The head of Disney Parks & Resorts, Josh D’Amaro, announced today that Mickey’s Toontown in Disneyland will be closed to undergo some changes in 2022 before reopening in 2023. These dates coincide with the opening of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which is already under construction in the area. In this post, we’ll cover the news before adding in our own commentary.
First, the news via the Disney Parks Blog. Imagineers are working to create some all-new experiences so families and young children can have more opportunities to play together inside Disneyland park. The beloved Mickey’s Toontown will transform into a vibrant symphony of sights, sounds, and sensations. Focusing on today’s families with young children, Mickey’s Toontown will feature new play experiences, as well as open, grassy play spaces for everyone to unplug. The land will have landscaping for both spontaneous family play and parental relaxation.
“We are so excited to leverage Disney’s powerful brand, develop new stories and share even more magical experiences with our guests,” said D’Amaro. “The newly reimagined Mickey’s Toontown will be a welcoming place where families and younger guests can connect and play together in fun new ways.”
Even with a greener and more spacious Mickey’s Toontown, the land will offer more play activities and attractions than ever before. From active play to tactile play, new experiences will let children play, slide, spin, splash, touch and listen.
One of the new areas coming to Mickey’s Toontown will be CenTOONial Park, the first space guests will see when they enter. This natural space will be anchored by two interactive play experiences. At the center of CenTOONial Park will be a fountain, designed for play, which will also become a center icon for Mickey’s Toontown. As its base, water tables will invite guests to play with the water and have a sensory experience. At night, the fountain will be brought to life in a unique spectacle.
A nearby dreaming tree will be inspired by the tree a young Walt Disney would daydream under in his hometown. Sculpted tree roots will provide an opportunity for children to play, crawl and explore, and undulating topography will offer rolling hills and a place to sit and dream.
Toontown will close in March 2022 before reopening in 2023. In addition to Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Mickey’s Toontown will still be home to many beloved characters including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and more.
Update – 2/17/2022
In an update on the Disney Parks Blog, the official closing date for Toontown will be March 9th, 2022 with a reopening in early 2023. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will open alongside the rest of the land whenever Toontown does return. With that, Gadget’s Go Coaster, Goofy’s House and Donald’s Boat will all be reimagined. We don’t have much more information to go on outside of that, but I’m excited that this seems to be a full makeover of the land. You can expect quite a few details on the project at this year’s D23 Expo.
We’ve long been advocates of taking Toontown out of Disneyland so a reimagining is the next best thing! Everything in the concept art and wording seems promising, as the area certainly needs a lush area instead of the concrete jungle gym it is right now. The CenTOONial Park should be a highlight and will hopefully make Toontown more inviting for both kids and adults.
Ultimately, Mickey’s Toontown is a land that is mostly for children. That’s something Disneyland needs and we’ve never argued that. The problem has been that it’s uninviting to stand in between the lack of shade and, in our opinion, ugly aesthetic. With a number of children’s rides in Fantasyland, right next to Toontown, the area felt like going to prom with the kicker instead of the quarterback. Kicker might be generous, honestly.
Even with the land being made for kids, there seems to be a lack of things to do. Taking other examples from Disney Parks shows that the area can be more playful than just some hard sets to wander through. The Boneyard in Animal Kingdom, Redwood Creek Challenge Trail in California Adventure, Mermaid Lagoon and Fortress Explorations in DisneySea are all examples of places that are more interactive and prettier than Toontown. Needless to say, the reimagining was overdue.
Not only will adding some greenery and interactive areas be a big help but Runaway Railway and Roger Rabbit adds a dynamic duo of attractions to the land. Runaway Railway is a strong addition, adding a fun attraction based on Mickey himself. You can read our full review here! Moreover, Roger Rabbit is excellent and underrated due to it being in the back of the park and people missing out on the actual ride because of the spinning vehicles. Car Toon Spin is one of the most immersive dark rides anywhere and should see an increase in popularity with more guests going back there.
I think the concept art is interesting but it does leave room for imagination. I’m curious to see how they’re going to cover the giant Runaway Railway building that is already up behind Toontown. In the art it looks like an extension of the hillside with clouds at the top. With the reimagining focusing on greener and open spaces, it will be interesting to see if they inch towards making those hillsides a little more realistic and pretty. I’m hoping so!
Overall, I’m very excited about the changes announced today. Toontown has been the weakest link at Disneyland for a very long time and with this news should improve the park as a whole. With a strong top two attractions and a focus on cleaning up the aesthetic, Mickey’s Toontown should improve drastically in 2023!
What do you think of these Mickey’s Toontown changes? Let us know your thoughts, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below! Planning a trip to Disneyland? Check out our Planning Guide here. 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!