Okay, maybe Disney does announce some theme park news during IAAPA week, after all. Disney Parks Chairman Josh D'Amaro announced today that the previously announced 2023 opening of Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway at Disneyland will be accompanied by a makeover of the surrounding Toontown land.
"The newly reimagined Mickey's Toontown will be a welcoming place where families and younger guests can connect and play together in fun new ways," D'Amaro said. In addition to the west coast debut of the trackless dark ride that opened in March 2020 at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida's Walt Disney World Resort, the new Toontown will include CenTOONial Park, a natural space anchored by two interactive play experiences.
Those will include a reimagined fountain with water tables for play. The fountain also will transform for a "unique spectacle" at night. The other element will be "dreaming tree" that Disney says is "inspired by the tree a young Walt Disney would daydream under in his hometown."
"Sculpted tree roots will provide an opportunity for children to play, crawl and explore, and undulating topography will offer rolling hills and a place to sit and dream," Disney said in its press release.
Here is the full, bird's-eye concept art from Disney:
You can see from the image that the fountain now in front of Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin moves over closer to the old Trolley stop. The abandoned trolley tracks will be removed, while the dream tree takes over the meet and greet circle south of the trolley stop. Grass field will take over some of the asphalt on Toontown Drive as well as some of the wooded area on the south side of the land.
The newly imagined Mickey’s Toontown and Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway will open in early 2023, D'Amaro said. I posted a construction photo of the Runaway Railway entrance to our Twitter feed over the weekend, if you want a fresh look at its progress. And here is our review of Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway from its Florida debut.
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I'm curious how much space this actually frees up for sitting and walking -- because currently Toontown feels like a real ... other side of the tracks situation within the park. It's crowded, features limited shade and is dilapidated by Disney's standards (though I suppose Fantasyland could draw similar criticism). The idea of a park within the park is a nice one -- I'm just skeptical there's enough physical room to pull it off.
I'd be happy to be wrong, though!
I've read discussions that say the art suggests they may link SWGE and Toontown, and that they could be re-theming Roger Rabbit entirely.
Why is there a dream tree in ToonTown? Do the toons dream (of toon sheep)?
That said, if the tree actually adds any shade, it will be very welcome.
Re-theming Roger Rabbit will be a great first step. Now all we need is for Tomorrowland to get an overhaul and Disneyland will be perfect.
Huh,a bit surprised but then, the place has been needing some spark for a while so this can work out.
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"Sculpted tree roots will provide an opportunity for children to play, crawl and explore, and undulating topography will offer rolling hills and a place to sit and dream," Disneyland
"Let curiosity be your guide as you journey ever deeper, past sparkling creeks, through a charming village, and under the mighty limbs of the great Wildwood Tree. This is where adventure takes root and dreams take flight." Dollywood
Did WDI just hire a bunch of people that worked on Dollywood's Wildwood Grove expansion, or are they running out of ideas? How long until they're running a nightly drone show in the back of the park?