Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Top 10 Disney's Great Movie Ride Secrets | A Disney Ride Farewell

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In 1989, Walt Disney World opened its third theme park at the resort, Disney-MGM Studios.

The park was designed to be a working film studio in addition to the theme park. Now

MGMs affiliation with Disney was solely for Disney to use MGM name and lion logo in

marketing, and separate contracts allowed specific MGM content to be used in The Great

Movie Ride.

As you walk down Hollywood Blvd at the park, you cant help but notice whats an exact

full scale replica of the Graumans Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Disney wasnt able

to secure licensing rights to use the Graumans name, so the theatre is simply referred to

as The Chinese Theatre. The Chinese Theatre is the home to the Great Movie Ride which

was one of two original rides that opened with the park on May 1st, 1989, the other

being the Backlot Tour. With a ride time of approximately 22 minutes, The Great Movie

ride takes riders through iconic scenes from 12 classic films in motion picture history,

using animatronic figures, live actors, special effects and projections. At the D23 expo in

July of 2017, it was announced that The Great Movie Ride would close on August 13th, 2017

to make way for the first ever ride based on Mickey Mouse called Mickey & Minnies

Runaway Railway. So today were going to pay tribute to a great classic Disney ride

that is surely going to be missed at Disney Hollywood Studios. So here are the top 10

Great Movie Ride Secrets and Facts!

Number 10- Original Concepts The Great Movie Ride wasnt always intended

to be an attraction at the formerly named Disney-MGM studios, it was actually meant

for Epcot. When Michael Eisner was appointed CEO of the Walt Disney Company in 1984, he

became very involved with Imagineering. He was presented with an idea for a Hollywood

studio themed entertainment pavilion in future world at Epcot. The pavilion was to feature

an attraction called Great Moments at the Movies, which would take riders on a movie

magic journey; sounds kinda familiar huh? The pavilion idea kept growing into a grander

idea until it became so big that it was able to be its own theme park.

It should also be noted that in 1982 Michael Eisner, who at the time was the CEO of Paramount

Studios, was approached by Universal to join the theme park project in Orlando, but Esiner

declined. While Esiner stepped into the CEO position at Disney in 1984, the Universal

Studios project was in the back of his mind. When he saw the ideas for the movie pavilion

at Epcot grow larger and larger this really pushed him to slap together an entire studio

theme park to rival the Universal Project in Orlando, and just like that The Great Movie

Ride found its home in Disney MGM Studios.

Number 9- Hollywood Handprints Like we said earlier, the Chinese Theatre

is the home of the Great Movie Ride and its an exact replica of what you would see in

Hollywood California, right down to celebrity foot and handprints in the cement of the theatres

courtyard. From 1989 to 1995 Disney-MGM studios would hold handprint ceremonies for celebrities

to leave their mark in the pavement. Now, every celebrity who's handprints can be seen

at Disney Hollywood studios can also be seen in Hollywood, California, expect for one person;

Audrey Hepburn.

So She attended a press preview of the park in April of 1989, and when she was creating

her hand prints, she began to cry. She was getting so emotional she said because no one

had ever asked her for her hand prints before, ever. Graumans Chinese Theatre got wind

of what happened and tried to invite Audrey to leave her prints in Hollywood, but she

declined. Now, Disney Hollywood studios is the only home of authentic Audrey Hepburn

handprints and this one of a kind piece of film history lives right in the park.

Number 8- The Footlight Parade This is The Great Movie Rides show building

and the track layout covers all 95,000 square feet of the building. As the ride begins you

travel out of the load area, under the neon lighted marquee and into the movie musical

segment. The first scene the ride vehicle pulls up to is The Footlight Parade; a 1933

film. Now the Footlight Parade scene on opening day was much different than what riders came

to know it as. When the attraction first opened, the five tiered cake could be seen rotating

with spraying replicating the scene from the film. It was all out in the open with an array

of lights dazzling the scene.

A year after the attraction opened, this scene started to experience some problems. The mechanical

rotating platforms kept breaking down and the plumbing from the water features on the

cake would cause the ride path to constantly flood. Park management thought it would be

less problematic if they discontinued the rotating cake and water features. So, the

cake became permanently stationary around 1992 and they would add a scrim in front to

help disguise that it wasnt moving. Seeing as how this was the first show scene the ride

vehicle pulled into, the original incarnation was much grander than the bland non rotating

scrimed scene we were stuck with.

Number 7- Seal of Approval After the Footlight parade scene the ride

vehicle continues into the world of movie musicals, and you see the famous dancer, Gene

Kelly, featured in his most iconic role as Don Lockwood inSinginin the Rain”.

Now Disney had acquired licensing rights from MGM to have some of its film properties represented

in the ride, however, using the likenesses of famous actors also required licenses from

the celebrities or their estates. Apparently, the Imagineers wined and dined Gene Kelly

before showing him his audio animatronic. As soon he saw the figure he signed off immediately

and it was shipped off to Florida. Every other actor represented in the ride had to give

approval before the ride could make its official debut. If an actor had passed away

then a representative from the family would make the call, but not everyone approved right


The family of late actor James Cagney was not happy with what he was originally wearing

in the gangster scene from "Public Enemy,” so the family donated Carneys actual tuxedo

so he would appear moreclassy.”

Number 6- Show A and Show B After you pass Mary Poppins and Bert, the

ride vehicle heads into whats called the underworld and this is where your experience

might be different from other guests. Now the Great Movie Ride has two different versions

known asShow AandShow Bor you could call Show A the Cowboy Scene and

Show B the Gangster scene. A majority of people would probably only remember the Great Movie

Ride having the gangster shootout since show B was most commonly used. Show A takes place

in a Wild West bank robbery with the ride vehicle getting taken over by a bandit and

some really cool pyro of a bank catching fire.

Now when the park isnt busy, only the gangster show B runs and youd know this cause theres

only one set of vehicles on the loading dock. If theres two sets of vehicles on the loading

dock, the front vehicle will give you show A (the cowboy scene), and the back vehicle

will give you show B (the gangster scene). Using this diagram, well show you how the

ride would operate if both scenes were running in the same show. So vehicle A is riding along

the track, it moves a bit quicker to get ahead of vehicle B. It passes right through the

Underworld gangster scenes and parks in the Wild West Bank section, all while vehicle

B slowly moves into place for the Gangster shootout. Once vehicle As show is finished

it proceeds ahead and vehicle B also proceeds ahead, eventually going through the wild west

but doesn't stop.

Even when both shows are running Show A typically only shows up in one or two of the five sets

of vehicles through the queue, it was definitely considered the more rare show scene of the

ride. Now cast members would know which ride vehicle would be stopping for which scene

and if you wanted to see a particular one you could just ask the cast member and theyd

be able to seat you in the appropriate ride vehicle.

Number 5- Imagineer Crew Members The first scene you pass through after your

vehicle is taken over by the gangster or bandit is Alien which is one of the larger show scenes

on the ride. The Great Movie took many imagineers countless hours to construct and the Alien

scene pays homage to these imagineers. On the left hand side, theres computer screens

that list crew members who are missing, but these crew members are really just the imagineers

and the roles they played during its construction of the ride. Its hard to make out the names

of these specific imagineers but you can make out the roles ofStill Programming the

Witchandinterior detail expert.” Its a neat little detail added to the ride.

Number 4- The Casablanca Airplane After passing through the jungle….hey Tarzan-

you would approach Casablanca. In the scene theres a full size Lockheed Electra 12A

airplane along with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. When building and designing the Great

Movie Ride, Disney was looking for that exact model of the plane since its the model

used in the film. Disney ended up finding this airplane in the ownership of a man from

Hondo, Texas. Through the airplanes serial number, theyd be surprised to learn that

it was in fact used in films during the 1940s, but despite Disneys claims that this was

the actual plane from Casablanca, it wasnt, since no real full size Lockheed Electra aircraft

was actually used in this scene of the film.

Warner Weiss, creator of, has claimed that this plane Disney obtained could

have been used for insert shots in the film but not in the actual scene with Humphrey

and Ingrid. That plane was a scaled down model used on set. In the end, it created a good

buzz though for the marketing of MGM Studios at the time. And when you ride by youll

notice that only one half of the airplane was used on the Great Movie Ride. So wheres

the other half? Well it can be found on the Jungle Cruise at Magic kIngdom.

Number 3- True to Scale The Great Movie ride was home to over 50 audio

animatronics that brought many famous actors to life. Each actors animatronic on the

ride was true to scale expect for one, Humphrey Bogart. He was actually an inch shorter than

Ingrid Bergman in real life, but you can see here that hes clearly taller than his female

counterpart. In the film world, its a common practice for actors to stand on raised platforms

to appear taller and thats what happened while filming Casablanca. The audio animatronic

is taller than Humphrey Bogart was in real life, and is the only animatronic from the

Great Movie Ride that is not the actual height of the actor.

And heres another little fact about this scene: remember how we spoke before about

Disney needing a license to use the actors likeness? Well they also needed a license

to use the actors voice, so in the Casablanca scene Ingrid does not speak because her family

would not give Disney permission to use her voice.

Number 2- Its a Twister! As you leave Casablanca, youre faced with

Sorcerer Mickey from Fantasia but what a lot of people dont know was that this scene

was supposed to be the twister scene from The Wizard of Oz. At the time, MGM had only

given Disney the rights to use about 3 minutes of the film's audio. It included the Munchkin

song, the Wicked Witchs dialogue, and a few lines of Dorothy discovering the Emerald

City. This didnt include the additional tornado scene Disney wanted to use and they

weret willing to pay more for these rights since building MGM studios was happening on

a very tight budget.

The kicker of all of this is that Disney had already built the Tornado scene. You can see

the tornado outline and how the wizard scene would have fit in here perfectly. So imagineers

went back to the archives of Disney films, found the scene from Fantasia and shoehorned

it into the already built set.

Number 1- The First Animatronic The final big show scene in the Great Movie

Ride is the Wizard of Oz. At the time the ride opened in 1989, the Wicked Witch of the

West animatronic was the most advanced audio animatronic built by Walt Disney Imagineering

to date. It was the first A-100 figure at any Disney Park.

Really is amazing how quickly and how life like the movements are of the figure. It can

move much faster and stay more stable. Its a figure that has the most movement in the

show. I think it has 17 different body functions. The next A-100 figure to be installed at Walt

Disney World was Captain Jack Sparrow in the update and refurbishment of Pirates of the

Caribbean. And, Pirates of the Caribbean was one of the

films represented in the finale montage of the Great Movie Ride, and just like that the

movie journey is over and a major Disney theme park chapter is closed. The great movie ride

will definitely be missed but wont be forgotten. The new Mickey ride is said to take place

in The Chinese Theatre so at least the facade of this beloved attraction, and who knows

what else, should hopefully live on as a reminder of the once great attraction that was the

Great movie ride. Thats a wrap!

So which scene from the great movie ride will you miss the most. And whats your opinion

on Disney replacing the Great Movie ride? Leave a comment bellow and start a conversation!

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