By Beth Deitchman
We’re getting ready to embark on a train ride unlike any other, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway—the first Mickey-themed ride-through attraction in a Disney park—which you can experience now at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and starting January 27 at Disneyland park. “Mouse rules apply” in this new attraction, which means that anything can (and does) happen, from the moment guests enter for the premiere of a new Mickey Mouse cartoon short, “Perfect Picnic,” until Disney magic brings them through the movie screen and into a cartoon world.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway represents an incredible combination of classic Disney storytelling and cutting-edge technology. “We’ve taken our whole grab bag of theatrical tricks and blended them together so seamlessly you won’t be able to tell what’s what,” said Kevin Rafferty, executive creative director, Walt Disney Imagineering. “There is more happening in each and every scene than you could possibly have time to see in just one experience.”
To help you discover all of the mouse-terful details throughout the attraction, we’ve put together a list of fun facts and Easter eggs you’ll want to train your eyes and ears upon when you hop aboard the Runnamuck Railroad:
Old friends—and a charming new feathery one—are along for the ride.
Mickey and Minnie set out on a leisurely drive through Runnamuck Park when their plans for a “Perfect Picnic” go off the rails. They’re joined on the madcap adventure by dutiful dog Pluto; Engineer Goofy; a dancing Daisy Duck (who just might have some fancy new moves to teach you); a hot-headed Donald Duck, steaming over the theft of the sign from the hot dog stand he runs; Jackhammer Pete, whose vibrations could have unexpected results for Mickey and Minnie; and an adorable bird, Chuuby (pronounced “choo-bee”), who is sure to fly right into your heart. Chuuby loves to sing and dance in Runnamuck Park—and he’s been created exclusively for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railroad.
The look of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is intended to resemble the hand-drawn animation of Disney Television Animation’s Emmy®-winning Mickey Mouse shorts.
Disney Imagineers studied every cartoon short and consulted with Mickey Mouse executive producer Paul Rudish and art director Joseph Holt to ensure that the attraction’s hand-drawn look is true to that of the cartoons. During the stampede scene, take note of the extra floating “lines” that have been added around a cactus to create the appearance that they’re standing alone in mid-air.
You’ll hear more than just a whistle on this railroad adventure.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway’s exclusive theme song, “Nothing Can Stop Us Now,” was written by Christopher Willis, award-winning composer of the Mickey Mouse shorts, and his wife, Elyse Willis. The attraction also features several sound effects created by Disney Legend Jimmy Macdonald for classic Disney shorts that date back to the 1930s—and Imagineers used Macdonald’s original equipment to develop some new effects for the attraction, as well. And if there’s something familiar about the sound of Engineer Goofy’s train whistle, it’s because the tri-tone whistle from Mickey Mouse’s 1928 big-screen debut, Steamboat Willie, was used to record it.
Classic Hollywood touches illuminate the brand-new attraction.
As you enter the attraction, be sure to take a close look at the spectacular marquee, which features blinking bulbs and hand-crafted animated neon depictions of Mickey and Minnie. This is reminiscent of the dazzling displays that were custom-made for premieres of epic films during the mid-20th century.
Detail on the ride vehicles will draw you in.
The ride vehicles on Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway appear to have been drawn by hand, as if in a cartoon. Imagineers used special painting effects to achieve this magical look.
Easter eggs hidden in the attraction provide nods to Disney history.
Disney Legends, landmarks, and milestones are referenced throughout the attraction in Easter eggs that celebrate Disney’s (and Mickey’s) incredible heritage. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit gets a shout-out on a newspaper with the headline “Oswald Wins!,” a reference to the character created by Walt Disney that pre-dates Mickey Mouse. The Iwerks and Uwerks Waterworks water treatment plant pays tribute to Disney Legend Ub Iwerks, who is credited with sketching Mickey for the very first time. The 1401 Flower Shop takes inspiration from Walt Disney Imagineering’s Glendale, California, headquarters; and look for two other numbers within the attraction—1901 and 1928. Those important dates reference Walt Disney’s and Mickey Mouse’s birth years, respectively.
“Toon” into These Details at Disneyland Resort
Over at Disneyland Resort, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway has a much more… animated entrance. Here, the attraction starts in the toon world—Mickey’s Toontown, to be precise. Naturally, you enter the attraction through Mickey and Minnie’s hometown movie house, the El CapiTOON Theatre. Once inside, you’ll need to keep your eyes open, because this unique queue is packed with details, some obvious and some hidden. You might need to walk through a couple times to find them all!
The queue starts with a collection of posters advertising films that seem familiar—but with a toon-ified twist! Keep your eyes out for references to fan-favorite Disney films, such as posters depicting Mickey blasting off as The Mouseketeer and Scrooge McDuck starring in The Scroogiest Millionaire. Once you’re done admiring posters for High School Goofical 3 and The Chipmunk Trap, don’t let your guard down—you’re about to enter a true wonderland of Disney details!
The “Mickey through the Ears” exhibit (curated by Minnie Mouse and the Toontown Hysterical Society) showcases milestone moments in Mickey’s career—from the steamboat wheel from Steamboat Willie to his disco duds from the album Mickey Mouse Disco. Seeing the iconic props in person is already exciting, but don’t forget to look closely to spot some details hidden just for sharp-eyed Disney fans like you.
While the concessions stand is the perfect place for a snack before you watch Mickey and Minnie’s grand world “premear,” it is also full of delicious details shouting out some ’90s Disney classics along with an early piece of Disney history. Hungry for “McDuck’s Chocolate Coins”? How about some “Powerlimes”? If those are too newfangled for you, you might want to try the “Laugh ‘O’ Grahms” instead. The fun doesn’t stop at the snacks—at the condiments station, Disneyland fans can have their own “little” “adventure” figuring out who’s behind the ketchup and mustard’s namesake… (Catch our clues?)
Of course, you can’t go to a movie premiere without popcorn! Look closely at the popcorn inside the concession counter window and you might discover that this snack has some unusual shapes… reminding you of Mickey, Minnie, and even Donald! And over at the cash registers, keep an eye out for the prices that have been rung up—they reference the date of Mickey’s debut.
For more information about the amazing queue leading into Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, check out the upcoming Spring 2023 issue of Disney twenty-three—D23’s quarterly collectible publication available exclusively to D23 Gold Members.
To experience Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disneyland, guests will be required to join the complimentary virtual queue*, which is accessible only via the Disneyland app.** Upon its grand opening, there will not be a standby line for this attraction. The virtual queue enrollment times will be twice daily, at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. PT. More information on the virtual queue system is available at Disneyland.com. Guests may also get quicker entry to this attraction with the purchase of an individual Lightning Lane arrival window, subject to availability.
*Virtual queues are limited and subject to availability and joining a virtual queue does not guarantee entrance to any experience. Guests may only enter a virtual queue once per day for each experience. Subject to other restrictions and change or cancellation without notice.
**Message, data, and roaming rates may apply for the use of the Disneyland app and Play Disney Parks app. Availability subject to handset limitations and features may vary by handset or service provider. Coverage and app stores not available everywhere. If you’re under 18, get your parents’ permission first.