07 August 2009

A magical plan

Over the past couple of weeks the speculation surrounding the “leaked” Fantasyland plans has reached a fevered pitch. With nothing official to report, the Main Street Gazette has kept its distance from entering the rumor arena. But one piece of this plan appears to have slipped through a lot of radars, perhaps intentionally, which causes me a great deal of strife: The cannibalization of Mickey’s Toontown Fair.According to the plans circulating through the online community, the Toontown Fair Train Station will indeed become the Fantasyland Station, complete with restrooms. Where the restrooms are now, also known as Pete’s Garage, along with Mickey and Minnie’s Country Houses, the Judge’s Tent, and County Bounty will now become Pixie Hollow, complete with a playzone and a meet and greet area, and the dueling Dumbos. The Fantasyland Railroad Station, also a part of the expanded Dumbo area, would also occupy the space currently home to Donald’s Boat, otherwise known as the Miss Daisy.

Without hypothesizing about the whats and ifs too much, I can say that any and all of the planned additions to Fantasyland would have my stamp of approval. I love Snow White, Dumbo, The Little Mermaid, Winnie-the-Pooh, and especially Peter Pan as much as anyone, but the Walt Disney Animation canon is so large and there are so many stories without a home in Fantasyland that I would adore seeing the love spread around to more films and features.That said, I would hate to see Mickey’s Toontown Fair disappear almost entirely. It is true that Walt Disney World’s Toontown has never been as animated as the Toontown of Disneyland, but the charm presented, and character details provided, by the various areas of the land have always made it a place deep in the history of Disney and a must visit. If the current plans are true, then only Goofy’s Barnstormer would survive the axe, which makes sense as it is the only actual ride in the area, but I can only imagine the sting that seeing this reminder could bring to guests who have fond memories, and a lot of joy, of Mickey’s Toontown Fair.

I suppose it is worth noting that of the seven lands in the Magic Kingdom, Mickey’s Toontown Fair, previously known as Mickey’s Starland and Mickey’s Birthdayland, is the only land that was not a part of the original Magic Kingdom. This has made it malleable to redesigns and the most likely candidate for removal. In fact, Mickey’s Toontown Fair Train Station doesn’t even garner mention on the Walt Disney World Railroad poster near the tunnels of the Main Street Station.Going forward, I would love to see Mickey’s Toontown Fair plussed, bring more animation and stories to life. It is, after all, the home of Mickey Mouse. However, if it must become an extinct land, then I shall cherish the grand times I had there, and embrace the regal and royal residence that move in from Fantasyland.


Unknown said...

It is an interesting plan. I assume that the train station will be themed to Dumbo. And that they will be moving Aladdin's Flying Carpets to create the second Dumbo. I wonder what will go in Aladdin's place...

For me, seeing the kids (and adults) laugh and marvel at the Mouse houses will be missed.

Also, I think it would be a great addition to the Disney Studios to add Mickey's Toontown there. Imagine the connections with the Muppets and other film series.

Ryan P. Wilson said...

I wouldn't mind if the area where Aladdin is now returned it previous condition and gave us a clear view of the Enchanted Tiki Room.

As for the train station, no matter what the theme is they tie it to, I feel it has to be better than the current bare bones approach. Especially when you consider what the Main Street and Frontierland stations look like.

I could see a Toontown at the Studios. Turn off of Pixar Place into Toontown, situarted behind the backlot... It is an idea that definitely has merit to it.

Anonymous said...

Toontown could certainly work at the studios, especially if they retheme the Animation courtyard as "Maroon Studios" and build a full fledged Toontown behind it, just like in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."

If this Fantasyland renovation does occur, however, is Disney prepared for the media outcry? "Mickey evicted, home destroyed by princesses" will appear around the world.

Unknown said...

Since we all know that Steven Spielberg has to ok and use of Roger Rabbit and anything related from the film, I doubt Disney could build a Maroon Studios.

I hadn't thought about the media outcry. But, look at Disney's response to Toad and the changes to It's A Small World in Disneyland. I think they can weather the storm. But, it does make sense to move parts of Toontown to the Studios. And maybe Horizon can come to the Disney Village...oh, wait...too late for that!

AJ said...

Very good point, Ryan. I always thought the Mouse Houses gave an "insight" into the "lives" of Mickey and Minnie; they made the mice seem more real somehow. No matter how many times I go through those houses I always see something new.

Jon said...

I would too! I would like to see them move it outside of the rails, just to the north of Space Mountain. Similar to how Disneyland laid theirs out. Then it could be larger and permanent!


Since we all know that Steven Spielberg has to ok and use of Roger Rabbit and anything related from the film, I doubt Disney could build a Maroon Studios.

Well, with Michael Eisner gone, I think Spielberg is far more likely to OK such things and be more willing to work with Disney.

I can't see Spielberg hating Disney. After all, he only came to hate Eisner.

I also have to agree with Sellsje that a new Toontown, similar to the one at DL, could and/or should be built on the other side of the train tracks.