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MAN-ATEE AND WOMAN-TARAY: UPSTART SUPERHEROES, OR DIABOLICAL VILLAINS?

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NEW YORK MECHANIC "MAN-ATEE" AND ACCOMPLICE "WOMAN-TARAY" INVOLVED IN FLORIDA BEACH CRIME WAVE

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Meet the Sea Dragons of OZ and the Yeti Crab

Meet the Sea Dragons of OZ and the Yeti Crab
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mickey's Birthdayland And The Tents That Won't Go Away

In 1988, Mickey Mouse had his 60th Birthday. As part of the big celebration, Walt Disney World in Florida opened a new land in the Magic Kingdom called "Mickey's Birthdayland." This area featured a chance to meet Mickey Mouse, a tour of his house, a Birthday show, and a visit to Grandma Duck's Petting Farm. This land was meant to be a temporary attraction, but it proved to be very popular. As you can see from this picture (from an issue of Newsweek), aside from Mickey's house, the land consisted mostly of tents (you can see the show building for the old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea submarine ride disguised for this photo as a flat, yellow-striped tent).

Mickey's 60th Birthday was a big deal for Disney, with all kinds of special merchandise, and items created with promotional partners. I believe this "Mickey's Magic Moments Mobile" was on a box of Twix. McDonald's had a "Mickey's Birthdayland" Happy Meal, too (a nice set of toy cars).

Of course, the birthday party could not last forever.

In 1990, Mickey's Birthdayland was renamed "Mickey's Starland."


The Birthday show was replaced with characters from the Disney Afternoon syndicated TV cartoons.

Mickey's Starland was pretty much the same as Mickey's Birthdayland, including the use of the tents.

For 1996, the land became "Mickey's Toontown Fair."


Mickey's house was remodeled to a "country house" (his "real" house was at Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland in California). Minnie Mouse got her own house (it replaced one of the tents). The other giant tents stayed, with one becoming a store called "County Bounty." Donald Duck got his own boat house. Note the large body of water on this map with the King Triton statue---this is the former location of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which closed in 1994.

Goofy got his own small-scale, kid-friendly roller coaster called "The Barnstormer."


If you are looking for a pressed penny for Mickey's Toontown Fair, they have one! They've also got Barnstormer merchandise, too!

This pull-back Barnstormer roller coaster car is pretty spiffy.

As part of a major Fantasyland expansion, Mickey's Toontown Fair will close for good on February 11, 2011. The Fantasyland expansion itself is very exciting. A new "Beauty and the Beast" section will feature an interactive Belle's Cottage attraction, a large Be Our Guest Restaurant, Gaston's Tavern and Bonjour! Village Gifts. A "Little Mermaid" section will feature Under the Sea, Journey of the Little Mermaid, which is a lavish new dark ride. Just yesterday, Disney officially confirmed the long-rumored "Seven Dwarfs" Mine Train coaster, a highly-anticipated musical adventure featuring animated figures and rocking mine cars (sadly, the "Snow White's Scary Adventures" dark ride is closing, and will be replaced by a Princess Meet and Greet).

Mickey's Toontown Fair is closing down to become Storybook Circus, the home of the Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction (with two ride units to double capacity, which is great). Dumbo's new area will include the former Goofy's Barnstormer, which will be re-themed to "The Great Goofini." I had thought it would be nice if the ride had been changed to a Pink Elephants on Parade roller coaster. I'm relieved that they ditched the idea of having a clown roller coaster replace the Barnstormer.

It looks like Storybook Circus will also have----large tents. As a Disney fan, I find this to be incredibly annoying and even maddening. The Disney Cruise Line just got the new Disney Dream, featuring the cutting-edge "AquaDuck" water coaster, but Disney's flagship Florida park's iconic Fantasyland somehow cannot get rid of the temporary-feeling tent structures that have been in this area since 1988.

Hopefully these new circus tents will house something really impressive.

It would be great if the 1970s "Dumbo's Circus" proposal for Disneyland was revived here. This would have featured various Audio Animatronics Disney characters performing in a circus. Maybe they could use this idea as a theme for a retail location, with the characters as store fixtures overhead. "Dumbo's Circus" at Walt Disney World would be Elephantastic!

7 comments:

  1. Were some of these tents supposed to be removed in the original plan for the New Fantasyland? When you compare the original artwork and the reworked artwork (the one showing the new Snow White/Dwarf ride) it looks like Pixie Hollow has been eliminated from the original plan and that the circus area has been expanded into that space. I love the Dumbo character and the Dumbo attraction, but a little "circus" themeing goes a long way.....and yes, those tent structures look tacky and temporary...even after standing for 23 years....which is 21 years too long, if you ask me....but you didn't ask me, so I'll stop here. :-)

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  2. P.S. I like the idea of developing the old Dumbo's Circus attraction....or how about building the other proposed attraction for Disneyland's unbuilt Circusland...."Mickey's Mad House", which was described as "a thrilling ride-through themed to the 1930's and the days of glorious black and white Mickey Mouse cartoons and ragtime music." I wonder what that would have been like?

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  3. TokyoMagic!: Yes, I think the Pixie Hollow addition would have finally gotten rid of the tents. I think a big issue was losing the large "County Bounty" tent store at Mickey's Toontown Fair, along with the questioning of the appeal of Pixie Hollow.

    I don't get why Dumbo has to have an entire circus land, since he doesn't have one at any other park. Storybook Circus really makes me think of Orlando's long-closed Circus World park.

    I am also curious what "Mickey's Mad House" would have been like---I've only read a little bit about it, and have never seen any concept art.

    I know this is a little like "RollerCoaster Tycoon", but if they had to have a big store to replace "County Bounty", I think it would have been nice if they imported Tokyo Disneyland's Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall and changed it to a shop. They could have changed the Barnstormer to a Cheshire Cat Coaster (which I believe was an actual possibility at one point) or a Caterpillar coaster and moved the TeaCups nearby, creating a mini-Alice land. With the Tim Burton/Disney Alice being so popular, I think it would have been a hit.

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  4. That's a great idea! DL has it's Alice area and even Paris DL has their Mad Tea Party next to their hedge maze attraction. WDW could even have their own Alice dark ride. I like that idea so much better than a circus area. Even when Circusland was being planned for DL, I liked the idea of the new rides, but didn't know why the area had to be devoted to an entire land with a circus theme instead of just being an extension of Fantasyland.

    Why don't they listen to us, Dan?

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  5. Thanks, TokyoMagic! An Alice mini-land would have been incredibly easy and cheap to make, because they could have copied elements like character sculptures from Alice attractions in Disneyland (Alice ride), Tokyo Disneyland (Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall), and Disneyland Paris (Alice's Curious Labyrinth). Of course, there were also the Alice Animatronics at the closed Mickey Mouse Revue show, too.

    A Caterpillar coaster to replace Barnstormer would have been really easy---they could just stick a modified version of the Disneyland "Alice" Caterpillar ride vehicle on the front of the Barnstormer coaster train and decorate the area with figures and topiaries from "Alice's Curious Labyrinth" at Disneyland Paris.

    They could have promoted the Tim Burton movie there, too. Like a Mad Hatter Meet and Greet (since that seems to be such a popular thing now).

    The Cheshire Cat is such a big merchandising character, too. Lots of retail opportunities for them with a Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall Store!

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  6. They are building storybook circus now, almost complete

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  7. Unknown: Yes, it has been interesting watching the circus take shape in the Magic Kingdom. The Casey Jr. water playground will no doubt be a welcome addition for many Fantasyland visitors during afternoons in the summer.

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