Mickey and friends take over another theater at Tokyo Disney

July 17, 2018, 12:36 PM · How much Disney do people want in a Disney theme park experience?

Obviously, if it's happening in a Disney theme park, it's "Disney." But do people want a mix of original or outside characters and stories along with traditional Disney IP, such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse? That question has become hot-button for many Disney theme park fans in the Unites States, as the company moves to reinvent Walt Disney World's Epcot from its original focus on non-fiction themes toward the use of more Disney IP, including Frozen, Ratatouille and Guardians of the Galaxy.

Now, Disney's begged the question again, with an announcement of a new live show at Tokyo DisneySea. Disney's fourth most-visited theme park in the world will close its Out of the Shadow Land musical on March 31 next year, replacing it with a new production starring Mickey Mouse and friends. Out of the Shadow Land was an original, 25-minute show that told the story of a shy girl who had to develop the self-confidence to escape the evil land in which she had been lost.

The new show, Song of Mirage, will open in summer 2019 and follows Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Donald and Goofy as they search for the mythical city of Rio Dorado. There's a magical staff, projection mapping of mysterious lands, and, of course, a lesson in the power of imagination.

Not to mention Disney's most famous and enduring characters, instead of unfamiliar characters that could have appeared in a stage production anywhere else.

Now, is that a good thing? It's up to theme park fans to decide with their attendance. The new show will play in the Hangar Stage in Tokyo DisneySea's Lost River Delta.

Replies (5)

July 17, 2018 at 4:02 PM

Tokyo DisneySea's Mermaid show is so impressive that I'd have to say please use more IP if they are that good. Some Disney fans are so caught up with original versus IP that they forget Disney is before the park name. And further more, they seem to want more Pirates and Haunted Mansion. They are still there if you wish to ride them, yet each iteration is a lesser clone and each became an IP spawning movies and merchandise. One thing that was always lacking in Disney theme parks is rides featuring the fab five. There needs to be more Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto attractions. Rio Dorado needs Pluto to join in the fun.

July 17, 2018 at 6:06 PM

On the IP issue - I've no problem with it, so long as designers are allowed to adapt that IP to create something of imagination and integrity. Pandora is the obvious example, but Mickey and the Magician and Forest of Enchantment at Disneyland Paris are both great studies in how to start with the core characters and expand out to create something more unique. The parks should offer a mix of experiences, using characters and settings both familiar and new - it doesn't need to be either/or.

That said, I'm glad I'll get to see Out of the Shadow Land before it closes. I'm sure Song of Mirage will be great, but it sounds like it's been pulled straight out of the playbook that created Mickey and the Magical Map, Mickey and the Wondrous Book and Mickey and the Magician. I know these shows aren't catering to those of us who've been to multiple resorts - nor should they - but I've no great urge to see another variation on the theme.

July 17, 2018 at 8:48 PM

The original vs. IP debate is so tiresome to me. Ben makes a great point and I have little to add other than I'd like this line of conversation to stop and leave the fandom. It's overwrought and meaningless.

July 18, 2018 at 3:32 PM

Maybe that’s because I don’t understand a word of japanese, but I’ve found Out of Shadows the least impressive show in TDR in my visit last year. It was good, the tecnology used is jaw dropping (it was for me, before I see other projection based new shows), but the neighbor Big Band Beat is so amazing it pales in comparison.

July 23, 2018 at 8:10 AM

I saw "Out of the Shadowlands" in 2017 (that was my second visit to TDS, with the specific goal of seeing all the stage shows), and unlike 177, I do know enough Japanese that I could follow some of the nuances of the story in addition to its broad strokes (camping trip, girl is separated, meets magical creatures). I enjoyed it.

It's a bit of an odd duck with none of the standard stable of animal or royal characters, but if all of the "Wonderful World of Disney" telemovies of the 1980s can be Disney, why not this? I welcome original content.

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