Disney’s Hollywood Studios Prepares To Say Goodbye To The Great Movie Ride

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Prepares To Say Goodbye To The Great Movie Ride

I have mixed feelings about this theme park announcement.

Recently, at the D23 Expo – the Official Disney Fan Club convention – the Walt Disney Company made a lot of announcements regarding big changes coming soon to Walt Disney World.

As a Disney geek, current Walt Disney World College Programmer, and aspiring long-term Disney Cast Member, most of these announcements have me very excited. EPCOT is getting Ratatouille and Guardians of the Galaxy attractions. Magic Kingdom is getting a new live entertainment theatre and a Tron attraction. Hollywood Studios, my current workplace, will have a Star Wars land that will be, in the words of Walt Disney Imagineer Scott Trowbridge, “unlike anything that we’ve ever done before.”

But one announcement has given me pause: The Great Movie Ride (GMR), the only attraction at Hollywood Studios that has been there since the park opened on May 1, 1989, will be replaced with a new ride, “Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.”

Now, I have no doubt that the Runaway Railway will be an incredible attraction. The concept art presented at the D23 Expo is adorable and intriguing, and the ride will reportedly include immersive 3D-like effects that do not require special glasses to view. But I cannot help but sigh at the thought of losing GMR, which will close its doors on August 13th, just a few short weeks from now.

I first rode GMR on my last College Program, two years ago. I gleefully climbed aboard that journey through the movies, laughing at the jokes our tour guide cracked and humming through the musical scenes. I gasped out loud in a mixture of surprise and delight when a gangster stepped away from his animatronic companions and hijacked our vehicle, blurring the line between film and reality. I cringed away from the alien, sang along with the Munchkins, and never stopped smiling through the film montage finale.

As soon as the ride was complete, I was ready to try it again. I have ridden it several times, sometimes on my own and sometimes with friends. I never have gotten used to the alien – on one occasion, amusing in hindsight, the friend I was riding with had to “protect” me because I did not know that the alien attacked from the side of the car as well as from above – but every other scene on that journey through the movies has always been a pleasure for me. I love stories, and I love how that ride uses simple effects to tap into the imagination and take its visitors into the stories.

For those twenty-two minutes, the actors and animatronics let us believe that we are truly there in the world of movies. In this way, GMR is representative of the overarching magic that Walt Disney World gives its guests. Walt Disney World gives us a day in which we are not in the everyday world, but a world of wonder and adventure, a world where stories come to life and dreams come true.

Again, I have no doubt that the Runaway Railway will be a wonderful part of the magic of Walt Disney World. I look forward to climbing aboard the train and seeing where Mickey and his friends take me next. But a part of me will always look fondly back on GMR, with some regret at how I was never able to take my parents on it, and also with a lot of happy memories.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.


So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?



Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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