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One of the most popular rides in Disney Hollywood Studios is The Great Movie Ride. This ride takes guests on a journey through movie history. Or more accurately a ride through movie history which stops in the early 1980s. The idea behind The Great Movie Ride is a promising one, and it is certainly worth seeing if the lines are not too long, but unfortunately this ride is in major need of an update.
All photos by expressmonorail
The Great Movie ride facade used to be one of the first things that you saw as you entered the park. It is right at the end of Sunset Boulevard. Now it is difficult to spot as it is almost completely hidden by the huge Sorcerer Mickey Hat.
You may recognize the facade of The Great Movie Ride. It is a recreation of the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. It is perhaps the most recognizable landmark of the Hollywood Age.
Just as with the original Chinese Theater, outside you will see the famous Hollywood walk of fame autographs in the concrete. All of the autographs outside the Disney version are authentic. Take some time when you are outside to look at the autographs there which include Tom Cruise, Tony Curtis, Lauren Bacall, Harrison Ford, Audrey Hepburn, Liza Minnelli and George Lucas.
The Great Movie Ride Line
Usually the wait for this attraction is less than 30 minutes. The line is completely inside the building. Close to the door you will see some movie memorabilia displayed. Rather like the ride this is in need of updating and will be of little interest to young children apart from perhaps the merry go round horse from Mary Poppins. If the line is short you will probably walk quickly by these displays but it is worth taking a bit of time to look at the costumes on display.
You will then enter the main room which has a large movie screen at the front of it. As you wind your way around the line you will view a montage of movie clips. These help to while away the time in line. Many of the clips are black and white classics so again your children may have no idea what movies they are from.
Once you reach the end of the line you will be ushered into the 1930s sound stage like room which houses your ride vehicles. It is an open ride vehicle which seats around 70 guests at a time. There is a live guide at the front of the vehicle who will take you on your tour.
The enjoyment of the ride does to some extent depend upon the skill and enthusiasm of your tour guide. There is a script and a surprise along the way. I have ridden this attraction many times and have recently seen a big variation in the quality of the guides. On my last visit the tour guide looked as though she had done this a million time and was bored beyond belief with her job. But mostly the guides do a good job with the material that they have.
The Great Movie Ride Movies
You start your journey in 1930s Hollywood. The golden age of movie making. The first movies you will encounter are the musicals. You will drive slowly past a figure of Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain. Gene Kelly himself was more than pleased with his own model when he inspected it personally (you can see his autograph outside too).
You will then see Mary Poppins before entering into Gangster Land. Not giving away any secrets about what happens here but be prepared for some surprises. Look closely here, and in all parts of the ride at the attention to detail on the signs and set designs.
Then it is into the Western Era where you will see John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. Soon you move into science fiction with an Alien encounter. This is the part of the ride which young children may find scary. The anticipation is scarier than the reality but there is an alien above you!
Finally there is a scene which the children may recognize. Indiana Jones. This again may be scary though as there are snakes and skeletons. The older kids will think it is tame but be aware that the younger ones may find this really scary.
After Indiana it is Tarzan. In spite of the relatively recent movie many children may not have a clue who Tarzan is, but this scene is pretty fun with Tarzan flying through the air.
Cascablanca is your next scene. Adults will appreciate that this is a classic movie but again the kids may have no idea what this scene is all about.
The ride then goes through a scene from Fantasia projected onto the walls before arriving in Munchkinland for The Wizard of Oz. This is a large and very colorful area with lots of singing animatronic figures. The Wicked Witch of the West makes a scary appearance before we ride out past all the classic Wizard of Oz characters and into a dark theater to watch a montage of movie clips. These movie clips have been updated relatively recently and everyone will find one of their favorite movies.
The Great Movie Ride is one of those classic Disney rides that you should see at least once. But if the lines are long it is probably one which you can miss as in my opinion it is not worth a wait over 30 minutes in line.
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