The ride was located inside a recreation of the famous Hollywood landmark Grauman's Chinese Theatre. However, because the Walt Disney Company was denied permission to use the name "Grauman", the proper name of the building is simply "The Chinese Theatre". (Also, at the time the attraction was opened, the actual Grauman's Theater was officially known as "Mann's Chinese Theater" as it was owned by the Mann film theater group.)
The facade was almost completely blocked from view in 2001 when a giant replica of the Sorcerer's Hat was built directly in front of it. It served as the park's symbol until it was demolished in 2015. On July 15, 2017, Disney announced that the attraction would close and be replaced with a dark ride themed after Mickey Mouse. It opened March 2, 2020.
- Relive some of the greatest movie moments in history during a tram ride that puts you in the middle of the magic.
- Step back in time as you behold a full-scale reproduction of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Featuring handprints, footprints, and signatures of some of Disney's greatest stars embedded in the cement outside, the theater meticulously captures the pageantry of the legendary movie palace that has become a symbol of Hollywood's Golden Age.
- Parade inside the art-deco-inspired grand lobby and view a dazzling menagerie of props, set pieces, and costumes from classic films.
- Stroll onto a soundstage designed to recall 1930's-era Hollywood and board a tram for a captivating tour of some of Tinseltown's greatest film scenes. Glide beneath a flashing movie marquee and cross over into a world that could only exist in the movies.
- Featuring nearly 50 lifelike Audio-Animatronics replicas of legendary movie stars, lavishly produced set pieces and wondrous special effects, the Great Movie Ride immerses you in the thrills, chills, and romance of some of the most memorable moments in motion picture history.
- Your informative tour guide will set the stage for the scenes you'll visit. Just don't be surprised if something unexpected happens along the way. Keep telling yourself, it's only a movie.
The Queuing Area
The queue wound through a recreation of Grauman's Chinese Theatre lobby past glass display cases containing actual costumes, props, and set pieces from various films. The queue then took guests into a small pre-show theatre where guests viewed a series of condensed film trailers for the various films that were featured on the ride. The queue line ended at a pair of automatic doors at the front of the theatre that led into a 1930s era Hollywood soundstage where guests were loaded onto waiting ride vehicles.
Props that were displayed in the queue area throughout the ride's existence
- Mary's carousel horse from Mary Poppins
- Susan's battle costume and fur coats worn by the Pevensie children in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- A green peacock Elizabethan dress worn by Judi Dench and purple dress worn by Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love
- Winkie soldier uniform & spear and the Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz (another of the 5 known pairs is in the National Museum of American History administered by the Smithsonian)
- Indiana Jones' Machete and Monkey Heads from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and the Ark of the Covenant from Raiders of the Lost Ark
- The Dejarik board used aboard the Millennium Falcon in the original Star Wars
- Starfleet costumes from Star Trek: The Motion Picture
- Dolores' dress, Marvin Acme's suit, The Dip Machine model, bullet case, and Judge Doom's costume from Who Framed Roger Rabbit (installed for the movie's 25th anniversary in 2013)
- Spacesuit and various props from the films Alien and Armageddon
- Sam's piano from Casablanca
- A dress worn by Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music
- The title object from Cocoon
- The model Nautilus submarine and a dive suit from Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
- A suit from Guys and Dolls
- Liza Minnelli's kimono from Cabaret
- Alex's bowler hat from A Clockwork Orange
- Iceman's uniform from Top Gun
- Eddie Murphy's jacket from Beverly Hills Cop II
- Freddy Krueger's sweater from A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge
- Veronica's (played by Judy Garland) dress from In the Good Old Summertime
- Fiona's (played by Cyd Charisse) dress from Brigadoon
- Purple dress worn by Barbara Streisand in Funny Girl
- Red and green dresses worn in New York, New York
- Rose DeWitt's dress from Titanic along with the movie's script
- Congressional desk from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
- Gene Kelly's shirt and hat from The Pirate
- Scarlet O'Hara's barbecue party dress from Gone with the Wind and the movie's script
The neon theatre marquee was located inside of the 1930s-era Hollywood soundstage at the beginning of the ride. As guests reached the end of the queue, they entered a 1930s-era Hollywood soundstage where they were loaded by cast members into one of two sets of open, theatre-style seating ride vehicles. The vehicles utilized a "traveling theatre" style ride system similar to the Universe of Energy attraction at Epcot. However, here the ride vehicles were much smaller in size, were grouped together in pairs of two, and featured an open cab in the first row of the front vehicle for a live tour guide to stand, provide narration, and operate the ride vehicle. When the attraction was operating during the peak season, both sets of ride vehicles were used. Otherwise, only the second set of ride vehicles was used. On some occasions (most likely to occur during performances of Fantasmic!) when the park was not crowded, only one vehicle would be used.
The film set within the soundstage featured a large neon theatre marquee and a cyclorama of the 1930s-era Hollywood Hills complete with the original Hollywoodland Sign. As the ride began, the tour guide on the ride vehicle welcomed guests and informed them that they would be taking them through scenes from different classic films throughout history.
The first genre of films introduced were musicals, which began with a pyramid of Audio-animatronic chorus girls in a scene from Busby Berkeley's Footlight Parade. The next musical scenes included audio-animatronics of Gene Kelly swinging from a lamp post from the film Singin' in the Rain, followed by Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke singing Chim Chim Cher-ee on the rooftops of London in Mary Poppins. when mickey and minnies runaway railway opened it was replaced with the tunnel the mary poppins animatronic was replaced with a minnie animatronic and the bert animatronic was replaced with a mickey animatronic
The next scene was a tribute to gangster films. The ride vehicle passed through the dark and seedy backstreets of 1930's Chicago and past an audio-animatronic James Cagney in a scene from The Public Enemy. When the Bandit show was running, the lead ride vehicle continued on to the next scene while the second car was stopped by a red light above a tunnel entrance. The tour guide stopped the ride vehicle and waited for a green light, not wanting to "break the law, even if it is just a movie." While stopped, a live gangster named Mugsy (male) or Mugsi (female) and their audio-animatronic sidekicks Squid and Beans showed up and got involved in a shoot-out with rival mobsters (Brains, Legs, and Weasel) in a car on the opposite side of the street where the ride vehicle was stopped, resulting in Beans getting badly wounded. Although Squid and Beans were left behind to "give [the gangster's] regards to the warden," the live gangster chased away the tour guide and hijacked the ride vehicle. When the gangster noticed the red light, they shot it out and made their getaway aboard the ride vehicle. when runaway railway opened the scene was replace with the stampede
Next was a tribute to the Western genre. Here, guests encountered audio-animatronics of Clint Eastwood standing near a saloon and John Wayne sitting atop his horse. If the ride vehicle was already being driven by the gangster, it continued past a shoot-out between the town sheriff and an audio-animatronic bank robber named Snake. On this version of the show, the ride vehicle stopped here while the robbery was in progress and a live bank robber named Kate Durango (female) or Kid Carson (male) appeared from inside the bank. After getting into a shoot-out with the town sheriff and chasing the tour guide away, the bandit blew up the town bank with dynamite and hijacked the ride vehicle. Following this scene, the remainder of the attraction was the same for both sets of ride vehicles. when run away railway opened the western scene and the back robbery scene were replaced the western scene was replaced with the carnival and the bank robbery was replaced with the twister scene
As the ride vehicle continued into a spaceship, a narrator's voice stated that this was the Nostromo, the ship from the film Alien. The narrator then told guests of the alien lurking within the ship waiting to claim its next victim. Guests could also hear the Nostromo’s mother computer warning of the imminent self-destruction countdown. Hearing this, the hijacker became nervous and sped the ride vehicle through the ship. But not before the Alien appeared and attacked the guests, popping out from both the ceiling and the wall. Before exiting the spaceship, the ride vehicle passed a scene of an audio-animatronic Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) holding a flamethrower as she prepared to confront the Alien. Behind her was a steady drip of slime. This could only be seen if the rider payed close attention to that part of the corridor. when runaway railway opened it was replaced with the waterfall scene
The ride vehicle next entered a scene set in an ancient Egyptian temple filled with snakes. The narrator informed guests that they were in a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark as audio-animatronic figures of Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) struggled to lift the Ark of the Covenant. A second room within the temple (though not from the film) featured a large altar in the form of the ancient Egyptian god Anubis. Near the top of the altar, a large jewel was being watched over by a cloaked temple guard. The hijacker saw it, stopped the ride vehicle, and disembarked to retrieve it. Before touching it, the temple guard gave a warning that those who disturbed it must pay with their life. Ignoring the warning, the hijacker reached to grab it. Suddenly, a plume of smoke shot from the ground. When it dispersed, the hijacker was now nothing more than a skeleton (still reaching for the jewel) and the temple guard was revealed to be the original tour guide who reboarded the vehicle and continued the ride. when runaway railway opened the indiana jones scene was replaced with the bolier room
The next film genre introduced was the horror film as the ride vehicle traveled through an ancient burial chamber full of mummies who had come to life. The ride vehicle soon left the tomb and entered a jungle, which was home to Tarzan the Ape Man. Here, audio-animatronic figures of Tarzan swinging on a vine, Jane sitting on top of an elephant, and Cheeta the chimpanzee could be seen. The ride vehicle then moved past the classic final scene from Casablanca featuring audio-animatronics of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as they stood in front of a waiting airplane. Some incorrectly claimed that this plane, a Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior, was the actual one from the film, but it wasn't as no full-size one was actually used in it. The one on the attraction was allegedly used in Tarzan's New York Adventure and other films in the 1940s before being purchased by Disney. Some people have gone far enough to deduce that this plane was used for some of Casablanca's insert shots. The back half was cut off and could be found resting along the shoreline of the Jungle Cruise attraction at the Magic Kingdom. Next, the ride vehicle passed a film projection of Mickey Mouse in his role as The Sorcerer's Apprentice from the classic Disney animated film Fantasia. the casablanca and the fantasia scene were replaced with the city scene and the tarzan scene was replaced with the allyway scene
The ride vehicle then entered into the Munchkinland scene from The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy's house had landed on top of the Wicked Witch of the East. During peak season, both sets of ride vehicles met up here and came to a stop in the middle of the scene. Audio-animatronic Munchkins began to appear from various places and sang as they welcomed the riders to their home. However, a plume of smoke suddenly rose from the ground as an audio-animatronic Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton) appeared and asked who was responsible for killing her sister. The tour guide aboard the first set of ride vehicles answered her before she finally disappeared in another puff of smoke. The Munchkins finally reappeared from their hiding places and began to sing again as both sets of ride vehicles followed the Yellow Brick Road out of Munchkinland past audio-animatronic figures of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, and Toto standing in front of the Emerald City, and onto the ride's grand finale. when runaway railway opened it was replaced with the dance studio and the wicked witch animatronic was replaced with the pete animatronic and maybe one of the munchkins was replaced with a daisy animatronic
For the grand finale, both sets of ride vehicles entered a large, dark theatre where they lined up side-by-side and came to a stop in front of a large film screen. There, a fast-paced three minute film montage of classic film moments was shown. At the conclusion, both sets of ride vehicles exited the theatre, guests applauded for the tour guide, lined up single-file again and returned to the 1930s soundstage where the ride concluded and exited the attraction. when runaway opened the movies scene was replaced with the picnic scene
Unlike many Disney dark rides that featured separate embarkation and debarkation areas, this one had only a single combined unloading and loading area. The last people to exit the vehicles often passed the next group of guests waiting to board the vehicles. At the time the ride was designed (the mid to late 1980's), it was common throughout the theme park industry to have all major rides exit into a merchandise store selling novelties associated with the attraction the guests just exited. The ride did not exit directly into a store.
Since its inception, the ride had some modifications worth noting.
The first sequence of the ride, Footlight Parade, was plagued with engineering and technical problems from the beginning. When the ride was newly opened, the Footlight Parade segment was different than it is today. The entire portion following the neon lighted entrance was fleshed out. All the walls leading up to, around, and beyond the "cake" were painted in art deco style patterns as seen in "By A Waterfall". Approximately three "diving boards" with three mannequin "dancers" wearing capes were perched on the right hand side of the wall as you enter the ride segment. The five-tiered "cake" was prominently displayed at a left hand turn. It was in the open air illuminated with an array of animated lights. During this pass through the Footlight Parade segment, riders would hear a "loop" of "By A Waterfall" (a song featured in Footlight Parade) lasting approximately 40 seconds as bubbles fell from the ceiling. when mickey and minnies runaway railway opened the footlight parade was replaced with the park
For approximately the first year, the "cake" actually rotated and was adorned with water jets as seen in the film. Allegedly, the rotating "cake" mechanism was constantly breaking down, causing frequent repairs and downtime. In addition, the water pumps would constantly fail, flooding the ride path. Park operations believed it was much cheaper and less problematic to leave the "cake" in place with lighting effects used to provide what imagineers term as "kinetics" to the segment.
This segment was still the "opening act" of the ride, but significantly toned down. The guests now entered a segment with its lighting significantly diminished. The outer walls were dark with practically no art deco recreations from the film set. The "diving boards" had been replaced with art deco style wall sconces. Instead, guests passed through a deco inspired archway to find themselves facing a large scrim-lined proscenium decorated with grey/blue clouds and remnants of the art deco set designs. Throughout the segment, three large rotating projections of Busby Berkeley-style kaleidoscope dance sequences appeared on the scrim (from By A Waterfall, 42nd Street, and Shadow Waltz). These disappeared to expose the "cake", which was behind the scrim, and was simultaneously illuminated with washes of light and reflective water effects. The caped dancers on diving boards were now located to the far left of the "cake" behind the scrim. The art deco style wall panels still resided behind the "cake". The looping song segment and bubbles remained.
Wizard of Oz
The Wizard of Oz scene did not have major structural changes, but Walt Disney Imagineering replaced the Wicked Witch audio-animatronic character with a newer-design figure utilizing Sarcos technology. The Sarcos-equipped animatronics are capable of a great deal more movement possibilities than the original "limited animation" figure designs, and can move much more quickly. As a result, they can be made much more lifelike. The new witch was reprogrammed to take advantage of the underlying robot, and as a result was one of, if not the, most lifelike characters in the attraction. when mickey and minnies runaway railway opened the wizard of oz scene was replaced with the dance studio
The ride received a sponsor from Turner Classic Movies, and made it undergo some big changes. The queue area has been updated with screens displaying animated movie posters, and the props and costumes exhibits have been updated with electronic screens as a suitable replacement to the paint covering the old ones, which aged and left the text obscured. The pre-show had also been updated to a short documentary on movies instead of showing numerous classic movie trailers (some are still shown) hosted by Robert Osborne. The electronic narrator had been changed to Osborne, and has taken over more of the live host's role, though the live host still had some role, such as still being confronted by the bandit/gangster, thus the vehicle still got hijacked. The finale had also been updated.
- When Imagineers were designing the James Cagney animatronic present in the "gangster valley" sequence, the late actor's family disapproved the way he was dressed and gave them one of the actual tuxedo suits Cagney wore on some occasions so he would look classy. The "NO HELP WANTED" sign that hanged directly across Cagney was an actual 1920's sign that hung from the MGM Studios lot during the Great Depression. Some of the prop newspapers that were scattered around the ride's show scene were actual copies of headlines from the local Florida newspaper business; the Orlando Sentinel.
- When the ride first opened in 1989, the John Wayne animatronic had a belt buckle that the actor actually wore in such films like Red River (1948). But once that piece of information became public knowledge, someone stole it and had to be replicated since it was never recovered. Another piece of John Wayne history on the animatronic was a right hand band given to him for good luck when he visited Vietnam. The animatronic is still part of the Florida Disney resort as its hiding in a private office you need to arrange VIP tours with if you want to see it in person.
- Humphrey Bogart's animatronic in this ride is a lot taller than the actor was in real life.
- While John Wayne was long dead since 1979, the actor who impersonated his voice for the ride, Doug McClure, got to meet John when he was still alive and approved of his impression the minute he heard it. In another fact related to celebrity impressions, the actress who voiced Dorothy Gale near the Oz scene finale was none other than Judy Garland's daughter, Liza Minnelli. Ingrid Bergman's dialogue from the final scene of Casablanca wasn't present in the ride due to her family's refusal of giving permission, but her grandchildren were said to have been on the attraction multiple times as a way of visiting their grandmother.
- Some of the animatronics you'll see in the gangster and Western show scenes were made using molds from previous Disney attractions as Mugsy's goons (Squids & Beans) and the rival gangsters were recycled Pirates of the Caribbean characters while the balcony sheriff was a repurposed Thomas Jefferson from The Hall of Presidents.
- Originally featuring live-action stunt actors, the gangster shoot-out was a lot more darker in the concept stage as Mugsy would show genuine concern over the guest's safety and the vehicle B tour guide ends up getting shot in the crossfire, though another version had Mugsy shoot the guide in order to hijack the vehicle. Whichever route would happen, the tour guide's white shirt would reveal a bloody wound on his/her chest as he immediately falls to the floor. The effect was accomplished by a pull-away patch sewn onto the costume. But by the time the ride officially opened, the effect was scrapped due to being "too dark" and would require stunt work from both actors. However, one of the bloody shirts is kept in private by a cast member who worked on the ride since its 1989 debut.
- The Mary Poppins carousel horse from the queue line went back into the Walt Disney Archives around 2013 and was displayed during that year's Disney D23 Expo along with the horse used by Dick Van Dyke (was displayed in the Planet Hollywood restaurants at San Diego and Times Square). Both props were shown again in the first episode of Prop Culture on Disney+.
- The only bit of the 1989-2014 narrator's dialogue that survived after Robert Osborne took over most of the ride was the "Remain in your vehicle" spiel that plays in the Alien scene just before the Nostromo's computer goes into self-destruct mode.
- Before its closure in August 2017, The Great Movie Ride was the last attraction from the park's opening day to still be operating.
- While this isn't 100% confirmed, some believe that the face mold for the Jane animatronic from the Tarzan scene and the highly advanced skeleton frame used for the Wicked Witch of the West were combined to make the Redd animatronic installed during the controversial refurbishment of the Anaheim & Orlando Pirates of the Caribbean rides in 2018.
- A broken off section of the giant Anubis statue's feet from the Indiana Jones snake pit scene can be seen outside Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities shop in the Disneyland version of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
- After The Great Movie Ride closed down, the Bert animatronic went to Dick Van Dyke and can be seen in the background of a promotional video he did for Bernie Sanders' 2020 election campaign.
- After the attraction closed in 2017, the Xenomorph animatronic from the attraction was placed into the temporary exhibit "Inside the Walt Disney Archives" next to the Aztec Priest and Captain Rex figures in the Parks and Resorts section in the as part of the 50th anniversary of the Walt Disney Archives at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California as of 2020.
- Several tributes to The Great Movie Ride can be seen when you ride Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway. In the carnival fair showscene between Clarabelle's popcorn and Donald's hot dog stands is a faux attraction poster that says "The Great Moving Ride"; depicting an escalator with a group of excited guests going down it. The scene with Mickey and Minnie being caught in a tornado is a big enough Wizard of Oz reference as it is (as well as a nod to the originally planned "Kansas" scene in the ride), but if you can get a lucky picture of the tornado, you might be able to spot a mailbox with the phrase "No Place Like Home" etched on the side; serving as a callback to Dorothy's house which guests saw as soon as they entered Munchkinland. One of the more subtle nods occurs as you leave Daisy's Dance Studio, going through a back alley that takes you to the Factory scene. Before you go in, look the left hand dumpster and you'll see a trash can which violently shakes, making an angry cat sound. While mostly a stock sound used in several productions, this is the same sound heard in the Great Movie Ride's hijack scene with Mugsy before the gangsters have a turf war.
- Alien appeared in the ride despite being released by 20th Century Fox rather than MGM or Lucasfilm. Disney had acquired the rights to use the film from Fox several years earlier for a planned ride at the Magic Kingdom, based on it. While it was cancelled, the overall concept later morphed into the Tomorrowland attraction ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, although the creature from the film was not used on the basis that it was "too frightening".
- Imagineers wined and dined with Gene Kelly before showing him his doppelganger for the ride and when he saw it, Gene immediately signed off. During the ride's first few months of operation, the umbrella that his animatronic held was sprung open and it sprayed the "rain" water onto the guests riding it. Actress Maureen O'Sullivan, who played Jane in the 1930's Tarzan movies, got her photo taken with her animatronic double riding the elephant. When her figure was finished being assembled in California and ready to be shipped off to Florida, she was wrapped in clear plastic and came completely naked. This is necessary in order to properly to fit the clothes onto an animatronic when being installed and avoid the risk of damaging/wrinkling the fabric, but some people made many frequent visits to the loading docks just to "check the figure out."
- A 3D adventure called the "Chinese Theater's Villain Ride" was planned (but never built) for replacing the ride. More information about this can be found on the list of never built Disney attractions page.
- The ride directly inspired the creation of Disney's Hollywood Studios. In an Imagineering book, it was revealed that it was actually going to be the main attraction in a show business themed pavilion at Epcot, which was to be called "Great Moments at the Movies." However, the newly assigned Disney CEO Michael Eisner and WDI president Marty Sklar decided the idea was strong enough to lead an entire new theme park. The idea for the ride was expanded, and the Disney-MGM Studios went into official development.
- Plans called for the ride to be the main attraction for the Disney-MGM Studios Paris theme park, which was scrapped due to the early financial difficulties of the EuroDisneyland Resort. Years later when the resort began turning profits, a show business themed theme park went into development again, and the Walt Disney Studios Park opened in 2002 at the Disneyland Resort Paris, although minus the ride. A show called CinéMagique was built in lieu of it due to claims by Disney management that the French preferred shows to ride-through attractions.
- Three separate attempts were made by Walt Disney Imagineering to bring the ride to California. First were plans to incorporate the attraction into the proposed “Disney-MGM Studio Backlot” project, a 40-acre (160,000 m2) film studio themed retail and entertainment district that was planned (but ultimately never built) for downtown Burbank, California during the late 1980s. Several years later, plans called for the ride to serve as the centerpiece of the proposed Hollywoodland at Disneyland, which would have been added to the park during the planned Disney Decade in 1990s. Due to budget cuts, however, that was canceled. Later, plans called for the ride to be built as part of the Hollywood Pictures Backlot area of Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort. But budget cuts in the park's original development planning forced the ride's projected cost to be spent on smaller, original, and less expensive attractions.
- On November 25, 2014, it was announced that Turner Classic Movies would take over the ride's sponsorship, adding a new pre-show and post-show film hosted by TCM host Robert Osborne. Additionally as part of the deal, Disney and TCM have agreed to a new periodic programming block titled "Treasures of the Disney Vault", focusing on vintage Disney material.
- When Muppet Vision 3-D opened at the park, the area surrounding the ride was going to be developed into a Muppets-themed area, with another attraction being The Great Muppet Movie Ride, featuring Muppets such as Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy and their chaotic attempts at making their own versions of classic movies. Again, budget cuts at the stalling theme park forced the idea to be scrapped, along with "The Great Muppet Movie Ride".
- On the park's opening day, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Roger Rabbit, and other Disney characters placed their signatures, handprints, and footprints in front of the ride's façade.
- When The Great Movie Ride was first going through development, there were many earlier drafts proposed that ultimately never got used. Originally, every single genre in movie history would have been represented with one show scene devoted entirely to comedy. Taking place in a 19th century town, it would have featured animatronics of Harold Lloyd reenacting his famous scene from Safety Last, Buster Keaton narrowly avoiding a house about to fall down on him, W.C. Fields, Mae West, the Keystone Kops and Charlie Chaplin's "Little Tramp" persona. The entire scene was cut due to licensing issues as Universal was also seeking these characters out for their own parks. James Cagney was not the intentional choice for the "gangsterland" scene as originally, there was going to be an animatronic based off Edward C. Robinson's character from Little Caesar, but licensing issues fell afoul (a poster of the film could still be seen though). Upon entering the Western scene, you would've been able to see the drunken Kid Shelleen from Cat Ballou, slouching on his horse outside the saloon. But when Lee Marvin's family refused to sign off on his "portrayal and likeness," Imagineers went with "The Man With No Name" from A Fisful of Dollars which Clint Eastwood personally approved of upon inspection. What's more interesting is that there were going to be show scenes devoted to Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein and the original Ghostbusters with the former showing the monster in "Fronkensteen's" laboratory, and the latter featuring the crew busting Stay Puff/Gozer & the terror dogs with their proton packs. Ghostbusters made it farther into development, but there were two factors to its scrapping: 1) Bill Murray refused to sign off his likeness and 2) Universal beat Disney to the punch with Ghostbusters Spooktacular opening in their Florida theme park. The Indiana Jones scene was going to be a much more elaborate "adventure" scene known as the "Lost Temple." The ride's ending was originally going to have more of a foundation in The Wizard of Oz, with the Fantasia scene being the Cyclone, and also a divider down the middle of the theatre separating the A and B vehicles in the final (film clip) scene. Where the screen is now was where the Wizard would have appeared surrounded by flames. He would say his famous line, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" and the show would be "interrupted" as the curtains to the left or right of the screen would open to reveal either your live bandit (on the A vehicle side) or gangster (on the B vehicle side). Along the outer walls (to the left of the A vehicle or to the right of the B vehicle), is currently large empty carpeted areas. Here was supposed to be large platforms where models of all of the audio-animatronic characters seen earlier in the ride would be standing and take a bow. They would've included familiar faces like Gene Kelly, Mary Poppins, John Wayne, Indiana Jones, Mickey Mouse and Dorothy's gang, but would've also included characters that weren't prominently in the ride like Shirley Temple, Rhea and Scarlett, Sally from Cabaret, George C. Scott as Patton, Rocky Balboa, C-3PO & R2-D2, and the Ghostbusters. Both the extended Wizard of Oz scenes (and by extension, the original finale) were scrapped due to MGM demanding that Disney only use three minutes of dialogue from the original 1939 movie.
Behind the scenes
- "First Mickey-Themed Ride-Through Attraction, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios". Disney Parks (July 15, 2017).