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Disneyland Article
Disneyland Turns To Mickey Mouse To Attract Visitors Before Star Wars Galaxys Edge Opens

Mickey's Soundsational Parade
Orange County Register
Robert Niles
January 15, 2019
January 20, 2019
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It figures that Disney would call on its biggest name to do one of its biggest jobs.

With the highly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge land opening at Disneyland sometime this summer - likely in June, Disney CEO Bob Iger recently told Barron's - the park needs something fresh to keep fans visiting until then. A big draw. A big name.

Well, at Disney, there's no bigger name than Mickey Mouse. So Mickey and his pal Minnie will headline the big festival that Disneyland has programmed to draw fans into the park this winter and spring. "Get Your Ears On - A Mickey and Minnie Celebration" starts Friday with the debut of the new "Mickey's Mix Magic" projection show. Mickey's Soundsational Parade returns with a new lead float on Jan. 25, and Disney is preparing another line-up of specialty food, desserts, drinks and souvenirs to keep fans spending throughout the event.

In short, it's Pixar Fest 2.0, but with Disney's original stars instead of its newcomers. But will it be enough?

It seems silly to ask if the legendary Mickey Mouse would be as big a draw as a bunch of Pixar movies. But Disney's Pixar films include many of the biggest box office hits in animation history, while a couple of generations of fans have grown up knowing Mickey more as a corporate symbol than a character.

Mickey is the Big Cheese who poses for pictures and rides in parades at Disney's theme parks. That's it. So why would anyone make a special trip to the park to see Mickey when that has been the main place to see him for decades?

In recent years, Disney has tried to revive Mickey's acting career, featuring him and his pals in new cartoon series on its cable networks. That means Disney's youngest fans might actually be more familiar with this 90-year-old icon than their parents and grandparents.

Disneyland's festival is just part of the company's plan to increase its promotion of Mickey in its theme parks. In addition to "Get Your Ears On," Disney is building a new ride themed to Mickey in Disney's Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort. "Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway" is based on one of the new series of animated shorts and replaces the park's "Great Movie Ride."

It might be hard to believe, but Runaway Railway will be Disney's first theme park ride themed to Mickey. He's only appeared in shows, parades and meet-and-greets before now. But Disney needs Mickey to do more.

As the face of a company that now includes industry-leading franchises such as Star Wars, Pixar, and Marvel, Mickey Mouse can't appear like some washed-up has-been. Mickey needs to connect with Disney's audience, perhaps even more than the company's other franchises do.

So that's why Disneyland is inviting fans to "Get Your Ears On." It's not just to fill the park before Star Wars land opens. It's to ensure the future of Disney oldest - and greatest - icon.
Parades Referenced

Mickey's Soundsational Parade

Lands Referenced

Star Wars Galaxys Edge

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