By GWEN MURANAKA and ERIC HAYASHI, Rafu Shimpo
ANAHEIM – Wheeee! Teagan Harper, 3 years old, was all smiles and giggles as she rode down the rainbow slide at Goofy’s How-to-Play Yard on the opening day of Disneyland’s reimagined Toontown. Tucked next to It’s a Small World, Toontown reopened on March 19 after a year-long closure.
Teagan and the extended Harper, Gulnac, Hamada and Tomizawa clans traveled from Maui to enjoy the California sunshine at the Magic Kingdom.
One of the biggest new attractions in Mickey’s Toontown is Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, a dark ride that takes guests on a wild adventure with Goofy as the conductor. The ride features state-of-the-art technology, including projection mapping and audio-animatronics.
Jennifer Schwartz, lead concept artist for Runaway Railway and Mickey’s Toontown, explained that Runaway Railway guided the evolution of the new Toontown. The ride queue is a real highlight, an expansive, clever journey through the world of Mickey Mouse with nods to Steamboat Willie, Disco Mickey and Sorcerer’s Apprentice and numerous easter eggs.
“This attraction is for everyone, different abilities and so inclusive in so many ways so we decided that Toontown need that same spark,” Schwartz said in an interview with The Rafu Shimpo. “We wanted to make sure first and foremost that there are no limitations. We had the people who come into the park of different abilities to be able to enjoy this. For instance, there are no curbs like there were before and there are a lot of touch tables.”
In the middle of the land is the CenTOONial Park fountain with Mickey and Minnie and is an interactive fountain with water touch tables.
“The fountain’s outer rim is a touch table and it’s built so even a child or an adult in a wheelchair can use that space,” Schwartz said.
In addition to Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, there are also several new attractions in Mickey’s Toontown, including Donald’s Duck Pond and Goofy’s How-to-Play Yard, refurbished Chip ‘n’ Dale’s GADGET Coaster, Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, and of course, you can meet and explore Mickey’s or Minnie’s House.
Teagan’s favorite attraction was the slide at Goofy’s How-to-Play Yard. Schwartz said the play yard was reconceived with a millennial mindset.
“Where we landed is we’re ’90s babies and we’re millennials, so basically ‘The Goofy Movie’ won out and there are tons of ‘Goofy Movie’ references,” Schwartz said.
As for eating options, there is Café Daisy where the menus have been updated to include specialty drinks along with pizza, hot dogs, and vegetarian options. Next to Café Daisy is Good Boy! Grocers, where you can purchase snacks, slushees and a souvenir picnic basket and are able to add a blanket.
The removal of curbs is a welcome reprieve from accidentally tripping over the curb or stepping off and almost falling. There are also more open spaces for kids to run and adults to sit and recharge.
Teagan’s mom June found a perfect spot for the family to relax in Toontown.
“Tucked in at the end of Toontown there is a park perfect for laying out our picnic blanket. It’s a little hidden but it’s between Mickey’s House and Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Gadget Coaster. We spent the late afternoon on our picnic blankets eating snacks and drinks from Café Daisy,”Harper said.“So I’m officially the age when my favorite part of Toontown is a shady spot to lie down. The lawn is artificial grass and there is a lot of shade. We joked that they probably vacuum the lawn!”
Photos by GWEN MURANAKA/Rafu Shimpo (except where noted)