With little-to-no-warning, the new version of “The Great Movie Ride presented by TCM” finally debuted at Disney’s Hollywood Studios earlier today. In 26 years, this marks the largest changes to the ride (other than some minor additions to the finale montage on two occasions, the last being a decade ago).
Outside, all signage was changed overnight to include Turner Classic Movies.
Upon entering the queue, the interactive movie posters and displays we showed you a few weeks back are now running. The posters switch between a logo for the Great Movie Ride and movie posters that come to life with some animated element.
The pre-show is no longer a 20-minute loop of trailers, but now a 45-minute documentary that spans all of the movies and genres covered in the ride. What’s great here is that some of the trailers even remain in the pre-show, including The Searchers (“No you don’t Ethan. Ethan, no you don’t!”). As time rolls on, many of the older films in the attraction have been forgotten to time and the pre-show does a nice job filling guests in on lesser-known classics such as Footlight Parade or The Public Enemy. The new film does a nice job providing background information that may spark more of an interest in seeing these films, which for TCM is probably the purpose of sponsoring the ride. If you want to find many of these films, Turner Classic Movies is often the easiest place to go.
See the entire pre-show loop for yourself:
The only physical change to the ride that guests can see is the marquee in the loading area. No longer a “Journey into the Movies”, the Great Movie Ride is now “The Ultimate Celebration of Classic Movies”. There’s also now movie posters just under the marquee that feature the new ads for the ride.
Robert Osborne of TCM and the cast-member physically driving the vehicle are now both your hosts. Osborne provides about 60% of the spiel for the ride (pre-recorded of course), while the live cast member still becomes a part of the show and throws in some remarks here-or-there.
The finale montage of the ride is now in gorgeous high definition, and luckily almost every memorable clip and soundbite has returned, repackaged in a rather nice manner.
See the attraction with new audio spiels and the new finale film montage:
The photo-op at the exit of the attraction (which bloggers tried to convince everyone was a new stroller parking area) was also installed overnight. Guests can pretend that their handprints are being placed in front of the Chinese Theater, which really is a photo opportunity that someone should have come up with many years ago.
Overall, the changes are long overdue. While it is sad to lose the original pre-show, the clips do live on as the actual trailers for those films anyway. The finale montage was clearly handled with the utmost care as most every clip, line of dialogue, and musical note was brought back refreshed and in a seemingly more organized fashion grouped by genre (provided Disney or TCM had the rights to it). Yes, there is less live-spieling and more pre-recorded narration, but honestly, Great Movie Ride cast members have been forced to stick to the script word-for-word for at least 15 years now and the spiel was about as tired as could be. With the exception of losing the fantastic pre-recorded spiel about Alien and the spaceship Nostromo, this has to be seen as an improvement over the tired lines such as “the horror movie is my all-time favorite genre”, “no, it’s not George of the Jungle”, and “Can anyone tell me what movie this is?”. This long-overdue refreshing of the ride breathes new life and hopefully is just a taste of larger changes to come to the attraction at the expansion of Disney’s Hollywood Studios moves forward.