As part of the 20th Anniversary celebration Disneyland Paris is providing Mickey Mouse with a new home! Well, it is preparing a new home for Mickey as it isn’t ready yet. Despite the work already going on since last summer the new location for a meet’n’greet with Mickey is unfortunately only set to open later in May.
For this new “Meet Mickey Mouse” experience the former Fantasy Festival Theater is completely reworked. Originally a covered out-door theater for shows featuring the fab five the theater was later enclosed and for several years used as home for the second version of “Winnie the Pooh and friends, too” show. Before its transformation into the new location for a meet’n’greet with Mickey started the theater was only for performances by guest groups as part of the Magic Music Days program.
Differing from his prior meet’n’greet location (which was outdoor) the “Meet Mickey Mouse” experience (including its queue area) is indoors – protected from the weather – and features a themed environment specifically created for it. This setting is inspired by the 1937 color short “Magician Mickey” in which Mickey performs in front of an audience of orphans as magician on a big stage. Fans who have visited the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Orlando, might notice that a similar setting for meet’n’greets with Mickey has been set up there as well.
At “Meet Mickey Mouse” guests are invited into the theater and to go backstage where Mickey will meet them during the breaks in his magic show in his dressing room. When entering the former Fantasy Festival Stage through the right hand doors guests are stepping into the lobby adorned with posters of some of Mickey’s biggest magic tricks. The whole waiting area is designed to be fully wheel chair accessible. It leads guests from the lobby into the actual theater auditorium, where guests will have to wait approximately 45 minutes in switchbacks if the line is at full capacity.
However, during this time guests are entertained by classic Mickey shorts on a large screen placed on the stage. However, Disneyland Paris retained a fully working stage here allowing it to have live performances in here as well. For this purpose the stage is also equipped with three curtains: one rising up, one folding sideways (Italian style) and the final one sliding sideways.
Finally at the front of the auditorium guests will step backstage to see the magic in the making … and meet Mickey. However, in a first step they meet up with the stage manager of the theater – a cast member that takes the guests’ details and sends them through one of supposedly three doors. Behind the door finally Mickey will wait for a close up, personal experience. According to a feature released by Disney’s official fan club D23 online Mickey will even talk to the guests! However, this hasn’t been confirmed by any other source and it should be noted that while a talking Mickey has been tested in meet’n’greet set-ups in the US parks it is not yet a regular feature. Therefore it can not been ruled out that D23 was maybe a bit too fast with their statement.
Even so the experience is not yet fully finished Mickey’s backstage room already looks amazing. There is so much detail the short visit a guest is granted will not be enough to take it all in. There is Mickey’s big traveling trunk with stickers of all the various (Disney) locations he visited, Mickey’s hat from Fantasia, pictures of Mickey and even a very special hidden Mickey. Want a hint how to find it? Take a look in the trunk filled with Magic gadgets. There You’ll see three magic rings interlocked with each other and forming the hidden Mickey.
For those with a keen eye for details and love for the Disney classics there are many more surprises to discover as Mickey seems to have collected magic items from various Disney classics such as the black crow’s feather used to make Dumbo fly. Just before exiting Mickey backstage room guests can spot a book with the magic number 52 on it. 52 certainly stand for the deck of cards, but it also stands for the date when (what is today called) Walt Disney Imagineering was set up.
While meeting Mickey will be the highlight for many guests the magic doesn’t end once guests leave his dressing room. Outside Mickey’s backstage dressing room, still in the backstage area guests will walk an exhibition of some terrifying tools that could be used in some really funily scary magic tricks. There is a saw of death, a big water tank used for escape tricks and even a basket with swords sticking out.
Closer to the exit of the experience, back in the regular front of the house displays will showcase the photo of each guest taken with Mickey by the official photographer backstage (as usual there is no obligation to buy the photo and the photographer is happy to take a photo of the guests and Mickey with the guest’s camera as well for free). According to some hints placed during the 20th Anniversary kick-off event there might be a special message on the boards displaying the photos – but as these have not yet been installed it wasn’t clear yet how this would look like or work.
Continuing the approach by Disneyland Paris to be as inclusive as possible toward disabled guests and disabled cast members one of the counters at which guests can buy a copy of their picture is wheelchair friendly. This means not only that it is accessible without problem by guests in wheelchairs but also that it is set up in a way to allow a cast member seated in a wheelchair to work in the location. After this “shop” area guests exit the theater again back onto the large plaza in front of the Fantasy Festival Stage through the doors on the left of the building.
As already stated it currently looks as if Mickey has three rooms to welcome his guests, however the number four was mentioned during the 20th Anniversary kick-off event as well. We will keep you updated of course and also provide you with photos at a later point. Since the experience is still under construction no photos were allowed at this time.
Guests visiting prior to the opening of the new experience will be able to meet Mickey Mouse in a dedicated setting created in Frontierland on parts of the Cottonwood Creek Ranch (
cast members stationed in front of the former Fantasy Festival Stage direct guests to this temporary location – UPDATE: after the kick-off event construction fences were put back in front of the Fantasy Festival Stage and signs were posted directing guests to the temporary meet’n’greet with Mickey on Cottonwood Creek Ranch). In the meantime the former meet’n’greet area of Mickey, in front of the Boarding House on Town Square, has been taken over by Duffy, the Disney Bear, who joined Mickey late last year already.
Andy, member of DLP.info, attended the 20th Anniversary kick-off event as invited guest of the resort and was granted a first look into the “Meet Mickey Mouse” experience.