Beginning this spring, the big cheese himself Mickey Mouse will once again have his own meet-and-greet location in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and this time it will be full of enhancements.
Following the recent closure of Mickey’s Toontown Fair, previous home to Mickey’s house and meet-and-greet area, Disney today announced that the new Town Square Theater, located near the entrance of the Magic Kingdom theme park, will feature an interactive queue filled with plenty of Disney magic.
UPDATE (3/21/11): The new Mickey Mouse meet-and-greet in the Town Square Theater is reportedly scheduled to open on April 1, though not officially announced by Disney yet.
New to Mickey’s meet-and-greet will be the ability for guests to grab a Fastpass, letting them return for a specific time to meet Mickey and pals, rather than waiting in long lines. A one-hour window will be given for guests to come back for the meeting, a photo, and autographs. It’s the first time Fastpass will be used for a character meet-and-greet.
This announcement follows just days after Disney revealed they are working on a reserve-from-home Fastpass system for rides, characters, and shows as part of a “NextGen” project to enhance their theme parks and reduce (or eliminate) attraction wait times.
Fastpass aside, Disney’s Imagineers have big plans for the theme of the new Town Square Theater location.
“This isn’t just remodeling Expo Hall; it is completely re-imagining this entire venue as a beautiful Victorian-era theater and the new home for Mickey Mouse,” Jon Georges, WDI Director, Senior Show Producer, said.
“Mickey and Main Street, U.S.A. are great examples of pure Americana that complement each other very well,” Concept Designer Jason Grandt said. “We drew a lot of inspiration from classic Mickey animated shorts such as The Nifty Nineties and Mickey’s Grand Opera. Many of the scenes in these shorts look like they take place right on Main Street.”
The updated building will be themed as a Victorian-theater elevation, including a marquee with gold-leaf trim and sparkling lights. Inside, guests will find a mosaic floor, curtains with gold rope tie-backs and polished-brass chandeliers. The queue will take guests “backstage,” where Mickey is waiting to greet them in a rehearsal-room environment amid posters, steamer trunks and stage props.
The location is a welcome change from Mickey’s former meet-and-greet home, previously tucked away inside the “Judge’s Tent” in a back corner of the park. The Mouse that started it all will now be found easily and quickly as soon as guests pass through the entrance and underneath the Train Station.
While the New Fantasyland expansion is under construction, the Disney Princesses will also move into the Town Square Theater for meet-and-greets until the Princess Fairytale Hall construction is complete in 2012. And until Mickey’s new home is ready, you can meet him along with Minnie Mouse in Tomorrowland, near Space Mountain.
There is no indication that the new meet-and-greet in Town Square Theater will feature the famous “talking Mickey Mouse” – but wouldn’t that be a magical surprise?