Disneyland has a new attraction! Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway debuted in Toontown on January 27th, becoming the flagship attraction of the reimagined land. While the actual ride is more or less a replica of the Hollywood Studios version, there are significant changes to the setup and queue. In this post, we’ll talk about those changes and review the attraction. The ride does currently use a virtual queue, for more information on that click here!
“The rich get richer” comes to mind whenever Disneyland receives a new attraction, especially when comparing to the Walt Disney World parks. Combine all of the attractions at Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot and the ride total still comes up 7 short of Disneyland’s robust 36. So, when a ride that was exclusive to WDW shows up at Disneyland and is significantly better in the setup and queue then that saying is completely valid.
Rehashing Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway pros and cons is fairly redundant. We reviewed the ride when we first rode it at Hollywood Studios in 2020. Disneyland’s version of the ride is largely the same except for a slightly different layout.
In case you haven’t been on either version, Runaway Railway allows guests to take a ride in the classic Mickey Mouse short films. Starting innocently enough in the El CapiTOON Theater, or the Chinese Theater in Hollywood Studios, we enter a room to watch a short called Perfect Picnic. Through some movie and Disney magic, guests eventually enter into the cartoon world and board a train conducted by Goofy.
Naturally, things go terribly wrong. The Great Goofini isn’t an expert pilot. My shrieking on Goofy’s Sky School is living proof of that. There’s a series of vignettes loosely related that send the trackless ride vehicles careening from one hectic scene to the next. Guests are basically chasing down Mickey and Minnie until they find them at ease with the very good boy, Pluto.
It’s a strong ride that uses screens well. While we only have a few trackless ride systems in the United States, I’d say this particular one is more similar to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure than it is Rise of the Resistance. What Runaway Railway most resembles is a modern version of a classic dark ride, featuring characters that deserve and finally have their own attraction.
While the rides are nearly identical, the Disneyland version of Runaway Railway pulls ahead thanks to the setting and the detailed queue. Beginning with the former, this may be the only time I’ve ever (and will ever) consider the setting of Toontown an asset. I don’t especially like the land, although I’m hopeful some of the aesthetic changes plus a bolstered attraction roster will help.
The reason Toontown is an ideal setting for the new attraction is twofold. The first positive is that the attraction came as a blank slate and didn’t have to be shoehorned into an existing building like Runaway Railway did in the Chinese Theater in Hollywood Studios. At Disneyland, there was no replacing anything of substance and Imagineers were free to design the facade as they pleased. This resulted in a whimsical and punny El CapiTOON Theater. While I can and will still quibble with the rest of the Toontown design, the theater looks great.
El CapiTOON compared to the Chinese Theater is an interesting subject. I love the Chinese Theater, it holds Hollywood Studios together by a thread or two. But it does strike a more serious tone, one that’s not necessarily befitting of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. The contrast works to some degree but I enjoy the more whimsical approach.
Toontown also gave the attraction room to have the entire queue inside. If you’ve been in the Hollywood Studios version of the attraction, the outside portion of the queue can be miserable depending on the weather. At Disneyland, the inside portion of the queue is much longer. Yes, there’s a chance you might have to wait outside for a few minutes but more likely than not the line will be able to hold more guests inside of the building.
Speaking of the queue, that is the main improvement over Runaway Railway’s east coast counterpart. There are so many props, gags and details to let riders know that they’re in a theater celebrating Mickey Mouse. Props from some of Mickey’s most famous movies like Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Mickey and the Beanstalk and Potatoland abound. Of course, these aren’t actual props but, being in a cartoon land, the theater makes you believe that Mickey and friends aren’t animated animals but actual parts of this world. Shout out to Ariel.
There are movie posters along the walls replicating classic movies but with the Fab Five taking the place of the actors. The whole queue made me long for a modern day Muppets attraction because all of the posters, gags and props felt very Muppet-y in their humor. I was blown away by the amount of detail they fit into the queue.
Another nice touch is the faux concession stand to remind guests that they are in a theater. There are plenty of hidden details here including the popcorn in the machine taking the shapes of different characters including, you guessed it, Mickey! After getting stuck in the queue for a while because of a ride breakdown, I was wishing the concessions sold something. It’s a really fun and obvious idea that’s pulled off brilliantly.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway likely won’t blow anyone away compared to some other Disneyland classics. I currently have it ranked in the teens in our Disneyland Attraction Rankings. But the attraction does improve on the Disney World version and adds another quality option to the park’s strong family dark rides. The fit in Toontown and the queue are exceptionally done, which will make the ride a mainstay in the park for years to come.
What do you think of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway? Let us know, along with any other 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!
Categories: Attraction Reviews
The El CapiTOON Theater is so cool! I love everything about the Disneyland queue for “Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway”: the bright colors, the props, and even the parody poster of ‘High School Musical 3.’ The Chinese Theater setting for the Disney World version looks old fashioned, which I’m guessing the vibe fit “The Great Movie Ride” better.
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I agree wholeheartedly. I wish The Great Movie Ride still existed and Runaway Railway was put somewhere else in Hollywood Studios. They really pulled it off well at Disneyland!
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I agree! I’m so bummed that ‘The Great Movie Ride’ isn’t there anymore because I love vintage stuff! ‘Runaway Railway’ is a good ride, but it doesn’t fit the Chinese Theater.
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