Complete Video of Updated Great Movie Ride presented by Turner Classic Movies at DHS

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DHS updated Great Movie Ride presented by Turner Classic Movies
DHS’s Great Movie Ride is now presented by Turner Classic Movies (Photos and video by Seth Kubersky)

Just a few days ago, Disney’s Hollywood Studios quietly implemented some major changes to one of its iconic attractions, when WDW introduced the updated Great Movie Ride presented by Turner Classic Movies. The update features TCM host Robert Osborne, and includes new decor elements in the queue, an entirely new preshow video, brand new narration through the ride, and a revised finale film.

Here’s a look at the ride’s Chinese Theater exterior, which has received subtle new signage and a much-needed cleaning.

The attraction had a 25 minute standby wait in the late afternoon when I visited, but earlier in the day it went up to nearly an hour. Is the refreshed ride really popular, or is there just not much else to ride at DHS?…

 

Once inside the lobby, you’ll note the illuminated movie posters that are actually high resolution digital screens. The posters fade from one to another, and feature some simple animation.

 

Further on, the lobby’s display cases were refurbished a few months back with a new selection screen-used props and costumes.

Each prop case is now accompanied by a digital display on a pedestal that displays a description of one of the items. Though it looks like it should be a touchscreen, there doesn’t seem to be a way (for now) to change which item’s info is displayed.

 

Next you enter the preshow theater, where an all-new video loop features Robert Osborne presenting extended clips and in-depth background on each of the ride’s referenced films. The best part of the new preshow is that it lasts about 50 minutes — much longer than you’re ever likely to be in the preshow — unlike the original assemblage of brief trailers which recycled every few minutes.

Here’s a sample segment of the new preshow, featuring John Wayne’s The Searchers:

 

Next up is the ride itself, which now includes prerecorded narration from Robert Osborne, who plays co-host to the live tour guide. Here’s a full video of the updated Great Movie Ride’s “gangster” track, which was the only side operating during my ride:

 

Finally, the finale has been entirely reedited with a mix of classic clips, new scenes from previously featured films, and a handful of more recent movies. The musical score also reuses themes from the original ending, and all the footage has been cleaned up to current digital standards. Refreshingly, this is the first Disney movie montage we’ve seen in a while that gives Tangled more screen time than Frozen.

 

After riding the updated Great Movie Ride presented by Turner Classic Movies, I must admit to walking away a bit disappointed. The updated preshow is first rate, and I also enjoyed the updated finale: it’s the refurbishment of the attraction’s meat that merits a “meh.” Don’t strain yourself searching for signs of improved animatronics or new effects in old sets, much less any all-new scenes; it doesn’t seem that Imagineering did much more than dust the ride’s physical elements. Robert Osborne’s vocal track is almost inaudibly quiet compared to the live guide and sound effects, and what you can of hear his narration sounds so low-energy it makes Bill Paxton’s Twister performance seem passionate.

The volume issue can be easily fixed (and might be by the time you read this, if they are listening to the feedback of guests exiting the ride) and I won’t go so far as saying Osborne’s apathetic voice-over “ruins” the ride. The Great Movie Ride still remains a milestone in Imagineering art direction, but this TCM-sponsored update smells more like a band-aid while the rest of DHS gets its act together, rather than a long-term stay of execution.

What do you think of the updated Great Movie Ride? Leave your opinion in the comments below!

Seth Kubersky

Author of The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. Co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland and Beyond Disney. Contributor to Unofficial Guides to WDW and Las Vegas. Live Active Cultures columnist for the Orlando Weekly. Travel and arts journalist. Theatrical director and producer.

11 thoughts on “Complete Video of Updated Great Movie Ride presented by Turner Classic Movies at DHS

  • June 2, 2015 at 5:02 pm
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    I am so disappointed they included Clockwork Orange.

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  • June 2, 2015 at 7:05 pm
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    We visited just two weeks ago. Glad they made some updates, but your comment about its popularity being based on nothing else to do was spot on! This was a favorite park of ours five years ago but my kids were ready to go home by one….we had hit all major rides and were bored:( I hope they have plans in the works to revive this park.

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    • June 8, 2015 at 1:33 pm
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      MK and Epcot have a lot more to do and a lot larger crowds. If you are going for bang for your buck it sure isn’t Studios.
      Disney hit a bump when the mbas invaded and very little was done in any park for a long, long time. That ended with a huge expansion at MK, I haven’t heard of any plans anywhere else, and have a few friends on the inside.
      Disney has done a lot more focusing on the resorts, which is probably good for tourists as they don’t have to see the poverty in Orlando created by a minimum wage part time job economy.

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  • June 2, 2015 at 8:02 pm
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    The American Adventure theatre & The Great Movie Ride, all elements, are two of the best time capsules in existence. I enjoy both whenever I can get there & thank all parties concerned for creating & showing them. Please do all possible to preserve all past & present versions as the material needs to be remembered somehow.

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  • June 2, 2015 at 9:24 pm
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    Is there a track other than the “gangster track” for this ride? Five years ago my family and I went on this ride and the “gangster” gun play section of the ride frightened my daughter so badly we have never been on the ride since. Maybe if there is another track there is hope we could return and try again.

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    • June 2, 2015 at 11:42 pm
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      It is possible to get a “Western Track” at peak times of the day. It will run at the same time as the Gangster scene you’re just in the vehicle ahead. Typically these run in the middle of the day if you’re in line again specifically ask for an “A” show and they’ll get you on the other one. I will say though, there is still gun fire and a surprise at the end so I’m not sure which one would be considered less scary.

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      • June 3, 2015 at 10:34 pm
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        Thank you, Maddie. We’re back at WDW in August and maybe I can talk her into trying this ride again.

  • June 2, 2015 at 11:36 pm
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    Interesting that in the end montage, they got a brief scene from the upcoming “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” movie before it’s event released into theaters. That’s pretty cool. Overall, it seems like a nice update to the end of the attraction. If only they would change out the Alien scene to something else, I could maybe get my 7 year old to go on the attraction.

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  • June 2, 2015 at 11:39 pm
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    As a past Tour Guide of The Great Movie Ride there are many things I love about this update but there are also many things I’m disappointed about. I wish there wasn’t so much Robert Osborne in the actual ride. The Tour Guide can keep the energy high while his voice overs seemed to quiet for anyone to actually hear or care about. I did love the update to the Pre-Show video and the finale. When I left they hadn’t yet switched to digital and I must say, the videos look fantastic in comparison. I can’t wait to go experience the ride for myself. This ride will always be my home and I miss it dearly.

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  • June 3, 2015 at 9:09 am
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    I wish too the narration was louder and had more energy. I don’t know why they actually needed the narration. The live tour guide has so much more energy and I found it kind of strange as well, not that I could hear it all the time. It also seemed like the live tour guide was trying to one up the narration.

    I was watching wondering why it has been over 10 years since I have gone on this ride and then I remembered when I saw the alien sequence. I always seem to have young children and this part would freak them out.

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  • June 3, 2015 at 10:56 pm
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    Osbourne is fairly low energy anyway. Much of his presence comes from his physicality and face. Try listening to one of his intros or outros on TMC without watching it. Except for that tag in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” I can’t remember him ever getting worked up or excited.

    Reply

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