An opening day attraction, The Great Movie Ride used a trackless “traveling theater” ride system to move guests through scenes from classic movies portrayed using a combination of live actors, special effects, projection, animatronics, and dialog recordings from the original films.

Film Scenes (in order)

  • Footlight Parade
  • Singin’ in the Rain
  • Mary Poppins
  • The Public Enemy
  • Dollars Trilogy (Man with No Name)
  • The Searchers
  • Alien
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Tarzan the Ape Man
  • Casablanca
  • Fantasia
  • The Wizard of Oz

Throughout its life, The Great Movie Ride underwent a few changes and updates. The largest of these changes was in the first scene, Footlight Parade, which experienced quite a few technical difficulties in its first year. The hallway leading to this scene was originally painted in the art-deco style used in the film, with swimmers placed along the hallway on diving boards, music from the film playing, and bubbles falling from the ceiling onto guests. The cake on which the remaining swimmers were perched both rotated and used water effects to set the scene. Constant mechanical issues with the cake lead to frequent, costly maintenance and thus, the cake rotation and effects were eventually turned off in favor of lighting effects to set the scene. The hallway was modified to be much darker, the swimmers moved to behind the cake (and ultimately replaced with decorative sconces), and a large scrim placed in front of the cake onto which projection lighting effects were shown.

Beyond the Footlight Parade scene, a myriad of lesser changes took place over the years. These included animatronic changes, changes to the scenes in which live actors were used, changes to the final theater scene film, and the addition of recorded dialog as the ride vehicles traveled between scenes instead of relying on the scripted ride-along Cast Members.

As changes around the studios itself took place, The Great Movie Ride became the last remaining attraction from the original opening day Disney-MGM Studios. On July 15, 2017, at the D23 Expo, it was announced that The Great Movie Ride would close on August 13, 2017 to make way for a new Mickey & Minnie themed attraction.

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