Turner Classic Movies Steps in to Sponsor Disney World's Great Movie Ride

November 25, 2014, 7:32 PM · The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios will be getting pre- and post-show changes as part of a deal that the company will announce tomorrow with the cable television channel Turner Classic Movies, the New York Times is reporting.

Casablanca scene in the Great Movie Ride
Here's lookin' at you, TCM....

TCM, which is owned by Time Warner, will become the presenting sponsor of the attraction, whose Chinese Theater home will again become the main visual "weenie" in the park with the removal of the Mickey's Sorcerer's Hat that has blocked the view of the theater facade over the past decade.

The pre- and post-ride film montages will get TCM branding as part of the deal, with new clips hosted by TCM's Robert Osborne. There's no word that anything on the ride itself will change under the deal. The changes are expected by next spring.

In return, Disney will provide TCM with old "Disneyland" and "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" episodes for a quarterly special programming block on the cable channel to be called "Treasures From the Disney Vault." The first block will run in the evening of Dec. 21.

Replies (25)

November 25, 2014 at 7:58 PM · Does TCM own the rights to the MGM collection of movies now? I seem to remember that they do, but am not sure. It would be kind of ironic if they did.
November 25, 2014 at 8:16 PM · This change is not so much a step forward as it is a step sideways. At least it is movement. I do hope the montages will be refreshed regularly going forward, and other scene changes, replacements, and additions will occur. We'll see.
November 25, 2014 at 9:12 PM · I can't express how excited I am to hear this. TCM is the greatest thing to ever happen to television, and yes the do own he MGM back catalog. Considering TCM's commitment to quality we will be seeing refurbishments to the show scenes and a re-working of the ride script. I expect great things from this.
November 25, 2014 at 9:47 PM · Totally agree James. I was hoping for new scenes and sexy projection animatronics. I don't mind the change, JUST GIVE ME STAR WARS LAND AND STOP TEASING ME WITH YOUR HAT REMOVAL TRICKS.
November 25, 2014 at 11:01 PM · James, it's a step forward in the sense that maybe we can see some Classic Disney television again. As for the ride, at least it secures it's short-term future.
November 26, 2014 at 1:35 AM · "STOP TEASING ME WITH YOUR HAT REMOVAL TRICKS" is pretty hilarious. Are they going to have park icon once the hat is gone? Each park seems to have something as a center piece. I do hope the ride gets upgraded. It's probably one of the more family friendly / mass appealing rides there.
November 26, 2014 at 5:08 AM · Awesome! Love the idea of the old shows coming out of the vault to a new generation
November 26, 2014 at 6:24 AM · This is a great move! Yes, it's not huge update, but it's not sideways, either. It's a combination that just makes sense, in the park and on TV. It's what Disney needs to do to maintain its heritage attractions (and attractions that the whole family can enjoy together). The entry to the Studios park will be restored to its Hollywood luster, immersing you in a time and place like all good theme parks are meant to do. Do I want to see them build a Star Wars land in the park, too? You bet! But I love classic Hollywood, always loved the charm of this park's entry, and am glad they aren't abandoning it for another "IP-du jour" attraction.
November 26, 2014 at 6:44 AM · I'm really glad to hear this. I've been saying for a while that DHS needs to embrace their theme of "Classic" movies as presented in The Great Movie Ride, and leave Universal to showcase the latest trendy Intellectual Properties. This move suggests to me that Disney's not going to abandon the ideals of the GMR in order to stay Hip-And-Current with the latest popular culture trends. I love what Universal does and how it does it, but Disney needs it's own spin on the world of movies - and with all the Disney movies, Disney Annimation movies, Lucasfilm (specifically Star Wars & Indiana Jones), and Pixar, they are in a great posiiton to create timeless attractions based on timeless movies. And, if they ever get the Marvel properties back under their control in Florida, they are going to be in even better shape.
As long as they don't go cheap, Disney's Hollywood Studios is getting positioned for one heck of a rennassance.

November 26, 2014 at 6:47 AM · Hopefully they update the ride proper. I am glad they're partnering with TCM. Was a bit worried a redoing of this would focus more on newer movies and less on the history of movies.

Hopefully it's ready by May, when my brother and his fiancé come down for their wedding...

November 26, 2014 at 8:00 AM · This is awesome news, I love Classic movies from Disney and I can't wait to see next year! I love it!
November 26, 2014 at 8:05 AM · To me this is an excuse to not give this attraction the update it sorely needs. We hadn't ridden this in almost 8 years until our most recent trip last month, and the ride is so stale. While TCM gives the ride some legitimacy, it keeps the attraction stuck in the past. TCM is not going to provide Disney access to newer films that will keep the attraction fresh. It will be nice to see new pre-show and post-show films that are sorely needed due to poor quality footage by today's standards, but the overall ride will still be a relic in need of a re-imagining.
November 26, 2014 at 8:10 AM · Isn't it a bit odd that a company with Disney's money would even need or want ride sponsors? It made sense for the World's Fair and for Epcot's construction which, at they time, they couldn't afford by themselves. But does anyone really believe that Disney needs a ride sponsor in 2014? I don't.

Sadly, I think this is kind of a sideways move and a cheap one, at that. It will take them how many months to update a ride queue? And no changes to the ride itself, which has a dated script and somewhat lackluster innards?

Disney seems to be pacing all of its innovation these days, and the pace is too slow.

November 26, 2014 at 9:02 AM · Disney has always relied on sponsors. Not just for rides and attractions, but shops and restaurants as well. I won't argue that they can afford to do it alone, but the simple truth is...they won't. This is definitely nothing new.
November 26, 2014 at 9:44 AM · Hey if a billion dollar company can have someone else pay the bills on something, why wouldn’t they jump on that? That means more revenue for them. It’s not a matter of needing money for an attraction. It’s just about making more money and reporting that to their stockholders.

I think the deal TCM is getting with being able to play archival Disney footage is great. I look forward to DVRing some of those to watch. I missed out on purchasing some of these as DVDs when they were released under the Disney Vault collection.

Ahh, the Great Movie Ride- such an understatement. I rode this for the first time in many years last January, mainly out of curiosity and the fact the wait was short. What I saw was an underwhelming ride with broken animatronics and cast members that seemed sedated. Actually, the animatronics were livelier than the cast member on the ride.

This ride needs to be gutted and renovated into something new. If this is going to be the “icon” or “weenie” of the park, it needs to present itself in a way that is worthy of that notion, rather than being a poor, outdated dud. I think the only purpose this ride really serves is that it is a “people-eater” on high attendance days at the park. If it wasn’t there, the wait times for ToT, Hannah Montana Rock’n Rollercoaster, Star Tours, and Toy Story Mania would be astronomical and drive people away from visiting the park.

November 26, 2014 at 10:34 AM · Agree that I've had too many lackadaisical cast members on this attraction; I get that you need to repeat yourself all day, but at least try to have some fun with it! If not, I suggest they get rid of 'em!

Re: Sponsorships
I doubt much (any?) money is changing hands here. Disney is not going hat-in-hand looking for sponsors to do things, but they are happy to take it. TCM said, "hey, let's sponsor that; it makes sense for us." Seems like what Disney got is TCM running their shows, plus the bonus of adding Robert Osbourne to freshen the ride. (All a guess of course, but other deals, like with Georgia-Pacific, often are about procurement contracts, not only cash for placement.)

I also wonder: how many of the folks saying, "rip it out! fix it!" or worse, "make it all about Disney movies!" are the same people who pine for the return of Horizons and World of Motion, rides that were very similar in technology and approach to content?

November 26, 2014 at 1:34 PM · I'm glad TCM is sponsoring this old and tired ride to hopefully revitalize. Disney seems to lack the money to invest in their own rides so it's great they'll do it, bombarding us with TCM commercials wherever they can but that is what you get when you buy a ticket that only costs close to $100. Sure you need to stomach commercials.
November 27, 2014 at 12:24 AM · Disney certainly doesn't lack money to invest in their parks! But, considering all the rumored changes that are coming to DHS, I don't think that TGMR is at the top of the list for a refresh.

November 27, 2014 at 4:36 AM · Disappointed. The rumors for a massive trackless ride replacement is now dead. This ride is boring and there's no news as for how they will refresh existing scenes. This is mostly a ride sponsorship deal. Disney now has at least a 10 year delay on doing anything meaningful here.
November 27, 2014 at 8:27 AM · I agree with Anon's take on this. Corporate sponsorship at the parks means we get a subtle commercial when we visit an attraction. This has nothing to do with attraction refurbishment or upgrades. As far as I know, the money a ride generates from this type of revenue doesn't send that money to the attraction for upgrades. It's just more revenue for CEO or other company expenses.
November 27, 2014 at 8:53 AM · Is Anon disappointed in everything?

I think this is great news! I think the TCM brand really fits in the Great Movie Ride. I have always loved this attraction. Pretty good concept with animatronics for the entire family (fun, scary, old movies, etc).

It seems like Disney kind of got the better deal between the two. Sponsorship of their attraction AND somebody to carry their classic TV shows.

November 27, 2014 at 10:31 AM · How am I disappointed in EVERYTHING? That's what you said. I said I was disappointed in this one ride only, not EVERYTHING. You still didn't say the benefit from the sponsorship as there is nothing to tout. New film ride montages are just about as creatively bereft as the latest Academy Awards ceremony where they do this all the time. It took them 20 years to change out the films? Okay, that's what you get from the sponsorship.
November 27, 2014 at 10:35 AM · Curious, will they rename the theater as TCM Chinese Theater as opposed to the real one in Hollywood that's named TCL Chinese Theater. LOL!!!
November 27, 2014 at 7:45 PM · Hanna Montana Rock n RollerCoaster? That would be horror!! Kris V!!
November 30, 2014 at 7:04 PM · I liked the hat

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