Earlier this week a rumor from 2016 re-surfaced that seemed to suggest that The Great Movie Ride, which is a Disney's Hollywood Studios classic and one of the most iconic rides in all of Walt Disney World, would close forever in 2018 and would then be transformed into the Great Mickey Ride. This rumor turned out to be false, as it was revealed at the recent D23 Expo Disney Parks and Resorts Panel that the Great Movie Ride was actually closing in 2017, on August 13th, which is just under a month away.
This seems like quite the sudden closure, and will bring Disney's Hollywood Studios down to just 4 rides total until Toy Story Land opens next year. And though fans of this park will lament yet another closing at this park, Disney released the first details about the ride replacing this classic attraction: Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
Mickey and Minnie get their first "real" ride
Though Mickey Mouse has appeared in several rides over the years (including the now doomed Great Movie Ride), it looks like Disney is finally giving its most famous character the chance to star in his own ride, along with Minnie Mouse and some of his other pals. However, instead of being based on some of the classic Mickey Mouse cartoons, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be directly inspired by the Mickey Shorts that are shown on the Disney Channel (and have their own channel at Disney resorts). As you might expect, the people who produce the shorts at Disney Television Animation are partnering with Disney Parks and Resorts to help bring the attraction to life.
The actual setup of the attraction is pretty standard, as it will allow guests to literally step "through" a movie screen and join Mickey and his friends on a fun adventure where you’re the star of your own Mickey short and anything can happen. This zany out-of-control adventure features surprising twists and turns, dazzling visual effects and mind-boggling transformations that happen before your very eyes.
There will be some interesting new technology used in this attraction
Though this attraction sounds a bit like your standard screen-based affair so far, Disney is promising that this ride will be more than just a screen-based dark ride. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will make extensive use of new enhanced screen technology that Disney is calling 2 1/2D. Though we're not entirely sure what this really means, Disney said that the normally 2D world of Disney animation will pop in new ways inside this attraction, but interestingly, without the need for 3D glasses. During the panel Disney Imagineer Kevin Rafferty said teams are inventing new technologies that turn the flat world of a colorful cartoon short into a “dimensional display of amazingness.” They did showed off a quick clip of a forrest instantly being transformed into a cityscape. You can check out the effect here.
The ride will feature an original story as well as a new song
While Disney is basing the overall look of this new attraction on its current slate of Mickey Mouse shorts, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will feature its own original story. The ride experience will begin with a pre-show that shows Mickey and Minnie getting ready for a picnic while Goofy tries his hand at being an engineer. Once riders board their vehicle, the ride will then pull them through the movie screen, and their adventure will begin in earnest. And of course, riders will want to keep their eyes peeled during this attraction, as this new ride will have the largest amount of hidden Mickeys in one attraction, ever.
While this new Mickey Mouse-based attraction certainly sounds interesting, it seems a shame that Disney isn't willing to build a new facility to house this ride, and instead kicking The Great Movie Ride out of the Chinese Theater structure, where it has been since the opening day of then Disney-MGM Studios. And when this attraction closes next month, it will be a milestone, as this attraction was the last opening day attraction in existence at this park. With the closure of The Great Movie Ride, it will truly be the end of an era, as Disney sheds the last trace of the original "studios" theming of this park as it gets ready for its new identity as a park that celebrates current films and characters, instead of the making of movies.
How do you feel about this change? Do you feel like Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be a fitting replacement for The Great Movie Ride? Let us know what you think in the comments!