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Disneyland Article
Disneyland Looks To Accommodate All With New Mickey Mouse Ride

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
ID:
TMS-5130
Source:
Orange County Register
Author:
Robert Niles
Dateline:
September 20, 2022
Posted:
September 26, 2022
Status:
Current
Of all the new rides and attractions teased at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim earlier this month, the first to open to the public likely will be Disneyland’s Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. The anchor attraction for the reimagined Mickey’s Toontown is a trackless dark ride through a modern Mickey Mouse cartoon. But that’s not the most significant thing about this new ride.

Unlike many new “E ticket” attractions opened at the Disney theme parks in the recent past, Runaway Railway will not have a height restriction, at least if it follows its Florida predecessor. Guests of all ages will be able to ride. And that’s a smart move by Disney.

It’s not that there is some huge cohort of young children emerging that would move Disney to start building more rides to accommodate preschoolers. America’s long-running baby bust continues. But an aging population creates its own demands upon the theme park industry, Disney included.

There’s an old joke that we exit life as we enter it — bald, toothless and wearing diapers. Of course, many of us work hard to stay active as long as we can, and countless theme park fans enjoy roller coasters and other thrill rides deep into their golden years. But the bell curve tolls for extreme theme park attractions. The more intense a ride’s physical experience, the more limited its audience will be, often focusing on younger and more physically active visitors.

Over the past decades, as ride systems have advanced to allow more dynamic movement in a variety of environments, Disney’s Imagineers have taken advantage by creating new generations of innovative thrill rides: Star Tours, Indiana Jones Adventure, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Soarin’, Radiator Springs Racers and — most recently — Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. As popular as each of these attractions have been, they have left some Disney visitors behind. Their height restrictions keep out younger riders, while their sometimes wild motion deters some older riders as well.

Company legend states that Walt envisioned Disneyland while watching his daughters ride the carousel at Los Angeles’ Griffith Park. He wanted to create a space where people of all ages could enjoy themselves. Walt’s first Imagineers then created many popular rides without height restrictions, including all-ages classics such as It’s a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion.

But each generation demands fresh entertainment. Across the industry, as the population of teenagers and young adults swells, theme parks add more thrill rides, Disney included. Then, as the numbers of young, thrill-loving visitors decline, parks look toward more docile attractions.

Even though Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway has no height restriction, it is anything but a docile experience. Its wide appeal should help Disney maintain its lead in a competitive post-lockdown tourism market. Disneyland visitors soon will get to see what Walt Disney World guests discovered when the ride opened there in March 2020 — that talented designers can build a thrilling attraction without driving away visitors who cannot, or would rather not, get spun silly.

But each generation demands fresh entertainment. Across the industry, as the population of teenagers and young adults swells, theme parks add more thrill rides, Disney included. Then, as the numbers of young, thrill-loving visitors decline, parks look toward more docile attractions.

Even though Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway has no height restriction, it is anything but a docile experience. Its wide appeal should help Disney maintain its lead in a competitive post-lockdown tourism market. Disneyland visitors soon will get to see what Walt Disney World guests discovered when the ride opened there in March 2020 — that talented designers can build a thrilling attraction without driving away visitors who cannot, or would rather not, get spun silly.

 
Attractions Referenced

Haunted Mansion

Indiana Jones Adventure, Temple Of The Forbidden Eye

It's A Small World

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Pirates Of The Caribbean

Star Tours

Star Wars Rise Of The Resistance

 
Lands Referenced

Toon Town

 
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