Opened: May 1, 1989
Location: Hollywood Boulevard.
Extra Magic Hours: Evening.
Ride Length: 25 minutes.
Type: Dark ride.
Similar To: Living With the Land, Ellen’s Energy Adventure.
Scary Factor: Medium.
The following contains possible spoilers: There are a few movie clips in the preshow and animatronic scenes during the ride that may be upsetting to youngsters. This includes a creepy scene from the movie Alien. Although the bark is worse than the bite, there is an alien that lowers its head from the ceiling and the lighting and props are on the scary side. It’s not particularly scary, but kids may be anxious about what will be shown.
The Raiders of the Lost Ark scene also includes a floor covered in snakes and skeleton props. The gun fight between the villains and your live host may also startle kids who have trouble remembering none of it is “real.” The problem kids may run into is that the vehicles carrying the riders move slowly and the scenes surround the boats, so kids can’t look away – only close their eyes if they get scared. Most everybody over the age of ten should be fine.
What to Expect: The Great Movie Ride is housed inside of a full-size replica of the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theater. The preshow area features a winding queue with movie memorabilia and then another large room with a giant movie screen that plays short clips/trailers from popular (old) movies. If the line fills this room, you’ll probably see the same clips two times. Once you move through that queue area, you’ll be placed in another line where you’ll wait to board a 70 person slow-moving vehicle similar to the ones used at Ellen’s Energy Adventure.
A live narrator will board the boat with you and help move the story along as you travel through famous movie scenes that Disney has recreated with the help of animatronic characters. Movies represented include Alien, Casablanca, Fantasia, Mary Poppins, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Public Enemy, and the Wizard of Oz. There are two possible storylines featured in the Great Movie Ride, but the scenes are the same for both. The gangster story is often the only one running, but a cowboy scene is also possible. When the Studios is busy, both stories may be running. Turner Classic Movies took over sponsorship of the attraction in 2015, but changes are few in number. Film historian and primary host of the network, Robert Osborne, now appears in the pre-show video to explain a bit about what’s going on and that narration carries into parts of the ride. All of the animatronic scenes are otherwise the same, though the brief film clips at the very end have also been updated.
Where to Sit: There really isn’t a bad seat in any of the vehicles. Each row seats about six adults and the view is best on either the far left or right sides. I prefer to sit closer to the front because the narration is synced better. In the back, occasionally you won’t have your eyes on whatever the narrator is talking about because the vehicles are so long.
FastPass+: Yes, low Tier 1 priority. Great Movie Ride is in the same tier as Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Toy Story Mania and guests may ordinarily only select one of these attractions in advance. Because FastPass+ for both rides are more limited in number and will save more time in most situations, selecting Toy Story Mania or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster makes the most sense. Great Movie Ride is the highest 4th FastPass+ priority for most guests as it will save 20 to 50 minutes in line in the afternoon.
What You Miss Using FastPass+: Potentially some of the clips in the pre-show room and some of the film props in the queue.
Neither should be a deal breaker for most guests.
Total Average Experience Time with FastPass+: 35 minutes.
4th FastPass+ Availability:
Expect to Wait:
When To Go: Most people will be headed to Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, or somewhere else first thing and Great Movie Ride wait times do take off quicker than in the past with FastPass+ returners with priority boarding increasing wait times. If you’re skipping the thrill rides and can visit in standby by 9:30am, consider doing that. Otherwise, acquire a 4th FastPass+ as early in the day as possible when there’s more availability or as late in the day as possible when waits again drop.
This Ride is the Reason the Hollywood Studios Exists: The Great Movie Ride was originally planned to be the centerpiece for a new Pavilion at Epcot. Instead, newly appointed CEO Michael Eisner thought the attraction was strong enough to plan an entire new theme park around it. He was only sort of right.
Commentary: While we all may be able to appreciate the “classicness” of a Disney attraction, this is another ride that has remained more or less the same for 20+ years. Turner Classic Movies did refresh the clips and the narration a bit, but the script remains a bit stale and there have been no real changes to the ride’s animatronics or show scenes. With the Studios’ current lineup of attractions, Movie Ride should be on most visitors’ lists of attractions to experience, even if it probably isn’t going to be anyone’s favorite ride.