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Roger Colton is lucky to have finished his column this week as his master is becoming more and more demanding of his time …



Welcome! Doing my part to brighten this little corner of the net, it’s another effort from the keyboard.

But first, here’s a quote from an upcoming column:

“Items are my game. Items are stories boiled down to the bone. Some are pseudo-stories, the shorter the better. Somebody said something to somebody that sounded funny at the time. In cold type in the cold light of the morning of the cold cereal and the cold coffee, it doesn’t read funny. It lies there like the oat bran in the bowl. Maybe nobody will read it anyway, any way at all. The paper comes out and it vanishes. Forgotten by 10, dead by noon, pulped by dark. And there’s always tomorrow. That’s the hell of it. All these wonderful people slaving desperately to put out the paper each day, a prodigious achievement and by 11 a.m. you see it fluttering down the street. More clutter for litterbugs. Please use the trash container. Thank you.”

The guy who wrote this won a Pulitzer and I for one miss his efforts more and more every day.

But for this week:

I’m here to tell you… Cats do not have owners. They have servants.

As I’m writing this, my own master is sitting here staring at me with a look of utter disgust. A twitch of the tale, and a stern meow tells me he is not amused.

His name is Cruiser, and he’s an orange lump. A very complicated lump.

The story began in the summer of 1998 as we were moving into our new rented townhouse. As I am unlocking the door for the first time and getting ready to enter, up strolls this cat. Now at this time, you could call me a dog person. Not that I had anything against cats mind you.

But having grown up in a house with two German Shepherds and numerous Cocker Spaniels, I had a definite canine bias. The Spaniels were a hobby of my mother’s. At one time, there were many weekends spent on the dog show circuit. First there were obedience trials, and then it was the full show treatment. Later came breeding and raising them for fun and profit.

Our family has always loved Disney’s “Lady & The Tramp.” We always laughed as we watched young Lady and marveled at how accurately the artists had captured the puppy so completely.

Michele on the other hand came from a family that was decidedly feline. When I first met her, the home was almost a cat factory with several litters of kittens and generations of ancestors all present. I even gave her a kitten one year, much-favored Calico she named “Munchkin”. (That was one of a litter from another favored cat from the railway museum I was volunteering at during those years. Her mother was named “Chessie” after the famed cat used with great results by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad to promote train travel for many years.)

So… When I opened the door, this orange cat walked right in just like he owned the place and thanks very much for letting him in. Michele had wanted to have a cat but previous rental agreements did not allow for one in the places that we had lived since we had been married. And truth be told, the rental agreement for this place didn’t either…

She shooed this cat back out the door and went about organizing things inside while I opened the garage door and went back out for another load, having left the door from the inside to the garage open. Less than 30 seconds later, the cat is back inside, having taken advantage of the opportunity presented.

This went on for the better part of the afternoon. She would help him out the door and he would come right back as soon as he got the chance, and it was a losing battle. While we were both amused, we didn’t expect that this would become a somewhat permanent arrangement.

As the weeks went by, we encountered that cat’s owner and learned more. Seems that the beast had a name. “Cruiser”. He was about two or three years old. When he was very young, he was found in a pile of debris out back of a sheet metal shop in pretty bad shape. He was the last one alive in a litter of feral kittens. His owner had taken him in and gotten him back to health. He got the name because he did just what it implied. He would cruise his territory, getting attention wherever he could find it, as well as any snacks he might encounter. While he was still somewhat feral, he also loved affection to the point of being an attention junkie.

Cruiser started becoming more and more a part of our lives. He would be there when we got home from work, ready to get petted and stroked. Somewhere along the way, we started feeding him on occasion, but he always went out for the night. A fairly intelligent beast, he was always letting us know when it was time to go outside, and never sprayed or spotted inside the townhouse.

About a year had passed when things changed somewhat and we noted that he wanted to stay in with us more often, and went home less and less. I’ll admit to taking pity on him late one very rainy night and letting him stay inside with us. After that, it became somewhat of a more usual thing to stay inside and even sleep with us on the bed from time to time.

It turns out that there was a reason why Cruiser did not go home. Seems that one of his owner’s roommates was cleaning a pistol one night and it went off in the townhouse. Cruiser was in at the time, and the noise scared him so that he rarely, if ever, went back inside after that. To this day, he still does not take well to any loud noises.

We took formal custody of Cruiser when his owner moved on to a rural location that wasn’t suited to a house cat. It became even more formal when we paid that first veterinary bill of over $100 after he got into a fight and developed an abscess on one of his ears. It was somewhat comical watching him wear this big e-collar until it healed. That also brought on his first full-time indoor stay, with the resulting purchase of the cat-box and kitty litter. He survived the indignation. We also decided to let him out a bit during this convalescence with the aid of a harness and leash. He tolerated it, but was happier doing supervised walks then not being out at all. Since then, he has grown so fond of walks with us that he will actually follow us on trips through his domain. If he’s in a really good mood, he will let someone other than Michele or I to take him for a walk, as Jeff found out one afternoon.

Several fights later, along with more big vet bills, we developed a curfew for him. So now after 8:00 p.m. he is in for the night. Along the way, he has become more of an indoor than an outdoor cat. Lately he’s been the target of some fairly big birds (ravens or crows, I think), so he tends to spend more time in the townhouse than out. If he does go out, he’s either ready to come back in short order or he sits down outside the front door, just far away from us to be outside but still within the arc of safety, just in case…

Now Michele and I don’t have children. I don’t remember when, but she has taken to calling him her “furry child”. Even my mother has gotten into the act by referring to him as a grandchild. So now when we send out greeting cards for various holidays and birthdays, we sign the card for him using a rubber stamp we found of a paw print. Earlier, we actually used a non-toxic stamp pad and used one of his own paws to do that. Using the rubber stamp is less traumatic, too.

Speaking of trauma, we all have had our share, thanks to the word “bath”. Cruiser came in one afternoon with a great smear of black across the top of his head, after a close encounter with the underside of an oil pan. So I decided to take matters in hand, and get out the cleaning supplies. Some universal hand cleaner with a citrus smell had worked for me, so why not the cat? And away I went. It did clean the oil out of his fur, but it needed to be rinsed out with water. Now as much as he likes to drink from the faucets, standing under a full flow of it is another story all together.

I still bear a good scar from that incident, and Michele has the mental scar from his mournful wailing during the torture of first being washed and then dried. He on the other hand, or paw as the case may be, has forgotten the whole thing.

I’ve given him two other baths since, once for fleas and another because he simply smelled so bad, that there was no alternative. Now we leave this task to the professionals. It’s safer for all of us that way.

If there is one thing that this cat does that simply infuriates my wife is that he will walk all over her just to get to me. She’s that cat person, and always was. If any cat should pay attention to anyone, it should be her, right? Not with this cat! Remember that his first owner was a man? So now, it’s me, the dog person, who Cruiser looks for attention from first. If I am not there, he will go to Michele. If I am, he walks right by or over her to get to see me. If we both are sitting on the couch, he will jump into my lap and get comfy without even noticing her. Talk about insulting!

If I’m lying down on the couch watching television, he routinely will jump up and find himself a comfy place to sit and sleep. Frequently, this is either on one of my knees or on top of my chest. I have pants that have been ruined by kitty claws digging contentedly. And my knees also have all the small scars to prove when I’ve been wearing shorts pants… Weighing in at 14 plus pounds at this time of year, it’s something of a shock to have this lump land on your chest unannounced!

The cat doesn’t have a tough life. He gets dry food (Iams) twice a day, and wet food (again Iams) on special occasions. While he used to drink water from the dripping bathtub faucet (not an option after the bathroom was renovated), he now has his own kitty fountain that offers a steady supply of running water twenty-four hours a day. Throw in a catnip mouse now and then, along with other kitty torture toys, and he’s got it pretty good. During our last few trips to Disneyland, he’s gone on vacations of his own, boarded at several different establishments. We think we found the best one, a feline medical center where he can bring his toys, food and blanket, so he has all the comforts of, if not the physical location of, home.

Michele and I are well trained. We talk to him frequently, and he’s more than happy to respond. We both have heard him clearly say “No!” on more than one occasion. If he wants to go out before curfew, we’re right there at the sound of our master’s voice.

So even though he started out to be just a visitor, now he’s a definite member of the family. Not bad for a lump…


Next week? Well, Roger has several projects in the wings including a joint effort on the wonderful world of sugar beets, a look at a genius of Southern California’s Car Kulture, the author of the quote at the top of this page and a big story about the railroad that got into the theme park business once upon a time. Stay tuned!

So? Like what you’ve been reading here in Roger’s columns? Well, here is one way to show your support! You can use his Amazon PayBox to keep him plugging along on more tales.

Roger Colton

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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.

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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.

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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.

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