All aboard the 2020 Hype Train for Disney's Runaway Railway

December 26, 2019, 6:11 PM · Sometimes a taste really can whet your appetite. Of all the attractions on our list of most-anticipated new attractions for 2020, the only one I've been able to experience in person up until now (at least in part) has been Walt Disney World's Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway. And my first taste of the Disney's first-ever Mickey Mouse-themed ride left me very hungry for more.

Opening in the Chinese Theater at Disney's Hollywood Studios on March 4, Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway puts guests into a new Mickey Mouse cartoon. Walt Disney Imagineering actually created a new cartoon for the attraction's preshow, leading into a ride where that new adventure comes to life.

Inside Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway
Photo courtesy Walt Disney Imagineering

Disney is using a variety of scenic illusions to bring the slapstick chaos of a Mickey Mouse cartoon into a dark ride without having to rely solely upon filmed media. With its Fantasyland attractions, Disney long ago established a model for theme park dark rides. Over the decades, Disney and other companies have extended that model through the use of more complex ride vehicles, multimedia, and interactivity. But I am eager to see what Disney can do with an attraction that looks to push that model into the future by reviving a great many classic theater-trick gags from the past.

From the moment you enter the theater, prepare yourself for the ride to challenge your expectations. I talked with the ride's Executive Creative Director, Kevin Rafferty, earlier this month in Florida about what fans can expect from Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway.

Stay tuned tomorrow, as we conclude this trip on the 2020 Hype Train with a look ahead toward our most anticipated new attraction of the year.

Previously on "All aboard the 2020 Hype Train":

Replies (5)

December 27, 2019 at 8:30 AM

Does Disney do soft openings? I will be going to Hollywood Studios in late Feb and was wondering if their is any chance this ride will be open when we are there.

December 27, 2019 at 8:34 AM

I'm still skeptical about the impact this attraction will ultimately have. It's coming nearly a year after it was supposed to open, and Disney has yet to reveal any specifics of their "2.5-D" technology. Robert references classic theater tricks and gags, but Disney has been employing those for decades on rides like Haunted Mansion and more recently on RotR, so I don't see what's so innovative here that would cause such an extended delay and spreading of costs to a second installation in Disneyland.

Disney came out hot when this attraction was originally announced at the same D23 that Galaxy's Edge was announced. However, the hype train has slowed significantly even after they gave the ride an official opening date. It's getting crushed by the anticipation and excitement for Galaxy's Edge and now RotR, and that fervor will not subside much prior to March. This is increasingly looking more like a Fantasyland-style dark ride than a stand alone, e-ticket attraction that Imagineers had initially envisioned.

I'm taking an early guess that the #1 2020 Hype Train attraction is Nintendo World.

December 27, 2019 at 11:48 AM

Given that this ride has been delayed for several months, my guess is that a soft opening is likely.

December 27, 2019 at 11:54 AM

There's always a chance on softs. But only after cast member previews happen. If there's not been a CM preview yet, you're not getting a soft open.

December 27, 2019 at 12:53 PM

Given that they didn't do any soft openings for Pandora (unless you count the day prior to the grand opening), Toy Story Land, or Galaxy's Edge (including RotR), I would not expect any sort of soft opening for MMRR. It's of course possible that Disney may sprinkle some pixie dust on unsuspecting guests walking by with an early ride on the new attraction (like they did back when New Fantasyland debuted back in 2012), but I think Disney is getting away from the soft opening process for better or worse.

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