Mickey's Toontown to reopen with updated attractions, new characters and greater accessibilityby Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer
Mickey's Toontown reopens to the public this Sunday, March 19 following a year-long transformation project. Gone is the fountain outside Mickey's house, a second fountain near Roger Rabbit CarToon Spin, and the bandstand area in front of Toontown City Hall. Gone too is Chip 'n' Dale's Treehouse and any mention of the Jolly Trolley.
In their place, Disney has created a series of play areas for families with younger children, spaces where kids can crawl and climb and explore.
Mickey and friends await the reopening of Mickey's Toontown in Disneyland. Image courtesy Disney.
The new centerpiece of the land is CenTOONial Park, complete with a Dreaming Tree inspired by the one in Walt Disney's hometown of Marceline, Missouri. Visitors entering the land may first spot a new fountain, capped by a sculpture of Mickey and Minnie. The fountain has lower tables, which encourage little ones to splash and play.
Children are likewise encouraged to climb over and under the sculpted roots of the Dreaming Tree, where a soft ground covering helps protect against falls.
Goofy's How-To-Play Yard is a fenced play area with features like a sound garden, spring rockers and balance boards. Club Max offers an elevated view of the park, with a climbing net and slides. Inside Goofy's house, young visitors can help create faux candies in an interactive environment. An area at the back, almost behind Donald's Boat, is intended for the youngest visitors, with a soft spongy space perfect for crawling.
Donald's Boat now features water play areas. Photo courtesy Disney.
Goofy's How-to-Play area offers lots of room for active play. Photo courtesy Disney.
Donald's Boat is no longer a walk-through attraction, but instead an interactive water play area featuring Huey, Louie, Dewey and Webby of DuckTales fame. Next door, Chip ‘n’ Dale’s GADGETcoaster pays tribute to Gadget Hackwrench, while also giving Chip 'n' Dale a new Toontown home.
Chip ‘n’ Dale’s GADGETcoaster in Mickey's Toontown reopens this weekend. Image courtesy Disney.
Many of these new spaces have features that make them more accessible to visitors with disabilities. During a recent media overview of the land, Jeff Shaver-Moskowitz, Portfolio Executive Producer at Walt Disney Imagineering, went into great detail about many design decisions that were made with accessibility in mind.
Goofy's How-To-Play Yard is largely wheelchair accessible, with ramps leading up to Club Max. The hills are fitted with roller slides, often found in inclusive playgrounds, which are easier for sliders with limited coordination. The slides also have a wider platform at the landing, to accommodate riders who need time to transfer back into a wheelchair.
The water play area around Donald's Boat is wheelchair accessible, and the rudder is covered with raised decorations and finger mazes for guests seeking sensory input.
Shaver-Moskowitz said the area, now called "Popcorn Park" (the site of the former Chip 'n' Dale Treehouse), was preserved as a quiet area for guests who might need a sensory break. The area features a shady area. "We saw a great opportunity here to have a quiet, out-of-the-beaten path, shady spot." He said the background music in this area is a more "spa-like" arrangement of the Toontown score.
Curbs were eliminated throughout Toontown, a boon to wheelchair users and stroller-pushers alike. But not all of the planned features made it to real life. Concept art of the Dreaming Tree called for a root high enough to wheel under. That proved to be impractical, and the design was altered so that a wheelchair path goes between the roots.
The re-imagining of Mickey's Toontown did not extend to his front door, which is still at the top of a set of steps. Access is through a ramp off to the side, though the house itself is fully accessible. The same is true at Minnie's house.
It's also remains to be seen if the spaces are used as planners intended. I can see "Popcorn Park" becoming crowded with fans queuing to get some Tasty Popcorn from the park's only branded cart, or used as a character meet-and-greet area. Still, it's clear that a great deal of care and consideration went into creating an inclusive play area for families. Being married to someone who uses a wheelchair, and as a mom of children with special needs, I'm eager to see how the re-imagined land works for my family when we visit this weekend.
Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway and Roger Rabbit CarToon Spin round out the attractions in Mickey's Toontown, but the Downtown Toontown dining scene is worth a mention.
The Spring Garden Wrap is a new plant-based offering in Toontown. Image courtesy Disney.
Disney has combined the three counter-service eateries from the original land into the new Cafe Daisy. This new location will offer hot dogs, wraps, children's meals, and a twist on pizza that Disney is calling a Flop Over. Daisy is also serving up a plant-based Spring Garden Wrap, mini donuts and a selection of specialty drinks. Be sure to use mobile ordering for this location, as it's likely to be popular.
The Perfect Picnic Pack is $36.99 at Good Boy! Grocers in Mickey's Toontown. Image courtesy Disney.
The former Goofy's Gas Station will reopen as Good Boy Grocers, still offering grab-and-go snacks and beverages. Disney will also release a souvenir tied into the "Perfect Picnic" theme of the new Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway. The Perfect Picnic Basket is $25.99, and comes with three snacks and one beverage from a list of choices. You can also add a Perfect Picnic Blanket or a souvenir sipper bottle to complete the collection. This is a surprisingly affordable souvenir, which we expect will be quite popular come opening day.
Mickey and (new) Friends
Pete, in his Mickey Mouse Clubhouse persona, will make his theme park debut in Mickey's Toontown when it reopens Sunday. Joining the meet-and-greet lineup is Clarabelle Cow, along with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto. Chip and Dale are represented as statues outside the GADGETcoaster, and won't be greeting fans in the land.
Pete makes his theme park debut this weekend in Mickey's Toontown. Image courtesy Disney.
Clarabelle Cow will greet fans in Mickey's Toontown. Image courtesy Disney.
There are two more new characters who play a role in Mickey's re-imagined Toontown, but won't be participating in meet-and-greets. Chuuby is the adorable little bird from Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway, and appears on a variety of merchandise now available and coming soon to the land.
It's hard to know if Yummy is being used as a brand or character name, but you'll see the happy little kernel at the Yummy Popcorn cart on the west side of Toontown, outside Mickey's barn.
Mickey and Minnie pose outside their homes in Mickey's Toontown. Image courtesy Disney.