end of the show. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s episode of the WDW Radio Show.

Thanks for listening! Be sure to tune in next week!

– Lou Mongello



Information and Links from This Week’s Show

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What changes would YOU make to the Great Movie Ride? Scenes? Films? Genres? Leave your answer in the comments section below!

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41 thoughts on “WDW Radio Show #329 – The Great Movie Ride History, Trivia, Secrets and Stories Part 1”

  1. sheila says:

    I don’t think I’d change anything , just add more movies and slow down the section where they show actors from the famous movies. I always feel like I’m missing seeing someone.

  2. 86Vol says:

    I rode Great Movie ride a couple of weeks ago for the first time in a number of years. For my kids, it was their first time. I was pleasantly surprised how well it held up. My kids, ages 12, 9 and 6 really enjoyed it. Perhaps best of all it inspired them to want to see some of the movies featured in the ride. It’s the blessing/curse of 145 channel cable that now so many great movies from across generations are available but they’re sort of confined to TCM. Luckily, growing up I could sort of stumble on Busby Berkeley, Casablanca, Hondo, a host of great movies just flipping through 12 channels.

  3. Ana Kurland says:

    For musicals: How about a side by side of the 2 Willy Wonka films? That would show how musicals have changed.

  4. Roman says:

    I would leave the musicals as is… Titles like Grease, Chicago, The Sound of Music are all musical movies. Singin in the Rain, footlight parade, and Mary Poppins are movie musicals – that is musicals made for the screen, not stage musicals adapted for the movies. Though you can see them done in stage their origin was the movies, which is why they work great in GMR.

  5. Kari Obermark says:

    I think they should add Newsies!! How cool would that be?!?!

  6. Keith Chandler says:

    I think they should add the Sound of Music to the musicals area with Mary Poppins and Godfather to the underworld area. I like the idea of mixing old Hollywood films with new Hollywood films to show the breathe of Hollywood movie genres. I’m not sure what you’d use to represent the modern movie musical. Perhaps that area can be kept as all classic movies.

  7. Leesa says:

    Hi Guys! Former Movie Rider here!!! love your show about the movie ride! One correction… There has always been male bandits- Kidd Carson it but you are correct that it wasnt until 2000 that the first female gangster appeared… after a full year of petitions and union fights 🙂

    and the script WAS changed @ 2009 or so… the line about horror films begin the tour guides “favorite genre” was not in the original script 🙂


  8. Craig Hargrove says:

    Hey Lou,
    You had a bad echo on this podcast. Enjoyed the topic, great show as always.

  9. Dan Spadora says:

    I’m a former Movie Rider too, Leesa! Lots of great memories…

    Aren’t the gangsters named “SQUID” and Beans, though? I could SWEAR that was his name, not “Squints”…

  10. Chip says:

    this ride is sacred to me. I never want it changed….BUT if you were going to, the only scene I would like to see go is that little mummy scene after the gangster/cowboy gets fried. I know Disney would probably only add disney movies these days, but I think a small Forrest Gump vignette might be good (him on the park bench, and maybe project shots of him meeting all the famous people he meets-low budget and not difficult)….OR Titanic (“feels like flying”). the movies they add have to have staying power, and I would think no one can argue that they do.

  11. Tim says:

    I love this attraction. It probably does need a few scenes updated but should never be removed. With the Sounds Dangerous area and Superstar Television area there is other areas they need improvement first. If the Star Wars land and Carsland do occur The Great Movie Ride is probably safe from any change for a long time.
    As many podcasts as I have listened to this particular one is fantastic and held my attention more than any other. It is a great in depth look at the attraction that can’t be missed.

  12. Deron says:

    What about adding My Fair Lady, Oklahoma, or even adding on to the Wizard of Oz section by an addition from Oz the Great and Powerful?

  13. Dave says:

    Anyone else here an echo in this episode?

  14. Kevin W says:

    I love the Great Movie Ride. When I first rode it back in the 1990s, I absolutely fell in love. I’ve been a huge film fan my whole life, and this attraction is a love-letter to Hollywood.

    For the sake of playing Imagineer, I would add the following musicals:

    Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (with Gene Wilder)
    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
    And my personal ’80s favorite Xanadu (I can’t believe you forgot that Lou!)

    To the “gangster” area I would add:

    The Godfather I & II, Goodfellas, Scarface

    But what I would really prefer is changing the “gangster” film genre. I’d create a “Film Noir” area for films like The Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity, and show how that morphed into modern “Crime” films to include Chinatown, The Godfather, and Goodfellas.

    I would never want to replace any of the older films with newer ones. GMR is about film history. You can’t just cut older films because kids don’t remember them. I’m in my mid-40s. I don’t remember Cagney movies, but I appreciate their place in film history.

    If Disney wanted to add some newer films in other genres, I think Star Wars (now that Disney owns Lucasfilm) would be an obvious addition.

  15. Kevin W says:

    I agree with Roman above. The GMR features movie musicals, not Broadway musicals adapted to film. That said, I think there might be some room for additions (like the Disney film Newsies, which preceded the Broadway show).

  16. Kevin W says:

    Yes, Dave, I heard the echo as well. The Great Movie Ride is my favorite attraction at DHS, though, so I stuck through the podcast anyway. I hope that gets fixed before the next show. 🙂

  17. Arthur Allen says:

    When I went to Disney World last year, the Chinese Theater was one of two attractions based on places I had actually been to. The other was the Buchart Gardens in the Canada Pavilion. I was disappointed to hear that Mann Theaters has put pressure on Disney to discontinue activities outside the Disney version of the theater. So, here’s my idea for improving that part of the park. I saw from the movie Confessions of a Superhero that independent actors in unlicensed character costumes hang around Gruman’s Chinese Theater letting tourists photograph them for tips. To recreate the true atmosphere around the theater, and to tweak the nose of Mann Theaters, Hollywood Studios should have Disney, Marvel and Star Wars characters hang around outside their Chinese Theater. Mann can’t do anything about that because the characters around their theaters aren’t official anyway. Disney is probably too chicken to do anything so subtle and daring, but a man can dream, can’t he?

    Oh, and forget Blues Brothers and Xanadu being added to the Movie Ride. Those movies are from Universal.

  18. Brian Hamen says:

    I always imagined the great movie ride should start in black and white/ sepia tone and then you see the transformation into color. Maybe GMR should open with wizard of oz with the transformation from black and white to color. The saying “we’re not in Kansas anymore” can be used as a metaphor that we the guest are entering the movie world. And that whole scene would eat up footlight, and singing in the rain. Keep Mary poppins though. Regarding the underground scene, godfather would be cool however I feel the transformation from Mary poppins and the gangster city kinda fit. So it’ll be hard to movie into the room scene with marlon brando. Personally, I think that whole area would be a perfect set for the orginial Batman movie starring Michael keaton. Instead of James Cagney, have jack Nicholson’s joker standing there. And instead of gangster car, have the batmobile pop out. Still have cast members but be dressed up as joker henchman. Western is tough to update because there aren’t great western movies today, unless you count the remake of true grit, or have Jamie foxx and Christoph Waltz from Django unchained on their horses greeting us. Star Wars would work for sci-Fi to replace Aliens. Keep Indiana jones, but horror section has got to change. I would love to see classis horror like Dracula, Frankenstein, etc but they’re owned by universal. I would just use the end scene from raiders of the lost ark with the spirits. Tarzan should become Avatar, which would then go into Titantic instead of Casablanca. Keep fantasia, and then add it to the final scene where wizard of oz is. And right before you go to the movie room, there should also be a tribute to the man himself, Walt Disney right where Dorothy, Scarecrow, tin-man, and the lion stand.

  19. Joe says:

    I think they should leave well-enough alone. If anything should be changed it’s the Alien scene. Changing that over to Star Wars would be a great idea. I would never remove Cagney from the underworld section as he is probably one of the first actors you think of for that genre, even though he preferred the musicals. Singing in the rain has been a family favorite for my kids 18 and 16 and would be livid to see it go. The place to change movies is/should remain at the end of the attraction in the montage. The western scene needs to run more. I agree with Jim, cast members should not say “this is the perfect job for me” and they should be able to ad-lib a little.

  20. Damon says:

    If you added Goodfellas to the gangster section you’d have to bleep the whole thing

  21. Dot Davies says:

    Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this episode. I make my family ride this every time! Looking forward to Part 2!

  22. Mandy says:

    For a musical I would probably add West Side Story.

    I wouldn’t touch the gangster scene. I feel it’s a dead genre and classify things like The Godfather as more mafia than the original idea of what a gangster movie was. They’re close cousins, but not quite the same. Further more, I believe that in they’re day James Cagney was gangster movies, much in the same way that John Wayne and Clint Eastwood were synonymous with western movies. I think it would be a bit of a disservice to remove either three of these actors from their respective genres.

  23. Dax says:

    If you changed the GMR, I would add: West Side Story, Willy Wonka, and TITANIC! They could really do something cool with Titanic. Unfortunately, the one movie that would be awesome would be the Harry Potter films…but we know that is impossible!

    Love the show Lou!

  24. Nick says:

    For the musical, I think the most timeless and recognizable scene for any age would be in Annie, when the orphans are singing Hard Knock Life and scrubbing the floors.

    A 5 year old to and 85 year old would know the song and scene.

  25. Daniel Young says:

    For the musical section, Singin’ in the Rain should still be there and there should be The Sound of Music. For the gangster film, Godfather is the way to go

  26. carol says:

    love the great movie ride. how about adding a second line in the ride, and have new attractions?I think it would make it more fun.

  27. Cristabel says:

    I’m a little late to this episode of the podcast but as far as additions to the ride, I think some possibilities for the musicals sequence could be Fiddler on the Roof (a personal favorite), Annie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (original, of course!), and Sound of Music (you can never have too much of Julie Andrews).

    Now that Disney owns Marvel, they could definitely put in some scenes from those movies in either the sci-fi or adventure sequences.

  28. Cristabel says:

    I think it would be great if they could update the animatronics as they did with Abraham Lincoln in Disneyland’s Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

  29. Mike Thomas says:

    When I think about hit musicals of recent memory, my mind turns to the great Disney animated features i.e. Little Mermaid, Beauty and Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, etc. How about putting the ballroom scene in from “Beauty and The Beast” with an audio-animatronic Belle and Beast?

  30. Mike Zigon says:

    If something were to change, I’d like to see the ride have a combination of the old and the new within each genre represented; It would be a great way to show what came before, and what it led to. To me, this would add a relational element that could help inspire younger people to potentially look to the “classics” as not being that far off what is currently popular. And the current pieces could change regularly, while leaving the classics intact. For example, having a High School Musical scene follow the Busby Berkley scene would show what was, and what is current. Put a Departed scene after the Little Caeser scene… throw a classic sci-fi scene (original War of the Worlds, and follow that up with a more current sci-fi film like Super 8. Follow Wizard of Oz with a current fantasy film like Narnia. Doing a current Western will be harder – maybe Tombstone? Or, maybe show how while the Western genre has passed on a bit, there was the rise of the Cop drama in its place with something like Training Day.

    By showing the relationship between the old and the new, it can only encourage people to take a look back, while still showcasing how the genres have changed (improved?) through technology and such.

  31. Jason Weir says:

    What about combining/moving One Man’s Dream. It could be different scenes of Walt’s life and the birth of the mouse could maybe come alive in a scene. And it could end with a montage of Early Disney films.

  32. Lisa S. (elbug10) says:

    LOVE GMR! This was a great episode, and I’m going to listen to Part 2 as soon as I finish this post.

    My first time on GMR, I got the Gangster, and didn’t even know there was a western scene until recently. I’m legally blind, so they gave me the seat in the front, right next to the CM. Imagine my surprise when she left and the gangster commandeered the tram! Then, when he got to the Indiana Jones scene, as he got off the tram, he put the microphone down, and said to me, “Save my seat, Doll; I’ll be right back” No one else heard it but me, so I think they can ad-lib a little. That was one of my magical moments.

    My other favorite magical moment on GMR occurred in 2011 when I attended the meet of another Disney podcast (I know-who knew there were other Disney podcasts?!) Anyway, they arranged it so we got the Western scene, which many of us had never seen before. Our group was large and took up an entire tram!. When they got to the Indy scene, it was pre-arranged that the entire tram would yell ‘It’s a trap!” You can imagine the CM’s surprise, but they didn’t miss a beat.

    I wouldn’t really take anything out of the ride, maybe just add a few things so you can see what the early movies evolved into. I’d definitely add The Godfather into the gangster section. In the musical section, I’d add Grease (great idea), The Sound of Music and my personal ’80’s favorite, the one I stop and watch every time it’s on: Dirty Dancing. It wouldn’t be hard to add, just put Patrick Swayze holding up Jennifer Grey in the iconic scene everyone knows, and the CM can say “I’ve had the time of my life at the movies”. Simple.

  33. Denise Junice says:

    LOL Lou needs to check out the “Cell Block Tango” in Chicago- won’t forget that!

  34. Elaine says:

    We also LOVE GMR. We need to keep history in the parks as well as new attractions. That said, there’s nothing wrong with upgrading the animatronics. Also, a lot of movies have been made since GMR opened so a second line with new movie features (like Carol said) would be fun! The new movie technology would be very apparent then. But PLEASE don’t take away the original choices of the original imagineers.

  35. Denise Junice says:

    Also, I’d like to voice that the reason *I* don’t like the giant sorcerer’s hat is that it covers up the nose- or worse, makes it point out like a villain!- on the largest hidden mickey in the world.
    [Hint: Google Maps, people!]

  36. Kim says:

    I am torn on this one. First of all, let me say, that if I had my way, there are many things at Disney I would never want to change. (I really miss Horizons and the original Imagination pavilion.) That being said, I don’t think Disney should just leave attractions for the sake of nostalgia if they are not appealing to the majority of guests. To me a big part of Hollywood Studios is experiencing that Hollywood of yesterday and I believe GMR (as is) helps do that. I don’t mind seeing all the references to films I may not have seen. If they were to update the ride, I would still like to see it include the films of the times rather than more modern selections. I do however believe that regardless of whether Disney makes broad changes to the attraction or not, I think Brian and Joe are right on the money with changing Alien to Start Wars, especially since they are from the same time period. Star Wars has proven itself to be a timeless classic and worthy of honor in the GMR.

    I remember waiting in long lines for this ride when I was younger, and I feel like these days it just isn’t as popular (which makes me sad.) But if this is the case, maybe some revitalization is in order. At the very least I agree with Cristabel about updating the animatronics of many scenes.

  37. Samantha Okey says:

    Going back and listening to old podcasts. One year as a countdown to my Disney vacation I decided to watch the movies featured in the GMR that I hadn’t seen. This was a few years ago, I was probably 23. After this I fell in love with Footlight Parade and now own it, and also loves James Cagney just in general, and went to seek out other James Cagney films. I try to show Footlight Parade to all my musical lovers out there, it has a great hilarious to it, that can be quickly overlooked if not closely paying attention to the movie.

  38. Dan says:

    Updating the great movie ride


    The Muppet Movie (replaces footlight)
    Kermit on the log singing rainbow connection

    Evita (replaces Mr. Kelly)
    balcony outside the casa rosada
    don’t cry for me argentina

    Chicago (replaces poppins)
    Velma in the club singing all that Jazz

    Ok now chicago leads into the gangster films

    Godfather (replaces jimmy)
    Don Corleone behind the desk ” “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse”

    Dick Tracy (replaces shootout)
    Replace the gangsters in the car with Big Boy, Flat Top, Itchy

    Then Tracey gets in the ride vehicle instead of some unknown gangster

    Updating on a budget
    Disney would only have to get the rights to the godfather as the other films were miramax

  39. Craig says:

    Updated ‘gangster’ scene: I agree with The Godfather but what about also showing the flipside and reference a movie like The Untouchables which focuses on the law and order side of gangster movies? That movie has any number of iconic scenes that would translate well into the ride. I would also like to see the Clint Eastwood audio-animatronic featured more prevalently. He is one of my favorite actors of all time and until listening to this podcast, had almost forgotten he was in the ride. He’s almost a side note in the western scene. How about re-imagining his audio-animatronic as Dirty Harry? He could follow The Untouchables scene and sort of show the progression into the ‘cop’ genre.

  40. Chuck Zitta says:

    Since I come from the same generation as you Lou, I would most likely like to see some of the same updates:

    1. Add Grease to the musical section. Would replace the first scene.
    2. Definitely add The Godfather into the gangster section. A scene with Brando at this desk, surrounded by other would be great idea. Should also add a scene with Pacino in charge. It is such a great movie series, could probably replace the entire gangster scene with a series of scenes from the Godfather trilogy. Yes, that includes the 3rd movie.
    3. Tombstone would be a great western addition.
    4. Would not change a thing as far as Indiana Jones goes.
    5. Why not add a Disney animated movie section. Lots of great movies there. Maybe to replace the Alien section of horror. Would be less scary for the little ones.

    Anyway. Just a few quick, not so well thought out ideas.

    Thanks again for another fabulous show Lou and Jim!!!

    Always a great listen!

  41. Renee says:

    I am proud to say that my kids are 8 and 5 and have loved Singin’ in the Rain for years! We even saw it a couple of years ago when they had the anniversary. I can’t wait to bring them on this next year as they actually love many of the movies represented, especially the Indiana Jones movies. Thanks for the show!