Disney World Rumor: It’s Curtains for the Great Movie Ride
There are big changes coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando Florida. Disney has already announced that they are building new lands themed to Star Wars and Toy Story. These projects are ongoing and no completion date has been announced. In its current form, the park is operating at a diminished capacity and it has a reputation as a “half day park” to begin with. To accommodate the construction (but more importantly, to keep operating costs as low as possible) Disney has had several closures in recent years. Insiders are reporting that as early as next year, The Great Movie Ride will be joining them.
Before I get into the rumor, I wanted to talk about the historical significance of the attraction. Originally, The Great Movie Ride was being developed as a pavilion for Epcot. According to Disney, they soon realized that it could be the centerpiece for a movie-themed park instead. This dawned on the company around the same time as Universal announced they would be building their own movie-themed park down the road. I’m sure the two events are unrelated.
The park currently known as Disney Hollywood Studios opened in 1989. At the time, it was called Disney-MGM Studios and there were only two attractions. The Great Movie Ride was the centerpiece to the park. The other attraction was the original incarnation of the Backlot Tour which took most of the day to experience. Slowly, Disney shed the “working studio” concept for the park and the tour shrank down to a shell of its former self. In 2014, Disney finally pulled the plug on what was left of the tour.
Recently, rumors have been swirling around the reinvention of the park. In a few years, it will be a vastly different experience and may even have another new name. Earlier this year, there was talk that the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror would be rethemed to include the Guardians of the Galaxy. This seemed absurd, but it has been confirmed for the California version of the ride. The Orlando Tower is safe for the moment. Reportedly, President of the Walt Disney World George Kalogridis balked at the idea.
Did Kalogridis object to the desecration of one of the best themed attractions in Orlando? No. He argued that the park was already operating at minimum capacity and couldn’t handle losing the Tower for the time it would take to install the Guardians overlay. So he floated the alternative plan of shoehorning the Guardians into the Universe of Energy at Epcot. For the time being, neither plan has been greenlit and both remain on the table. We’ll have to see how that plays out. It’s possible neither plan will actually move forward.
I bring this up because the straw that broke the camel’s back was the closure of the Great Movie Ride. With one more ride scheduled to close, there is simply no way the park could have handled the closure of another signature attraction. There would be nothing left to do! So in a weird way, the Great Movie Ride’s sacrifice is earning the Tower of Terror a stay of execution if not an outright save.
The big question is, what is going to take the place of the GMR? Details are scarce. But insiders (Marni1971, MansionButler84 and WDW1974) have confirmed that the plan is to put in a new attraction based around Mickey Mouse himself! (I also want to credit TheVisionarySoul for breaking the initial rumor earlier this week.)