Fantasy, Intrigue, Adventure Await Guests Who Take Ride Through Films’ Greatest Moments

Filed in: Disney's Hollywood Studios

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Experiencing The Great Movie Ride is like
holding a visitor’s pass to some of the most famous film shoots in
silver screen history.

The ride-through attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios takes Walt
Disney World Resort guests on a “soundstage tour” of such famous
film settings as the “Casablanca” airport farewell, the Yellow
Brick Road to the Emerald City from “Wizard of Oz,” the “Raiders of
the Lost Ark” Well of Souls and many more.

As theme park guests stroll down Hollywood Boulevard, their attention is drawn to the magnificent Great Movie Ride building. Its exterior, a full-scale reproduction of Hollywood’s world-famous
Chinese Theater, captures the eye and the imagination, bringing to
mind images of the many legendary stars who left their handprints
or footprints in the theater’s concrete courtyard.

Guests queue through the theater’s precisely reproduced lobby
that leads them to the heart and soul of filmmaking.

As they board ride vehicles, the glamour of Hollywood emerges in
a giant cyclorama of the Hollywood hills. Several tiers of show
sets including the vintage “Hollywoodland” sign blend with a
California sunset. Show lights dim and make-believe seems real as
the cars pass under an old-fashioned theater marquee and into the
Hollywood musical.

More than 60 “dancers” atop a large tiered, revolving “cake”
greet them, a replay of the “By a Waterfall” scene from the Busby
Berkeley musical, “Footlight Parade.” One of Gene Kelly’s most
memorable screen performances, the scene in which he sings the
title song from “Singin’ in the Rain,” happens next for the guests.
Rain appears to drench the soundstage but, as before, doesn’t
dampen the spirits of an Audio-Animatronics Kelly as he holds
on to the lamppost and sings the memorable song.

The third musical moment is from Disney’s “Mary Poppins.” With
Bert on a rooftop and Mary descending via her magical umbrella, the
duet sings “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” Guests feel part of the scene with
Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews.

Edge-of-the-seat adventure takes over next. The sight of James
Cagney in his role from the film “Public Enemy” greets guests as
they enter Gangster Alley — a street as dark and sinister as the
previous one was bright and musical. Film fans who recognize such a
setting as the perfect spot for an ambush are right on the money.
The visitors quickly find themselves in the middle of a
Prohibition-style mob shoot-out.

Escape from the armed thugs doesn’t guarantee safe passage. A
trip to Western Town proves just as perilous — though first
impressions may cause some guests to think otherwise.

John Wayne waits nearby on horseback — what kind of varmint
would start trouble with this film hero in the vicinity?

But in the movies, anything can happen. That’s why the bank
robbers at the end of the street no doubt think they can get away
with a broad-daylight stickup. When they blow the safe and flames
pour out of the building, guests once again find themselves in the
midst of movie mayhem.

Escape only puts them in jeopardy again. Finally off the
streets, they find themselves in the depths of the spaceship
Nostromo from the film “Alien” where an apprehensive Officer Ripley
guards the corridor against intruders. Will she think the visitors
a threat? Or are there other dangers, even worse ones, lurking
nearby? Visitors leave the Nostromo perhaps shaken, but with
answers, nonetheless.

What good are space-age answers in the ancient Well of Souls?
With dozens of wriggling snakes covering the floor of the
subterranean vault from “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” guests come upon
famous adventurers — Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones and John
Rhys-Davies as his sidekick, Sallah, struggling to remove the
ancient ark from its sepulcher.

As the ride vehicles roll into the next scene, visitors get to
see the type of movie action — the stuff of serials — that
inspired “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” A high priest worships at an
enormous altar before a statue of Anubis, god of passage through
the underworld. The glow of a brilliant scarab mounted on the idol
beckons the evil-doer. The villains of Saturday serials couldn’t
resist such riches. It’s no different here, and when the gods are
angered by such thievery, they strike back with fury. In a land of
the mummies and curses, such fury can be terrifying.

Guests just make it to safety from the ancient temple and
finally move off the edges of their seats and into less harrowing

They are in the jungle and the familiar cry of Tarzan fills the
air as he swings through the air on a vine. Jane is seated atop an
elephant, and Cheetah, a prisoner of typecasting, screeches and
jumps up and down.

Then it’s nighttime, and the subjects are legendary. As an
airplane engine sputters and finally catches, Rick and Ilsa say
their good-byes in the timeless scene from “Casablanca.”

Next stop, Munchkinland. Swirling winds between scenes suggest a
tornado. As they pass into the scene, guests see the winds’
results: two legs stick out from below a house. The city’s
residents are celebrating their good fortune. A surprise visit by
the Wicked Witch of the West as portrayed by Margaret Hamilton
restores the tension.

Film fans know how hard she tried to avenge her sister’s death.
They also know the route the film takes to reach its happy ending.
The final scene is one of Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion,
the Scarecrow and Toto on the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City
of Oz.

A grand finale film montage reminds guests that the number of
memorable scenes from great films is limitless.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios immerses guests in the glamour of show business
365 days a year with thrilling attractions, incredible
Broadway-style shows, world-class atmosphere entertainment and
interactive film, television and radio production
facilities. The theme park is part of the 25,000-acre Walt Disney
World Resort near Orlando, Fla.

For more information, call 407/824-4321 or visit