Today marks one year since both Ellen’s Energy Adventure at Epcot, and The Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios closed. Both attractions closed to make way for new rides, and we wanted to take this anniversary and take a look at what has happened in the past year.
The Great Movie Ride to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
The Great Movie Ride was easily the bigger of the two closures a year ago. Disney made shirts to mark the occasion and fans pushed and shoved to try to be on the last ride through the movies. A few lingered at the end to watch the doors close and the Cast take their final bow.
Check out our final photo tour and walk through for more detailed shots.
The next morning, the fans were gone and the walls were up. A new backdrop with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto could be found along with some signage telling guests to “Stay Tooned” as Mickey and Minnie prepared a new attraction for them.
About a week later the neon marquee for The Great Movie Ride was also removed, dotting the ‘i’ on the end of an era at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It may have taken a week for the marquee to be removed, but demolition was taking place at a feverish pace inside the attraction. A couple of days after we saw the marquee removed, we spotted Disney dragging out theming from the Alien ride scene.
As gutting of the attraction continued, not much could be seen from the exterior of the show building. Disney has stated that they intend to keep the Chinese Theater exterior intact despite the change of theme for the attraction. Work on the new attraction slowly took place via a backstage access road, keeping the demolition out of sight of guests.
We did get a quick peek inside of The Great Movie Ride as the attraction was being gutted.
So, what’s next for the attraction? The answer is a 2 ½-D attraction called Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. The attraction will “put you inside the wacky and unpredictable world of a Mickey Mouse Cartoon Short where you’re the star and anything can happen”. It represents the first time an attraction has been themed to Mickey Mouse. Here’s what we know:
The fun begins when you see the premiere of a new cartoon short with Mickey and Minnie getting ready for a picnic. As they head out, they drive alongside a train and find out that the engineer is Goofy. Then, one magical moment lets you step through the screen and into the movie and on Goofy’s train for a wacky, wild ride.
Here’s a look at some of the latest concept art released by Disney. In it, we can see guests in the ride vehicle and a physical set where Mickey and Minnie can be seen driving alongside us.
Ellen’s Energy Adventure to Guardians of the Galaxy
The second attraction to close a year ago today was Ellen’s Energy Adventure. The fanfare surrounding this attraction’s closure was much more subdued and plagued by ride breakdowns, but the replacement attraction is receiving a lot of attention.
First, a look back at Ellen’s Energy Adventure. A bit of a dinosaur in its own right, Ellen’s Energy Adventure suffered many of the same issues that The Great Movie Ride did – mainly a lack of updates.
We heard the first whispers of a Guardians of the Galaxy themed attraction back in June of 2016 and they proved to be spot on.
Things got quiet before we saw permits filed for the new attraction just weeks before the formal announcement at the 2017 D23 Expo.
Along with the announcement of the Guardians of the Galaxy and how they fit into the Epcot landscape was also the closing date for Ellen’s Energy Adventure. We took our last trip back in time before heading over to Hollywood Studios to take our last ride through the movies.
Here’s our farewell photo tour of Ellen’s Energy Adventure.
It only took a day for us to see movement on The Great Movie ride, but it wouldn’t be until mid-September before we started to see movement on Ellen’s Energy Adventure. A couple of days of work later and the land needed for the Guardians of the Galaxy show building was cleared.
A month after the land was cleared we received news straight from Disney that the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction would be a roller coaster. As part of the Epcot 35th Anniversary celebrations, Epcot Vice President Melissa Valiquette confirmed to the media that the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction will indeed be a roller coaster. Here’s how we anticipate the existing structure and the new structure would interact. The existing Universe of Energy pavilion (blue) would be connected to the gravity building (green) via a launch tunnel (red) a la Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster.
It wouldn’t be until May 11, 2018 that we would provide the very first images of the gravity building going vertical.
Just two weeks ago we provided you with information that the track installation is set to begin soon. While we still haven’t seen the tracks installed, permits suggest that the work will be completed within the next year. Now, a year after the closure of Ellen’s Energy Adventure, we see that the majority of the gravity building has been constructed and it has changed the Epcot sightline dramatically.
The Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster is set to open by the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World in October 2021, while Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is set to open next year at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.