Why “The Great Movie Ride” Closing is a Really Big Deal

At the D23 Expo 2017, it was announced that “The Great Movie Ride,” the final opening-day attraction at Disney-MGM Studios (as it will always be!), will be making it’s final journey into the movies. Depending on the type of Disney person you are, you’re reaction to the news could’ve been anywhere from “meh…” to “nooooooo!” Most Disney fans probably fall somewhere in between.

We’ve slowly seen Disney’s Hollywood Studios devolve from the working studio where you can be a part of the show, to a mashup of various Disney IPs. Can TGMR compete with Toy Story land? No. Or the behemoth that will be Star Wars land? Definitely not. So why is it’s closing such a big deal?

TGMR is the quintessential showcase for what DHS was originally conceived to be. The working studio where you can become a part of the show. In it’s earliest stages, TGMR was going to be a pavilion in Epcot Center. Akin to the likes of The Land or The Wonders of Life. But it was thought that having a pavilion dedicated to the movies was too big an idea to be contained in a small area within another park.

It is unique among rides at Disney and theme parks in general. The outside theming set the stage (yes, I said it) for what was to come with the detailed replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, complete with the handprints of some of the best in ’80s and ’90s talent.

The queue was the queue you didn’t mind waiting in, in a time before interactive queues became the standard at attractions. You can zig zag by the velvet ropes looking at fun movie memorabilia. Then the pinnacle would be watching the wonderful trailers from movie classics once you reach the switchbacks.

The ride exit doesn’t let out into a gift shop like every other ride, although I wouldn’t mind having some TGMR keepsakes to take home.

The closing of TGMR is Disney making a final statement that the original incarnation of Disney-MGM Studios is nearly phased out. This transition has happened slowly over the years, from the shuttering of the working studio to the closing of the Studio Backlot Tour (the other opening day attraction closed in 2014). Really, all that’s left encompassing this concept is the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. And it’s not what you would call a strong anchor point.

The question now becomes, how long will Michael Eisner’s dedication be relevant?:

The Hollywood that never was — and always will be.

What lies next on the horizon and will the title Hollywood Studios be a relevant enough namesake to keep? I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to find out!

Hope this brings some magic to your day!

— Laurie

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