Get your selfies on at Disneyland's 'Pop Up Disney' event

April 24, 2019, 7:46 PM · Disneyland today invited reporters and influencers to preview its new Pop Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration photo event.

Pop Up Disney - A Mickey Celebration

Located in the old ESPNZone restaurant in Downtown Disney, Pop Up Disney features seven rooms of photo opportunities themed to Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Layout of Pop Up Disney

These are not character meet and greets, but rather staged, "photo booth" installations, designed to provide new, unique backdrops for your photos at the most Instagrammed place on Earth. (Seriously, it is.)

Minnie bow coach

Tickets run from $30 to $38 per person for this timed event, with advance reservations required. To Disney's credit, it has provided a wide variety of high-quality photo opps for this experience, including some that put you in the action, just like Mickey.

Steamboat Robert

And others that... well, have to be seen to be believed. An entire wall of Mickey plush?

Mickey wall

This turned out a little more like "Mickey's Poltergeist" than I expected.... :-0

They're coming for me!

But don't stick to the obvious photo opps. Some of the better opportunities lay off to the side from the main set pieces.

Chernabog photo bomb

It took my about an hour to go through the exhibit, but that's on a day when Disney filled it with social professionals, who probably take waaaay longer with shots than your average Instagram user.

Mickey around the world

And of course, the time you spend at each location will vary upon your interest in getting just the right shot.

Mickey selfie

Wild and unusual visuals abound in the exhibit, but Mickey remains a constant throughout.

Disco Mickey

And it concludes in a wild room celebrating Mickey in the parks.

Mickey in the parks

I especially liked the projections along the far wall in the final room, which looped through with each theme playing for about a minute, providing an ever-changing, dynamic backdrop for your videos and Boomerangs. Here's a sample:

And when it's all done, yes, you exit downstairs into the gift shop.

Gift shop

While pop-up photo experiences have drawn crowds around the world, this is a new experience for Disney. While it builds upon the photo opps that Disney has created for many of its after-hours, hard-ticket events, Pop Up Disney takes this particular concept to a level of detail and finish that Disney has not attempted on this scale before.

Will it work? Creatively, it's fun, but it's going to be up to Disney's social media fans to decide if it's worth the price... especially when it's competing with some of the world's best-established photo opps in the parks next door.

Pop Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration opens Friday and includes five hours of free parking in the Downtown Disney lot. Tickets are available through Disney's website.

Replies (17)

April 25, 2019 at 9:38 AM

Why oh why would people willingly fork over hard earned money for something like this? At $30+ I would expect that at the very least Disney would include a small jar of Vaseline to help things move more smoothly.

April 25, 2019 at 8:26 AM

I mean, its nice...But would I pay $30 when I've already probably paid for a day's entertainment next door? No. Would I pay anything when I've already bought a day's entertainment next door? No.

Would I potentially pay something if it was away from the theme parks? Maybe, but still not £23/$30. At that price, I'd expect them to be taking the pictures for me.

Hell, I can do two of Merlin's Blackpool attractions for £23. I could go to Madame Taussads (which is the same sort of thing but arguably better executed) and a run through the dungeons.. and that price INCLUDES tax.

April 25, 2019 at 11:53 AM

Your "review" misses a honest to god conclusion about what you think about it Robert. It's all very safe and paid for. That is a shame.

In regards of Pop Up Disney! This is the saddest attempt for Disney to make money...this week. #D.I.N.O (Disney In Name Only).

April 25, 2019 at 12:54 PM

And the two paragraphs that preceded the final info graf were what?

Just because I happened to not hate something that you've decided to dismiss without ever seeing it does not mean that I did not include an honest conclusion in my review.

One of the things I try not to do with Theme Park Insider is to engage in gatekeeping, telling you what you "must" or must not do with your money and time. I try to depict things as they are and place in them into a relevant context that helps you to make your own, informed decision whether or not to see it. I also strive not to write simplistically, dismissing or raving over every single thing I cover. Almost everything actually exists in a gray area where some people will like it and others not. I try to write for people who can see those shades of gray.

This isn't for everyone. I get that. Disney gets that. It's an experiment, and - frankly - I always will encourage companies to experiment.

Disney executed this well, but I think they probably failed with its placement. This could be a huge hit for the company as a true, three-to-six-month pop up in New York or Chicago, where people don't have ready access to a Disney theme park in their city. But I doubt that it will have that much appeal at this price point sited right next to Disneyland.

April 25, 2019 at 1:59 PM

Am I right in assuming this is perhaps the first paid Disney attraction where there is no spiel prior to entering that states, "...and please, no flash photos!"

Disney experience starved folks who live outside of the Orlando/Anaheim day-trip zone may feel far more motivated to visit such an exhibit in their home towns. If this had been built at Lenox Square Mall I'd be there if I still lived in Atlanta and hadn't had a trip to WDW in a while. I see this as a comparable experience to Disney On Ice or the now retired Disney on Parade stadium shows, but for the 15 - 35 year old demographic rather than younger kids.

I love photography, and that includes taking silly selfies. The quality of what Disney has created here is much higher than what I had imagined when I read about it. While I'm not planning on paying to see this, I know it will hit a sweet spot with the Insta lovers out there. I just think putting it in the Disneyland resort is an odd choice.

I'm most curious to know if after a spell in DTD if this gets packed and sent on the road to visit other places. I imagine it will.

April 25, 2019 at 2:28 PM

Thank you Robert and please wake up OT

Personally I do not Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook.

Having said that, I do recognize and realize that this pop up experience may indeed resonate with those who do Instagram/Snspchat on a frequent basis.

Gatekeepers are those wear blinders all the time whom I tend to avoid especially on YouTube.

We are all individuals who should be capable of making our own informed choices and decisions.

We do not need to be told what we should or should not do especially in a condescending manner which is what TPI not all about.

April 26, 2019 at 4:02 AM

R. Niles writes: "Just because I happened to not hate something that you've decided to dismiss without ever seeing it does not mean that I did not include an honest conclusion in my review."

I Respond: But Robert, if OT and RM are not allowed to "hate something" from Disney that they've "decided to dismiss without ever seeing" they'd never post anything at TPI.

April 26, 2019 at 9:40 AM

And TPI would be a far more boring place if everyone who posted here was a Drone. It's good to see all sides of an argument, and we should be fortunate to have such vigorous debate about topics we all find interesting.

However, I feel that there's a distinct difference between "hate" and criticism. Hate is a very strong term that is typically associated with language that offends. I highly doubt criticizing decisions made by a theme park company goes to the level of "hate". Is it "hate" to say $30 seems like a extremely high price to pay to take selfies in a de facto Disney modern art gallery? Is it "hate" to question guests' financial sanity (or solvency) or a company's desire to maximize profits at all cost? Is it "hate" to say that it might get hot sitting in a 60 cubic foot plastic box for 15 minutes on a humid August afternoon in Orlando? Is it "hate" to suggest that a theme park company might be having second thoughts about an attraction that was initially announced with such fanfare but has now been delayed?

Everyone who posts here probably comes from a slightly different background, so we're going to have different opinions about certain topics. I think it's important for a moderator/administrator of a website like TPI to be as fair and broad in a review as possible to appeal and engage the largest possible audience. However, once a discussion is initiated, it's more than fair for others to take sides and discuss the various POVs of a given topic. It's become increasingly common for news outlets and websites to initiate discussion through "click bait" or "hot takes" (like saying WDW has 7 theme parks), but it's refreshing to see debate initiated through a more unbiased review of an attraction. However, without these varying opinions, there's no discussion to be had, and TPI might as well turn into a Twitter venture seeking likes and retweets.

I can definitely be critical of Disney, but I think that's more because of the high bar that they have set. Disney also tends to drive the news cycle as the dominant player in the theme park business, especially since they have embarked on so many ambitious new projects over the past few years that will extend into the next decade. There's just a larger number of Disney topics to discuss than any other theme park company, and having such high standards and expectations naturally invites criticism. From a company that more or less sat on its hands for the better part of the past decade, it's certainly refreshing to see it finally flex its muscles, but brings forth the questions of "why now" and whether this boom may result in a decline in quality, for which guests are asked to spend what seems to be an exponentially increasing amount of money to experience. Sometimes those that critique do so because they love (not hate) something, and want to make sure that the parties responsible know that we expect them to reach or exceed the previous bar for success.

April 26, 2019 at 10:26 AM

RM: "It's good to SEE all sides of an argument ..."

I Respond: It strikes me that the most credible opinion would be formulated after someone actually SEES the attraction.


April 26, 2019 at 10:58 AM

This attraction is purposely designed for the Instagram crowd, so how it looks in photos is as relevant as seeing it in real life. A critique based on photos is as credible as someone who experienced it in person.

The criticism that appears to have validity here is whether it's worth $30+, and if the location is appropriate steps away from one of the most Instagramed places on Earth.

It strikes me that someone feels the need to come to Disney's defense when they haven't seen the attraction either. You're presenting an alternate POV, which is as credible as anyone else's. My questions to you would be, would you pay $30 for this, and if so, would you still do it if it were not associated with Disney?

April 26, 2019 at 12:14 PM

@ Robert, Thank you for pointing out I am clearly too ignorant to understand that you don't give a honest to god review because you want to keep it "gray" so I can make my own mind up. But when I do that, I get attacked and the only reason is that I need to see it to judge it, but that would make your article and pictures obsolete because I can't form an opinion if this is worth my time or money.

April 26, 2019 at 1:01 PM

I don't see this lasting very long in its current location. That is some prime real estate right there and I don't think there will be enough people willing to fork over 30+ dollars. Especially as mentioned in the article there are so many great, photo ops in the resort. This kind of seems like a last minute replacement/space filler for the old ESPN Zone once the hotel plans were discarded.

It's a neat concept for sure but I just don't know how viable it is for its long term success.

April 26, 2019 at 3:13 PM

I have to disagree with OT. I think Robert has covered excellently what experiences you can have at this attraction, without injecting opinion. I think those who are attracted to this sort of thing can see clearly what the value proposition is, and those of us who aren’t attracted to it can see clearly what we (aren’t) missing.

A review without Criticism is difficult, so I say well done.

April 28, 2019 at 2:15 AM

Hate is a strong word. But I do HATE the narcissism that has led to this exhibit being created in the first place, and dislike that Disney is perpetuating it, BUT don’t blame them for it.

April 28, 2019 at 3:55 PM

RM writes: "A critique based on photos is as credible as someone who experienced it in person."

I Respond: The nominees for most self-serving TPI post of 2019 are ...



April 28, 2019 at 8:31 PM

If you are going to critique a comment TH, please include the entire comment, AN INSTAGRAM EXPERIENCE! He was not saying any experience, but an experience based on posting photos can EASILY be critiqued based on photos, isn't that the whole point of the overpriced so called "Experience"?

April 29, 2019 at 8:39 AM

So I'm assuming the retort means that TH wouldn't spend the $30 for this experience. I wonder how TH came to that conclusion - perhaps from the photos? -\_("/)_/-

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