The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse returned with two new shorts today on Disney+. They both have several Disney inside jokes, but also branch out beyond the Disney fandom into the broader sphere of pop culture. Here’s a recap of each, along with all of the references I caught.
Mickey and Minnie are strolling through town unsure of what to do. When Minnie tells him she’s fine with anything as long as they “Do it together,” Mickey hears “Duet together.” Seeing a piano in a gazebo, he rushes over and starts playing, his gloves sporting canes as if they’re dancing, a nod to the 1936 short Thru the Mirror.
Singing a new song called “As Long As I’m With You” (now streaming on major streaming services), Minnie sings lyrics about drinking hot cocoa in a snowy town as she walks in front of posters, one of which looks a lot like Arendelle.
Their performance quickly attracts a crowd and a sleazy snake of a music producer named Huckster McBackstabber guilts them into signing a contract to make people happy (and make himself rich).
Their tour starts with county fairs, but progressively gets more elaborate, to professional concert halls and then selling out stadiums like The Beatles, mop-tops and all.
Their song, called “Duet for Two” in the short, quickly climbs to the top of the charts, beating out some Disney inside jokes, including The Haunted Mansion’s theme song and even a remix by Gurgi from The Black Cauldron.
As their popularity grows, so do their styles. In a 1980’s infused version of the song, Mickey looks like he’s joined Flock of Seagulls while Minnie is clearly channeling Madonna.
Mickey and Minnie soon grow exhausted from the endless stream of gigs, but Huckster McBackstabber has made so much money that he guilts them into continuing, splitting them up as solo artists to make even more money. Mickey becomes a deadmau5 clone (or is it the other way around?) and ends up blowing up his keyboard live on stage.
Minnie Mouse’s solo act involves her being carried out of the Cave of Wonders (from Aladdin) by dancers dressed as anubis on an Egyptian throne like Cleopatra (Clearly inspired by Britney Spears’ 2011 Femme Fatale tour), but she ends up quitting, torching her contract with some onstage pyro (#FreeBritney!).
Huckster McBackstabber can’t let go of a good thing, dressing up as Minnie Mouse and trying to perform her show, but not fooling anyone.
Mickey and Minnie both return to their hometown feeling blue, but reuniting by chance at the gazebo, they reunite and rediscover their passion for just doing duets for fun.
Minnie Mouse turns out to be an ornithologist and Mickey has joined her in the words, where she adds another new photo to her bird watching book, which includes the aracuan from The Three Caballeros, Clara Cluck, Flit from Pocahontas, Madame Upanova from Fantasia, and the one and only Donald Duck, who signed Minnie’s book.
Minnie is now missing just one bird, a Wind-Chested Razor Beak Falcon. As she describes it, Mickey sees one circling up above, landing in a nest at the top of a very tall tree. Mickey offers to climb up with the camera to get a picture, but he ends up falling into it just as two chicks hatch. Coincidentally, the birds are mostly black with a red midsection and yellow spots.
Naturally, the mama bird mistakes Mickey for one of her hatchlings and won’t let Minnie rescue him when she tries. The bird picks Minnie up by the tail, flies her over a nearby lake and drops her inside. Returning to the nest with a bag of worms, the bird begins to feed her chicks. Mickey tries to resist, but she’s too strong and he gets stuffed.
Minnie tries another tactic, dressing up as a worm to get into the nest. Mickey is repulsed, so she unzips her suit to show him it’s her. The bird sees her and drops her back in the lake where Goofy is fishing. He’s surprised by the size of his catch.
The mama bird next tries to teach her chicks how to sing. Mickey says “Chirp, squeak, squawk” when it’s his turn and they’re all shocked as if he said some bad words. The mama bird takes Mickey to the bathroom, grabs a pink bar of soap and puts it in his mouth ala A Christmas Story.
Minnie’s next tactic is to dress up as a gorgeous bird and croon, which does the trick of attracting the mama bird. When Minnie slips out of the suit to go save Mickey, the head falls off the costume and she finds herself once again in the lake.
That night, Minnie throws a paper airplane message up to Mickey in the net with a plan for him to sneak out and meet her. However, the mama bird not only catches Mickey, but finds Minnie in the tree in the red jalopy. How did that get up there?
Minnie doesn’t give up through a montage of lake drops, eventually falling from the tree. On her way down, she hits a beehive and gets covered in honey. Then she hits a branch where two ravens quote Edgar Allen Poe, getting black feathers stuck to her. The last branch she hits has two red cardinals in it and she picks up some of their feathers, too.
It’s time for the chicks to learn how to fly, with the two birds taking to it quickly. Mickey is resistant to go and when pushed off, begins writing his will on the long fall down.
Minnie is horrified as she watches Mickey fall, but when she realizes that she’s now dressed like a bird, she swoops up and grabs Mickey, saving him. As they soar above the nest, he snaps a perfect picture of the bird and her chicks. Not knowing how to land, Minnie takes one last dive into the lake, this time with Mickey.
Until next time, “See ya real soon!”