Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Clarabelle, Goofy, Pluto and Pete stand outside Mickey’s house in the renovated Toontown at Disneyland.
Park-goers at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., will finally be able to return to Mickey’s Toontown this weekend after a year-long closure for renovations.
The cartoon-inspired land has long been a haven for young Disney Park visitors, offering encounters with characters like Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto, plus kid-friendly coasters and play areas. children.
The reimagined Toontown pays homage to the space that opened in 1993, keeping existing structures like Mickey and Minnie’s houses intact, but with a touch of paint. But there are also quite a few new infrastructures for children to explore, in the interests of inclusivity.
At its core, the Toontown redesign is all about intent. Imagineers has designed a space for all children, creating accessible play spaces, as well as quiet areas and shaded spots so its youngest park-goers have a place to exercise their pent-up energy or decompress.
The redesigned terrain, which opens to the public on March 19, is fully wheelchair accessible, including its slides, and is visually and aurally accessible for children who are easily overwhelmed by loud or bright sensory stimuli. The entire grounds have been repainted in softer colors, and some areas feature more subdued, spa-like musical scores.
“We want every child to know that when they came to this earth, this earth was made for them,” said Jeffrey Shaver-Moskowitz, executive portfolio producer at waltz disney Imagine. “That they were seen, and that this place was welcoming to them.”
Shaver-Moskowitz said the Imagineers spent time visiting children’s museums and water play spaces to see how children are engaging and developing different stations across the country to cater to different types of play patterns.
“We know a day at Disneyland can be hectic and chaotic, moving from attraction to attraction, reservation to reservation,” he said. “We wanted Toontown to be not only exciting, but also chilling, relaxing and welcoming.”
With this in mind, the Imagineers introduced more green spaces to the country, places to picnic, sit and relax or play freely.
“We really wanted to take a look at Toontown, knowing how important it was to so many of our guests for many generations growing up and the many memories here tied to the land, and making sure we didn’t miss a thing. that,” Shaver-Moskowitz said. “But, bring in a lot of new magic.”
“I think of each guest”
As guests enter the new Toontown, they will pass through Centoonial Park. The area is anchored by a large fountain, featuring Mickey and Minnie, as well as water tables for children to soak their hands in and the “Dream Tree”.
The living tree was selected from the Disney property for its cartoonish limbs and leaves. Around the trunk are sculpted roots that children can climb, crawl and crawl over.
“One of the main functions of play for toddlers is learning the concepts of over, under and sideways,” Shaver-Moskowitz explained during a media tour of the country earlier this month. “So you’ll see some of the roots are big enough for toddlers to crawl under, some of them can be used as balance beams for toddlers learning to put their feet under.”
(There is also a wheelchair accessible path that navigates through the roots.)
Centoonial Park is also located next to the El Capitoon Theater, home to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway train ride. Riders are invited to the premiere of Mickey and Minnie’s latest cartoon short “Perfect Picnic.” However, hijinks ensue and guests are taken for a ride on Goofy’s train, entering the cartoon world.
The exterior of the El Capitoon Theater from Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway ride at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
The trackless ride has no height or age restrictions, allowing even the smallest Disney guest to participate.
Continuing across the land, guests will see Goofy’s New Playground, which surrounds Goofy’s house and features a sound garden, filled with musical bridges and melons, as well as Fort Max, a climbing clubhouse with slides attached.
Shaver-Moskowitz said the roller slides were chosen for the space so smaller guests, who often have less mobility in their legs, don’t get stuck at the bottom of the slide. There is also more space at the bottom of the slides to accommodate guests who need time to recover from wheelchairs.
“We try to make sure we think of every guest here,” he said. “Making sure that every little one who comes to play here feels like we designed the space for them.”
Outside there is also a small demarcated area where babies can crawl and explore the area safely.
Goofy stands in front of his new How-To-Play park at Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland.
Inside Goofy’s house are a series of games that kids can play to help Goofy grow honey from the beehives on his property into candy. Here, little park-goers can sort candy by flavor and color and watch a kinetic ball machine spin around the space.
Extra care has been taken to ensure that the sound of air compressors pushing the bullets has been removed, Shaver-Moskowitz said, in an effort to ensure those with sensory sensitivity won’t be overwhelmed and will always be able to benefit from the experience with their peers.
In a separate area next to Goofy’s new playground is Donald’s Duck Pond, an aquatic experience for children. The Imagineers intentionally separated this space from the playground so parents can better supervise their children around the water features.
Donald Duck stands outside the new Duck Pond at Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland.
Shaver-Moskowitz noted that the ground’s previous design meant that children sometimes ran towards their drenched parents, after wandering around the water play area.
Donald’s Duck Pond features a water-spitting tugboat, spinning water lilies, balance beams and seesaw toys. Inside the boat, kids can help Huey, Dewey, Louie and Webby with a leaky hull by turning wheels and levers to push water out.
Prepare a picnic
The Imagineers also revamped the food in Toontown. New restaurants such as Cafe Daisy and Good Boy! Grocers offer a wide variety of selections and flavors for young park-goers and more mature palates.
Michèle Gendreau, Director of Product Optimization for Food and Beverage, explained that the team wanted to make eating easier by creating on-the-go foods that can be snacked on the go.
The menu at Daisy’s Cafe features “flop over” pizzas, hot dogs, and wraps. Here, adults can have a cold coffee or a sweet tea with honey and mango. For dessert, there are mini donuts covered in cinnamon sugar.
“Kids want to eat what their parents eat,” Gendreau said, pointing to kid-friendly versions of traditional pizzas.
At Good Boy! Grocers, customers can buy take-out drinks, snacks and novelties. The roadside stand offers the “perfect picnic basket”, including up to three snacks and a drink. Kids can choose from a variety of options, from hummus and pickles to granola bars and apple slices.
Baskets are set up at multiple heights to allow even the smallest guests to choose their own items, giving them a bit of autonomy at mealtime.
Merchandise from Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland.
Park visitors can purchase picnic blankets, t-shirts, toys and other exclusive Toontown merchandise at EngineEar Souvenirs.
Plus, encounters with fan-favorite characters return to the land. You can take pictures with Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Donald Duck, Daisy, Pluto, Clarabelle and Goofy. And for the first time in a Disney park, Pete will make an appearance, wreaking havoc on the neighborhood.
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