Take a Ride through Some of Hollywood’s Greatest Films on The Great Movie Ride

If there's one attraction that screams "Hollywood" and could probably be considered the flagship attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios, it's The Great Movie Ride.

Located inside the full-scale reproduction of the famed Grauman's Chinese Theater, this 20-minute long journey takes guests into some of the best movies ever produced.

Grauman's Chinese Theater Welcomes You To The MoviesGrauman's Chinese Theater Welcomes You To The Movies

Before heading into the queue for the attraction, take some time to hang out in the courtyard of the Chinese Theater and look at the handprints and footprints embedded in the cement. You'll find some of Hollywood's biggest stars including Harrison Ford, Robin Williams, and Dustin Hoffman in addition to some Disney greats including Goofy, Donald Duck, and Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. Some out-of-this world stars also left their mark - be sure to look for C3P0 and R2D2's prints.

Celebrity Handprints Line The Theater CourtyardCelebrity Handprints Line The Theater Courtyard

Once you enter the Chinese Theater you have a chance to check out some pretty impressive props and costumes including a costume from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and a costume from Shakespeare in Love.

The queue for the attraction is located in what looks like an old movie theater, and as you wind through the line, keep your eyes on the movie screen where you'll have a chance to watch condensed movie trailers from some of the films represented in the ride.

Costume Display From Chronicles of NarniaCostume Display From Chronicles of Narnia

Once you've boarded your ride vehicle you'll be joined by a cast member who is your host for the journey through Hollywood. There's a very good chance that "Hooray for Hollywood" will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day, as it's the song that plays as you leave the soundstage and enter the world of movies and fantasy.

There are 12 movie scenes that guests travel through on the Hollywood journey. Many people will remember that Disney's Hollywood Studios was originally named Disney MGM Studios - and many of the films in the attraction are MGM or MGM/UA (United Artists) films. Other studios represented include Lucasfilms (which is now owned by Disney), Warner Bros., Walt Disney Pictures, and 20th Century Fox. Notably there are no film scenes based on Universal Pictures movies.

Great Movie Ride MarqueeGreat Movie Ride Marquee

The first movie scene is from Busby Berkley's Footlight Parade and from there guests travel past scenes from Singing in the Rain and Mary Poppins, and then you enter the seedy underworld from Public Enemy. If you're a Hidden Mickey fan look for Mickeys' shoes under a James Cagney poster.

One of the unique things about The Great Movie Ride is the amount of interaction between cast members and guests. Once the ride vehicles enter Gangster Alley or the Wild West scene (depending on which version of the ride you're part of), a gangster or a cowboy/cowgirl will take over the ride vehicle as the cast member disappears off stage.

If this takeover happens in Gangster Alley, there's quite a bit of fake gun fighting that happens and the little kids might get frightened. It helps to reassure them that it's all just part of the movie and no one is really getting hurt.

Gangsters May Take OverGangsters May Take Over

After the ride vehicle is taken over by the criminal element, it journeys past Gangster Alley and the Wild West scenes (which feature Clint Eastwood and John Wayne) and moves into the spaceship Nostromo from the movie Alien. This is another scene that tends to frighten kids (and some adults). The alien is hidden above riders and on the side but seems to be tamer than I remember in earlier versions of the ride. Still it is scary and the ride vehicle quickly exits the space area.

The next scene is straight out of Raiders of the Lost Ark and there are a lot of snakes, so if you have a fear of slithery things you might want to avert your eyes. The next scene plays on the Raiders of the Lost Ark feeling, but isn't from any specific movie. The criminal driver exits the vehicle to steal a priceless - and cursed - gemstone and it reduced to a pile of bones in the process. And just like that the fearless cast member returns as the vehicle driver.

John Wayne Represents the Classic WesternsJohn Wayne Represents the Classic Westerns

Moving right along, the ride vehicle enters the realm of horror films complete with more snakes and mummies. Riders are quickly transported from horror films into the jungle for a scene out of Tarzan. As the ride nears the end the ride vehicles travel past audio-animatronics of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman playing out a scene from Casablanca ("We'll always have Paris."). There's a story that the back half of the plane from this scene can be found on the shores of the Jungle Cruise.

Next up is a projection of Sorcerer Mickey from Fantasia, and then guests find themselves in Oz. The munchkins appear, singing "Ding dong the witch is dead" and the attention to detail in this area is some of the most stunning on the whole attraction. You really feel as if you are IN Oz, especially when the Wicked Witch of the East appears in a plume of smoke, threatening to get "you and your little dog too!" The ride vehicles are quickly on their way, but not before you see Dorothy and friends as they start their journey on the Yellow Brick Road.

Jump Into The Wizard of OzJump Into The Wizard of Oz

The ride ends in a darkened theater where guests are shown a montage that features many of the greatest movies of all time starting with some classic silent films and traveling through the genres of musical, comedy, horror, drama, and more. If there's one section of the attraction that needs some updates, it's this film montage. While there are some current films including - such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Finding Nemo, and Armageddon - the montage does feel dated at times.

As the montage ends, the ride vehicles exit the theater and are once again on the Hollywood sound stage where the ride originated. After a round of applause for the cast member, guests exit the vehicles. And that's a wrap!

Thanks so much to Traci C. for another great post on things not to miss at Walt Disney World. Also to Sam Howzit and Loren Javier for their ride photography via Creative Commons. What is your favorite scene from The Great Movie Ride? Leave us a comment!

J wrote on Mon, 10/21/2013 - 16:08:

J's picture

I suppose posts like this were inevitable for this article, but I feel like this ride so symbolizes what Hollywood Studios was [i][/i]supposed to be about. It was so much better when this is what you saw when you entered the park. No need to hate more on the hat here. I heard this ride was originally going to be in Epcot, but it actually inspired the whole new park. To me, this ride is as classic as it comes. It never seems to get old.

V No Privacy wrote on Mon, 10/21/2013 - 18:11:

V No Privacy's picture

Armageddon is 15 years old! They definitely need to update the montage (and the ride in general). :)

Kristin wrote on Mon, 10/21/2013 - 19:39:

Kristin's picture

I have ridden this ride dozens of times and have never had a western person take over the car- only gangsters. Is that new? I LOVE THIS RIDE :)

Lori wrote on Mon, 10/21/2013 - 20:06:

Lori's picture

Took my granddaughter who's 7yrs old on The Great Movie Ride and she enjoyed it and even gave her younger brother a "thumbs up". She said next time we go to WDW he needed to check out this ride. I think this ride is enjoyable for all ages.

coreyp wrote on Mon, 10/21/2013 - 21:15:

coreyp's picture

This is one of those rides that can really be hurt or enhanced by the cast member you get. Last time I went our CM was really bad! No enthusiasm, seemed to have a cold because she was wiping and blowing her nose a lot. Really ruined the fun for us.

Kristen K. wrote on Wed, 10/23/2013 - 12:27:

Kristen K.'s picture

Kristin - Nope, not new, as far as I know there has always been two versions of the take over.

alicemouse wrote on Wed, 10/23/2013 - 19:19:

alicemouse's picture

Wow! I've only ever gotten the gangster takeover, too! I had no idea there was another version! Of course, I don't ride GMR very often because of the snake factor...ick.

PirateGirl wrote on Wed, 10/23/2013 - 23:51:

I loved GMR. We had THE BEST CM during the gangster part of the ride. He kept telling us to SHUDDUP and it made me laugh to the point he said, "SHUDDUP GIGGLES".

JoAnn C wrote on Thu, 10/24/2013 - 23:18:

JoAnn C's picture

I had only seen the ganster version until last year. I rode it twice during the trip. The first time I had the ganster version. The second ride was the cowboy version.

If I remember correctly, there are two cars loaded for the "tour". It was when I was in the first car that I had the cowboy version.

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