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5/23/13 - My thoughts and observations from the Premiere of Mickey and the Magical Map
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Welcome to the disneygeek.com Geek Speaks section. In this section I will post my comments on trips to the parks or other Disney related events.

5/23/13 - My thoughts and observations from the Premiere of Mickey and the Magical Map

Hello all,

Today I was at the parks for the Premiere of Mickey and the Magical Map. I had a few hours before the festivities began so I made a quick walk through of the parks to see what was going on. I arrived just after lunch time and walked to the Disneyland Resort from a hotel on Harbor Blvd. Lines seemed on the long side for a Thursday afternoon, but it was the start of the Memorial Day weekend and there was a Grad Nite. For example Racers had a 90 minute wait.


Trip logs and mileage reports are in the Park Miles section.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • It had been quite a while since I had entered the resort on foot from Harbor Blvd. The information kiosk houses Disney Vacation Club now a days. As I approached I could not help but wonder if they will ever invest to make the security areas permanent. Seems like such a bad impression for guests when they walk up and see the array of tents and barriers. Seems some landscaping, permanent structures for the security lines, etc.. would be a great improvement.

  • Stepping into the parks, both Buena Vista Street and Main Street USA are decked out for the Memorial Day weekend sporting Red, White, and Blue everywhere. A nice touch of patriotism. Too bad the Voices of Liberty are not around anymore.. was hoping for a Limited Time Magic engagement for the holiday.

  • Went for a ride on the Radiator Springs Racers taking advantage of a Fastpass I was given. Always great to bypass the long wait and the Fastpass return was under control and a walk up to the merge point. The Standby line was posted at 90 minutes when we entered. The attraction itself has some effects down again/still. The two most obvious were the tractors were not tipping and Doc was stationary. Hopefully they can get them working again soon, but with all the extended hours due to Grad Nite, etc.. I am guessing they will not be fixed for a while.

  • Spent a little bit of time checking out the Monsters University Meet and Greet area on Sunset Blvd. They brought in quite a few details and the overlay is more than I thought it was going to be. I only caught a few seconds of Mike before he left for a break.

  • The time guide only went through the 23rd today, but I thought it was interesting they had advertisements for both Mickey and the Magical Map as well as Opa! A Celebration of Greece on it.

  • The main event of the day was the Premiere of Mickey and the Magical Map in the Fantasyland Theatre. It was great to see a show back in the Theatre and I really enjoyed the show. It had many classic Disney park stage show elements, characters, songs we all know, and high energy and combined that with some great in theater technologies to present a fun new story featuring Mickey Mouse! Here are some clips from the show before my thoughts:

    • The Theatre - When I first saw the concept art for the project in the Blue Sky Cellar several months ago the changes to the theatre entrance really jumped out to me. Unfortunately most of those did not materialize but you can see how the team invested the money they were allocated to create a platform they can use to deliver great shows for years to come. Much of investment was in infrastructure upgrades. The lighting, sound, and stage support systems all had to be redone and brought up to modern standards. For example the new large set pieces weights were substantially more than the original stage could support. The current configuration of seating is for approximately 1,800 guests. The Theatre is now fully accessible too.

    • The large LCD screen that acts as the primary set piece and backdrop for the show works extremely well. The characters interact with it and the timing of the stage lifts and interactions was great! I did think some of the animation of Mickey was a bit odd looking. He looked like he was on a green screen or something and it just did not blend, but then other shots worked so it was not consistent.

    • The props and variety of performers/dancers in the show was fun to watch. It is a fairly large cast and they use several props ranging from oversized paint brushes to balls to two dancers inside giant bubbles/balloons. The variety will really add to the repeatability of the show.

    • I also thought the mix of live vocals and instruments in with the pre-recorded tracks was brought some extra depth to the show.

    • The show clocks in at approximately 22 minutes long so it is very quick and due to the high energy numbers it really flies by.

    • The one complaint/negative comment several people voiced was the show felt very much like the cruise ship shows, only shorter and they thought many of the songs were used before (Jungle Book, Princesses, Princess and the Frog) and would have liked to have seen different pieces used. Since I have only been on one Disney Cruise that did not even jump to mind for me. I thought this was in the same vein as many of the standard park shows. Everyone did find it enjoyable though, or at least everyone within earshot of me.

  • Suggestions - Be sure to see the show if you visit the parks. It is well done, classic Disney entertainment. I would recommend any seat not on the flat/floor section. I have not tried the far sides yet, so not sure how the LCD screen looks from there but the challenge with the flat section I felt you were looking up a lot and if you get someone tall or a camera in front of you it can be annoying.

  • After the Premiere there was a question and answer session with Kevin Eld (left) Head of WDI Creative Entertainment and Michael Jung, Theatrical Development from WDI who both worked on the show.
    • The show was in development for approximately two years

    • They believe that entertainment is the cornerstone of what Disney does and felt they had to create a show that lived up to that standard. They embraced the challenges of the Fantasyland Theatre (open air, train station next door, roller coaster near by, etc..) and tried to create a show that will feed the dynamic area and have it carry out into the park.

    • The show was designed for the long run with the hope that it will become a staple of the park. With that in mind it is modular so parts could be swapped out or updated in the future. There are no immediate plans though.

    • At this point in time the show is unique to Disneyland and nothing has been committed to, but for the Premiere members of the global entertainment teams were on hand so it could happen.

Interesting Web Finds/Notes:
Below are some interesting links, notes, and rumors I found/stumble across/or have been informed of since the last Geekspeaks column.

Be sure to check out the picture update that goes with this Geekspeak column, it can be found in our Disneyland Resort Pictorial Update section

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