Disney and TCM Announce Partnership; Great Movie Ride To Be Updated

A classic Walt Disney World attraction will be receiving a face lift in early 2015, as part of the new partnership between the Walt Disney Company and the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) television channel.



photo: panoramio.com

According to an article in the November 26 New York Times, written by Stuart Elliott, TCM will help the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division make changes to the Great Movie Ride, an original attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. TCM will receive “Presented by” credits at the attraction on posters, banners, display windows, marquees and the like, which will also display the TCM logo.

The changes for the Disney World ride are scheduled to be introduced in the first quarter of 2015, perhaps in the early spring. What visitors see as they wait for the ride and watch as part of the finale will receive a reboot under the watchful eye of TCM, playing on its reputation as an expert in classic film.

Among the new elements will be a video featuring Robert Osborne, the host who has been the face of TCM since the channel began operations in 1994.


photo: The New York Times

The idea is to “inject TCM brand authority” into the ride, said Pola Changnon, vice president for brand creative and on-air promotions at TCM, and “pique the curiosity” of visitors, encouraging them to explore the world of classic film once they are home.

Walt Disney Studios will provide TCM with vintage movies, cartoons, documentaries and episodes of TV series like “Disneyland” and “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” for a periodic programming block on the channel under the banner of “Treasures From the Disney Vault.”

Charlie Tabesh, senior vice president for programming and production of TCM, noted that this block of television will occur 4-5 times per year, with the first block of Disney programming by TCM running from 8:00pm EDT, on Dec. 21 through 5:15am. on Dec. 22.

“Disney films and other programming have been seen a little bit on TCM, but not much,” Tabesh said. “It will be exciting to dig into the vault and see classic Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, ‘The Wonderful World of Disney.'”


photo: theorlandovacationstore.com

“We’re looking at this as a strategic alliance that brings together two very strong brands, both with a core in the business of entertainment,” said Carlos Castro, vice president for corporate alliances of Disney, “and complements Disney’s commitment to great storytelling and delivering quality family entertainment.”

“Part of our process in vetting all our partners is making sure their brands align with the Disney brand,” Mr. Castro added, “and both brands are a natural fit.” The TV initiative “lets us share more classic Disney stories with TCM audiences,” he said, and “the refresh of the Great Movie Ride” will “enhance the guest experience by showcasing TCM content and talent.”

This will not be the first time that the Great Movie Ride has been involved with Turner Entertainment. According to Wikipedia, most of the non-Disney/Lucasfilm film represented in the The Great Movie Ride were made and/or owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) at the time of the ride’s opening in 1989, back when the park was known as Disney-MGM Studios.

Warner Bros. had sold its pre-1950 film library to Associated Artists Productions (a.a.p.) back in 1956, a few years after the sale, a.a.p was bought by United Artists. In 1981, United Artists merged with MGM to form MGM/UA. In 1985, Disney and MGM entered into a licensing contract that gave Disney worldwide rights to use the MGM name and logo for what would become Disney-MGM Studios. Separate contracts were used for The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Singin’ in the Rain, A Fistful of Dollars, The Public Enemy, Tarzan the Ape Man and Footlight Parade in The Great Movie Ride.


photo: photobucket user keefe24c

In 1986, Ted Turner and his Turner Broadcasting System acquired MGM/UA, but for financial reasons, Turner was forced to sell MGM/UA back to its original owner. However he kept MGM’s pre-May 1986 library and all of a.a.p’s library, forming Turner Entertainment. In 1996, Turner Broadcasting was purchased by Time Warner, thus putting them in the control of Warner Bros., via Turner Entertainment.

This news comes a month after Disney announced to the media that they will be removing the park’s giant sorcerer’s hat in early 2015, which had blocked the view of the Great Movie Ride from the park entrance since 2001.

For more information on this story, be sure to check out The New York Times, as well as Coaster101!