Talking live Mickey Mouse character could mark beginning of new interactive Disney meet and greets

in Disney, Disneyland, Disneyland Resort, Theme Parks

talking-mickey-mouse-meet-and-greet

Character meet and greets have been around since Disneyland first opened in 1955, offering guests a chance to interact with their favorite Disney characters. But characters, such as Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck have never been able to actually have a conversation with guests because of their (Disney magic spoiler here!) elaborate costumes. But after 55 years of guests shrugging this off and posing for photos with the silent stars, it appears that Disney is on the verge of unveiling a much more interactive meet and greet experience.

Two videos, posted on YouTube by user lrharrisjr, appear to depict a costumed Mickey Mouse character fully interacting with guests at a meet and greet in Disneyland’s Toontown. Not only is Mickey smiling and waving, but he’s also blinking, moving his mouth, and – wait for it – talking with guests. He even refers to them by name.

Need to see it to believe it? Here are the videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyHIdr1aM7s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6k2xdtU8Wc

Update: I asked “lrharrisjr” about the experience and was told:

We went in as regular guests, however, we did have to sign something before entering the room. They said it was being video taped by Disney for internal research (or something like that). I don’t know if everyone got this interactive experience or not.

Update #2: After I contacted her, Disney spokeswoman Heather Hust Rivera commented on the talking Mickey Mouse, telling me, “This was a test and a surprise experience for our guests. We hope to have more information available on the Blog tomorrow.” She is a writer for the official Disney Parks Blog, so it sounds like whether they had planned on it or not, Disney may be taking this opportunity to share more about it with the world tomorrow.

Update #3 (5/6/10): Disney has responded today with a short video of their own of the talking Mickey Mouse character.

As of yet, Disney has not commented on this unique experience as a test for future meet and greet opportunities or if talking Mickey Mouse is here to stay, but this level of interactivity has been an inevitable addition to the parks ever since Disney premiered their “Dream Along with Mickey” stage show at the Magic Kingdom, which first showed off the eye-blinking, mouth-moving technology (though no direct interaction with guests):

I’m personally looking forward to the day when I can have a conversation with Scrooge McDuck in the parks. Imagine the stories he could tell about all his wild Duck Tales adventures…

Via: Stitch Kingdom

23 Comments

  1. Thomas

    Let’s give props to user “alka1″ on the photosmagiques.com forum for breaking this story almost 8 hours ago now, at 8:31 this morning.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Thanks for posting that. I first saw it from Stitch Kingdom, which is why I gave them credit above.

      1. Thomas

        You’re welcome. Just trying to keep the sources accurate. I wonder if Stitch Kingdom read the story first on the photosmagiques.com forum, before posting their article? Who knows.

        1. I know :)

          No, I’m afraid I was fast asleep when it was originally posted on photosmagiques.com if it was posted on there that early. I also don’t visit/read the site because — despite having studied it for a few years in high school — i’m not fluent in it. There are plenty of English sites I don’t even read including another that’s taking credit for finding the video.

          As I alluded to in my posting of the videos, someone tipped me off to it via the contact form on my site and did so anonymously, just telling me Mickey speaks and links to the YouTube videos.

          1. not fluent in French that is

          2. Thomas

            Thanks for the info Brad.

            Photosmagiques.com has a primarily English speaking forum, so no French is required to understand it. There’s some quality content and discussions going on over there.

            So it seems like WDWNT is the place to go for theme park exclusives :-)

        2. Nick

          Actually, if you want to keep your sources accurate, Walt Disney World News Today (WDWNT) first posted the news at around 2:00 am. For the most part everyone else posted in the morning, without citing any sources.

          1. Ricky Brigante

            Thanks for posting that, but I didn’t see it there either. When I cite a source, it’s the one that I got the information or tip from. It was from Stitch Kingdom that I first found out about these videos, so they got the credit from me. Neither I, nor any other media organization, can reasonably be expected to search for the very first appearance of something on the Internet just to mention that they were the ones that “broke” the story it first.

          2. Again, I cited my source. Someone emailed me. Unfortunately they did it anonymously so I couldn’t go beyond that, but I still have the email and I suppose if I really wanted to, I could track down the IP address of the sender, but I allow anonymous tips for a reason.

            Although I have since learned photosmagiques.com is actually in English (I visited the site and found the thread in question after reading it here), I really don’t read it nor do I read WDWNT. So as much as I’d love to credit someone for simply finding a video on YouTube, there was no one for me to credit at the time.

            Another fact is, I told Ricky that there was absolutely no need to credit me as a source for his report and he politely kept it as a matter of his own policy anyway.

            I really think the only point of all this contention is that our sites got the most attention as a result. And quite frankly, I agree I got too much credit simply for posting a YouTube video, but I also worked hard to get to the point where I would be acknowledged for things I report on so I’m not going to lose sleep over it either way.

  2. Pauline

    They signed something? Did they read what it said. Most likely they agreed NOT to take a video and post it. Have fun with your legal troubles lrharrisjr!

  3. Jodie Kent

    Oh my goodness!! This is so great! My daughter has asked in the past why characters such as Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy don’t ever talk to us. I have had to tell her it’s because they have a lot of shows to do all over the parks and they can’t risk losing their voice! So excited to actually talk to the Mouse himself now!

    1. what a great response. they can’t risk losing their voice! : )

  4. That is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!

  5. JoCool

    Does the voice come out his mouth or are there speakers in the room? There has to be one person talking or programming the words from another location.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      I’d like to know that as well. Unfortunately, the person who posted those videos on YouTube didn’t respond to any of my further questions. But based on what Heather told me, it sounds like we’ll find out more about this test very soon – and directly from Disney.

    2. the patent found on stitchkingdom.com seems to show a cable wrapping around mickey’s waist connected to a speaker in his chest/stomach. So the audio is coming from mickey himself. i really thought it was translated from somewhere out of sight like for turtle talk. I can’t believe the performer actually is the one speaking. how cool! one more reason i wanna be a cast member.

  6. Peter

    Wow, I’d love to see other characters like this! Awesome!

  7. Janas

    If you watch Mickey Soundsational Summer his eyes blink

  8. Alvin

    You might know this, but the two videos you posted on this article are private :(

Trackbacks

  1. Mickey Mouse Begins Chatting Up Guests at Disneyland’s Toontown – Literally : Disney News : StitchKingdom.com
  2. News Briefs for Wednesday, May 5 - The Bureau Chiefs
  3. Disneyland tests talking Mickey Mouse character - Around Disney : The Orange County Register
  4. Disneyland tests new talking Mickey Mouse character - Travel - LATimes.com

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