It's another day closer to D23 Expo, and it looks like another BIG rumor has made its way online. This time it looks like Disney's Hollywood Studios is the focus of this latest unconfirmed report, which actually builds on a rumor we first reported on back in 2016. According to this revived rumor, Disney has informed TCM that their sponsorship of The Great Movie Ride will not be up for renewal next year and will be announcing that this ride will close sometime in 2018. Following this, Disney will remove the existing ride and replace it with something else (in the same show building), possibly for launch in 2020.
Though chatter around this rumor died down last year shortly after it first appeared, now that the 2017 D23 Expo is upon us, this rumor has roared back to life, with some additional details that could make it seem more likely to happen than we originally thought....
The mysterious project M
Earlier this week eagle-eyed Disney fans noticed that Disney had filed a "Notice of Commencement" permit with Orange County for a mysterious "Project M" which covers a very specific swath of Disney's Hollywood Studios in the center of the park, right where the Great Movie Ride is located.
And while we don't know exactly what "Project M" might refer to, those who remember when this rumor first surfaced last year might recall that sources suggested that The Great Movie Ride could be transformed into The Great Mickey Ride, which was thought to be a trackless dark ride starring everyone's favorite mouse in his first-ever ride.
So could the "M" in Project M stand for Mickey? While there's no way to know for sure, if this project is indeed going forward, it seems like a pretty good guess as Disney continues to shed all traces of the original "studios" theming of this park as it gets ready for its new identity. Though the loss of the final original studio-themed attraction would certainly be painful for longtime fans, it does make a certain amount of sense considering where it looks like this park is headed. In a park that celebrates current films and characters (instead of the making of movies) with IP-focused lands like Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land, The Great Movie Ride might seem out of place, where The Great Mickey Ride might fit right in.
However, though it is looking increasingly likely that The Great Movie Ride is going to close next year, don't expect much in the way of demolition...