ANAHEIM, Calif. — Children dipped their hands inside and played with the water jets in the new Mickey and Minnie Mouse water fountain.
Families sat on and around red-and-white picnic blankets, while their children performed cartwheels on one of the artificial grass parks.
Other children could be seen sitting and spinning in flower-shaped cups and going down a colorful slide. Meanwhile, Daisy Duck greeted guests outside her namesake cafe, and Minnie Mouse took pictures with visitors inside her home.
After more than a year of renovating the playful home area of Mickey and Minnie Mouse and the rest of the Disney gang, Disneyland reopened a new look to Toontown this past Sunday.
“It’s such a blast seeing kids in the land for the first time,” said Elliott Rosenbaum, creative producer at Walt Disney Imagineering, during a media preview Saturday. “It was designed and built by a lot of adults, and we did a lot of research upfront with the little ones in our family and our lives, and we went to the design room and thought about all of the things we wanted to bring to Toontown. So to see our target audience enjoying what we thought is great.”
Ryan Wineinger-Schattl, senior creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering, pressed his heart on his chest as he saw the children running around and parents with smiling faces.
“We are creative scientists,” Wineinger-Schattl said. “Considering how we think and design what we think young families and kids want in the land, to be standing here and getting it right, which is pretty awesome, is really emotional.”
Toontown initially debuted as a themed area of Disneyland in 1993, inspired by the 1988 movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”
In the far north of Disneyland, the area — sandwiched between It’s a Small World and the Fantasyland Theater — is where the toons and the rest of the Disney gang supposedly live.
Visitors could find, explore and meet Mickey at his and Minnie’s (separate) houses, Goofy’s Home, and Donald’s Boat. There are mostly kid-friendly attractions and rides, such as Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin and Gadget’s Go Coaster.
While the area and attractions still brought in crowds before the transformation, they needed updating for the 21st-century guests.
Toontown closed last March as part of a significant land renovation, including remaking the area to be an inclusive place for all children and families.
The newly reimagined Toontown looks more open, interactive and expansive.
Visitors walking under the Disneyland Railroad tunnel will notice manicured artificial green park spaces at CenTOONial park, where children can crawl under and clamber over protruding roots from Disney’s “Dream Tree.”
There’s a Mickey and Minnie Mouse water fountain, where children can dip their hands and play in and around the water.
There are no street curbs, making it easier for those in wheelchairs and others to navigate throughout the land.
Goofy’s Home has been transformed into a how-to-play yard with several interactive activities, such as a candy-making contraption.
There’s a nearby play area where children and adults can run around and slide down a colorful slide.
Donald’s boat has been reimagined with spinning water lilies, balance beams and rocking toys.
And, of course, the land is anchored by a Mickey Mouse-themed ride, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which debuted in January as part of Disneyland’s kickoff to the Disney 100 celebration, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Walt Disney Company.
Disney even brought out one of their original 100-year-old characters, Pete, to take pictures and greet guests around the neighborhood.
Disneyland President Ken Potrock said the new Toontown would give visitors a multi-layered experience.
Toontown “is the new standard for us,” he said.
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