The last ride I think of when I think of Disney is The Great Movie Ride. I feel bad about this. We only just rode it for the first time ever last year- and that was only because it was pouring down Florida rain for an hour in the middle of the day like usual. The truth is I adore movies but never really felt I should spend my precious Disney Time at a ride that told me stuff I already knew.
Yes, Singing in the Rain was awesome. The Wizard of Oz was colorful and Alien was pretty scary.
Since the Turner Classic Movies contract expired this ride has closed. But we wanted to write up a review and run-down in case you wanted to have a little movie marathon of your own, revisiting all the great films that have shaped Hollywood, even if you can no longer see them on this ride. While it may not knock your socks off, it may inspire you to see a new flick or at least appreciate an old one.
Upcoming Hollywood Studio Plans
Hollywood Studios had been due for a refresh for some time. Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars has infused some fresh new rides, spaces, parades and allowed the addition of Star Wars Land ( Nov 2019) with a resort and dining experience. Toy Story Land opened in 2018 with some hoopla and a slow fizzle.
Needless to say the change is quick and Disney is optimizing everything. The Great Movie Ride will turn into Mickey’s Runaway Railway, set to open in 2019. As Walt Disney World makes the creative decision to featuring only Disney owned content we are seeing fast changes in all the parks.Thankfully, since the Chinese Theatre is the current backdrop to the Star Wars Digital Show we’re not expecting the building to be replaced – the name of the park is still Hollywood Studios after all.
Hollywood Studios The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World
Now officially closed, we’ll share a quick photo tour and list of films you would have experienced on this ride, had you the good fortune to experience it.
The Great Movie Ride Pre-Show
An indoor ride “through” the movies, this slow moving ride is perfect for rainy days at Disney, and with the TCM sponsorship in 2015 the ride got a facelift in the form of the late great Robert Osborne. I do have to say it was great to see Robert Osborne immortalized on screen for all to see and experience. It was also great to see that while everyone did have their phones out during the opening scenes describing our leading men, Jimmy Stewart, James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart and John Wayne- most people were mesmerized, intently listening to why these men were great. Robert Osborne also shares a quick review of film genres: Sci-Fi, Westerns, Gangster, Romance and Adventure.
How You Ride Through the Movies
The Great Movie Ride lets you travel through the film genres one at a time. You’ll see the cool sets, classic Disney Animatronics, get your movie car hijacked either by a gangster or a bandit and then saved again by the underestimated hero. Kids and Adults alike watch intently on this ride for what will happen next. Some of the films you know and some of them you don’t.
The biggest question that is usually on the other side of this ride is what are the titles of ALL those movies we just saw clips of? Well, let me help you out here. In the ride itself, you should be able to identify some easy ones.
A Ride Through The Movies Of the Great Movie Ride
Footlight Parade: This one is all about water ballet, fancy choreography, and controversial costumes.
Singing in the Rain: Classic Gene Kelly musical, all about how films went from being silent to having sound.
Mary Poppins: Practically Perfect in Every Way. If you’re at WDW, you should have this one memorized.
Public Enemy: Classic Gangster Flick, this whole genre is built around tough guys.
Fistful of Dollars: Clint Eastwood flick about a power struggle between two families.
The Searchers: John Wayne tries to rescue his niece from indians in this classic western
Alien: Sigourney Weaver’s defining role battling, you guessed it, aliens.
Raiders of the Lost Ark: Indiana Jones first film. Referenced on Big Bang Theory.
Tarzan the Ape Man: Half Naked guy in a jungle. Led the way for George of the Jungle, and recently remade.
Casablanca: We’ll always have Paris. About leaving the person you love behind.
Fantasia: Compilation of the great Orchestral Suites, led by none other than Sorcerer Mickey Mouse.
Wizard of Oz: There’s no place like home. Basis of Wicked: on Broadway and dozen other things.
Post-Show The Great Movie Ride Film List
When people see the montage of the films at the end of this ride, the variety is wide enough that you’re sure to recognize some of them!!! This is the full list of updated films with the 2015 TCM sponsorship. Print the full movie list here.
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Adventures of Robin Hood
All About Eve
Arsenic and Old Lace
Babes in Arms
Behind the Screen
The Birth of a Nation
The Bridge on the River Kwai
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Cabin in the Sky
Chariots of Fire
Down and Out in Beverly Hills
Follow the Fleet
The French Connection
From Here to Eternity
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
The Godfather Part II
The Gold Rush
Good Morning, Vietnam
The Great Train Robbery
Gone with the Wind
The Grapes of Wrath
Guardians of the Galaxy
It’s a Wonderful Life
The Jazz Singer
Lady and the Tramp
Lawrence of Arabia
The Live Ghost
Never Say Never Again
A Night at the Opera
A Nightmare on Elm Street
North by Northwest
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
A Place in the Sun
A Plumbing We Will Go
The Public Enemy
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Rambo: First Blood Part II
Saturday Night Fever
Singin’ in the Rain
Shakespeare in Love
Some Like It Hot
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
The Sound of Music
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
A Streetcar Named Desire
Take the Money and Run
The Ten Commandments
Thelma and Louise
The Way We Were
The Wizard of Oz
Yankee Doodle Dandy
The Great Movie Ride Movie Marathon
You can choose which of these you recognize or which you are inclined to watch. I am a pretty big movie buff and still haven’t seen all these yet so don’t feel pressured. I also tend to have a rule about films and books- never feel like you need to watch something you aren’t into or read something all the way through, just because you started it. There are so many amazing films out there that if you’re not connecting to A Nightmare on Elm Street, leave it behind and find another film on this list you will love.
All in all, we will be sad to see this ride revamped simply because its probably one of the only ways left that can introduce people ( kids especially) to films they never knew existed.
I can promise you however, that if you do take a stab at watching some of these films, you will suddenly start understanding all the references in your other favorite shows. My Little Ponies Friendship is Magic ( yes, i’m an addict) has scenes from Gone with the Wind, Star Wars, Music Man, Indiana Jones and Noir films. Spaceballs and Blazing Saddles mock Star Wars and every Western ever made. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is laced with old movie references and even Gossip Girl references every film rooted in New York, including Breakfast at Tiffany’s. When you start watching the good old stuff, you’ll see where the writers for the good new stuff get their inspiration.
Check out the above movie list for your film education. If nothing else you’ll have a little more knowledge to share at parties and impress those older relatives you have trouble talking to at those big family events.
Have fun with it. While The Great Movie has closed, and Mickey’s Runaway Railway is replacing it in 2019, we’re sure to hear the siren calls of Classic Hollywood from the churro cart near the Chinese Theater in Hollywood Studios regardless. As Hollywood Studios celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2019, the park is changing, but these films, thankfully, stay with us forever.
Rochelle Mariah is a writer, designer and photographer with an MLIS in Information Science and a B.S. in Arch and Design. Determined to make Planning a DIY Disney Vacation easier she makes lots of lists and drinks lots of coffee. When not designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's watching old movies and planning the holidays. She has been traveling to Disney destinations since 2010.