A few years ago, when they announced the closure of The Great Movie Ride, I think most Disney Parks fans such as myself felt that we were losing a one-of-a-kind attraction. While I won’t say Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway fills the exact void it left behind, it definitely meets a much-needed role at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: a great, family attraction for all ages.
Trust me, I miss GMR as much as the next Disney fan. However, applying Walt Disney’s familiar quote that “Disneyland will never be complete” to the expanding collection of parks, I believe they should always continue to grow and evolve. It can be hard to sell to a kid or even a teenager the idea of a ride based on movies that are mostly unknown, made years before they or their parents were born. In designing Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway Imagineers, took on the flipside, basing designs on the new style of Mickey Mouse less than 10 years old — perhaps even unknown to many parents. Still, when it comes down to it, this is a fun attraction that centers around a timeless duo and their adventures on the way to a “Perfect Picnic.”
The storyline of guests going into the iconic Chinese Theater for the debut of a new Mickey Mouse short is a perfect fit. It is pretty easy to understand for any guest. I loved the fact that, even though this was a new attraction, there were no dramatic changes to the queue until you arrived in the pre-show room. Stepping into the viewing space sets up what is about to happen along with a first taste of “Nothing Can Stop Us Now” — the attraction song that will push “it’s a small world” out of your mind for years to come.
I am going to try to leave as many surprises as possible for you to experience on your own, so I’ll just say that, after watching the first few minutes of the new short, something happens that lets you literally step into the cartoon. I’ve always been challenged in fully accepting an attraction’s storyline as I always had some disconnect. But I have to say Walt Disney Imagineering has most definitely fixed that problem here — not with a believable path into the toon world but by taking me there in such a silly and fun way that it’s easy to give into the suspension of disbelief.
Once inside the cartoon, we of course step aboard the Runamuck Railroad with Engineer Goofy conducting our tour of the park. As he says “what could possibly go wrong?” This is the moment where my head went on a swivel. Each scene offers so much to see. I rode a few times in each of the four different train cars finding new things each ride while still knowing that I must have missed a ton! I won't break down the attraction scene by scene here but stay tuned as LaughingPlace.com will continue to offer more details on the attraction including easter eggs in future articles.
The technology used in this attraction is incredibly well-deployed. I remember one of the early presentations about this attraction where it was called “2 ½ D” and they described rooms that would change right before your eyes. Both of those statements are very true. One of the great things about it is they don’t try to hide things because you are “in a Mickey short” — the environment is just like you would see on Disney+ when watching any of the shorts. The mix of screens, animatronics, and moving backgrounds really is like nothing you have ever seen before.
While it’s true that, with Goofy at the helm, your train car becomes a part of the misadventure, rest assured that the ride keeps it fun and colorful so that little ones can enjoy the attraction too. Similarly, although those cars have a mind of their own and get a bit wacky (to the point where you understand why there is a lap bar), this is a family attraction so there’s nothing too over the top.
With so much to see on this ride, when you get off, you’ll be sure to swap stories of different story elements you each spotted. “I saw… Did you see?” Personally, after a few times through the attraction during this opening day event, I discovered a B-story that revolves around Mickey’s faithful pup, Pluto. Again, I am not going to offer any details but be sure to keep an eye out for him in each of the scenes and watch his story unfold.
Of course, as many Disney attractions do, this ride includes some nods to the past. And with 90+ years of Mickey and Minnie history, you will be sure to find a lot of small things and some not-so-small throughout this attraction. It also likely holds the record for the most Hidden Mickeys ever in one place. Still, my favorite parts are some of the Easter eggs to the Great Movie Ride, which will either smack you in the kisser right away or you will have an “aha” moment later when telling friends about it.
Honestly, as someone who hasn’t been the biggest fan of the new style Mickey shorts, this attraction far exceeded my expectations. From the fun song to the “WOW” of the technology I found myself wanting to go on it over and over again simply because it really was like nothing I have ever been on. I won’t say it is a perfect attraction for me but, then again, I am not the target audience. I will say the re-rideability is up there with Pirates or Haunted Mansion because there is so much to see — plus the song adds a lot to it. Now that Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is officially open and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is complete, we have the Evolving Epcot and the Magic Kingdoms 50th Anniversary to look forward to next, proving that Walt Disney World will also never be complete.
BUT – If you do want to be fully spoiled, we have two full ride-through here:
Our main correspondent for Walt Disney World and the Orlando area and a heck of a paleontologist if he does say so himself.