“Hooray for Hollywood!”
I can’t believe the end of an era has come. Even as I know that it’s time- that The Great Movie Ride has spanned a 28 year career and has earned her retirement- the burden of “goodbye” still weighs heavily.
Working at the Studios for nearly four years was such a pivotal time of my life. My home park has always carried a strong sense of community. So many cast members choose to cross-train within the park rather than move on to other locations, creating a vast network of family that lends to the Disney magic.
I never worked at The Great Movie Ride- my days were spent rotating among the theaters around Echo Lake. But I had so many friends who did work there.
When I started my college program so long ago, that first day of training, I remember my trainer taking me and another CP up into the catwalks of the ride. We got the opportunity to move around unnoticed as ride vehicles full of guests slid by below us. I remember thinking, “this is the magic behind the magic that I want to be a part of. This is so cool.”
There are many things about my time at Disney that I’ve kept to myself over the years… I had so many moments of personal growth- both astoundingly good and horrifically bad- that have shaped me into the person I am today.
But one of those things is this: when I was finally invited to go to full-time status, it was to be at GMR. I turned it down. Because I was scared… of leaving where I was so strongly-established… of not being able to learn the script (this was long before a largely automated spiel was introduced)… of having such a long script to perform in front of people… of making a fool of myself… of being judged by my performance… of trying something new.
It’s not at all a stretch to say that turning down my full-time opportunity at GMR completely changed the trajectory of my life. I never did take a full-time position after that. My time in Florida would have been vastly different had I accepted the position and embraced my new role. It’s something that weighs heavily on me STILL, at times.
But I have so much love for this slow-moving vehicle ride through the classic movies. The memories of riding alongside my friends for their shows, of the finale bringing tears to my eyes, of looking for the hidden Mickeys, of cringing during the Wizard of Oz scene because I detest that movie, of wondering if the Wicked Witch was going to make her appearance, of co-workers playing out their bandit or gangster roles… SO MANY MEMORIES of LIVING in that park, with those people, making memories with an insider’s knowledge and love of the park and the attraction…
THAT is the stuff that will always live on. And that’s what the Great Movie Ride is for me. And so it’s with those memories that I’ll always carry with me, that I bid a fond farewell to this old friend.
“Ready when you are, CB.”