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Friday, April 1, 2011

The New Mickey Mouse Club, Teen Angel And The Party

In 1989, The Disney Channel launched a brand new version of the famous Mickey Mouse Club. Mickey Mouse was really just a mascot for the show. In fact, eventually he was dropped as the show became "MMC" and the Mouse was not even mentioned. The talented, versatile young cast was the main focus.

The new Mouseketeers ditched the ears for cool varsity jackets featuring their names and the new Mickey Mouse Club logo. The show was kind of like Nickelodeon's "You Can't Do That On Television" mixed with "Saturday Night Live."

The very first "New" members of the Mickey Mouse Club were (from left to right): Jennifer McGill, Tiffini Hale, DeeDee Magno, Chase Hampton, Albert Fields, David Kater, Braden Danner, Brandy Brown, Josh Ackerman, Damon Pampolina, Lindsey Alley and Roque Herring. The kids performed in all sorts of comedy skits and musical numbers.

The young performers were joined by their adult co-stars/co-hosts, Fred Newman and Mowava Pryor.

Like the original Mickey Mouse Club, each day's show had a theme. Monday was Music, Tuesday featured Special Guests, Wednesday was Anything Can Happen, Thursday was Party (replacing the original "Circus") and Friday was Talent/Hall of Fame.

The Mickey Mouse Club was one of the first shows to be filmed at the Disney MGM Studios at Walt Disney World in Florida, which also debuted in 1989.

The Disney MGM Studios was quite different in its earlier days. It was much smaller! And yes, there is a big upside down "Hidden Mickey" here.

This map of Disney MGM Studios from 1989 shows the very limited roster of attractions at that time. At this point, the Star Wars themed Star Tours ride was still not open. Much of the park was only accessible to guests as part of the Backstage Studio Tour, via a Tram ride and a Walking Tour.

The Walking Tour went through the Soundstages on raised tunnels above the action, so visitors may have seen The Mickey Mouse Club being filmed (from behind soundproof glass)

Eventually, actual television and film production at the Disney MGM Studios ended. A 2009 map of the park, now called "Disney's Hollywood Studios," shows how much the place has changed.

The Production Center area with the Soundstages is now home to Pixar Place, with the Toy Story Midway Mania ride. Star Tours is currently being updated to a new ride experience. The park now also features MuppetVision 3D, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith.

Before kids had the Internet, they could join the Mickey Mouse Club by mail!

Tiffini and Damon think you'd be a good member of The Club.

"The Club" shorthand seems to signal the beginning of the "MMC" and dropping "Mickey Mouse" from the name.

How do you get into The Club? You buy your way in! Life is like that.

This cool, exclusive merchandise from 1989 is SO 1990!

New cast members were always being introduced to the show. Some new members of the Mickey Mouse Club, I mean MMC, for 1990 were Jason Minor, Marc Worden, and Mylin Brooks.

Later additions include Christina Aguilera (1993), JC Chasez (1991), Ryan Gosling (1993), Keri Russell (1991), Britney Spears (1993) and Justin Timberlake (1993).

Before Jason Priestley was Brandon Walsh on "Beverly Hills 90210", he played a greaser named Buzz Gunderson on "Teen Angel," a serial featured on The Mickey Mouse Club in 1989.

Around the same time Jason Priestley was a 1950s biker guardian angel on "Teen Angel," he was a cast member on the TV series "Sister Kate." I vividly remember this long-forgotten show because one episode featured Milli Vanilli singing "Blame It On The Rain." I don't care if they did lip sync---I liked them!

Jason Priestley returned for a "sequel" called "Teen Angel Returns."

Disney had another "Teen Angel" series on ABC's TGIF lineup in 1997, featuring Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady from "The Brady Bunch").

In 1990, The Mickey Mouse Club/MMC had a new band called The Party.

The Party featured original Mickey Mouse Club cast members Albert Fields, Chase Hampton, DeeDee Magno, Tiffini Hale and Damon Pampolina.

The Party got its name through a contest held by The Disney Channel.

The Party did quite a bit of touring. I thought their song, "Summer Vacation" was catchy!

Delta Air Lines was "The Official Airline of Disneyland and Walt Disney World" and presented The Party Tilyadrop Tour.

I wonder if there will ever be a new Mickey Mouse Club. They could call it "The New New New Mickey Mouse Club". Or "MMC: A New Legacy." Perhaps "Disney*Pixar Presents The Buzz Lightyear Bunch."

UPDATE April 7, 2014:  The Party is back together (except for Tiffini) and can be found at www.ThePartyAintOver.com.  Their new tune, "Salute to Summer" is pretty darn catchy!  Damon can still bust a move.

For more fun with the MMC, check out Time For The New Mickey Mouse Club, Kids Incorporated, and More!


  1. I never saw any of the episodes from this version of the Mickey Mouse Club. I guess that's because it was "after" my time. I was aware though, of all the stars that ended up coming out of it.

    So they do still have the tram tour at the Disney Studio Park? I thought I heard that they were getting rid of that. This park needs more "rides." Oh, and they need to get rid of that giant Sorcerer's hat that blocks the Chinese Theater!

  2. TokyoMagic!: The Tram/Walking Studio Tour is still there, but it is much, much shorter now. In the early Disney MGM Studios days, the Tour took 2 hours, but now it's only 35 minutes! Quite a bit of the Tram Tour components, like the Residential Street, have been removed for the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show. I'm guessing that the area will eventually be used for expansion for Pixar Place (maybe Florida's version of Radiator Springs and that Monsters Inc. Door Roller Coaster).

    I had read that the park's business model was that of a "show park." Unfortunately, when they dropped the actual film production, they lost some major high-capacity attractions, including The Animation Studio Tour (I loved that!).

    I agree that Disney's Hollywood Studios needs more rides. A Star Wars "land" seems to be popular fan choice. The park really needs a water ride---I'd suggest they add the Villain Mountain water flume proposed years ago for The Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland. Or an interactive water ride like River Battle at Dollywood.

    The Sorcerer's Hat: I'm guessing they needed an icon for marketing and merchandise, and The Chinese Theater couldn't be used.

  3. Yeah, I thought it looked like the residential street was gone on your current map. I remember seeing the "Golden Girls" and "Empty Nest" houses (or recreations of them, anyway.) I would have loved to see the show where they pick people to act in scenes from Gilligan's Island, I Love Lucy, etc. but that was already gone by the first time I got to the park.

    Didn't they originally use the water tower with the giant mouse ears as the icon for the park's marketing? I wonder why they didn't just stick with that? Or they could have put the giant hat out in front of the main entrance. I'm in that group of people that hate that hat....or at least it's location. I had seen all these wonderful photos shot looking down the street with the Chinese Theater sitting there at the end, and then when I got there for the first time and saw that hat blocking that view, I thought "What the.....!!!!"

  4. OMG! 80s overload! But interesting to see this incarnation of the MMC.

    Fascinating to also see the 1989 MGM Studios map in comparison to what we see there today. It's still not a very large park, but back in '89 it was tiny. Certainly would have been a different experience then.

  5. TokyoMagic!: Yes, it was cool to see the Golden Girls and Empty Nest houses on Residential Street (even if they were just copies, which I'm guessing they were). Two of my favorite Disney MGM shows were Superstar Television (which put selected guests in shows like Gilligan's Island and I Love Lucy----if they could have sold visitors tapes of those shows, they would have made a fortune!) and The Monster Sound Show (where selected visitors added sound effects to a movie, and could dub their voices into film clips).

    Yes, it seems like they could have used the mouse ear water tower for the park's icon. I'm also not a fan of where they put the Sorcerer's Hat. There's got to be a story there.

    A Snow White Sanctum: My first trip to the Disney MGM Studios was in 1990. I remember spending a great deal of time watching the artists working at the Animation Studio (you could spend as much time as you liked there, and you could skip the line and the pre-show to watch the animators working by going through the gift shop at the attraction exit). The Backstage Studio Tour reminded me of Universal Studios Hollywood. What set Disney MGM Studios apart was the tour through the Soundstages (especially if there was filming) and the Animation Studio (especially if they were working on a new feature). As "Disney's Hollywood Studios" it feels totally different to me, since it is not a working studio anymore. On the flip side, I do love the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, MuppetVision 3D, Star Tours and Toy Story Midway Mania.

  6. This is the MMC I remember, not to mention I first heard The Party on a cassette I have of Disney's "For Our Children" live concert in '92 or so.

  7. Hey, Ian Sherman! Yes, the first few years of the New Mickey Mouse Club is something quite a few people have fond memories of watching. I'm not as familiar with the last years of the show (starring some kids that are now big time celebrities).