Classic Cinema

Farewell to The Great Movie Ride

Another attraction is biting the dust at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The Great Movie Ride presented by TCM closed permanently yesterday. It’s making way for a new attraction called Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railcar.

The Great Movie Ride made me really happy. It’s a merger of two of my favorite things–a Disney theme park attraction and classic movies. Plus, it was housed inside the Disney theme park version of the world famous Chinese Theater (which still exists today on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California, and is still one of the best places in the country to see a movie; in the context of this park, the Chinese Theater served as its symbolic castle).

I was able to score a ticket to a special farewell event for the attraction sponsored by the TCM Backlot and D23 fan clubs held on Saturday, August 12, 2017, one day before the attraction’s closure. They took us into the Disney’s Hollywood Studios park early in the morning before the park’s regular opening, gave us a walking tour of the entire attraction, and then gave us one final ride.

While this attraction was a bit long in the tooth, so to speak, it was grand, it was ambitious, it was one-of-a-kind, and it was all about the love of classic Hollywood movies. Needless to say, I loved the ride and will miss it.

Here are some photos from the farewell event I attended (all photos taken by yours truly).

Our group was taken into the park at 7:00 a.m.–two hours before park opening


The Chinese Theatre — Disney World style


The ride’s marquee


The ride’s poster


Getting some instructions and some historical context before entering the ride


We’re going in


In the queue room with the great film genre intros by Robert Osborne, long-time host of Turner Classic Movies


The queue room


Load room


Walking through the attraction!


I love TCM


The Busby Berkeley girls from FOOTLIGHT PARADE (1933; the bubble machine was turned off so people wouldn’t slip on the floor)


Gene Kelly in SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952)


Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in MARY POPPINS (1964); this is only one of two Disney movies represented on the ride–not counting the movie montage at the end


James Cagney in THE PUBLIC ENEMY (1931)


The gangster film room


Clint Eastwood, from any number of films, probably one of his Spaghetti westerns


John Wayne, most likely from RIO BRAVO (1959)


The western film room


The Nostromo spaceship room from ALIEN (1979)


Signourney Weaver from ALIEN (1979)




Harrison Ford and John Rhys-Davies from RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1982)


Cheetah and Maureen O’Sullivan from one of their TARZAN movies from the 1930s (Tarzan was a no show)


The CASABLANCA scene! My favorite.


Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in CASABLANCA (1942). “We’ll always have Paris.”


Mickey Mouse in FANTASIA (1940). The second and final Disney movie represented in the ride and precursor of things to come (the new Mickey and Minnie Runaway Railcar attraction looks to be a screen-based attraction).




More of THE WIZARD OF OZ room


You know what to do


And we did


Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Judy Garland, and Jack Haley in THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)


The movie montage/finale room (which nearly as fun when it’s turned off)


Have I mentioned lately how much I love TCM?

Disney hasn’t wasted any time. Today (August 14, 2017), these new signs were added at the Chinese Theater. (Photos from and; used without permission.)

I’m hoping that with the Chinese Theatre in the background, the existing facade will remain with the new attraction. Time will tell.

Thoughts on Movies

TCM to Sponsor The Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park

Image © TCM and Disney

Image © TCM and Disney

Finally, some good news to come out of Walt Disney World. Last month, a Disney spokesperson confirmed to the Orlando Sentinel that the giant, heinous “Sorcerer Mickey” hat that was plopped in front of the replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park in 2001 is going bye-bye (more about my thoughts on this egregious structure are here). Then, yesterday it was announced that Turner Classic Movies (TCM) signed an agreement to sponsor The Great Movie Ride attraction, which is located inside the Chinese Theatre building and is one of the park’s original attractions. Vintage Disney movies and television programs will also be shown quarterly on TCM in a new “Treasures from the Disney Vault” programming block. TCM has put together a press release and a webpage about the new deal. I couldn’t be happier about this latest development.

Once the awful giant hat is removed and the beautiful views restored to the entrance of Disney’s Hollywood Studios park, guests will then be able to see and enjoy The Great Movie Ride with new content at the beginning and end of the ride curated by the pros at TCM. Giant hat removal is scheduled to begin in January 2015. The TCM additions to The Great Movie Ride should hopefully be in place soon thereafter.

The ride has been in need of an update for a long time and TCM is the perfect partner to make this experience great again. I’m also glad that the classic movie theme is staying as the opening act at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios park, a celebration of “the Hollywood that never was and always will be.”

Thoughts on Movies

Happy 25th Anniversary to Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park

You all know that I love Disney theme parks. Disney’s Hollywood Studios park (originally known as the Disney-MGM Studios park until 2008) located at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is celebrating its 25th anniversary today. I first visited this park in 1992 and completely fell in love with its concept, scope, scale, and design. It was like a Disneyland park created as a love letter to the movies with a grand movie palace serving as its castle and centerpiece.

Here’s a pre-opening day image of the park from the Disney Parks Blog.

Image © Disney

Image © Disney

And here’s a shot of the glorious Chinese Theater, a replica of the original Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California, which is still today the ultimate movie palace.

The Chinese Theater (the park's  "castle")

The Chinese Theater (the park’s “castle”)

The park has tremendous potential but continues to struggle due to many factors, including Walt Disney World’s unwillingness to spend the money necessary to make some much needed changes and upgrades to the park’s attractions. One of the things I hate most about the current park is the giant “Sorcerer Mickey” hat (with a pin store underneath it, of all things) that was plopped in front of the Chinese Theater (the park’s “castle”) to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney’s birth in 2001. Well, the anniversary promotion/celebration came and left and, 13 years later, the hat is still wrecking the glorious vistas that once were in place.

Who wants to look at the beautiful and perfectly proportioned Chinese Theater when you can look at this?

Who wants to look at the beautiful and perfectly proportioned Chinese Theater when you can look at this?

Since the Walt Disney World team is probably never going to get rid of this egregious structure, I’m just trying to come to terms with it. In fact, here are some ideas that I came up with that Walt Disney World can use in the future for the structure.

Idea 1: Put a giant cutout of Duffy the Disney Bear on the hat.

Idea 1: Put a giant cutout of Duffy the Disney Bear on the hat.

Idea 2: Celebrate Walt Disney World's My Magic+ with the world's largest MagicBand!

Idea 2: Celebrate Walt Disney World’s My Magic+ with the world’s largest MagicBand!

Idea 3: Celebrate the group that put the hat there in the first place...

Idea 3: Celebrate the group that put the hat there in the first place…

Well, enough of that cynical gibberish… My sincere hope is that Walt Disney World guests will be able to enjoy a view of the Chinese Theater again someday that is free of the henious giant Sorcerer Mickey hat (and that the park’s attraction roster will get some TLC, too).

A guy can hope, right? (Image © Disney)

A guy can hope, right? (Image © Disney)

Final image also from the Disney Parks Blog.