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Ride / The Great Movie Ride

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"A cast of thousands! A sweeping spectacle of Thrills! Chills! Romance!"

"Ready when you are, C.B.!"

The Great Movie Ride was a dark ride that once served as the centerpiece attraction to Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. Located inside a replica of the famous Hollywood Chinese Theater, the ride took guests on a journey through some of the most iconic movie moments throughout the history of the American industry, specifically from The Golden Age of Hollywood to New Hollywood.

In the process, riders have an encounter with a Xenomorph as well as the Wicked Witch of the West, and (depending on the ride) the vehicle at one point is even hijacked by either a western bandit (named "Kid Carson" or "Kate Durango") or a gangster (named "Mugsy")!

The ride was an opening day attraction at the park, which opened on May 1, 1989.

The attraction received very little alterations until 2015, when it was given update with the help of a new sponsor, Turner Classic Movies. The attraction was given a new co-narration by film historian/TCM host Robert Osborne, as well as a new preshow documentary film also narrated by Osborne (which replaced the old trailer loop) discussing the various films and genres showcased, and the attraction's closing montage was redone with TCM's help.

The update turned out to be short-lived, however, as after a 28-year run, the attraction was permanently closed on August 13, 2017, with its replacement being a very large-scale ride based on the current Mickey Mouse shorts, titled Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, which opened in 2020.

Below are the films that had their own scenes in the ride (in order of appearance):

In addition to the scenes depicting the above films, the ride also ended on a big montage showcasing over a hundred films from Hollywood's vast history.

Lights! Camera! and… ACTION!

Tropes shown in The Great Movie Ride include:

  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • The Casablanca finale scene is greatly simplified in the ride, with all of Ilsa's dialogue removed.
    • The Wizard of Oz Munchkinland scene is also simplified in the ride, with bits of Dorothy and Glinda’s dialogue being given to the tour guide.
  • Airvent Passageway: The Xenomorph pops out at the riders from one in the Alien scene.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: The witch repeats the infamous line in the Wizard of Oz scene, though it seems a bit out-of-place due to the fact there’s no dog with the tour guide.
  • Artifact of Death: The Raiders of the Lost Ark scene has a cursed jewel, which the hijacker attempts to steal, with predictable results (see "Stripped to the Bone" below).
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Before the 2015 script-rewrite of the attraction, there was this exchange when Mugsy hijacks the vehicle:
    Mugsy: Psst, hey, you.
    Tour Guide: Are you talking to me? Are you talkin' to me?
    Mugsy: No, I'm talkin' to da dame in da funny-lookin' outfit over dere. Yeah, I'm talkin' to you.
  • Bank Robbery: Sometimes occurs in the western scene, where after a brief shootout, the bank robber bandit hijacks the ride vehicle and uses it to escape.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: The finale montage features several clips of them, including from From Here to Eternity and Notorious.
  • Bloodless Carnage: There's no bloodshed in the current version of the ride, despite there being two big shootouts.
  • Book Ends: The ride begins with the song "Hooray for Hollywood!" and also ends with it. note 
  • Bowdlerise: Originally in the gangsterland scene, the tour guide would get shot by the hijacker and tumble down some stairs with a blood patch on their shirt (but ends up surviving later on). This was removed later on for numerous reasons, including making the ride slightly more family-friendly.
  • Break the Badass: The hijacker is visibly frightened once inside the Alien sequence, though he/she attempts to hide that fact.
  • Brick Joke: During the hijacking scene, the tour guide tells the riders that they'll be back after they get some popcorn. Later after the hijacker is killed, the tour guide returns, saying, "See, I told you I was just going for some popcorn!"
  • Busby Berkeley Number: The attraction contained multiple tributes to the works of Busby Berkeley, particularly with the very first ride scene being of Footlight Parade. The finale also included clips of 42nd Street and Million Dollar Mermaid.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Either hijacker definitely falls under this, as they spend a pretty solid amount of time trying to steal everything in sight, making a big deal out of it in the process.
  • The Cassandra:
    • Ethan Edwards serves this role in the western scene, warning the riders of the town they're about to enter and that they should turn back. His warnings end up falling on deaf ears.
    • When either hijacker attempts to steal the jewel, a temple guardian note  warns them that if they disturb the treasure of the gods, they'll pay with their life. Naturally, the hijacker doesn't listen.
  • Cat Scare: Occurs in-universe when the tour guide is briefly startled by a screeching cat in the gangsterland scene.
  • The City Narrows: The basic setting of the gangsterland scene, the tour guide even mentions how it's the "bad part of town".
  • Cultural Translation: While the ride was discussed for premiering at Disneyland Paris' Walt Disney Studios Park, its concept was finally adapted into a stage show/movie mix called Cinémagique, where a man from the audience (Martin Short) interrupts the projection and is brought in by a magician from a silent movie. He then falls in love with one of its characters (a French actress played by Julie Delpy) but then they are forced to flee through movie sets spawning all eras of film. The reason for the change was budget issues, stage shows being more popular with French guests and the chance to feature animated characters and French film snippets.
  • Dark Action Girl: If the hijacker is played by a woman, then she falls under this, as she is able to hold her own in a gangster/bandit shootout, and keeps a gun on her at all times.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Alien scene most certainly falls under this, as the general mood and atmosphere as well as the Xenomorph attack makes it differ greatly from the usual Disney fare.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mugsy is this throughout, fitting in nicely with his noir setting.
  • Dem Bones: There's one scene that's dedicated to the Horror genre in general that features dozens of living skeletons. They don't move very much, but it's pretty clear to tell that they're alive as their eyes are glowing red.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Shortly after the hijacker gets killed, the temple guardian removes their cloak to reveal that they were the tour guide all along.
  • Easter Egg:
    • The tour guide stating, "Ready when you are, C.B.!", is not referring to the control booth as many people think, but is rather referring to the famous film director, Cecil B. DeMille, as there's a hidden photograph of him on a catwalk that's behind the riders.
    • In the Raiders of the Lost Ark scene, if you keep your eyes locked on a wall of hieroglyphics, you'll see hieroglyphics of Mickey and Donald as well as C-3PO and R2-D2.
    • In the Western scene, there's a sign on a wall advertising "Ransom Stoddard Attorney", which directly refers to the character that Jimmy Stewart played in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
    • The computer screens in the Alien scene have the names of all the people who worked on the ride, though it’s near-impossible to see it while the ride vehicle is moving.
    • Also in the Alien scene is a status monitor, which if you scan to about the middle of the message you'll see a message saying "Walt Disney World welcomes all aliens currently residing on board this ship" and then another message saying, "Estimated time till next special effects failure: 45.8 years".
  • Emerging from the Shadows: In his/her first appearance, Mugsy at first appears in the shadows, but then reveals him/herself after he/she gets the attention of the tour guide.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Mugsy is about as over-the-top as gangsters come. His/her jersey accent certainly doesn’t help.
  • Evil Is Petty: Before leaving the gangsterland scene, Mugsy shoots out a red traffic light.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It's a ride about great movies.
  • Exact Time to Failure: In the Alien scene, taken straight from the film, is the mother computer announcing that the Nostromo ship will detonate in ten minutes.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The gangster/cowboy hijacker gets one when they attempt to steal a cursed jewel (see "Stripped to the Bone" example below).
  • Foreshadowing: Before the 2015 update, the video in the queue line would play the trailers of most of the movies that have scenes in the ride. Now, it plays documentaries on the movies that appear in the ride and their respective genres.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Halfway through your friendly tour guide goes off to investigate something, resulting in the tour getting hijacked by a far less benevolent movie character—depending on which ride vehicle you're in, it's either a gangster or a bandit.
  • From Bad to Worse: After being stuck in the middle of two violent battles in the gangster and western scenes, the ride vehicles end up right in the middle of Nostromo just as the Xenomorph is about to attack. AND it's self-destruct sequence is activated.
  • Firing One-Handed: Either hijacker will do this during their respective shootout scenes.
  • Gender-Blender Name: The gangster hijacker is named "Mugsy", which is used regardless of if a boy or a girl is playing the role. However, if it's a female, she'll claim it's spelled Mugsi.
  • Genre Savvy: Robert Osborne, being a major film historian, of course is this, which he demonstrates when he says that he knows enough about movies to know that you really shouldn't steal a priceless jewel.
  • Genre Roulette: The ride goes into films of all genres, including drama, romance, and horror. But since this is a ride all about the legacy of film, it's justified.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: A cloud of smoke surrounds either hijacker once they touch the cursed jewel, hiding the process of them getting roasted into a skeleton.
  • Grave Robbing: The hijacker attempts this once inside the Raiders of the Lost Ark scene. It doesn't end too well for him/her.
  • Happy Rain: The Singin' in the Rain scene is where this obviously occurs, with the most iconic part of the movie being recreated.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: During the shootout in the gangsterland scene, the rival gang is unable to hit Mugsy despite the fact that he/she's very much out in the open.
  • Implied Death Threat: When the hijacker gets out of the vehicle to steal the cursed jewel, he/she says to the guests, "Don't none of yas move while I get the goods. I don't think they'd notice a few extra bodies around here, if ya know what I mean…"
  • Indy Ploy: What does the hijacker do when he/she is driving a vehicle with a boatload of people through different worlds? Just keeps cruising and hopes something interesting will pop up.
  • I Never Told You My Name: Mugsy says this when the tour guide says his/her name, the explanation being that the tour guide had already "seen this movie before".
  • Interactive Narrator: The ride gains a narrator after the hijacking scene, who briefly interacts with the hijacker in the Alien scene by answering their question of "What is this?" And after the narrator mentions that the alien is waiting to claim its next victim, the hijacker responds, "Hey, I ain’t no victim!"
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: The western scene has both The Man With No Name and Ethan Edwards together.
  • In the Hood: The tour guide wears a hood that completely covers their face when disguised as a temple guardian.
  • I See Dead People: The tour guide quotes this during the scene with the living skeletons, mostly as a shout-out to the trope-namer.
  • It's Quiet… Too Quiet: The general mood of the Alien scene starts off as this, but then the self-destruct alarm sounds and out goes the alien…
  • Joisey: Upon first seeing the western town, Mugsy says, "What is THIS? Jersey!?"
  • Jump Scare: The sounds of the gunshots and the Xenomorph’s appearances have a tendency to catch first-time riders off-guard.
    • And even experienced riders can get startled when one iteration of the bandit hijacking involves a building going up in flames, right next to the tram car.
  • Karmic Death: Either hijacker getting killed when they try to steal the cursed jewel, as the ride makes it pretty clear that they just love stealing things.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: In visual-gag form, the attraction's original pre-2015 finale montage featured a romance section that showed a series of famous kiss scenes in movies, with the last one being a clip from Who Framed Roger Rabbit of Roger and Eddie Valiant kissing.
  • Let's Get Out of Here: Mugsy says in the middle of the western shootout, obviously seeing how crazy things are getting.
  • Loophole Abuse: When Mugsy is faced with a red traffic light:
    Mugsy: Runnin' a red light's against the law, and I never break the law! Watch this!
    (shoots out red light)
    Mugsy: No more red light!
  • Master Actor: The tour guide is revealed to be one during his/her stint as a temple guardian, where they're able to make their voice and mannerisms completely different.
  • Meaningful Name: A gangster being called "mugsy" sure seems rather fitting.
  • Mistaken Identity: If Mugsy is the one who hijacks the vehicle, a sheriff will mistake him/her as a bank robber in the western scene.
  • Mob War: The shootout in the gangsterland scene occurs between two rival gangs.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • With the different amount of films in the ride, it's to be expected. You go from Singin' in the Rain to Alien to Casablanca to The Wizard of Oz with little transition.
    • The pre-2015 queue line video of film trailers has an almost-hilarious instance of this when it jumps immediately from the Fantasia trailer to the Alien trailer.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: At the end of gangsterland scene, Mugsy abandons his/her crew, showing no signs of remorse whilst doing it.
  • Not in Kansas Anymore: The tour guide appropriately quotes this upon arriving in The Wizard of Oz scene.
  • On Second Thought: When Mugsy makes the tour guide get out of the vehicle, he/she then tells him/her to scram. He/she refuses at first, but then says this upon seeing that a gang fight is about to break out.
  • Outlaw Town: The main setting of the western scene. Even Ethan Edwards attempts to warn the riders not to go in there.
  • Parental Bonus: This ride is filled to the brink with references to old movies that parents are likely to appreciate.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The living skeletons in the horror scene have rather menacing glowing red eyes.
  • Reference Overdosed: Big time. We could list all of the movies that are shown in the finale montage of the ride, but it would overwhelm the page pretty quickly. The 2015 update added in even more movie references by making the queue line video into a documentary that talks about all kinds of films from various genres and filling the queue line itself up with digital movie posters that constantly change every few seconds, showcasing posters for films like The Exorcist, JAWS, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Citizen Kane, Pulp Fiction, Titanic, and so on.
  • Rule of Scary: After the Xenomorph first pops out at the riders from the ceiling, it is then somehow able to quickly make it down and pop out again from the side.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Mugsy is quick to take the ride vehicle out of the gangsterland scene upon getting the opportunity, even shooting down a red light along the way.
    • The 2015 version has the Robert Osborne voiceover excusing himself to the concession stand when the cowboy/gangster hijack starts.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: As previously mentioned, either hijacker will off themselves when they attempt to steal the cursed jewel.
  • Stripped to the Bone: The fate of the hijacker after they attempt to steal a cursed jewel in the Raiders of the Lost Ark scene. The second they touch it, they're surrounded by a cloud of smoke, which then dissipates, leaving behind nothing but a skeleton.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: If a bandit is the hijacker, the resulting fight they get into ends with the inside of a bank blowing up.
  • Tagline: The ride now flip-flops between two: "A spectacular journey into the movies!" and "The ultimate celebration of classic movies."
  • Terms of Endangerment: If the tour guide is female, Mugsy will refer to her as "sweetheart" upon first addressing her.
  • Temple of Doom: The Raiders of the Lost Ark scene is set inside one, with cursed artifacts and deadly snakes everywhere.
  • Tempting Fate: This happens with the hijacker twice.
    • After narrowly making it through the fights in the gangsterland and western scenes, the hijacker remarks, "Well, look at it this way, it can’t get any worse!" Cue the Alien sequence immediately after they say that.
    • After the Alien scene, the hijacker says, "All right, I think that's enough creepy crawly things for one day right?" Cue the snakes in the Raiders of the Lost Ark scene.
  • This Way to Certain Death: The tomb with the cursed jewel has several skeletons lying around, which the hijacker makes brief mention of, but ignores regardless.
  • Title Drop: Right towards the beginning of the ride the tour guide flat-out says "Hello everyone, welcome to The Great Movie Ride!"
  • Too Dumb to Live: As mentioned earlier, the hijacker touching the cursed jewel right after the temple guardian told him/her that disturbing it would lead to fatal consequences.
  • Updated Re-release:
    • The finale montage has been changed several times throughout the ride’s history.
    • For the 2015 version, the montage has been almost entirely redone, along with the ride receiving a new pre-show film, narration, and changing posters in its queue line.
  • Vine Swing: Done in the Tarzan the Ape Man scene by the Trope Codifier himself.
  • Voice Changeling: While the tour guide is disguised as a temple guardian, they make their voice sound exactly like how you'd expect one to sound (a deep, booming voice). It's even stranger when the tour guide is played by a woman.
  • Wait Here: This is said to the riders twice in the ride, first by the tour guide during the hijacking scene and then later by the hijacker when they're going to get the cursed jewel. In both cases, it doesn't turn out so well for either people.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: There's a few of them adorning the buildings in the Wild West scene, one of them being for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The hijacker quotes this directly upon seeing some in the Raiders of the Lost Ark scene.
  • The Wild West: The western scene puts emphasis on the "Wild" aspect with the shooting bandits.
  • You Talkin' to Me?: Before the 2015 update, the tour guide would say this in response to when a gangster first addresses them, though there’s no gun or mirror involved.

… CUT! That's a wrap!