While there are a couple of thrill rides and the insania that is Toy Story Midway Mania at Hollywood Studios, one of my favorite attractions in the park is the Great Movie Ride. I love movies and the escape that goes along with them, and this ride honors that and more. To prepare for our last trip we actually tried to watch as many of the films represented in the attraction. I highly recommend this venture and you never know what you might discover. My favorite became The Public Enemy.
The Great Movie Ride attraction is housed inside a replica of the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre found in Hollywood, CA.
Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Disney's Hollywood Studios
Once inside visitors have the chance to view costumes and props used in a variety of films including a costume dress worn by Dame Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love, a costume from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and a merry-go-round horse from the Disney classic, Mary Poppins. When guests enter the actual queue area they are treated to a montage of classic film trailers including the memorable Singin’ in the Rain.
Classic Movie Trailers in the Queue
When the doors open and allow guests to enter the ride area, there are two sets of vehicles to choose from. Depending on which vehicle you ride in, your experience will be a bit different from the other vehicle. More on that in a minute. Once everyone is loaded you set off for your starring role in the movies.
Each vehicle has its own guide who directs you for your part and also provides information for each movie set your vehicle passes. The first movie scene in the attraction comes from a 1930s James Cagney film called Footlight Parade. Next comes the aforementioned Singin’ in the Rain with Gene Kelly himself recreating that famous moment, hanging onto the post with his umbrella, singing in the rain. Mary Poppins and Bert make an appearance in the next scene, a nice cheery moment before your vehicle enters the dark, sketchy streets of another James Cagney classic, and my favorite, The Public Enemy. Having watched the film, I find it neat to see the sets just like in the movie.
Now, remember when I mentioned there are two ride vehicles? Well here’s where your experience can differ. During peak times the first ride vehicle will continue on to the next scene, which we will look at closer in a minute. The second ride vehicle remains in the gangster scene and your vehicle is taken over by a gangster trying to make an escape. But lets keep going as if we were in the first ride vehicle.
We enter the wild west with the likes of Clint Eastwood and John Wayne. Suddenly, there’s shooting and there’s a bank robber on the loose! Your vehicle is now in the hands of the desperate bank robber trying to make their escape!
Your new cowboy guide takes your vehicle through the spaceship from Alien, the Nostromo. You hear a narrator with the voice from the ship in the film, and then the Alien is on loose, chasing after you and Ripley, who is huddled in the corner, armed with her flamethrower (but looking scared just the same). Keep an eye out overhead, you never know when that Alien might pop out from above!
Next you enter an Egyptian temple, just like in Raiders of the Lost Ark and here your thieving guide decides to add to his (or sometimes her) treasure. Little does the robber know that anyone who disturbs the jewel must pay with their life! There is a mysterious person guarding the jewel, they try to warn the robber, but alas, you can’t stop a thief.
After all of the excitement, you continue on through scenes from classic horror movies. Quickly you enter the next scene from Tarzan the Ape Man where Tarzan swings through the jungle, making his Tarzan call, while Jane calls out, and Cheeta the chimpanzee can be seen. Casablanca is the next film honored in the ride. Pay attention to the airplane in the set. The back half of that airplane can be seen on the Jungle Cruise ride in the Magic Kingdom!
Before entering the final set you pass by a wall with projections of Mickey Mouse performing his starring role in Fantasia. The final set that you enter is from the Wizard of Oz. Both ride vehicles enter this scene together and they must battle the Wicked Witch of the West when she appears. Never fear, once she disappears the munchkins guide you down the yellow brick road where you pass Dorothy, the Tinman, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, and Toto, too!
Wizard of Oz
Finally, to end the attraction, your vehicle enters a room with a montage of classic movie clips playing on the big screen. I love this moment because of so many great films and so many great moments. Once the montage is over, both vehicles enter back into the loading area, where guests act in their grand finale by applauding and exiting the vehicle and the attraction. The ride is about 22 minutes long and it is a great break from the summertime heat. I highly recommend this attraction (as well as the films honored in the ride)!
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