A Fond Farewell: Saying Goodbye to The Great Movie Ride and Ellen’s Energy Adventure

The Great Movie Ride

As of August 13th, 2017, two classic Disney attractions will be going away- The Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Ellen’s Energy Adventure at Epcot.

While it was announced at D23 that The Great Movie Ride would be replaced by Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway (an attraction inspired by the current Mickey Mouse cartoons shown on the Disney channel), and that Ellen’s Energy Adventure would be replaced by a Guardians of the Galaxy themed-ride, both attractions will be missed (by me, at least). I even bought a “That’s a Wrap” closing-day T-Shirt for The Great Movie Ride.

Now, this is not to say that I’m not excited for their replacements. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is said to be a “one of a kind” attraction with new technology, a new theme song, and advanced projections that bring a cartoon world to life without the use of 3-D glasses.

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway
Image Courtesy of insidethemagic.net

And, while not much information was given about the new Guardians ride, it will certainly be an “E-Ticket” attraction; given the success of Mission: Breakout over at Disney California Adventure, I’m excited to have a Marvel presence over at Walt Disney World.

Guardians of the Galaxy
Image Courtesy of insidethemagic.net
Guardians of the Galaxy
Image Courtesy of insidethemagic.net

On one of the Disney podcasts I listen to (Dis Unplugged), the host said that ever since the ride closures were announced, “everyone suddenly turned into a big Great Movie Ride/Ellen fan.” I’m not claiming to have ever been a big fan of these two (in fact, up until recently, it had been many years since I rode on Ellen), but come on- The Great Movie Ride was an opening day attraction! What’s going to be left at Hollywood Studios while we wait for Toy Story Land to open, and the Movie Ride’s replacement?

Ellen’s Energy Adventure

Universe of Energy
Image Courtesy of insidethemagic.net

A lot of people referred to this ride as a 45-minute snooze-fest. And sure, it is unnecessarily long and slow. Who wants to take 45 minutes out of their day while at Disney? It’s great for when you need a break from the sun, and for passholders who have the privilege to come to Epcot whenever they want, but I can see how most guests see it as a waste of time.

However, the fact that it was a “people-eater” (that attraction could hold a large capacity of guests), almost never had a wait, and featured the comedy of Ellen Degeneres, was enough to make this ride a keeper (well, until now of course). The fact that the building is run on solar power is also cool. From the concept art of the new attraction, it looks like the old building will remain, but who knows what could happen?

I rode Ellen for the last time about a year ago with my husband, and it was the first (and last) time we had both ridden it together. It was, as I predicted, slow and dull. Yet, it was a perfect opportunity for us to relax and get some air conditioning. And I do love the part where the cars move through the dinosaurs (even if that part only lasts about five minutes- for the other forty minutes, you’re watching a screen). Also, outdated as the ride may be, I must say that Ellen’s comedy still holds up.

Anyway, I want to thank Ellen (and Bill Nye the Science Guy) for teaching me all about the Universe of Energy, and that brain power is the only source of energy that never runs out.

Farewell Ellen, Bill Nye, Einstein, and Stupid Judy. I’ll think of you every time I watch Jeopardy.

The Great Movie Ride

When I was a child, I was terrified of the Alien scene. The darkness, the feeling of being enclosed, and the sirens (not to mention, the horrifically bad Sigourney Weaver Animatronic) all freaked me out. I didn’t like it when the gangster/cowboy took over our vehicle, and always cheered for the guide when they returned. I loved sitting at the back of the vehicle and turning my head as we passed each room, watching the scene reset itself.

By the time we reached the Wizard of Oz scene, I was always ready to declare my love for the attraction and ride again- repeatedly. Sadly, as I got older, this never happened. I stopped going to Hollywood Studios as much as the other parks, and when I did go, usually no one in my group ever wanted to ride The Great Movie Ride (my husband claimed it was too slow).

My desire to ride the attraction diminished further when Turner Classic Movies took over, and most of the spieling from the guides disappeared. The attraction was no longer the same one from my childhood, not with Robert Osbourne narrating. However, the sets were still the same, and I still enjoyed the occasional journey into the movies.

I understand why this ride should go. It’s outdated, just like Ellen- a lot of kids aren’t interested in movies like Singin’ in the Rain, or the old gangster films. Plus, TCM’s contract with Disney expired, meaning Disney no longer has the right to showcase these movies anyway. I’m sure the new Mickey Mouse-themed attraction will be original and amazing- nevertheless, I have some concerns.

What will happen to the props in the queue line once this closes? What if kids never learn about these old, classic films? When this closes, Hollywood Studios will only have about four attraction open- what will happen to the park itself?

Oh, well. At least the Chinese Theater façade will remain.

Farewell gangsters, cowboys, and guides who always saved the day (after all, they were just going for popcorn). I’ll see you at the movies.

Will anyone else miss these rides? Are you excited for their replacements?

Hugs and Fishes,

Arielle

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