Friday, February 11, 2011
Good-bye To Mickey's Toontown Fair
Today the value of the memories of my trip to the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World last September increased just a bit.
The picture you see to the left was taken during our day at the "MK" on September 8th when we visited Mickey's Toontown Fair.
The visit will now be part of a catagory of special memories just like my experience at the "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Play It!" and the " Star Tours" attractions in 2004.
The reason the memories will be particularly special is that none of the prevously mentioned attractions are part of Disney World. Well, Star Tours is still there but it's currently undergoing a complete refurbishing to give it a new story line and title, Star Tours: The Adventure Continues. The original Star Tours experience is gone as of last September. It closed just a few days before our September visit.
Yes, today, February 11 was the last day for guests to visit Mickey's Toontown Fair. Soon that part of the Magic Kingdom, the northwest sector of the park, start it's transformation into the new Storybook Circus. Which will include a new double Dumbo ride with a queue that will not be a stand by line but a tent with activities to keep guests of all ages entertained while they wait for their turn on the ride. The kiddie coaster that's now Goofy's Barnstormer will still be there but will be changed to feature the Great Goofini. But Storybook Circus and the Fantasyland expansion is not the subject of the post.
I wasn't interested in Mickey's Toontown Fair at all during our first trip to "The World" in 2004. I had no plans go there. The only thing I knew about it was that it was usually crowded because of the Judge's tent. This was where you went to meet Mickey Mouse & Minnie. Because of the long lines and wait times, unless you had little ones for who HAD to meet their favorite Disney mouse, it was recommended that you skip Toontown Fair.
About 4 years ago I read the Imagineer's guide to the Magic Kingdom. That's when I learned about how the "stretch and pull" concept of animation. I also discovered that this concept was brought into the Magic Kingdom park by Disney artists and Imagineers through 3 dimensional buildings in Toontown Fair. Places such as Mickey & Minnie's houses, Donald's boat and Pete's Garage were replete with examples of the exaggerations and references to character that made Disney infamous in the world of animation.
In addition early in 2010 I heard a pari of special episodes of the Lou Mongello's WDW Radio Show featuring Disney expert, Jim Korkis. In them Lou walked through Toontown Fair with Mr. Korkis as he pointed out the special and unique aspects of this land. He shared hidden secrets and funny gags set up throuhout. He told the story of Toontown Fair and how the areas dedicated to an individual character stayed true to the aspects of that character.
I'm trying my best to explain the podcast to you but I'm not doing a very good job. If you're interested in hearing what I'm talking about just go to www.WDWradio.com , click on the podcast tab, find the list of latest podcasts, click on the "read more" tab then go to page that lists podcasts 158 (February 21, 2010) and 163 (March 28,2010). Click on their link and then on the "play" symbol.
The 2 podcasts featuring Mickey's Toontown Fair as well as the midsummer announcement that it was going away as part of the Fantasyland expansion project peaked my interest in this yet-to-be-visited-by-me part of the Magic Kingdom. I made "The Fair" an important part of my touring plans.
Then on the evening of September 8,2010, when Paula and I returned for the evening part of our day at the Kingdom we toured Mickey's Toontown Fair. I was so excited to be there. The enjoyment of my visit was a 1000 times better than I could have imagined thanks to the knowledge I had gained from the WDW radio podcasts.
As a matter of fact while standing in the gazebo in the backyard of Mickey's house I called the WDW Radio podcast voicemail line and left a message for Lou Mongello. I thanked him and Jim Korkis for their help in sparking an interest in this land that I would probably other wise have skipped again on my 2nd WDW visit.
So now that it's closed and will soon be gone, Mickey's Toontown fair will now be a part of my most personal and fondest memories of Disney World. I will always wish I could have had a 2nd and even 3rd chance to go back and visit. But since I can't I'll just have to settle making any future visits to Toontown sentimental journeys through the pictures I took the one and only time I was there.
Good-bye Mickey's Toontown Fair. We were only ever together one time for a few brief moments. But those moments will always bring a smile to my face as I relive the memories you gave me for the rest of my life.