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Great Movie Ride History, Tour, Secrets & Stories Part 2 – July 21, 2013


Hello and welcome to The WDW Radio Show – Your Walt Disney World Information Station. I am your host, Lou Mongello, and this is show #330 for the week of July 21, 2013.

We’ll return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios this week for Part 2 of our DSI: Disney Scene Investigation of The Great Movie Ride. We’ll continue our journey through the movies scene by scene and take a virtual tour of the attraction and discuss it’s details, secrets and stories. We’ll also look at how the attraction might change, and what the future may hold. I’ll then ask you to play Imagineer and share your ideas about updates and changes you’d like to see.

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 ticket sales for 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

Click Here for Part 1

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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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33 thoughts on “WDW Radio Show #330 – Great Movie Ride History, Tour, Secrets & Stories Part 2 – July 21, 2013”

  1. Sara says:

    Thank goodness part 2 of the Great Movie Ride is posted! I’ve been itching for the follow up session!!!

  2. Lisa says:

    What about replacing Tarzan with Titanic, there’s an iconic scene. The two of them on the front of the ship!

  3. Jim says:

    I’ve been to the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. The biggest thing that’s missing from the exterior is the people in (no doubt unlicensed) costumes posing in photos for tips. There was even a documentary written about them, but cast members have no idea what I’m talking about when I ask where they are. 🙂

    Update the existing classic movies to provide historical perspective, but with improved presentation.

    Keep Avatar out of Animal Kingdom, put Pandora in the Great Movie Ride.

    Then add an iRobot scene… based on eastablished sci-fi writing, the scene would be custom-made for some high-end animatronics.

    I know it’s not Hollywood, but some Anime would be cool too.

  4. Joshua S. says:

    Apologies in advance, I’m a bit long-winded.

    Initially I had the same thoughts as y’all did; changing the movie scenes to incorporate different, more updated movies, but then realized that’s not the reason TGMR is so outdated. For the most part, it’s littered with classics that either haven’t been forgotten or need to be kept in the public consciousness (except perhaps Tarzan and Footlight Parade, though I personally harbor no ill-feelings toward either). The problem lies in the way they are being presented to the audience. Stiff, barely moving audio animatronics via a slow-moving ride vehicle? This kind of technology may have been revolutionary in 1955, but we’re in a more advanced, more cynical age, and it just doesn’t work anymore.

    Assuming budget and logistics weren’t an issue, I would leave most of the movies in the ride, but they would be given brand new, updated scenes and the ride vehicles would be completely overhauled. The KUKA robotic arm is the wave of the future for theme park rides (the same technology used for the enchanted benches on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey) and I’m surprised Disney has yet to make use of it. An updated TGMR is the perfect chance to implement this modern marvel. The robotic arm can be programmed to have the rider move gently through more tranquil scenes, like Casablanca (complete with fog and wind off the airplane propellors), only to whisk the rider into more exciting motion in an adventure scene. Tarzan seems dull and outdated now, but imagine swinging through the jungle with Tarzan, rather than watching a stiff mannequin slide across a ceiling. Even Footlight Parade could be improved, by putting the rider in the middle of the scene, with sweeping camera angles. Alien could remain and would only be more immersive with xenomorphs popping from different angles every time you ride, based on the movement of the robotic arm. It would be a great way to update the ride without sacrificing its integrity or shunning the Golden Age of Hollywood, an era that should be shown to new generations.

    Unfortunately, such an idea is prohibitively expensive and will not happen. Sad as I am to say it, if the options are to keep the ride as is or demolish it in favor of a new cutting edge attraction, I support the latter. I tend to ride TGMR out of some misplaced sense of obligation, rather than the excitement so many other attractions give me.

  5. Amanda Novotny says:

    I thought that at the beginning of the show, when there was mention of Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin, something obvious was missed. Why not “Paint Your Wagon” which included both actors? Perhaps that would have crossed from Western into the Musical genre, though. Anyways, I look forward to listening to the show. Thank you for all you do!

  6. Jay says:

    Change Footlight Parade to a smaller Mary Poppins, and then keep Singing in the Rain. In place of Mary Poppins, put Psycho or a combination of Hitchcock films. It adds a mystery/horror film so you can get past the stupid horror babble before Tarzan.

    Then when you go to gangsters, I would keep the first room (with maybe a switch to The Godfather), but get rid of the main staging room. In it’s place could be an action movie. I think you keep it generic enough and you could even keep the car zooming in, just updated. It gets another genre in and then you can have an action “star” in your vehicle.

    With the westerns, you do a similar thing. You keep the star animatronics, but then make the main room a comedy. So here is my idea. A comedy movie that has stood the test of time the most for me would be Monty Python and the Holy Grail, so you make this the scene where King Arther argues with the French. If you are just going through, you get a funny argument. If go get stopped, maybe a cow goes flying over you, and you end up getting a knight of the round table in your tram. Another idea if they can’t get the python rights or want to keep it American, go with Mel Brookes.

    You have to keep Alien and Raiders of the lost arc. They are the best part of the ride. Maybe enhance them, but overall they stay.

    The easiest to let go is Tarzan, and I feel like this could be almost anything. I like Lisa’s idea with Titanic, but would also like the posible Lord of the Rings. I would say go with superhero movies but with Marvel over at Universal and Disney probably not wanting to use DC, I feel like thats out of the picture, so Titanic or Lord of the Rings. Hell, I’d even be okay with Jim’s idea of Pandora.

    After that I think you have to keep it all the same. Casablanca, Fantasia, Wizard of Oz, and the Movie Montage are all still relevant today.

  7. Angela says:

    I think the movies that are the equivalent of yesteryears westerns are superhero movies. My boys love Ironman and Superman, Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Avengers, etc. I know Disney World can’t use Marvel characters in Orlando, but maybe Ironman? That was such a great trilogy.
    For my generation it would be the original Star Wars trilogy. How totally boss would that be to “ride” through Tatooine or the forest moon of Endor?

  8. Rick says:

    I would add a Christmas movie genre because no matter how old, if they are classics they are remembered by everyone. The first movie could be the Christmas story with either the flag pole scene or Ralphie coming down the stairs in the bunny outfit. The second scene could either be White Christmas or possibly Christmas Vacation (with Chevy Chase and family’s back to us as we see him plug in the lights), and the final scene could be It’s a Wonderful Life with George and family by the tree with the whole town of Bedford falls in his living room.

  9. I would add a tribute to animated films. Disney is obviously well known for them, and included Gertie the Dinosaur at Hollywood Studios as a nod to one of the first animated films (back in 1914, no less!). Disney has many of its own films that could be used without paying royalties, and could incorporate others as well. Imagine seeing small clips from Silly Symphonies, Snow White, Pinocchio and Cinderella all the way through to Brave, Monsters University, Frozen, Zootopia and Giants. And because they’re animated features, the videos could be changed and updated more frequently at a considerably less cost than audio-animatronics.

    On a similar note: I would LOVE to see a movie theater at Hollywood Studios. Every evening, it could play one of the films featured in The Great Movie Ride, or any of the Pixar films, or even simply other great movies of yesteryear. Have a HUGE seating area, give away a certain number of free tickets, and have a big concession area with popcorn, candy, drinks, etc. It could be inside with air conditioning for those hot Florida summers, or could even use the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular stage in the evenings when the IJSS is not happening.

  10. Kevin W says:

    Sorry if this goes long. I’m a huge film buff, and I can’t stop thinking about this. Also, my view may be skewed.

    Because popular films become dated so quickly, maybe the GMR should be more of an edutainment venue offering guests the chance to go back in time and see the birth of cinema from behind the scenes.

    I think it would be interesting to see a combination of projected films and audio-animatronics depicting the history of cinema, from the silent film era through the Golden Age of Hollywood and up through today. I don’t want guests to move from one scene to another, I want to see them immersed in a time-tunnel of cinema that shows both the finished product and behind-the-scenes glimpses of life on a working film set.

    Imagine seeing Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton in the silent film era (also, giving us comedy, which has been missing from GMR). Segue from silent films to the big sweeping epics of Gone With the Wind or great westerns like Stagecoach. In the 1940s, showcase the war films of WWII and the musicals that gave our nation a reprieve from the war. Progress through the 1950s, showing the B-movies of science fiction like THEM! or The Incredible Shrinking Man. In the 1960s and ’70s, the emphasis could aim more for realism: The Godfather, Chinatown, The Sting. The ’80s and ’90s bring with them an emphasis on blockbusters, like Rambo, Mad Max, Lethal Weapon and Back to the Future.

    And as we progress into the 21st century, GMR changes to showcase technological advancements in digital cameras, CGI special effects, and the revolution of the handheld, high-def camera that have made movies like Cloverfield possible.

    And I agree with those who say the superhero genre should have a place in GMR. I’d love to end up in the middle of the climactic battle in The Avengers.

    The key here would be to throw everything at guests so they don’t have time to breath. Every time I see a great montage on The Academy Awards, I want to pause and soak in every great moment. But I never have the time. I have to soak it in and let it wash over me.

    That’s what I want GMR to be like. I want to be awash in great cinema and feel like I’ve been a part of movie history.

  11. Great show as always. I cannot tell you how much I look forward to every single episode. I did want to point out that for some reason, this and the last episode had rather large feedback going on every time you spoke, echo chamber sounding. Still, just an incredible show, and having only found the podcast a few months back, I am still going through every single last episode one-by-one and am now around episode 50. Never boring.

  12. Charles says:

    How about something wicked this way comes for the horror genre? It’s a fantastic story without being too scary. Disney already owns it.
    Also, how about 2001: a space odessy for the sci-fi genre. It’s amazing to see that film and think about when it was made. It showed a clear picture of the future and was made in 1967! Before the moon landing and it already had the space shuttle, skype, voice activated computers, etc…

  13. Jason says:

    General Snackbar should serve a Wookie steak sandwich. It would taste good, but a little chewy.

  14. Craig Hargrove says:

    I need some TRON!

  15. Adam says:

    Comedy should be Ghostbusters.

  16. Adam says:

    For Ghostbusters, I can picture a really cool scene with the busters on the roof and a giant stay puft marshmellow man.

  17. Joe says:

    I was thinking the ride should be designed to incorporate the Top 10 movies from the top 100 list The American Film Institute did in 2006.I think it would solve the problem of needing to continually update the ride as the movies involved would be timeless. Three of the ten films are already represented in the ride and it could give the ride a stronger theme.

  18. Chris says:

    The iconic comedy should be either Monty Python and the Holy Grail or the Princess Bride.

  19. Angela says:

    @Jason – hilarious! (“Chewy” smh)

  20. Aaron says:

    Just started listening to this podcast, so far I like it, even though I’ve only been to Disneyland, and not Disney World.

    I didn’t all the research as to whether or not any of these choices were owned by Universal or not, but here it goes.

    First off, COMEDY… an iconic scene can be Jim Carrey as The Mask while at the club in the yellow suit. Also, I agree with most Mel Brooks references, however, as mentioned in the show, not all are all generation friendly.

    Ok, on to the ride…

    keep Singing in the Rain, and Mary Poppins, as they are classics, even to a 30 yr old like me, and I will continue to teach my children what great movies were around, even before me and my parents. Chicago has a couple numbers that can be used, like “I Didn’t Do It”. I suppose you can even look into Burlesque or Moulin Rouge (spelling?)

    As mentioned in the first half of this tour, Godfather is a must, maybe even Goodfellas, Resevoir Dogs, or Donnie Brasco. It’s Obvious that Bugsy has to stay, so that the cast member can take over.

    I was raised on Westerns anytime I was watching tv with my grandparents, so Eastwood and Wayne are still icons to me. Additions can be Tombstone, Young Guns, and now maybe Lone Ranger.

    Alien is still relevant and good. An addition can be Terminator 2.

    I would like to see something like Poltergeist in there.

    Everything else is still pretty Iconic, and can stay in, except for Tarzan, I would change it to a Monster movie like King Kong or Godzilla

  21. 86vol says:

    Jim, Doug McClure’s show was the Virginian. He starred as Trampas on the Virginian for 9 seasons. And because there’s always a Disney connection his co-star playing “The Virginian” was James Drury former George Dobbs/cousin Fred in Pollyanna. That’s a great tidbit that he provides the voice for the John Wayne audioanimatronic in the ride- I had never heard that before.

  22. GoofyFriend says:

    I love the DSIs. I don’t have a suggestion, just a question. When you and Jim talk about what the end was supposed to be like, you don’t say why Disney didn’t have the ending with the animatronics. So, why wasn’t it done?

  23. NJDisDad says:

    For the comedy portion, Ghostbusters. It’s full of iconic scenes.

  24. OkieKyle says:

    I’ve got to second “Christmas Vacation”! Good Christmas movies are like a fine wine, they get better with age. Chevy Chase is an iconic comedian. You turn the corner in the movie ride to see Chevy’s screen wife flipping the switch in the basement then move into the epic plug in scene. It would be magical!!!!!

  25. Sara Foster says:

    I have to say, the best ending for the Great Movie Ride I can imagineer, has to be entering via the red carpet into…. Oscar night! Hardening back to past Oscar nights at the Chinese theater it could feature the oh so beloved movie montage, and incorporate the clip of Walt and Shirley Temple with the seven tiny oscars.

    For all those involved in the movies, the dream ends with an Oscar.

  26. Heather says:

    Admiral Snackbar – ha! And no offense, guys, but I don’t think you’re the target demographic for Twilight. 🙂
    Great show – thanks for all the inside info!

  27. Kristin says:

    Loved these two Episodes. And it made me laugh because you said if the ride broke down The wizard of oz wouldn’t be the seen with the yellow brick road….well it did one year while I was riding it. We listened to it at least 3-4 times before we got up and running.

  28. Katie says:

    Loved these episodes! You guys hit on a lot of great points. You’re right why aren’t Fred and Ginger in the musical scene? I like the idea of adding a comedy scene – maybe it could have been interactive with the CM? Time to get rid of Tarzan! Over all I wouldn’t want to change too much. You can’t really update the movies. I think its representative of WHY people love movies and perfect samples of the different genres. Always surprised theres no Gone With the Wind but like Wizard of Oz Im sure that would be some BIG bucks! Also I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree that the gangster scene could use a little Godfather.

  29. Cliff says:

    I’ve been a long time listener to the podcast. Love this fictitious “You choose” episodes. I have no gripes with the TGMR. Love every scene. Some may say that it needs to be replace or the films have been forgotten by many. I say, just like a museum, these films belong where they are. If anything I would add rather than replace.
    One thing that I would add would be in the animation category. Before the Fantasia scene, why not add an audio-animatronic Steamboat Willie?

    What do you think?

  30. Denise Junice says:

    I felt I needed to give you a little hope for humanity: I don’t remember exactly what year or how old I was, but, I was born in 1988, & it was before anything about Disney’s 1999 Tarzan was heard of.
    One summer day, my family was outside enjoying the day, while I was inside trying to get my easy-bake oven to work for hours on end, during which I ended up watching a marathon of like 7 original Tarzan movies on TCM cuz that actually seemed more productive. I wanted to see what the scene in TGMR was referencing, and how different it was or not from Rudyard Kipling’s live action Jungle Book.
    Come 1999, I was the only *person* in the theatre that recognized the scene where Tarzan leads the snake around & gets him tied up in the tree. I got all excited and whispered over to my parents. THEY didn’t even know what I was talking about!

  31. Craig says:

    I agree with Ghostbusters to represent comedy. Also for comedy, how about just a generic Marx Brothers scene or Abbott and Costello to represent comedy classics from the ‘golden age’.

    Replace Alien with a scene on the Deathstar from Star Wars.

    I would also like to see a bigger animated movie presence than just Fantasia. Although not sure exactly what.

  32. Caitlin says:

    I am 29 years old, I have not seen casablanca or singing in the rain. But cartoons, comedies, TV shows, and other movies spoof or quote these classics so I am familiar with them and appreciate and understand the references, so I think they do well in the ride. Movies in this ride should be able to he watched over and over for decades or just have that quotability factor. Same idea with westerns. A tangent – this is why I don’t understand bringing avatar into the parks. Yea it was a big deal at the time but it is not a classic, I never hear it talked about or shown on TV or hear of people rewatching it.

    Comedies are hard, I say Austin Powers, something Mel Brooks, holy grail, or something Jim Carrey. These seem more timeless. You could have one classic comedy (Chaplin, three stooges) and one modern comedy. Why just this past year they had a Dr evil appearance on Saturday night live even though the movie is quite old. I also would like a nod to Chaplin as he inspired Walt so much…

  33. Chuck Zitta says:

    I’m not sure if I would change anything, simply because it’s a classic attraction. Agree that Tarzan could be replaced. And replacing the Alien attraction with a Death Star scene would be a nice touch as someone above already mentioned.

    I do like Jim’s idea about making it an all Disney movie ride. To keep it from being self serving, you could change the name to The Great Disney Movie Ride. Would have a section honoring the old classics like Snow White, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, etc. A section honoring the Disney Renaissance – Little Mermaid, Lion King, etc. A section honoring Pixar. And a section honoring the latest Disney releases (this scene could change every few years to keep it current). There would also be a section honoring classic live action movies like Mary Poppins, etc. A section honoring the newer live action movies like Star Wars and Indiana Jones (could be much more immersive/tell more of the story than the current Indiana scene). Star Wars could even have its own room (replace the Wizard of Oz.) Could even have a section honoring the Marvel Comic movies. For the Finally, a short movie and animatronic combo, paying tribute to Mr. Walt Disney himself. The man and his visions as they relate to the movies.

    Thanks again for another fantastic show, Lou and Jim!!!