Man is not an island. Neither are theme park lands. Yes, I’m running out of anecdotes only five posts into this series. All theme parks are made up of sub-sections, generally called lands. Since you’re reading a theme parks blog then I’m guessing you probably know that. Many of these lands are spectacular, some are far from it. In this series, we’re going to take individual lands one post at a time and answer some questions about them.
While this isn’t quite the deep dive into lands that we’ve done before, I’ll provide the basic information about the area and we’ll add in our overall opinions. We’ll also use these posts to talk about theme both throughout the land and within the park. Throughout the series, all of the posts will use the same questions. Let us know in the comments if there are questions that we should add!
So far this series has covered Mysterious Island in Tokyo DisneySea, Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios, Grizzly River Run in California Adventure and Animal Kingdom’s Asia. It’s about time we move to a castle park! The divisive Mickey’s Toontown is a strange place to start with a castle park but we’re all about strange here on Wandering in Disney. Just like last time, Michaela will chime in here with her insight instead of just leaving you loyal Wanderers with the same voice over and over again. Let’s get to the questions!
What is your short(ish) review of Mickey’s Toontown?
Andrew: You know those cartoons where they cram so many visual jokes, plot lines and dialogue into 20 minutes that once the episode is over you feel slightly dumber and have a weird tension headache? That’s Toontown! Maybe, in a way, that’s what the land is setting out to do but it isn’t especially enjoyable to be in especially amidst Disneyland’s vast array of excellent lands.
Michaela: Toontown is a place that most people without children have absolutely no use in going to. It’s the Chuck E. Cheese of Disneyland. To view mountains of strollers and hear all the kids you never wanted screaming at once, Toontown is where you should go. When I worked as a Custodian in the park, this was by far the filthiest land of them all to clean.
What’s in the land?
Mickey’s Toontown packs quite a few attractions (if you want to call them that?) into a fairly small land. Here is what’s inside:
- Chip ‘n Dale Treehouse – Home to our favorite chipmunks, this treehouse is part walk-through attraction part play area for children, like so many of the other places in Toontown.
- Donald’s Boat – Like the treehouse but this one is a boat and is Donald’s. I like the waterfall!
- Gadget’s Go Coaster – A kiddie coaster that takes guests on a quick zip through the land.
- Goofy’s Playhouse – The most interactive of all the houses, Goofy’s gets a little… uhh… goofy?
- Mickey’s House – Home to the main mouse himself! Look through Mickey’s house and then meet him at the end.
- Minnie’s House – Like Mickey’s house but it’s Minnie. She meets guests in a courtyard behind the house.
- Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin – Toontown’s lone dark ride is a classic with guests zooming through the world of Roger Rabbit!
- Disneyland Railroad Station – The Toontown Train Station acts as the transition from Fantasyland to Toontown, residing right next to Fantasyland Theater.
- Daisy’s Diner – A counter that serves pizza and acts as the facade to Daisy’s house.
- Pluto’s Dog House – This one is the same above except it’s Pluto’s House and they serve hot dogs.
- Clarabelle’s – The Disneyland website says this is an awning? Our favorite female cow serves ice cream and frozen yogurt treats.
- Toontown Five and Dime – Gag Factory – The land’s two stores are full of sight gags and puns. They also have stuff to, you know, buy.
What is Toontown’s backstory and theme?
Mickey’s Toontown is meant to look like a cartoon with no straight lines. While it only opened in 1993, the backstory goes way back. Here’s an excerpt from the Disney Parks Blog explaining the backstory (prepare for some cheesiness):
“As the story goes, after Mickey Mouse became a star in 1928, he found the perfect home in a quiet residential Toon suburb away from the hustle of Hollywood. As one would expect, Mickey’s friends also decided they would enjoy this secluded neighborhood and moved in as well! Because of his popularity, Mickey knew he and his friends would continue to film cartoons, so rather than commute to Hollywood, he constructed a small movie barn behind his house so he and all his friends could continue to make their cartoons without leaving their burg!
It is believed that when Walt Disney was looking for the area to build his “amusement enterprise” in the early 1950’s, Mickey Mouse suggested the fields of orange groves surrounding his neighborhood. The only request he had was that Mickey’s Toontown was to be kept secret. They agreed, and Disneyland opened nearby on July 17, 1955. Mickey, Minnie and other Disney characters could say hello to all the families visiting and then retreat back to their homes as soon as the park closed for the day.
Years later, in 1990, the residents of Mickey’s Toontown gathered and made a very important decision. They decided that they wanted to open the gates to their secret hideaway to non-Toon guests. Since 1993, guests of all ages have been able to visit Mickey’s House and meet Mickey Mouse himself in his barn, climb through Chip ‘n’ Dale Treehouse and zip through streets of Toontown on Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin!”
I am not a fan of this overwrought backstory but the theme is executed well for what it’s worth. There are visual puns everywhere and it does feel truly cartoony. Whether that’s a theme worth executing is the debate here, not whether it is done well.
What is your favorite part of the land? What’s the most memorable aspect of it?
Andrew: Without a doubt, Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin is the answer to both of these questions. The attraction is a good amount of fun and the only thing in the land that looks like it had a substantial budget. Once Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is added to Toontown in 2023 (probably), the land will have two very strong attractions. For what it’s worth, I am a fan of the water around Donald’s Boat and walking through that attraction.
Michaela: There are two things about Toontown that I like. One, Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin is a blast and usually the only reason I ever step into the land. This dark ride is more unique than others, with the ride vehicles able to be spun like teacups while you ride. Two, the inner sanctum of Mickey’s House is enormous, and goes on for so much longer than you think it would. My particular favorite section is the “outside” part, with Pluto’s dog house. The ambient music they play in there is peaceful, and I love the lighting. Seeing Mickey in his Sorcerer outfit is also a plus.
Are there parts of Toontown you don’t like?
Andrew: You’ve probably caught on by now that I’m not a fan of the land in general. I just don’t think it looks good and feels cheap. With all of the other Disneyland lands having some depth, Toontown feels very surface level. I think there’s a decent amount of nostalgia for it from young adults because they’d go back into the land to meet Mickey and that is used as a reason to keep the land there. I don’t buy into that much, as I’d rather have Mickey out and about the park. I’m also not a fan of the “well kids like it” excuse. There are plenty of amazing theme park lands that appeal to kids that are absolutely beautiful. This is not one of them. (Dismounts soapbox and shouts) I love Disneyland though!
Michaela: I’m having a hard time not typing a bunch of exclamation marks or just screaming. This land is such a downgrade compared to the rest of the park, it makes me nauseous. The entire land is so incredibly run down. Goofy’s house and playground is, for a lack of a better word, gross. I’ve seen better play areas at zoos and public parks. Both Mickey and Minnie’s houses are in desperate need of a lengthy refurbishment. I understand the land is mainly meant for children, but that also means the land needs extra upkeep because kids tend to be more rough with their surroundings.
How does the land coincide and transition with the rest of the park? Does Toontown make the park better or worse?
Andrew: Toontown is strangely a dead end in the park, the only land that is. With limited space for Disneyland I think this was bound to happen. Transitioning from Fantasyland to Toontown is much stranger than it should be, seeing how both mostly feature animated IP. They look so different that it’s striking though. Overall, I don’t think Toontown makes Disneyland better. Roger Rabbit’s would be a loss but if the whole land turned into something else I think it would likely improve the park.
Michaela: This land is stuck so far in the back of the park that guests without a map might never come across it. I do enjoy the bridge transition with the railroad overhead, and do think there is a decent enough separation between it and Fantasyland. I don’t think Disneyland would lose much if Toontown suddenly disappeared. Andrew is right, Roger Rabbit’s would be the only thing worth missing, and overall the land makes the park a bit worse. The rides, upkeep and general atmosphere are leagues underneath every other land Disneyland has to offer.
Where would you rank the land in relation to the others in the park?
Andrew: Of the park’s nine lands, Mickey’s Toontown is an easy last place for me. I am looking forward to the addition of Runaway Railway though. At that point, last place in Disneyland would finish middle of the pack in many other parks.
Michaela: Oh folks. It’s at the bottom.
What do you think of Mickey’s Toontown? Do you like our Land Exit Surveys? Would you add anything? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below. Interested in a trip to Disneyland? Check out our Planning Guide to help you along the way! If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Land Exit Survey