During this morning’s D23’s Destination D event, Disney Parks (etc.) Chairman Bob Chapek announced new nighttime spectaculars featuring Mickey Mouse that are coming to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. In this post, we’ll discuss this upcoming Mickey Mouse entertainment, plus the latest news & rumors about Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
At Walt Disney World, the new “Wonderful World of Animation” Nighttime Show will debut in May 2019 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (This is in addition to the new fireworks shows coming to Epcot in 2019 and 2020.) This all-new cinematic nighttime experience will kick-off the park’s 30th Anniversary celebration. “Wonderful World of Animation” will use state-of-the-art projection technology, and Mickey will take guests on a magical journey through 90 years of Disney animation.
Out at Disneyland, “Mickey’s Mix Magic” will light up the night at Disneyland beginning on January 18, 2019 with music, projections, lasers (and presumably pyro, given that it’s in the concept art) as part of a dance party that takes over almost the entire park. There are a bunch of other newly-announced “Mickey Things” coming to the parks, so let’s take a look at those and offer some commentary on the announcements…
Before continuing with the other Disneyland stuff, let’s jump back to Walt Disney World. First, we’re assuming the “Wonderful World of Animation” will replace “Disney Movie Magic,” rather than “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular.” (The latter might also be due for a replacement with the debut of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge–who knows.)
Our only basis for this is that the vernacular used in the Parks Blog announcement is “Nighttime Show” rather than “Nighttime Spectacular,” which suggests that “Wonderful World of Animation” will be smaller-scale. Disney is typically careful with its phraseology, so we don’t think we’re parsing words too much here.
There’s really no new news as far as Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. One thing we do know is that the attraction won’t be opening in the Spring 2019 or even early summer, as some (including us) had previously suspected.
Rather, Chapek indicated that opening is just about a year away, with an opening in Fall 2019. No specific date was set beyond that, and we don’t expect one to be revealed for a while. We have not heard anything leading us to believe that the attraction is behind schedule or having any issues, and we’re curious if this official opening is deliberate to offer counter-programming for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Jumping back to Disneyland, a couple other announcements were also made in addition to the park-wide dance party thing. There will also be “Get Your Ears On: A Mickey and Minnie Celebration,” which will feature new entertainment, food, and merchandise. Additionally, fan-favorite Mickey’s Soundsational Parade returns to the resort in January 2019 featuring a new float with Mickey himself.
We’re going to hazard a guess that Pixar Fest will not be returning to Disneyland in 2019, which does not rule out the possibility that it won’t return to Disney California Adventure. (Frankly, it’s better suited to just DCA, anyway, so that would be the better move from our perspective.)
If none of this sounds particularly exciting to you, that’s because it probably isn’t the intent for these to be huge offerings. Both the new Mickey shows appear to be evening entertainment to complement existing offerings. There’s nothing wrong with that–not everything can or needs to be a major offering–and we think it’s nice to see Mickey Mouse receive more attention.
One thing that’s interesting is how this sets up Disneyland to begin its next phase of expansion. Internal rumors have been swirling that the main backstage entertainment building behind Toontown will be relocated off-site early next year, in order for demolition to accommodate the next big addition following Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
This would also take the rear fireworks launch site out of commission, requiring a modified nighttime spectacular with more lower-level pyro, or non at all. The start of the holiday season has already seen a modified version of ‘Believe… In Holiday Magic’ with limited pyro on particularly windy nights (of which there have been many), and that’s more or less what we expected from Disneyland “fireworks” next year.
Separately, we’ve heard that the new attraction replacing the entertainment building would be Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, as rumored by WDWNT. One significant part of the rumor, at least as told to us, is that this expansion would not occupy any of the Fantasyland expansion parcel.
The most credible rumors we’ve heard (which are probably only fifty-fifty at best) still point to this Fantasyland plot as being developed in a few years, and featuring Frozen. We’ve also heard that Disneyland is aiming to move as many backstage facilities off-site in the next year as possible to facilitate future expansion plans.
If Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is coming to Toontown (and that’s highly likely to be the case) we think this is a pretty solid addition–and truly a best-case scenario for the park’s expansion. Honestly, it’s tough to find anything to dislike about this rumor.
This is especially so given that nothing of import (aside from a gift shop) is on the chopping block in Toontown. Another big attraction in Toontown is great news to us, as it would also once and for all put to rest rumors about the land being replaced by future expansion. (We feel strongly that Toontown and Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin are incredibly underrated.)
While we are still not totally sold on the animation style of Disney Channel’s new Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts, this is something that–if we’re being honest with ourselves–we just need to get over. Every generation has its “version” of Mickey Mouse, and this is today’s treatment of the iconic character.
These shorts are Emmy-winning, and even though they remind me of Ren and Stimpy, they are also meant to evoke a classic style of animation. Self awareness can be tough, but I’m trying to set aside my own predispositions about what Mickey Mouse and friends “should” look like.
Interestingly (at least to us), we talked to several friends in Japan on our most recent visit about the idea of a Mickey Mouse attraction in Tokyo Disneyland. Not because anything is rumored, but because it seems like such a logical fit given Mickey’s celebrity status there, and the likelihood of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway being a heavily-cloned ride.
While some had seen the new Mickey Mouse cartoons, they told us these weren’t very popular (or mainstream) in Japan. My speculation there is that the portrayal of Mickey Mouse in the cartoons doesn’t exactly mesh with Mickey’s personality in Japan, or the animated popular culture there. We still wouldn’t be surprised to see the Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway ride tech find its way to Tokyo Disneyland, but perhaps with a reskinned appearance. (There’s also no room to expand behind Toontown, and replacing ‘it’s a small world’ seems unlikely now, so there’s that.)
In any case, we’re expecting more news today out of the Destination D event, and possibly confirmation of some rumors that have been swirling for the last couple months, so stay tuned throughout the day…
What do you think of newly-announced Mickey Mouse nighttime shows/dance party for Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland? Are you excited about the possibility of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway coming to Disneyland? Any questions? We love hearing from readers, so please share any other thoughts or questions you have in the comments below!