Friday, January 24, 2014

Day 389: FAF: The Great Movie Ride

Time for another Featured Attraction Friday, and this time we're headed to Disney's Hollywood Studios. I've talked plenty about The Great Movie Ride before (remember that day that I realized the Hologram table from the Falcon was in the queue and Harrison Ford touched it?), and honestly it's become one of my favorite attractions! But I'll talk more about that later!


What's On The Map: 

Journey into some of Hollywood's most famous films on the ever popular Great Movie Ride. "Stroll onto a soundstage designed to recall 1930's-era Hollywood and board a tram for a captivating tour of some of Tinseltown's greatest film scenes. Glide beneath a flashing movie marquee and cross over into a world that could only exist in the movies.

Be part of such classic films as: Alien, Casablanca, Fantasia, Mary Poppins, Raiders of the Lost Art [!], Singin' in the Rain, Tarzan the Ape Man, The Public Enemy, The Wizard of Oz.

Your informative tour guide will set the stage for the scenes you'll visit. Just don't be surprised if something unexpected happens along the way. Keep telling yourself, it's only a movie" (WDW Website).

A sketch of the original design for The Great Movie Ride at EPCOT. 

A Brief History Lesson: 

This week's history is from Studios Central and Walt Dated World!

The history of The Great Movie Ride is another kind of interesting one: at least I think so. And believe it or not, it holds a very close connection to Epcot of all places! Originally though, the idea goes all the way back to Walt Disney himself, and his ideas for Disneyland. It was a tram tour at the Universal lot that got Walt's mind going. Of course, we all know that he didn't make a lot tour, but instead broke ground in Anaheim and created Disneyland.

So in the early 1980's, when "a team of Imagineers led by Marty Sklar and Randy Bright had been given an assignment to create two new pavilions for EPCOT Center's Future World section," they came up with two ideas: The Wonders of Life Pavilion and The Great Movie Ride Pavilion. This is where I'm sure you're just like "WHAT?!?" because that was just about my response too. The Wonders of Life was created as planned, but the idea for the Great Movie Ride was caught by Michael Eisner.

"Originally to be placed between The Land and The Journey Into the Imagination pavilions, The Great Movie Ride pavilion was designed to look as a movie set background. With a soundstage background and a small ticket booth entrance, the falseness of Hollywood was embraced int the project's facade." However, the attraction would never make it to Epcot, as Eisner decided to create not only a new pavilion, but an entire park around the idea of film.

Each of the parks opened with a focal point. For Magic Kingdom, it was Cinderella Castle, and for Epcot, Spaceship Earth. Later, Animal Kingdom would open with the Tree of Life. Therefore, The Great Movie Ride was changed in scale, and it was crafted after one of Hollywood's greatest landmarks, Grauman's Chinese Theater.

The Great Movie Ride opened in May of 1989 with the rest of the then named Disney-MGM Studios. In the late 1990's, Disney built a large replica of Mickey's sorcerer hat from the film "Fantasia," a decision that is most likely due to legal issues concerning the theater (I actually didn't know that!)

Fun Facts: 

  • As you approach the Chinese Theater, look down. Many visiting celebrities have left their signatures and handprints in cement squares. See if you can find George Lucas, Dick Van Dyke, Roger Rabbit, C-3P0 and others. You may even find the distinct prints of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. [OR HARRISON FORD!!!!!!!!!!]
  • The Great Movie Ride offers two distinct scenarios, one with a cowboy theme, and the other with a gangster theme, so if you have a preference, ask a Cast Member to direct you to the correct line. 
  • If you opt for the gangster version, notice the license plate number on the car in the shootout scene. It's 021-429, a variation on February 14, 1929, the date of the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago. 
  • The town you travel through in the cowboy version of the ride certainly recalls Tombstone, Arizona, "The Town Too Tough To Die." Cochise County Court House (indicative of the county where Tombstone is actually located) is on your right, covered in Wells Fargo posters offering rewards for the Most Wanted Outlaws. 
  • Guests with an exceptionally quick eye may notice some of the hieroglyphics on the walls in the Egyptian scene have some rather surprising icons. See if you can located R2-D2 and C-3P0 from the Star Wars movie or Donald Duck as an Egyptian Servant offering a slice of cheese to Pharaoh Mickey Mouse. 
  • In the Alien scene, if you are sitting on the left side of the tram, you may be able to read the computer monitors if you peer over the edge of your vehicle. The screen titled Crew Status Roster shows a listing of the Imagineers and designers of The Great Movie Ride. Notice each crew member's current status; some are listed as missing while others have humorous notations next to their names. 
  • You may recall having seen the rear half of a Lockheed Electra 12A Airplane as you made your way around the Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom, and you certainly can't miss the front half, which features prominently in the Casablanca scene. It isn't the original plane used in the movie, however. The Lockheed Electra 12A in the movie was actually a mockup, not a real airplane. 

My Thoughts: 

As I said earlier, I love The Great Movie Ride. As a kid, and still today actually, I am terrified of the Alien portion (when I'm with my dad I literally put my head so I'm basically looking into his shoulder. When I was a kid I HAD to sit next to him so the alien wouldn't get me. One of those good memories from when I was a kid...even if I was terrified the whole time). In fact, it's one of the few attractions that gets the honor of being one I would love to work for, right up there with Spaceship Earth and the Jungle Cruise. I'd just really enjoy going through the movies...even if I do have a specific script to follow. It still sounds fun to me! 

I also feel it's a good point to mention that because of The Great Movie Ride, I've found some of my all time favorite films. It is because of the attraction that I first watched Singin' In the Rain, and that's now one of my absolute favorite movies, just as it is for many of my friends. 

Also, I literally freak out every single time I go through this attraction and there is any reference to Harrison Ford. I may also love Colin O'Donoghue and Jennifer Morrison, but come on, let's be real here: my favorite actor will always be Harrison Ford. 

Which brings us to the end of another Featured Attraction Friday post. You know, now that I've gotten going on these I kind of enjoy it. Learning about the different attractions and stuff. Each one takes FOREVER to work on I'm going to make sure I get ahead and then just go from there. Once March comes around I'm not going to have time to sit all day and work on my blog when I get behind! But hey, I'm going through my Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World book again and that means that there's plenty of stuff I want to go find when I go in March! Super excited! 

Have a magical day!