Disney has announced an ambitious reimagining of Mickey’s Toontown in Disneyland that will debut in early 2023, alongside the new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway ride. This post shares concept art, closing & reopening timelines, quotes, and brief thoughts on the changes. (Updated February 17, 2022.)
The official announcement from Disney follows significant work behind construction walls in Toontown. This has been visible since the parks reopened, but has accelerated in recent months with demolition and work plainly visible from the ground in Toontown. That’ll soon change, as the entire land closes during the next phase of the project.
To begin this work, Mickey’s Toontown will close beginning March 9, 2022. The land will reopen in early 2023, alongside the new attraction, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. When Toontown reopens in 2023, it will still be home to favorite attractions such as Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, Mickey’s House, and Minnie’s House. Other attractions will be reimagined in new ways, including Gadget’s Go Coaster, Goofy’s House, and Donald’s Boat.
Per Disneyland, Imagineers are working to create all-new experiences for families that builds on the legacy of Mickey’s Toontown. The beloved land will transform into a “vibrant symphony of sights, sounds, and sensations.” Focusing on families with young children, Mickey’s Toontown will feature new play experiences, as well as open, grassy play spaces. The land will have landscaping for both play and parental relaxation.
“We are so excited to leverage Disney’s powerful brand, develop new stories and share even more magical experiences with our guests,” said D’Amaro in a quote that could apply to literally anything. “The newly reimagined Mickey’s Toontown will be a welcoming place where families and younger guests can connect and play together in fun new ways.”
With a greener and more spacious Mickey’s Toontown, the land will offer more play activities and attractions than it does right now. From active to tactile play, new experiences will let children slide, spin, splash, touch, and listen.
One of the new areas coming to Mickey’s Toontown will be CenTOONial Park, the first space guests will see when they enter. This natural space will be anchored by two interactive play spaces.
At the center of CenTOONial Park will be a fountain, which will also become a center icon for Mickey’s Toontown. As its base, water tables will invite guests to play with the water and have a sensory experience. At night, the fountain will be brought to life in a unique spectacle.
A nearby dreaming tree will be inspired by the tree a young Walt Disney would daydream under in his hometown. (This seems like a stretch, but whatever.) Sculpted tree roots will provide an opportunity for children to play, crawl and explore, and undulating topography will offer rolling hills and a place to sit and dream.
Mickey’s Toontown will close on March 9, 2022 to begin creating these all-new experiences. In addition to reopening in early 2023 with the new, family-friendly and adventurous Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Mickey’s Toontown will still be home to many beloved characters including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, and more.
As with Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway coming to Toontown at Disneyland, we are mostly on board with these changes. About the only downside from my perspective is that it appears the current musical Mickey Mouse and Roger Rabbit fountains will be removed, replaced by a single, centralized play fountain.
Other than that, this should breathe new life into a land that is reasonably popular for meet and greets, but that has sort of faded in terms of its energy level. While Disney claims that this will offer more “activities and attractions than ever before” that isn’t exactly true, as Toontown used to have quite a bit more that was cut for safety reasons over the decades. With that said, these plans will definitely offer more interactivity than exists in Toontown right now.
I can’t really speak to the active and tactile play experiences directly, but one of the conversations we’ve had with friends who have small children is that the play experiences for that age demographic are limited in the parks.
While Disney’s announcement is a bit heavy-handed with the word “play” (among other things), I’m very much in favor of kids having opportunities for physical activity, discovery, and interactive experiences. For someone who doesn’t have kids, I have very strong opinions about all of this, but I won’t subject you to those.
We’ve been in Disneyland for the last few days, and have noticed support structures starting to take shape on the show building for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway–plus the attraction facade and more starting to appear behind the construction walls.
Of course, I didn’t take photos of any of this, figuring I’d do so on our last day before leaving. So for now, you’ll just have to trust me that things are progressing nicely in Toontown. (The above photo is from a couple months ago–I’ll share some new ones soon.)
Ultimately, all of these interactive play spaces plus Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be solid additions without anything significant being lost. Another big attraction in Toontown should also once and for all put to rest rumors about the land being replaced by future expansion.
Moreover, we feel incredibly strongly Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin is criminally underrated, and anything that exposes more guests to Toontown and potentially that iconic attraction is good news from our perspective. Plus, more green spaces in the parks is always a good thing. We’re cautiously optimistic that all of these changes and additions will be a net positive for Disneyland and guests!
What do you think of the reimagined Mickey’s Toontown? Excited for Disney to breathe some new life into this area, or think it’s already great? Thoughts on the addition of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway to Disneyland? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!