Disney Mickey and Minnie ride to deliver cartoon mayhem

ORLANDO — Expect the unexpected when Mickey & Minnie’s
Runaway Railway opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on March 4.

That was the takeaway from lead Imagineers Kevin Rafferty
and Charita Carter, the attraction’s creative director and creative
producer, respectively. Rafferty and Carter discussed the attraction at a media
event Tuesday after announcing its opening date.

“Creating the story was a really fun challenge because
Mickey and Minnie, they don’t have any real jobs, per se,” Rafferty said. “They
don’t come from any place.”

He used the Cars franchise as an example: The character
Mater is a tow truck, and the character Lightning McQueen is a race car. They
both have jobs, and they live in the town of Radiator Springs. It’s an automatic
springboard for a story line that Mickey and Minnie just don’t have.

“What I can promise you with Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway
Railway is that the thing that you can expect is the unexpected,” Rafferty
said. “There’s a surprise around every corner.”

The attraction will bring guests into a Mickey Mouse cartoon
short. It features a new story and theme song.

According to Carter, the project gave Imagineers a unique
challenge: “To take the 2D flat animated world of the Mickey shorts and extrude
it into a dimensional environment so that our guests can experience it.”

“We literally went into our toolbox and pulled out every
theatrical tool and the latest technology, and integrated it in a unique way to
create an environment that hasn’t ever before been seen by our guests,” she
added.

Members of the media on Wednesday were given a short peek at the
attraction, which is housed in the Chinese Theatre, the former home
of the Great Movie Ride. 

The pre-show room features a standard movie screen that
begins to show a cartoon short of Mickey, Minnie and Pluto going on a picnic.
On their drive to the park, they pass by Goofy, who is piloting a train.

A collision occurs, and that’s where the theatrical and
technological tricks Carter mentioned come into play: a portion of the screen
appears to explode in a burst of fog. When it clears, the jagged
screen has opened into a doorway to the remainder of the attraction. 

The explosion was unexpected, to say the least, and well
executed. Nothing hinted that anything but a normal, video pre-show would occur.

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