Disney World Opens Its First-Ever Mickey and Minnie Ride: 'People Leave with a Huge Grin'
The new attraction "is this huge celebration," says Christopher Willis, who composed an original song for the ride
Mickey and Minnie are getting their moment in the sun!
The iconic characters, both of which made their debut in 1928, have never before anchored a ride-through attraction at a Disney park — until this week, with the grand opening of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
“The vibe is really timelessness,” says Kevin Rafferty, show writer and executive creative director for the new attraction. “And the love for Mickey and Minnie and the celebration of Mickey and Minnie. We’re touching on the history of the Walt Disney company and the heart and the feel and the love of that, combining that with new technologies and theatrical devices that allow us to immerse ourselves into a cartoon world and believe we’re actually there.”
The attraction, which opened to the public on Wednesday, is housed in the replica of the famed Grauman’s Chinese Theatre at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (The Great Movie Ride previously occupied the theater.)
“Mickey Mouse has a lot of history with the Chinese theatre,” says Casey Collins, senior project coordinator at Walt Disney Imagineering. “His cartoons opened here back in the ’30s and ’40s, so it was the perfect setting to have the opening of Mickey’s next film, which is the attraction you get to experience.”
Before boarding the attraction — a train ride engineered by Goofy through Mickey and Minnie’s adventures — visitors watch a new short film, “Perfect Picnic,” inspired by Mickey Mouse, the animated series developed by artist Paul Rudish for Disney Channel. The short features an original song, “Nothing Can Stop Us Now,” by composer Christopher Willis.
“We realized this was going to be an opportunity to do something that the very earliest Disneyland rides had, and that is for the ride to have its very own song,” says Willis. “I’m a huge fan of Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean. Part of the world they create is the song.”
Willis credits Rudish with inspiring the tone of the song. “His brain created something that now we can riff on. The result is this huge celebration. The end of the ride is so warm and touching. People have been telling us that it has them walking away with this huge grin on their faces.”
Adds Rafferty: “The heart of it all is Chris’s new composition. We want guests to be joyful. From the moment they step in the front door to the moment they exit, the music, the look, the story, the characters they know and love — we want them to be happy, and that’s why we do what we do.”
Just one warning: The catchy song, notes Rafferty, “will stick in your head. You’ll be singing it all day!”