The Great Movie Ride is a guided vehicle dark ride located in Disneys Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. The attraction employs the use of Audio-Animatronic figures, live actors, special effects, the attraction—which debuted with the park on May 1, 1989—is located inside a replica of Graumans Chinese Theatre, one of Hollywoods most famous movie palaces. The Great Movie Ride directly inspired the creation of Disneys Hollywood Studios, however, the newly assigned Disney CEO Michael Eisner and WDI president Marty Sklar decided the idea was strong enough to lead an entire new theme park. The idea for the ride was expanded, and the Disney-MGM Studios went into official development, plans called for The Great Movie Ride to be the main attraction for the Disney-MGM Studios Paris theme park, which was scrapped due to the early financial difficulties of the Euro Disneyland Resort. A show called CinéMagique was built in lieu of the due to claims by Disney management that the French preferred shows to ride-through attractions. Three separate attempts have been made by Walt Disney Imagineering to bring The Great Movie Ride to California, due to budget cuts, however, Hollywoodland was canceled. Later, plans called for the ride to be built as part of the Hollywood Pictures Backlot area of the Disney California Adventure Park theme park at the Disneyland Resort. But budget cuts in the original development planning forced the rides projected cost to be spent on smaller, original. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Disney was interested in purchasing Jim Hensons Muppets, Walt Disney Imagineering developed a Muppet-themed land for Disney-MGM Studios called Muppet Movieland. However, after Henson died, the deal fell apart and Disney cut back on the Muppet-themed area to just Muppet*Vision 3D, where the screen is now was where the Wizard would have appeared surrounded by flames. Along the outer walls of the theatre, is currently large empty carpeted areas, here was supposed to be large platforms where models of all of the audio-animatronic characters seen earlier in the ride would be standing and would take a bow. Unlike many Disney dark rides that feature separate embarkation and debarkation areas, the last people to exit the vehicles often pass the next group of guests waiting to board the vehicles. At the time the ride was designed, it was throughout the theme park industry to have all major rides exit into a store selling merchandise associated with the attraction. The Great Movie Ride, however, does not exit directly into a store, in 2014, as part of an exclusive programming deal with Disney, Turner Classic Movies agreed to become the sponsor of the attraction. The attraction underwent a refurbishment in 2015, with the addition of a new pre-show and post-show hosted by Robert Osborne, the changes were unveiled on May 29,2015. Since its inception, The Great Movie Ride has had some modifications worth noting, the first sequence of the ride, Footlight Parade, was plagued with engineering and technical problems from the beginning. When the ride was opened, the Footlight Parade segment was different than it is today. The entire portion following the neon lighted entrance was fleshed out, all the walls leading up to, around, and beyond the cake were painted in art deco style patterns as seen in By A Waterfall
Image: The Great Movie Ride original poster
The Wicked Witch audio-animatronic featured in The Wizard of Oz scene was the first A-100 unit created by Disney.
Recreation of the Chinese Theatre
The neon theatre marquee inside of the 1930s-era Hollywood soundstage at the beginning of the ride.