Part of the allure of Mickey’s Starland would be the namesake stars. While the land modeled much of itself after Duckberg from DuckTales, there were a whole host of characters from The Disney Afternoon to pull from in order to gain the attention of children visiting the Magic Kingdom in the early 1990s. When Mickey’s Birthdayland transformed into Mickey’s Starland in the spring of 1990, it brought along with it Mickey’s Magical TV World.
The show was host by C.J., seen at far left with the Gummi Bears, who oversaw the stage production that include characters from the entire line-up of The Disney Afternoon. The stage included sets from the various shows, such as the tree from Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears or Scrooge McDuck’s vault. The first iteration included not only DuckTales and Gummi Bear characters, but also Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Ranger cast members, pictured here, and friends from TaleSpin. Mickey was also present to assist with co-hosting the whole affair with C.J.
The show would change each year with shifts to The Disney Afternoon’s line-up, with additions such as Darkwing Duck joining the show. As the years went by, the show also became a surprise for Mickey, and C.J.’s co-host became the rapping computer known as D.U.D.E. Looking back at the show know, it is clearly a time capsule of its day, and one that would probably cause a fair amount of headshakes amongst adults who know they were kids screaming in that audience. Regardless of the show itself, how many of us wouldn’t leap at the chance to revisit some of these characters in the park today!
There are other interesting tidbits to explore in this photograph as well. Let’s start with the most obvious, Mickey’s house. This is not the squashed and pulled animated house that many of us remember from Mickey’s Toontown Fair, but instead a version of the house that had a few outlandish architectural features, but that otherwise could have lived on any street in the country. Similarly, if you look just behind the tree to the left of Zummi Gummi, you can see Mickey Mouse’s mailbox. This mailbox, while seemingly normal, was out of place once the land transformed into Mickey’s Toontown Fair, so it was shelved, literally. It could always be found tucked away on a shelf in Mickey’s garage.
Last, but by no means least, if you look just about the roofline on the left, right in front of Cinderella Castle, you can one of the posts and the lines of the Skyway between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. While there are no gondolas running in the photo, my guess is that this picture was taken early in the morning before the attraction was operating, as the Skyway would remain in operation until the end of the decade.
With all of the history of Walt Disney World, it’s easy to forget how much worth and information can be contained within a single photograph. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to find some crimes that are slipping through the cracks.