Although it’s slated to open officially to the adoring public on Friday, April 1, the new meet and greet location for Mickey Mouse and the Disney Princesses experienced a soft opening today and a few lucky guests at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom had the opportunity to experience a little one on one time with Mickey, Minnie and the Disney Princesses in their new digs.
Fortunately for us, Josh Siegel (@Crushinat0r) was on hand to capture some of the newly installed magic (literally speaking) and share it with us.
A new grand foyer, featuring a spectacular Town Square floor mosaic leads the path to both the entry queues for Mickey Mouse and the Disney Princesses. Along the queues, hi-resolution LCDs easily pass off as Houdini-era posters on the Mickey Mouse side that occasionally show off a bit of animation a la the Enchanted Art developed for the Disney Dream, and offer up trivia questions on the Disney Princess side.
In this other enchanted poster, Mickey performs a very old and clever trick that’s guaranteed to make any card chosen by guests waiting in the queue to vanish before their very eyes. How does he do it? A magician never reveals his tricks! Although quite admittedly, sometimes Stitch Kingdom does.
As we first touched upon the other day when we first revealed photos of the new Mickey meet & greet room, the room is just full of inside Disney references and sight gags just waiting to explore. We found about 15 or so just by pouring through the photos (admittedly some aren’t readily visible in these images), but rather than simply point them out, here’s some clues to some of our favorites:
- Despite it not existing for decades to come, 1901 was a pivotal year in the history of the Walt Disney Company
- Mickey’s trunks are covered in port-of-call stickers that not only represent Disney Parks and Resorts around the world, but even some sub-sections of them.
- Speaking of his trunks, consider who manufactures them and you might have a pretty groan-inspiring Jungle Cruise joke.
- The animatronic rabbit that sometimes gets mad and likes to disappear from time to time is sitting atop a hatbox made by 10 Shillings and Sixpence Ltd (or 10/6 as we like to abbreviate it on occasion).
- The notes posted on the billboard reference a couple of Disney animated classics: one a feature-length animated film, the other a popular Mickey Mouse short. There’s also a note from a famous magician who’s a member of the Disney family, but he’s more like a cousin, one could say.
- The Sorcerer’s Hat sure looks like a miniature version of the Disney’s Hollywood Studios icon, but that crystal ball manufactured by Leota Crystals resembles more of a smooth golf ball, whether it’s silver or glowing purple.
- There’s all sorts of magician’s preferred animals represented, including birds… including a parrot (at least the head).
- Fantasia is heavily represented in the room
- And, of course, there’s at least one classic Hidden Mickey somewhere in the Mouse’s box of tricks.
All photos and video © Josh Siegel. Presented here with permission.
Scheduled to open beginning April 1, we have your first look inside the room for the FASTPASS-enabled Magician Mickey Mouse meet and greet at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Tucked away inside Exposition Hall, Magician Mickey invites fans to meet him ‘backstage’ where he’ll have a few tricks of his own including interactive posters, more than likely in the same vein as the enchanted art found aboard the Disney Dream.
Provided by a friend of Stitch Kingdom, the photos show some of the heavy detail that has gone into the space which includes representation of the parks (the books are stacked to form the shape of Cinderella Castle, the Sorcerer’s Hat, Madame Leota’s crystal ball, etc., as well as port of call stickers from Hong Kong and Tokyo on Mickey’s trunk).
The new space in Exposition Hall will also be co-inhabited by the Disney Princesses who are currently meeting inside the Adventureland Veranda until the new space opens later this week. We are also told that following the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, Tinker Bell and her fairy friends will be flying back to the Magic Kingdom and also be offering meet & greets in the new space. Initial plans called for Tink to be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but we hear John Lasseter was adamant about Tink remaining inside the Magic Kingdom, so there she will return. Tink was even scheduled to appear at Disney’s Hollywood Studios between the closure of Mickey’s Toontown Fair and the start of the Flower and Garden Festival, but she was immediately moved to Epcot early, skipping the Studios altogether.
Lastly, and music to your ears, we are certain, we have been sitting on reports that when it re-opens, the Enchanted Tiki Room will no longer be under new management and will instead be returned to its original glory. Perhaps even more gratifying to many, sources have told us that Iago will find himself relocated to an Audio Animatronics graveyard located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom where he will become fodder for Imagineers looking to hone their skills. The attraction currently has no known re-opening date, although it’s assumed to be July 1, 2011 at this time as the official site has it listed as closed through June 30.
UPDATE #1 – 3/29/11 – In regards to the fairies return to Magic Kingdom, it may have been stated in haste that they will join the others in Exposition Hall. Although it was reported to us that they will be returning to the Magic Kingdom, the details were a bit hazy. The likely new (and also likely temporary) home (which comes with some accredited validation) of Pixie Hollow is the Adventureland Veranda whose interior has remained dormant for the better part of several years save for hosting the Disney Princesses following the closure of Mickey’s Toontown Country Fair. This also places the fairies within spitting distance of their sworn nemeses: pirates.
Earlier today, Mondo, the collectible art boutique arm of the Alamo Drafthouse cinema-eatery, unveiled this gorgeous poster by artist Tom Whalen celebrating the 1928 debut of Mickey Mouse, Steamboat Willie. Mickey Mouse is prominently featured as Steamboat Willie himself and flanked by Steamboat Minnie and Steamboat Pete.
The 18″x24″ poster features metallic inks and will be limited to an edition size of just 200 pieces. It will go on sale on Friday, February 25, 2011 at an unspecified time and retail for $40. Those interested in purchasing the poster are advised to follow @MondoNews on Twitter for the sale announcement.
A variant of the poster will also become available at a future date through Sideshow Collectibles as per Mondo.
UPDATE: The poster has already gone on sale and sold out in under three minutes. Congratulations to those who were able to purchase it.
Magic Kingdom officials have a hunch a really “hot ticket” in their realm this summer is going to be something other than a ride, a snack or a show. Rather, it’s a first-ever opportunity to nail down a time to meet with Mickey Mouse.
When meet-and-greets with Mickey move into a permanent new location in Town Square later this spring, Magic Kingdom guests will be able obtain a Disney’s FASTPASS ticket specifying a one-hour window when they can return to see the popular character for hugs, photos and autographs — without waiting in the standby queue. It will mark the first time the complimentary, computerized service has been available for a character meet-and-greet at any Disney Park.
Since spending time with Disney characters is at the top of the “must-do list” of many guests, the FASTPASS ticket will allow them to experience their Mickey Mouse meet-and-greets more conveniently. As a result, guests will be able to devote more time enjoying other Magic Kingdom experiences with family and friends.
The new meet-and-greet location, Town Square Theater, will be located inside the current Exposition Hall area just inside the park entrance. Imagineers already are working to completely transform the space for the new experience. “This isn’t just remodeling Expo Hall; it is completely re-imagining this entire venue as a beautiful Victorian-era theater and the new home for Mickey Mouse,” Jon Georges, WDI Director, Senior Show Producer, said.
“Mickey and Main Street, U.S.A. are great examples of pure Americana that complement each other very well,” Concept Designer Jason Grandt said. “We drew a lot of inspiration from classic Mickey animated shorts such as The Nifty Nineties and Mickey’s Grand Opera. Many of the scenes in these shorts look like they take place right on Main Street.”
Guests arrive at a building befitting Mickey Mouse’s stardom — with a grand-Victorian-theater elevation, including a marquee that glistens with gold-leaf trim and sparkles with lights. Inside, there’s a mosaic floor, lush curtains with gold rope tie-backs and polished-brass chandeliers. Imagineers are creating new elements and surprises for Magic Kingdom guests, including an interactive queue — with an extra touch of Disney magic — and highly themed retail shops.
The queue takes guests “backstage,” where Mickey is waiting to greet them in a rehearsal-room environment amid posters, steamer trunks and stage props.
In addition, during the New Fantasyland construction, royalty will be visiting as the Disney Princesses will be in Town Square Theater to meet and greet their loyal subjects.
Currently, guests can visit with Mickey Mouse in Tomorrowland, in a location to the right of Space Mountain. Meet-and-greet experiences with the Disney Princesses are currently at Adventureland Verandah.
Hearts of New Yorkers felt a bit of warmth this morning as lovebirds Mickey and Minnie Mouse took to the heart of chilly Times Square. The couple were celebrating Valentine’s Day a few days early in anticipation of the launch of the Disney Junior programming block which begins February 14 on Disney Channel and Radio Disney, with a whole new 24-hours network launching in 2012.
The A-list couple were also joined by Disney starlet Madison Pettis who joined in on the early celebration. Pettis, who is no stranger to any Disney Channel viewer, provides the voice of Izzy on the Disney Junior original animated series, ‘Jake and the Neverland Pirates.’
Photos by Lou Rocco, courtesy of and © Disney Channel
Swarovski.com has announced its first major online sale for 2011 in which many of its pieces have been marked down, in some cases up to 50% off.
The sale includes these adorable Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Robot pendants, both marked down by 30%. Both are rhodium-plated pendants on a ball chain, 27 1/2″ in length and feature moving arms. Mickey Robot (on sale for $168) uses Jet, Siam, Golden Shadow and clear crystals in Pointiage® to replicate the beloved Disney character while Minnie Robot (on sale for $161) uses bright epoxy, bezel-set clear crystals and Fuchsia and Jet crystals in Pointiage® to create a modern and original look.
Also available in the Disney collection is this set of Tinker Bell hoop earrings (on sale for $98), also marked down by 30%. Measuring at just over 1 1/2″ tall, Tinker Bell is sitting on a crescent moon on this pair of rhodium-plated hoop earrings. Aurora Borealis, Peridot and clear crystals set in Pointiage® adorn her wings, dress and the star dangling over the edge. Enchant your friends as you spread crystal magic with this character from Disney’s Peter Pan.
It takes a brilliant mind, a keen eye, a strong heart, an iron stomach and a steady hand to pull back the red and black curtain that serves as the skin of the world’s most beloved fictional character, Mickey Mouse. New York artist Jason Feenry appears to posses all of these as he presents his latest reveal, a sculpt titled ‘Mickey Mouse Anatomy.’
To satisfy the curiosity of those who aren’t quite as equipped to dabble in the miracles of modern science, Jason has been kind enough to provide an entire gallery of images that chronicle just how he managed to pull it all off. But be forewarned, it may not be for the squeamish.
Although I tend to stray from the topic of not preserving the magic as much as possible, a recent article by the Orange County Register has gotten the wheels in my head turning and I believe it’s time one seriously begins to ponder just where The Walt Disney Company is planning on taking its technology and just how far it’ll go to turn heads — articulated heads even.
The OC Register article takes a look at the new stage show at Disney California Adventure, Disney Dance Crew, in which Mickey Mouse performs on stage lip-syncing to track and blinking his eyes. While this is new technology for the Disneyland Resort, it’s not all that new for the company. What is new however is just how the articulated head is being used.
For the record, we are not talking about the recent Talking Mickey phenomenon that first reared his articulated head back in May (and then made a subsequent appearance during the World of Color premiere), this technology goes back a few years to early 2007 when the head (or rather, heads) made its appearance during the ‘Dream Along With Mickey’ show at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald all received the updates, which incidentally also force-transitioned Captain Hook and Mr. Smee into face characters (just for the show and via prosthetics) rather than update them as well. Since their debut, Walt Disney World has expanded the program to include an articulated head for Timon in Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s ‘Festival of the Lion King’ and has used them in other stage shows such as those during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Walt Disney World wasn’t the only one to cash in on the new technology, however. Disney Live! (which is operated by Feld Entertainment, best known for the ‘..On Ice’ series as well as a particular three-ring circus) introduced the articulated heads in its ‘Mickey’s Magic Show.’
Once the heads started showing up, however, there was an immediate (but not too overwhelming reaction) from the fan community – how does a parent reconcile Mickey talking on stage but keeping quiet (and mouth-open) during meet and greets? You can insert your own family-friendly personal excuse here but what makes the most recent change at the Disneyland Resort most compelling is that Mickey performs a meet and greet after the ‘Disney Dance Crew’ show. Only according to the OC Register, Mickey has a change of head before doing so.
This is why it’s important to note that this technology is not the Talking Mickey technology. Rather it’s a form of puppeteering in which the performers themselves make the Disney characters’ mouths open and eyes close based on finger gestures. The mechanics involved also produce an audible even when the character is at rest, so it doesn’t work for close interaction with guests (it also wouldn’t help that Mickey’s eyes would be closed while he signs autographs). So this of course begs the question: if Disney Parks is that comfortable with swapping ‘talking’ Mickey with silent Mickey that quickly without any fear of repercussion from small admirers, where does Disney draw the line between their responsibility for keeping the magic alive and a parent’s obligation to do it for them?
TRON, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Muppets and Epic Mickey were the topics of discussion today during the Disney Publishing Worldwide panel at the 5th annual New York Comic-Con which kicked off today in New York City.
Briefly touching upon TRON, preview pages of the prequel graphic novel TRON: Betrayal and The Art of TRON: Legacy were shared. Since the titles themselves as well as many of the other TRON: Legacy titles (mostly geared towards tweens) were made available to browse through at the Disney Publishing Worldwide booth, there wasn’t much more needing to be mentioned on the topic.
More juicy news could be found in the discussion regarding Pirates of the Caribbean: Six Sea Chanties. With a cover by Eric Powell of The Goon and the writing talents including those such as Bryan Q. Miller and Rob Kidd (author of the Young Jack Sparrow series), the described graphic novel anthology will consist of one main story and six short stories. Currently slated to be released on April 19, 2011, the graphic novel will serve as a prequel to not only Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, but will include stories going back as far as pre-dating the first film. Although it’s still early in development, stories are said to include dueling Jacks (Sparrow and the monkey that is), Barbossa and the skeleton curse. In preparation for the movie, Blackbeard and other yet-known characters will also be included in the stories.
Next on the docket was the multi-platform integration of books and the digital world. Going forward, it’s reasonable to expect that at least all of Disney’s original graphic novel properties will include some digital aspect. The first one talked about, whose introduction arrived in the way of a sample video, was the Muppets motion comic, debuting this fall. Based on Roger Langridge’s Meet the Muppets for BOOM! Studios, the Muppets motion comic will be made available on the Apple iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, Microsoft Xbox Live, Amazon Video Store, Sony PSN and DVD. The sample video included a Muppet News Flash with the Newsman, a commentary by Statler and Waldorf and a brief appearance by Kermit the Frog.
Epic Mickey was the property on which most time was spent and it was here that it was first announced that there would be an Epic Mickey app for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, which is expected to be released next week. Although it was previously announced that Peter David would be creating a 64 page graphic novel prequel for Epic Mickey as well as a digicomics version, the panel spent a great deal of time explaining the details in how the comics will be deployed. The app will be free and will contain some basic content such as the game’s trailer, character bios and the first of the six stories in the Tales from the Wasteland, presumably ‘Clocktower Cleaners.’ The remaining five stories can be purchased in-app as a bundle for $2.99. On November 30, with the game launch, the app will be updated to make way for additional items such as the graphic novel itself (in-app purchase for $3.99), motion comics (first free, remaining five for $1.99 each or bundled for $8.99).
Also mentioned and re-confirmed (as Amazon.com had once listed it) is that there will be an Epic Mickey: It’s Your Call book which is Disney’s answer to the Choose Your Own Adventure type books of yore. Don’t expect to see it anytime soon though, I was told it won’t be released until summer 2011. Also coming in summer, although I don’t believe it was mentioned at the panel, but was told to me later, is The Art of Epic Mickey which will be done in the same vein as the existing ‘Art of’ titles.
Lastly, but by no means least, was the re-announcement that Disney Publishing has teamed up with Fantagraphics to produce a series of the ‘definitive’ collection of Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse comic strips. Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: Race to Death Valley is the first title which is set to be released on May 18, 2011. In an effort to maintain the integrity of the original comics, the teams have gone to the Walt Disney Studio Archives and are ‘restoring’ the artwork to ensure that the integrity of the original colors and vision of the comics is maintained.
At the Disney Interactive Booth on the New York Comic-Con floor, both TRON: Evolution and Epic Mickey were offered as playable demos. I had the opportunity to play some of the Gremlin Village Ticket Booth level of Epic Mickey, which bears a remarkable resemblance to the Disneyland model’s Fantasyland. Not too much to report on that, other than it is pretty fun and forgiving to play and I learned that in the full game, there’s a full ride inside ‘it’s a small world’ available. Unfortunately in the demo mode, playing inside the attraction just ended the demo, so I’ll have to wait until November 30 for that one. I also received confirmation from a developer of the game that something mentioned during the Disney Publishing Worldwide panel was true. According to them, the endgame cinematic is very emotional and — if I heard things correctly — it’s even said to make Warren Spector shed a tear.
Make sure to read our coverage of the NYCC Epic Mickey panel here.
OLC, the parent company of the Tokyo Disneyland Resort, has announced that a new meet and greet experience will be coming to Tokyo DisneySea as part of its ‘Be Magical!’ 10th anniversary. Located next to the Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull in the Lost River Delta, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy will be greeting guests and taking commemorative photos.
The Disney characters, who are researching and studying the ruins of an ancient civilization as well as the jungle plants and insects, will each be waiting in one of three differently themed structures to greet the guests. At the entrance, guests choose which Disney character they want to meet and follow the trail that leads to the character. Along the way, they can rotate the sections of stone column to jumble or match the character’s head, body and feet. Or they can look at insect specimens through a magnifying glass. These and other activities will be available to help make guests feel like explorers themselves.
The new ‘Mickey & Friends’ Greet Trails’ experience is expected to open on April 23, 2011.
Earlier this year, the Tokyo DisneySea introduced its second character meet and greet experience, the ¡Saludos Amigos! Greeting Dock. OLC has said that once the new trails in the Lost River Delta have opened, Mickey Mouse will be replaced by Donald Duck at the ¡Saludos Amigos! Greeting Dock.
The Tokyo Disneyland Resort also recently reported its second highest attendance level ever in the first-half of the fiscal year. Between April 1 and September 30, 2010, the resort received 12,954,000 guests, a 5.3% increase over last first-half 2009.