Not exactly the perfect "spectaular journey" as advertized, but certainly the last good Audio-Animatronics filled "E" Ticket since any of the attractions found at the opening of EPCOT Center in 1982.
Disney-MGM Studios opened in 1989 to some of the same mixed reviews as Animal Kindgom almost a decade later: no enough to do, too many shows, not enough rides. The Great Movie Ride was the lone standout. Guests expected Disney to use its robotic wizardry somewhere in the park. Here, its use with the combination of different art forms and how its story was told was unprecedented at the time.
Unfortunately, it would be the last AA filled attraction for the American parks, as Disney chose to increasingly rely on film, stage, and steel for new adventures. It's been a long, dry spell for these kind of old school presentations, but I'd say theme park history is made with them. Pirates of The Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion still thrill after decades, and Journey Into Imagination was destroyed before its voyage was ready to be over. Can't believe anyone will be celebrating fifty years of Kali River Rapids!
It is not time to let this classic style of attraction die out on American soil. Not if Disney desires to draw from the pocketbooks of an aging population who will, one day, grow too old for the thrills of Mission Space or Expedition Everest.
In my opinion, almost 20 years later, Disney's Hollywood Studios still earns the initial criticism it received at opening- and the Great Movie Ride badly needs an update as well. Maybe a little mermaid at the Magic Kingdom will usher in a new era of great attractions- and prompt the folks at Disney to unleash some new spectacular adventures for a studio park that has lost its way.