With just over a month to go until the March 4, 2020 grand opening of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, we wanted to put together a refresher on the attraction and what you can expect when you step into the Chinese Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
- What Did Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Replace?
- Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Announced
- A Trackless Dark Ride Using 2½-D Tech
- Hooray for Hollywood
- A Sneak Peek at the Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Scenes
- When Does Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
- When Does Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Open in Disneyland?
- Will Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Have FastPass+?
- Does Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Have a Height Requirement?
- Where is Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Located?
- Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Fun Facts
What Did Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Replace?
If you’ve been following the project, you’ll know that the building that Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be in isn’t new. The Chinese Theater replica has sat at the end of Hollywood Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios since the park opened. Tower of Terror might be the park icon on Disney’s promotional material right now, but the Chinese Theater has been an icon of the park for decades.
So, if the building has been there since the debut of the park, but Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway isn’t open yet, what was there before?
The Great Movie Ride took guests on a wonderful, slow journey through the some of the most iconic scenes of their favorite movies. From Casablanca to The Wizard of Oz, Indiana Jones to Alien, there were plenty of iconic moments playing out every day inside the Chinese Theater.
For more on The Great Movie Ride, check out our farewell post and the full, 4K multi-angle video below!
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Announced
Just a couple of days before the 2017 D23 Expo, we wrote about the planned closure of The Great Movie Ride and a “DHS Project M” permit that pointed towards a new, Mickey-centric attraction. Our speculation was later confirmed at the 2017 D23 Expo when it was announced that Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway would indeed be replacing The Great Movie Ride.
Only a single piece of concept art was released during the initial announcement as well as a short description.
On Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Guests will step through the movie screen and join Mickey and his friends like never before. The attraction will put our Guests inside the wacky and unpredictable world of Disney Channel’s Emmy Award-winning “Mickey Mouse” cartoon shorts, where they’re the star and anything can happen. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will feature an original story with new technologies that turn the flat world of a colorful cartoon short into a new kind of dimensional display. This zippy, zany, out-of-control adventure features surprising twists and turns, dazzling visual effects and mind-boggling transformations that happen before their very eyes.
While the interior of this attraction will be totally re-imagined, we will preserve the classic exterior of the Chinese Theatre, which has become an important part of the park’s history. To make way for this first-ever Mickey ride-through attraction, we will also say a fond farewell to The Great Movie Ride, which will have its final day of operation on Aug. 13, 2017.
A Trackless Dark Ride Using 2½-D Tech
Not only will this be the first-ever Mickey Mouse attraction for the Disney Parks, but it will also feature what Imagineering is calling 2½-D.
Here’s how 2½-D is described:
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will feature a new story and a new singable attraction theme song as well as a new experience we’re calling “2 1/2 D.” No glasses required. Walt Disney Imagineer Kevin Rafferty said teams are inventing new technologies that turn the flat world of a colorful cartoon short into a “dimensional display of amazingness.”
“This is one of the boldest…most impossible things I’ve ever worked on in almost 40 years of being an Imagineer. And you know what? That’s what I love about it. Well, that, and Mickey,” Kevin said. “This is not going to be a small attraction, it’s going to be game-changing.”
Essentially, Disney will be using high precision projection mapping and movable flat surfaces to create a world that will bring the 2-D medium of cartoons to our 3-D life. Imagineers had a 35-foot tall mockup in a warehouse to test the technology and showed it off a little bit at the 2017 D23 Expo during the announcement. In the segment shown off, a forest scene can turn into a cityscape with the physical turn of props and projection technology that can seem as seamless as the turn of a page.
Here’s a closer look at some of the actual surfaces and angles that the scenes will be projected onto.
Hooray for Hollywood
While the interior of The Great Movie Ride has been completely gutted (photos of the demolition), Disney has said that a familiar scene will be found when you first walk into the Chinese Theater.
Of course, there won’t be posters of the classic films that use to be found in the lobby. Instead, Disney will be putting new posters in featuring some of the Mickey shorts that the ride is based off of. Here’s a look at a few released so far.
The large, single theater is said to have been reworked into two smaller theaters. In the photo released below, you can see Imagineers working on the attraction in one of the theaters that the Perfect Picnic short will play on. It’s in this theater that guests will be able to step into the screen (almost literally) to enter the short and jump on a runaway railroad car with Conductor Goofy at the helm.
A Sneak Peek at the Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Scenes
While Disney hasn’t said a lot in terms of the scenes that guests will be able to experience, a leaked blueprint shed some light on the specific scenes that guests can expect. We won’t describe the scenes in this post because it will serve as more of a spoiler-free type of post, but if you want to know more and get a scene-by-scene breakdown, check out our post where we go into details.
When Does Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
The simple answer is March 4, 2020.
The longer answer still gets to the same date, but it was originally announced to open in Fall 2019, but we first told you that the opening date was going to be pushed to 2020 all the way back in April 2019.
When Does Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Open in Disneyland?
Disney also has announced that they will be bringing Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway to Disneyland. As of publish time, they’ve only given an opening year of 2022.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be added to Toontown in Disneyland, in a space behind the Five and Dime/Gag Factory. We outline more details, along with aerial photos, in our post (HERE).
Will Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Have FastPass+?
As of publish time, no, Disney has not released FastPass for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. It’s possible that the attraction could open without FastPass+ support, but our recent post looking at the entrance to the attraction has spotted a sign for a FastPass+ entrance.
Does Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Have a Height Requirement?
No, there is no height requirement for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. This is important in Disney’s Hollywood Studios as so many attractions do have a height requirement. While we anticipate the attraction being fun, it won’t rise to the level of thrills that we’ve seen for Disney’s newest trackless dark ride – Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Where is Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Located?
As we noted above, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be located in the Chinese Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. When it opens at Disneyland in 2022, it will be located in Toontown.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Fun Facts
The Imagineers working on the ride have shared some fun facts about Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway throughout the development.
First off, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will have more Hidden Mickey’s than any other Disney attraction! It’s only fitting, right?
Another fun fact is that the Imagineers wanted to keep the experience as authentic as possible, so they went back to their roots and used the same whistles as were used in Steamboat Willie to create the train whistle!
We’ll continue to update this article as more information is known about Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway!