Connect with us

Theme Parks & Themed Entertainment

“Adventures by Disney” lets you travel to the United Kingdom & France in style

Scott Liljenquist of Mouseketrips returns to JHM with a full report on his recent trip to London & Paris. Detailing how "Adventures with Disney" really took all of the hassle out of visiting London, Paris & environs



Sometimes it's hard being a Disney "geek" when your spouse does not share your enthusiasm for all things Mouse. While my idea of an ideal vacation has always been and continues to be a trip to one of the Disney theme parks, my long-suffering and ever-patient wife finally had enough and put her foot down.

"I want to go on a vacation that has nothing to do with a Disney theme park!"

Well, we almost succeeded.

Click Here

She's long wanted to visit Europe in general, and London in particular. With a notable wedding anniversary occurring for us this summer, I began plans to celebrate with a European vacation. However, similar to the difficulty a lot of folks have planning a Walt Disney World vacation due to the vast quantities of information available, I struggled to put together a European trip suited to our particular needs.

Once again, it's Disney to the rescue!

You know all of those survey-takers you see just inside the turnstiles at the Disney theme parks? Well, one of the things they hear over and over again is that many guests wished there was a way they could experience Disney quality and Disney "Magic" on their other, non-Disney-theme-park trips.

Adventures by Disney was created to fill that need. It's a Disney program that offers all-inclusive, professionally guided vacations to various destinations all over the globe. The idea is to offer travelers the opportunity to visit a variety of cities, sites, and attractions completely unrelated to the Disney parks while still enjoying Disney-quality dining, accommodations, and most of all, service.

Beginning quietly in 2004, locations around the world were scouted and considered for inclusion in the program. Those chosen for the original 2005 and 2006 program included two itineraries in Hawaii, the Western US including Yellowstone Park, Costa Rica, the Canadian Rockies, London and Paris, and Italy.

After receiving and giving great heed to the feedback of Adventures program participants, the 2007 schedule has been refined and expanded. Hawaii and the Canadian Rockies have been dropped, but additional adventures have been added to the American Southwest, a mid-American itinerary, Ireland, Austria and the Czech Republic, two itineraries in Spain, and the division of Italy into three separate adventures.

Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises

We opted to try the "Land of Eternal Knights" Adventure which included 3 days in London, a trip via train through the Channel Tunnel, and then 3 days in Paris. We would celebrate our anniversary in Paris, and then upon the conclusion of the Adventure we would spend three days at Disneyland Resort Paris. (See? I told you we almost completed an entire vacation with no Disney theme parks. I mean, we were already in Paris, right? It would have been a real shame to have traveled that far and not hop over for a quick visit to the former EuroDisney…..)

We awoke with great anticipation on the morning of August 10th to commence our journey to the United Kingdom. Anyone else remember August 10th? You know, that day when a terrorist plot to blow airliners bound between the UK and the United States out of the skies was uncovered and announced? That day when air travel throughout the world, but specifically for flights between the UK and the US, was significantly disrupted? That day when you could suddenly no longer carry any liquids on board an aircraft?

Yeah, that day. Sigh.

I'll spare the gory details, but after a looonnnnggg trip involving massive misinformation, a threatened confiscation of our carry-on bags, multiple searches including the most complete pat-down I've ever received, and many, many delays, we were finally on our way to London.

After such a long and hassle-filled trip, we could not have asked for a better antidote to the frustration than our experiences with our Adventure by Disney. We were greeted warmly upon our arrival at London's Gatwick airport by an Adventures by Disney representative. We were escorted to a large, shiny, black Mercedes sedan, where our chauffeur was waiting to take us to our hotel in London. After a very pleasant ride we were delivered to the Renaissance Chancery Court hotel in London, a particularly stunning luxury hotel. There we were again greeted warmly by our Adventure Guides, Alex(andra) and Mark.

We took a quick nap and then headed downstairs to experience our "Welcome Dinner" and meet our fellow adventurers. We soon learned that we were in a group of 38 people from all over the United States. I was surprised to find that we were the only couple on the Adventure – all of the others consisted of families, many of them with small children. I should have known – it's still Disney after all!

After an evening of wonderful entertainment … 

… and a great night's sleep in a wonderful hotel room, our adventure began in earnest.

Each day of our Adventure was given a title and a theme. I'll recount them here as I go though a quick summary of our Adventure.

Day One: Jolly Holiday

Day one began with a ride on chartered double-decker bus…


… during which we passed by Big Ben (which is the name of the bell in the clock tower, and not the name of the tower itself) …

… on our way to a guided tour of Westminster Abbey.

We then went to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace …

… followed by a real English tea for lunch. Later that evening we enjoyed a fantastic meal at a private Soho club, and the highlight of the trip for me – premium seats for the stage production of "Mary Poppins". As an added treat, our group of adventurers were taken backstage after the conclusion of the show, where we met the stage manager. He showed us the sets used in the production, as well as a few of the secrets to the "magic" created on stage during the performance.

Day Two: The Royal Treatment

Today began with a trip to the top of the London Eye (which is the really, really big Ferris wheel built as a part of the celebration surrounding the year 2000).

We also enjoyed a cruise along the river Thames, a visit to the Tower of London, including a chance to view the royal jewels, and a group photo near one of the famous bridges near the tower of London.

After leaving the tower of London we had the afternoon off, and enjoyed exploring London on our own. We visited Harrod's, the famous London department store, spent some time at the National Museum …

… and wrapped up a very nice evening by sampling one of London's excellent Indian restaurants.

Day Three: Crumpets to Croissants

We began the cold and rainy morning with a walking tour of some of the lesser-know sites of London. That was followed by a cruise along the Regent Canal, one of many of the miles and miles of canals that cover London and that I did not know even existed.

The canal boat dropped us off at the very eclectic Camden Market, where we had some time to spend shopping at some unique and one-of-a-kind shops.

After our shopping excursion, it was off to Waterloo station for a first-class trip from London to Paris on the Eurostar high-speed train via the Channel Tunnel.

Upon arriving in Paris, we were delivered via motorcoach to the Westin Paris, where we settled in for a good night's sleep in yet another new city

Day Four: Drawn to Bohemia

Our first day in Paris started with a short walking tour from our hotel where we passed by the controversial architecture of the Pompideau Center …

… on our way to our final destination – Notre Dame cathedral.

We endured all 422 steps in order to reach the top of the bell towers, where we were rewarded with a stunning view of the city of Paris.

Later that evening we were treated to dinner at Altitude 95, a unique restaurant positioned at the first level of the Eiffel tower.

After our meal we continued our way to the top of the tower, which is really, really, really a long way up, and enjoyed a wonderful view (which my camera failed to capture).

Day Five: Parisian Palette

Today was the day for my wife the art lover. We began with a short walk from our hotel to the Louvre.

We welcomed a guided tour of some of the highlights of the museum, which included a visit to the Mona Lisa. We certainly did not have enough time to explore this wonderful building in any kind of detail, but it was fun to get a brief snapshot of the more famous works.

With our visit to the Louve completed, we again boarded our motorcoach for a visit to Montmartre and the Sacre Cour cathedral. While there we were treated to a tour of a French vineyard, complete with wine tasting.

An evening on our own allowed us to visit the Arc de Triomphe, followed by a stroll down the Champs de Elysees and a quiet dinner at a sidewalk café.

Day Six: High Society

Again we boarded our motorcoach for a trip to the palace at Versailles.

We were treated again to a guided tour of the palace, the artwork, and the architecture.

After a delicious lunch at the palace, we paused for a group photo in the palace gardens …

… and then hopped aboard bicycles for a riding tour of the beautiful and amazing palace gardens. While those of us suffering from a severe girth impairment (me) were fortunate to make it around the gardens once, several of the more competitive families engaged in an impromptu race and made it around the two mile path twice.

After our return to Paris we enjoyed a cruise on the Seine River …

… followed by our farewell dinner at a quaint Paris bistro rented specifically for our group.

That's it for the travelogue – now for the summary.

Our Adventure by Disney program was truly a once-in-a-lifetime trip for us. Disney has succeeded in spades in transplanting Disney "Magic" to other locations around the world. Every possible contingency had been thought of and planned for in advance. Our luggage was always taken care of for us, our transportation was arranged and carried out in brand new motorcoaches, meals were always ready on time, hotel rooms were perfectly booked, and we felt completely comfortable in two foreign countries.

The quality of the accommodations, the quality of the food, the quality of the activities, and especially the quality of service provided by Alex and Mark, our Disney Cast Members (Adventure Guides) …

… was absolutely top-notch and worthy in every way of the Disney name.

I know I sound like a commercial. Believe it or not, I'm not employed by nor do I have any association with the Adventures by Disney program. Really. The horn just needs to be blown, however, because the Adventures by Disney are outstanding in every way.

So, just exactly how good was the experience? Well, remember my wife who wanted a non-Disney trip?

She can't wait to go back.

Scott Liljenquist is co-owner of, the web's best travel agency for Disney vacations. A graduate of the College of Disney Knowledge, he suffers from a serious Disney Obsession Disorder. Unhappy unless he's either on a Disney vacation or planning the next one, he can usually be found scouring the 'net for the latest Disney news, rumors, and gossip, or helping his clients plan their own magical vacations.

If you are interested in your own Adventure by Disney, or for further information on the other sorts of trips and tours that Mouseketrips offers, contact Scott via the Mouseketrips web site or at

Scott Liljenquist

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The Evolution and History of Mickey’s ToonTown



Disneyland in Anaheim, California, holds a special place in the hearts of Disney fans worldwide, I mean heck, it’s where the magic began after all.  Over the years it’s become a place that people visit in search of memorable experiences. One fan favorite area of the park is Mickey’s Toontown, a unique land that lets guests step right into the colorful, “Toony” world of Disney animation. With the recent reimagining of the land and the introduction of Micky and Minnies Runaway Railway, have you ever wondered how this land came to be?

There is a fascinating backstory of how Mickey’s Toontown came into existence. It’s a tale of strategic vision, the influence of Disney executives, and a commitment to meeting the needs of Disney’s valued guests.

The Beginning: Mickey’s Birthdayland

The story of Mickey’s Toontown starts with Mickey’s Birthdayland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Opened in 1988 to celebrate Mickey Mouse’s 60th birthday, this temporary attraction was met with such overwhelming popularity that it inspired Disney executives to think bigger. The idea was to create a permanent, immersive land where guests could step into the animated world of Mickey Mouse and his friends.

In the early ’90s, Disneyland was in need of a refresh. Michael Eisner, the visionary leader of The Walt Disney Company at the time, had an audacious idea: create a brand-new land in Disneyland that would celebrate Disney characters in a whole new way. This was the birth of Mickey’s Toontown.

Initially, Disney’s creative minds toyed with various concepts, including the idea of crafting a 100-Acre Woods or a land inspired by the Muppets. However, the turning point came when they considered the success of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” This film’s popularity and the desire to capitalize on contemporary trends set the stage for Toontown’s creation.

From Concept to Reality: The Birth of Toontown

In 1993, Mickey’s Toontown opened its gates at Disneyland, marking the first time in Disney Park history where guests could experience a fully realized, three-dimensional world of animation. This new land was not just a collection of attractions but a living, breathing community where Disney characters “lived,” worked, and played.

Building Challenges: Innovative Solutions

The design of Mickey’s Toontown broke new ground in theme park aesthetics. Imagineers were tasked with bringing the two-dimensional world of cartoons into a three-dimensional space. This led to the creation of over 2000 custom-built props and structures that embodied the ‘squash and stretch’ principle of animation, giving Toontown its distinctiveness.

And then there was also the challenge of hiding the Team Disney Anaheim building, which bore a striking resemblance to a giant hotdog. The Imagineers had to think creatively, using balloon tests and imaginative landscaping to seamlessly integrate Toontown into the larger park.

Key Attractions: Bringing Animation to Life

Mickey’s Toontown featured several groundbreaking attractions. “Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin,” inspired by the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” became a staple of Toontown, offering an innovative ride experience. Gadget’s Go-Coaster, though initially conceived as a Rescue Rangers-themed ride, became a hit with younger visitors, proving that innovative design could create memorable experiences for all ages.

Another crown jewel of Toontown is Mickey’s House, a walkthrough attraction that allowed guests to explore the home of Mickey Mouse himself. This attraction was more than just a house; it was a carefully crafted piece of Disney lore. The house was designed in the American Craftsman style, reflecting the era when Mickey would have theoretically purchased his first home in Hollywood. The attention to detail was meticulous, with over 2000 hand-crafted, custom-built props, ensuring that every corner of the house was brimming with character and charm. Interestingly, the design of Mickey’s House was inspired by a real home in Wichita Falls, making it a unique blend of real-world inspiration and Disney magic.

Mickey’s House also showcased Disney’s commitment to creating interactive and engaging experiences. Guests could make themselves at home, sitting in Mickey’s chair, listening to the radio, and exploring the many mementos and references to Mickey’s animated adventures throughout the years. This approach to attraction design – where storytelling and interactivity merged seamlessly – was a defining characteristic of ToonTown’s success.

Executive Decisions: Shaping ToonTown’s Unique Attractions

The development of Mickey’s Toontown wasn’t just about creative imagination; it was significantly influenced by strategic decisions from Disney executives. One notable input came from Jeffrey Katzenberg, who suggested incorporating a Rescue Rangers-themed ride. This idea was a reflection of the broader Disney strategy to integrate popular contemporary characters and themes into the park, ensuring that the attractions remained relevant and engaging for visitors.

In addition to Katzenberg’s influence, Frank Wells, the then-President of The Walt Disney Company, played a key role in the strategic launch of Toontown’s attractions. His decision to delay the opening of “Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin” until a year after Toontown’s debut was a calculated move. It was designed to maintain public interest in the park by offering new experiences over time, thereby giving guests more reasons to return to Disneyland.

These executive decisions highlight the careful planning and foresight that went into making Toontown a dynamic and continuously appealing part of Disneyland. By integrating current trends and strategically planning the rollout of attractions, Disney executives ensured that Toontown would not only capture the hearts of visitors upon its opening but would continue to draw them back for new experiences in the years to follow.

Global Influence: Toontown’s Worldwide Appeal

The concept of Mickey’s Toontown resonated so strongly that it was replicated at Tokyo Disneyland and influenced elements in Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland. Each park’s version of Toontown maintained the core essence of the original while adapting to its cultural and logistical environment.

Evolution and Reimagining: Toontown Today

As we approach the present day, Mickey’s Toontown has recently undergone a significant reimagining to welcome “Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway” in 2023. This refurbishment aimed to enhance the land’s interactivity and appeal to a new generation of Disney fans, all while retaining the charm that has made ToonTown a beloved destination for nearly three decades.

Dive Deeper into ToonTown’s Story

Want to know more about Mickey’s Toontown and hear some fascinating behind-the-scenes stories, then check out the latest episode of Disney Unpacked on Patreon @JimHillMedia. In this episode, the main Imagineer who worked on the Toontown project shares lots of interesting stories and details that you can’t find anywhere else. It’s full of great information and fun facts, so be sure to give it a listen!

Jim Hill

Jim Hill is an entertainment writer who has specialized in covering The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, he has interviewed hundreds of animators, actors, and Imagineers -- many of whom have shared behind-the-scenes stories with Mr. Hill about how the Mouse House really works. In addition to the 4000+ articles Jim has written for the Web, he also co-hosts a trio of popular podcasts: “Disney Dish with Len Testa,” “Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor” and “Marvel US Disney with Aaron Adams.” Mr. Hill makes his home in Southern New Hampshire with his lovely wife Nancy and two obnoxious cats, Ginger & Betty.

Continue Reading


Unpacking the History of the Pixar Place Hotel



Pixar Place Hotel, the newly unveiled 15-story tower at the Disneyland Resort, has been making waves in the Disney community. With its unique Pixar-themed design, it promises to be a favorite among visitors.

However, before we delve into this exciting addition to the Disneyland Resort, let’s take a look at the fascinating history of this remarkable hotel.

The Emergence of the Disneyland Hotel

To truly appreciate the story of the Pixar Place Hotel, we must turn back the clock to the early days of Disneyland. While Walt Disney had the visionary ideas and funding to create the iconic theme park, he faced a challenge when it came to providing accommodations for the park’s visitors. This is where his friend Jack Wrather enters the picture.

Jack Wrather, a fellow pioneer in the television industry, stepped in to assist Walt Disney in realizing his dream. Thanks to the success of the “Lassie” TV show produced by Wrather’s company, he had the financial means to build a hotel right across from Disneyland.

The result was the Disneyland Hotel, which opened its doors in October 1955. Interestingly, the early incarnation of this hotel had more of a motel feel than a hotel, with two-story buildings reminiscent of the roadside motels popular during the 1950s. The initial Disneyland Hotel consisted of modest structures that catered to visitors looking for affordable lodging close to the park. While the rooms were basic, it marked the beginning of something extraordinary.

The Evolution: From Emerald of Anaheim to Paradise Pier

As Disneyland’s popularity continued to soar, so did the demand for expansion and improved accommodations. In 1962, the addition of an 11-story tower transformed the Disneyland Hotel, marking a significant transition from a motel to a full-fledged hotel.

The addition of the 11-story tower elevated the Disneyland Hotel into a more prominent presence on the Anaheim skyline. At the time, it was the tallest structure in all of Orange County. The hotel’s prime location across from Disneyland made it an ideal choice for visitors. With the introduction of the monorail linking the park and the hotel, accessibility became even more convenient. Unique features like the Japanese-themed reflecting pools added to the hotel’s charm, reflecting a cultural influence that extended beyond Disney’s borders.

Japanese Tourism and Its Impact

During the 1960s and 1970s, Disneyland was attracting visitors from all corners of the world, including Japan. A significant number of Japanese tourists flocked to Anaheim to experience Walt Disney’s creation. To cater to this growing market, it wasn’t just the Disneyland Hotel that aimed to capture the attention of Japanese tourists. The Japanese Village in Buena Park, inspired by a similar attraction in Nara, Japan, was another significant spot.

These attractions sought to provide a taste of Japanese culture and hospitality, showcasing elements like tea ceremonies and beautiful ponds with rare carp and black swans. However, the Japanese Village closed its doors in 1975, likely due to the highly competitive nature of the Southern California tourist market.

The Emergence of the Emerald of Anaheim

With the surge in Japanese tourism, an opportunity arose—the construction of the Emerald of Anaheim, later known as the Disneyland Pacific Hotel. In May 1984, this 15-story hotel opened its doors.

What made the Emerald unique was its ownership. It was built not by The Walt Disney Company or the Oriental Land Company (which operated Tokyo Disneyland) but by the Tokyu Group. This group of Japanese businessmen already had a pair of hotels in Hawaii and saw potential in Anaheim’s proximity to Disneyland. Thus, they decided to embark on this new venture, specifically designed to cater to Japanese tourists looking to experience Southern California.

Financial Challenges and a Changing Landscape

The late 1980s brought about two significant financial crises in Japan—the crash of the NIKKEI stock market and the collapse of the Japanese real estate market. These crises had far-reaching effects, causing Japanese tourists to postpone or cancel their trips to the United States. As a result, reservations at the Emerald of Anaheim dwindled.

To adapt to these challenging times, the Tokyu Group merged the Emerald brand with its Pacific hotel chain, attempting to weather the storm. However, the financial turmoil took its toll on the Emerald, and changes were imminent.

The Transition to the Disneyland Pacific Hotel

In 1995, The Walt Disney Company took a significant step by purchasing the hotel formerly known as the Emerald of Anaheim for $35 million. This acquisition marked a change in the hotel’s fortunes. With Disney now in control, the hotel underwent a name change, becoming the Disneyland Pacific Hotel.

Transformation to Paradise Pier

The next phase of transformation occurred when Disney decided to rebrand the hotel as Paradise Pier Hotel. This decision aligned with Disney’s broader vision for the Disneyland Resort.

While the structural changes were limited, the hotel underwent a significant cosmetic makeover. Its exterior was painted to complement the color scheme of Paradise Pier, and wave-shaped crenellations adorned the rooftop, creating an illusion of seaside charm. This transformation was Disney’s attempt to seamlessly integrate the hotel into the Paradise Pier theme of Disney’s California Adventure Park.

Looking Beyond Paradise Pier: The Shift to Pixar Place

In 2018, Disneyland Resort rebranded Paradise Pier as Pixar Pier, a thematic area dedicated to celebrating the beloved characters and stories from Pixar Animation Studios. As a part of this transition, it became evident that the hotel formally known as the Disneyland Pacific Hotel could no longer maintain its Paradise Pier theme.

With Pixar Pier in full swing and two successful Pixar-themed hotels (Toy Story Hotels in Shanghai Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland), Disney decided to embark on a new venture—a hotel that would celebrate the vast world of Pixar. The result is Pixar Place Hotel, a 15-story tower that embraces the characters and stories from multiple Pixar movies and shorts. This fully Pixar-themed hotel is a first of its kind in the United States.

The Future of Pixar Place and Disneyland Resort

As we look ahead to the future, the Disneyland Resort continues to evolve. The recent news of a proposed $1.9 billion expansion as part of the Disneyland Forward project indicates that the area surrounding Pixar Place is expected to see further changes. Disneyland’s rich history and innovative spirit continue to shape its destiny.

In conclusion, the history of the Pixar Place Hotel is a testament to the ever-changing landscape of Disneyland Resort. From its humble beginnings as the Disneyland Hotel to its transformation into the fully Pixar-themed Pixar Place Hotel, this establishment has undergone several iterations. As Disneyland Resort continues to grow and adapt, we can only imagine what exciting developments lie ahead for this iconic destination.

If you want to hear more stories about the History of the Pixar Place hotel, check our special edition of Disney Unpacked over on YouTube.

Stay tuned for more updates and developments as we continue to explore the fascinating world of Disney, one story at a time.

Jim Hill

Jim Hill is an entertainment writer who has specialized in covering The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, he has interviewed hundreds of animators, actors, and Imagineers -- many of whom have shared behind-the-scenes stories with Mr. Hill about how the Mouse House really works. In addition to the 4000+ articles Jim has written for the Web, he also co-hosts a trio of popular podcasts: “Disney Dish with Len Testa,” “Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor” and “Marvel US Disney with Aaron Adams.” Mr. Hill makes his home in Southern New Hampshire with his lovely wife Nancy and two obnoxious cats, Ginger & Betty.

Continue Reading


From Birthday Wishes to Toontown Dreams: How Toontown Came to Be



Mickey's Birthday Land

In the latest release of Episode 4 of Disney Unpacked, Len and I return, joined as always by Disney Imagineering legend, Jim Shull. This two-part episode covers all things Mickey’s Birthday Land and how it ultimately led to the inspiration behind Disneyland’s fan-favorite land, “Toontown”. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. It all starts in the early days at Disneyland.

Early Challenges in Meeting Mickey

Picture this: it’s the late 1970s and early 1980s, and you’re at Disneyland. You want to meet the one and only Mickey Mouse, but there’s no clear way to make it happen. You rely on Character Guides, those daily printed sheets that point you in Mickey’s general direction. But let’s be honest, it was like finding a needle in a haystack. Sometimes, you got lucky; other times, not so much.

Mickey’s Birthdayland: A Birthday Wish that Came True

Fast forward to the late 1980s. Disney World faced a big challenge. The Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park was under construction, with the company’s marketing machine in full swing, hyping up the opening of Walt Disney World’s third theme park, MGM Studios, in the Spring of 1989. This extensive marketing meant that many people were opting to postpone their family’s next trip to Walt Disney World until the following year. Walt Disney World needed something compelling to motivate guests to visit Florida in 1988, the year before Disney MGM Studios opened.

Enter stage left, Mickey’s Birthdayland. For the first time ever, an entire land was dedicated to a single character – and not just any character, but the mouse who started it all. Meeting Mickey was no longer a game of chance; it was practically guaranteed.

The Birth of Birthdayland: Creative Brilliance Meets Practicality

In this episode, we dissect the birth of Mickey’s Birthdayland, an initiative that went beyond celebrating a birthday. It was a calculated move, driven by guest feedback and a need to address issues dating back to 1971. Imagineers faced the monumental task of designing an experience that honored Mickey while efficiently managing the crowds. This required the perfect blend of creative flair and logistical prowess – a hallmark of Disney’s approach to theme park design.

Evolution: From Birthdayland to Toontown

The success of Mickey’s Birthdayland was a real game-changer, setting the stage for the birth of Toontown – an entire land that elevated character-centric areas to monumental new heights. Toontown wasn’t merely a spot to meet characters; it was an immersive experience that brought Disney animation to life. In the episode, we explore its innovative designs, playful architecture, and how every nook and cranny tells a story.

Impact on Disney Parks and Guests

Mickey’s Birthdayland and Toontown didn’t just reshape the physical landscape of Disney parks; they transformed the very essence of the guest experience. These lands introduced groundbreaking ways for visitors to connect with their beloved characters, making their Disney vacations even more unforgettable.

Beyond Attractions: A Cultural Influence

But the influence of these lands goes beyond mere attractions. Our episode delves into how Mickey’s Birthdayland and Toontown left an indelible mark on Disney’s culture, reflecting the company’s relentless dedication to innovation and guest satisfaction. It’s a journey into how a single idea can grow into a cherished cornerstone of the Disney Park experience.

Interested in learning about Jim Shull’s original idea for a Winnie the Pooh ride? Here’s concept art of the attraction proposed for the original Toontown in Disneyland. More on [Disney Unpacked].

Unwrapping the Full Story of Mickey’s Birthdayland

Our two-part episode of Disney Unpacked is available for your viewing pleasure on our Patreon page. And for those seeking a quicker Disney fix, we’ve got a condensed version waiting for you on our YouTube channel. Thank you for being a part of our Disney Unpacked community. Stay tuned for more episodes as we continue to “Unpack” the fascinating world of Disney, one story at a time.

Jim Hill

Jim Hill is an entertainment writer who has specialized in covering The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, he has interviewed hundreds of animators, actors, and Imagineers -- many of whom have shared behind-the-scenes stories with Mr. Hill about how the Mouse House really works. In addition to the 4000+ articles Jim has written for the Web, he also co-hosts a trio of popular podcasts: “Disney Dish with Len Testa,” “Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor” and “Marvel US Disney with Aaron Adams.” Mr. Hill makes his home in Southern New Hampshire with his lovely wife Nancy and two obnoxious cats, Ginger & Betty.

Continue Reading