On Tuesday, March 3 I was part of a hosted media group. Our main concentration was a preview of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, but that was not all that we did. It was a full day, filled with information that I want to share with you.
We started at Disney Springs. We were able to get a sneak peek at “Drawn to Life”, which is the new Cirque du Soleil show. That is scheduled to officially open on April 17, but it will be in previews before that. We were treated to the first two acts. This show is going to be a perfect fit for Walt Disney World. It takes the dramatic acrobatics that Cirque du Soleil is known for, and adds a Disney theme to it. Legendary Disney animator Eric Goldberg is part of this project, and when he talked his love for this show shined through. We heard from several members of the creative team, and they all have a real passion for this new show. Getting a glimpse made me want to see more. Several of the preview and early dates are already sold out, so don’t wait to get your tickets.
We then headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway was of course the main focus, but there is another new offering at the park. “Vacation Fun” is a brand new movie that now plays in the Mickey Shorts Theater. This short film is a delightful surprise. The premise is simple. Mickey and Minnie are getting ready to go on vacation, and while packing Mickey thinks back on some past trips. This film is filled with laughs, and it has the feel of a classic Mickey short cartoon. When you exit the theater there are some fun picture opportunities. For years people have walked past this theater without giving it a second thought, but that should not be the case any longer. This film is a perfect break in the middle of the day, especially when it is hot or raining.
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Of course the main reason for our event was Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. This ride is everything that I hoped it would be and more. Our friend John at BigFatPanda.com described it perfectly. He said that “it’s like someone handed you a smile”. The ride takes you into Mickey’s cartoon world. It uses animation, audio-animatronics, projections, and a few other tricks. Disney has said that it blurs the line with reality, and that is exactly what you will experience.
I don’t want to give away too much, because this is a ride that you really need to experience for yourself. I will, though, give you a simple rundown, so if you don’t want to know anything about it jump down to the paragraph that starts “Nothing Can Stop Us Now”. You’ll start in a room where you’ll watch the new short film “Perfect Picnic”. Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto are headed to Runamuck Park for a picnic. On their way they run into Goofy, who is the engineer of a train. He is also “Employee of the Month”, so nothing could go wrong, right? You will literally walk into the cartoon world, and step onto Goofy’s train. Visually the ride is stunning. The colors are vibrant, and there is so much going on around you that your brain might feel like it is on overload.
There are two themes in Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. The first and the obvious one is that Mickey and Minnie are trying to fix things with the train, because Goofy went one way while the rest of the train went the other. There are several different scenes that you will pass through to make this happen, and you will also learn to waltz. The second theme is more subtle. Mickey & Minnie were separated from Pluto, and he’s trying to catch up with them. Pluto has the picnic basket, and it’s fun to try to spot him in the various scenes. Many of your favorite characters appear, and there is a brand new bird named Chuuby.
“Nothing Can Stop Us Now” is a brand new song that is the theme for the ride. It’s a catchy tune that truly adds to the attraction. What is nice about it is that they do not overdo the song. You’ll hear enough of it so that you’ll be humming it after you get off of the ride, but it won’t necessarily stick with you all day.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is a family ride, and there is no height restriction. That said, there are a couple of times when there is a lot of movement. Also, where you sit doesn’t matter. Those who are in the first couple of rows may have the best view at the beginning, but things will quickly change.
You will want to keep your eyes open for Hidden Mickeys. I don’t think that there is a place from the queue until you are getting off where there aren’t several to be found.
I miss The Great Movie Ride as much as the next person, but Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is a great addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Having the first Mickey and Minnie ride through attraction at any Disney Park on the planet inside the Chinese Theater makes sense. The 1933 film “Mickey’s Gala Premiere” took place at the actual Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Many of Mickey’s films debuted at the same original Chinese Theater. This is a really good fit.
The past several years have been a bit rocky at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but slowly the puzzle pieces have been put into place. Toy Story Land invites guests into Andy’s backyard. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge allows you to live your own Star Wars story. And now, we can step deep into Mickey’s world and know what it feels like to be part of a cartoon. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is the perfect final puzzle piece. You are going to love it.