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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mickey and the (Hopefully) Magical Map

Mickey and the Magical Map Artwork
A Disney Image

The old Fantasyland Theater is still currently being rebuilt but should be ready soon for Mickey and the Magical Map, the new Disneyland 25 minute summer stage show (probably begins in June) featuring everyone's favorite Mouse and a host of Disney characters. Sounds like a winner that will be sure to pack them in because.....well....it's Mickey Mouse, a character that is probably underutilized in a park he supposedly co-founded.

But with the Disneyland Traveler there seems to be always a ...... but. I'm just not a huge fan of staged Disney shows in the park. Oh, they certainly add to the overall atmosphere of the park and are crowd pleasers especially for kids. My question has more to do with their long term staying power. I'm sure I will see Mickey and the Magical Lamp somewhere along the line, but is it something I wouldn't mind seeing again and again? That's the difference between shows and attractions. A good Disney ride well themed is something that becomes repeatable with every trip, shows are more problematic.

I never saw a show in the Fantasyland Theater even when they had them (before the space was wasted for the Princess meet and greet). Just had no interest. I saw the little Aladdin show they did in the Oasis once but that was it. I've see the show at Playhouse Disney in DCA twice, the second time I fell asleep (for us non-kids, the benches that line and back and side walls are most welcomed). The big Aladdin stage show at the Hyperion Theater in DCA is different. With a huge cast and a length of more than 50 minutes, its impact is for more dramatic though even that show has lost some of its oomph when the flying carpet scene was removed over safety issues. And you can't regard something like Fantasmic as a staged show given all the elements that are put into use beyond the characters. After seeing Mickey and Magical Map once, I fear it will become a waste of precious park time, and something I will not go back to (though admittedly, I could be wrong). Of course, Disney could rotate new shows through the theater but that is something they tend not to do since the development costs are expensive. 

Since the Fantasyland Theater is a large cavernous space, my hope would have been for a ride attraction to be put in there, maybe move a new and improved Pooh ride in the spot more along the lines of the impressive Pooh ride that is in Tokyo Disneyland (you can check it out on YouTube). The space freed up where the old Pooh ride was could have been put to better use (and no, not the return of the Country Bear Jamboree). This is pie in the blue sky stuff. Rides are very, very, expensive to develop and construct. A staged show is easier and cheaper in the long run.

This is all personal opinion of course, there won't be an empty seat in the house for Mickey and the Magical Map through the summer (another problem). Long waits for a character stage show? I'm not so sure. Shows come and go. Well themed rides last through generations. Does anyone pay admission to Disneyland where seeing a show is tops on your list of things to do? Not likely. People will always love attractions that move. I can sit at home and watch Disney on TV. 

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