The Great Movie Loss
by Thomas Hoffman

Earlier this year, Walt Disney World discontinued a show that should have been a permanent addition to the list of Disney classics. The Wishes fireworks show preformed one final “story in the sky.” Recently, another Disney classic has been destined to close. The Great Movie Ride is about to transport guests into the movies for the final time.

Usually whenever guests complain about rides/shows closing at Disney, they are told that Disney must always be providing changes to attract new guests. They are told that certain rides may be dated. We are reminded of Walt Disney’s promise that Disneyworld will never be finished. This may be true. Disney does indeed need to constantly build new rides to attract guests. Walt Disney was right, Disneyworld will never be finished. I myself have been on The Great Movie Ride at least twenty times in my life. I will be the first to admit the ride needs an update. But to replace it is to deprive the Disney Hollywood Studios of a unique experience that cannot be found at any other theme park.

It is an unusual experience “losing” a favorite theme park ride. It is not a feeling everyone can relate too. Whether it is Wishes, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride or The Great Movie Ride, it is a journey you are no longer able to go on, an experience you can no longer have, a part of your childhood you cannot reclaim.

Spoiler Alert:

With the loss of The Great Movie Ride comes the loss of a “magic trick” unique to this ride. The best (and most unique) part of The Great Movie Ride is the “spectacular twist” where one of the scenes in The Great Movie Ride comes to life. The tour guide disappears and the tram is hijacked by a cowboy or gangster. The tour guide then re-appears when yet another movie scene comes to life. This “special effect” is unique and no other theme park ride at Disney World or Universal Orlando provides anything similar.

The Great Movie Ride concludes with a clip of Star Wars, with one of the ships jumping into hyperspace. The Star Wars scene then transforms into the Hollywood skyline. The tram follows into it, into that dimension where movies are real. Then the tram ventures under the screen and back into the Disney Hollywood Studios where guests participate in an “exit” scene. This “exit” scene is directed by the tour guide. Guests applaud for their guide, and then carefully gather their belongings and exit the tram. Whoever is on that final tram, whoever participates in the final “exit” scene, whoever applauds for their guide for the last time will be taking part in an interesting part of Disney history.

The main message of this ride (especially the last scene) is that every movie is a trip on The Great Movie Ride, every movie is a spectacular journey, and every movie is a ride into another world where anything can happen.

There are several protests mounting online. However, it is highly unlikely The Great Movie Ride closing can be prevented. Disney does not seem to cater to protests. The best example of this is when Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was closed in 1998. There was an actual website named SaveToad.com that fought to save Mr. Toad. A number of Toad loyalists tried to prevent Mr. Toad from being closed, but to no avail. However, this was before social media was quite the tool it can be today. Several other favorites have returned, including the Main Street Electrical Parade. Figment was once given a much smaller role in Journey into Your Imagination, but was returned to a bigger role.

Perhaps some twist can make The Great Movie Ride reappear the same way our tour guide does. If Figment and the Main Street Electrical parade can return, so can this. As our tour guide (and The Great Movie Ride itself) reminds us “Anything can happen in the Movies.”

Photo: By Jedi94 (Personal work.) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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