More Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway details and fast facts

Mar 03, 2020 in "Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway"

Inside Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway

Disney is revealing more details ahead of the March 4 opening of the world's first Mickey Mouse ride-through attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


“We’ve taken our whole grab bag of theatrical tricks and blended them together so seamlessly you won’t be able to tell what’s what. There is more happening in each and every scene than you could possibly have time to see in just one experience.” Kevin Rafferty. Executive Creative Director, Walt Disney Imagineering.


Overview of Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway invites families to begin their adventure together at the heart of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. They’re ushered inside the theater for the premiere of a new “Mickey Mouse” cartoon short, “Perfect Picnic,” written by Walt Disney Imagineering and produced by Disney Television Animation. In the story, Mickey and Minnie set off on a journey to find the best spot for a romantic picnic, taking their little red convertible for a drive through Runnamuck Park.

Little do they know Pluto has accidentally stowed away in the trunk of their car, so when the roadster hits a bump and the dutiful dog flies out … mayhem ensues. It’s at this point Disney magic brings guests through the movie screen and into the cartoon world, where they join Engineer Goofy on a train ride on the Runnamuck Railroad, following Mickey and Minnie through the park on their quest for that perfect picnic. And with Goofy at the helm, what could possiblygo wrong? A lot, actually, as along their journey guests will:

  • Stampede through the Wild West
  • Visit a carnival
  • Avoid a swirling twister
  • Escape an exploding volcano
  • Dive over a waterfall … and much more

It’s up to Mickey and Minnie to keep guests out of trouble, all while poor Pluto tries to catch up and bring them their picnic basket!

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway blends classic Disney attraction design with cutting-edge technology to turn a two-dimensional cartoon world into a rich, vibrant environment. The attraction features a combination of physical sets, Audio-Animatronics figures, animated media and projection-mapping techniques, all syncing in time with trackless vehicles and a jaunty musical score.

  • The attraction experience is an all-encompassing environment full of rich and varied storytelling. Guests have the freedom to look in all directions and may see different details depending on which vehicle they ride in – and where they’re sitting within each vehicle.
  • Several scenes make transformations right before guests’ eyes by combining theatrical effects in ways never seen before on a Disney attraction.
  • Projections are used across multi-plane scenic flats and dimensional sets to provide depth of field while still maintaining a cartoon aesthetic.
  • Disney Imagineers experimented with new printing and painting techniques in ultraviolet light – mixing them with scenic elements and projections – to create an environment evoking the vibrant, hyper-reality of a “Mickey Mouse” cartoon.
  • Trackless vehicles that carry guests through Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway are anthropomorphic; they become their own characters in the story, each reacting differently to the action as it unfolds around them with their own specific animation programming. In one scene, they scurry away in fear from a volcano, while in another they dance in formation to music.
  • Audio-Animatronics figures appear throughout the attraction, giving guests up-close encounters with beloved Disney characters.

Creating the Experience

Disney Imagineers watched every cartoon short in the latest “Mickey Mouse” series countless times while developing Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (Imagineer Kevin Rafferty had a still from each one pinned to his office wall). They wanted to soak up the essence of what makes the cartoons so fun and endearing, so they could then translate those fundamental principles into a ride-through attraction. Their research is just one facet of the total commitment to authenticity on display throughout Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

  • Walt Disney Imagineering consulted with Paul Rudish and Joseph Holt – executive producer and art director, respectively, for the “Mickey Mouse” shorts – to ensure the attraction’s hand-drawn look is authentic to the cartoon. For example, Imagineers added extra floating “lines” around a cactus in the stampede scene that appear as if they’re standing alone in midair, emulating a common technique used in the cartoons to emphasize motion.
  • Christopher Willis, award-winning composer of the “Mickey Mouse” shorts, composed the attraction’s soundtrack and co-wrote “Nothing Can Stop Us Now,” the exclusive theme song for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, with his wife, Elyse Willis.
  • The attraction’s glamorous marquee features blinking bulbs and hand-crafted animated neon depictions of Mickey and Minnie. Its design cue comes from the extravagant marquees that were custom made for premieres of epic films in the mid-20th
  • In collaboration with Walt Disney Imagineering, Disney Television Animation created 10 new posters that appear in the attraction’s queue; nine highlight existing “Mickey Mouse” cartoon shorts, while the 10this for “Perfect Picnic,” the new short debuting in the theater.
  • The attraction features several sound effects created by Disney Legend Jimmy Macdonald for Disney animated shorts dating back to the 1930s; some new effects were developed using Macdonald’s original equipment.
  • The tri-tone whistle from Mickey Mouse’s debut cartoon in 1928, “Steamboat Willie,” was used to record the locomotive whistle sound for Engineer Goofy’s train.
  • Special painting techniques were used on the attraction’s ride vehicles so they appear to be hand-drawn, as if in a cartoon.

Hidden Gems in Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is full of hidden gems that nod to Disney history. It will likely take many times through the attraction to spot them all, but here are just a few:

  • A newspaper features the headline “Oswald Wins!” – a reference to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, the cartoon character created by Walt Disney that predates Mickey Mouse.
  • The Iwerks and Uwerks Waterworks water treatment plant is named for Disney Legend Ub Iwerks, the animator credited with sketching Mickey Mouse for the first time.
  • The 1401 Flower Shop is an homage to Walt Disney Imagineering’s headquarters in Glendale, Calif.
  • The numbers 1901 and 1928 can be seen inside the attraction; these are references to Walt Disney’s and Mickey Mouse’s birth years, respectively.

Merchandise Collection at Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is the inspiration for a new line of fun Disney products evoking the attraction’s lighthearted spirit. They include:

  • A whistle that re-creates the sound made by the Runnamuck Railroad locomotive
  • A pull-back toy of the Runnamuck Railroad locomotive and ride vehicle
  • A mug in the shape of the Runnamuck Railroad locomotive
  • A light-up glow spinner featuring Mickey and Minnie that plays the attraction’s theme song, “Nothing Can Stop Us Now”
  • A MagicBand featuring Mickey, Minnie and the attraction logo
  • An assortment of apparel and pins themed to the attraction
  • A new Wishables collection featuring Mickey and Minnie, Engineer Goofy, Chuuby and more.

Also debuting in conjunction with Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is the latest headwear design from the Disney Parks Designer Collection. Imagineer Kevin Rafferty designed the piece featuring Mickey and Minnie in the setting of their newest cartoon from the attraction, “Perfect Picnic.” Launched in May 2019, the Disney Parks Designer Collection is a series of limited-release Mickey ear hats and Minnie ear headbands designed by notable celebrities and artists.

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Article Posted: Mar 03, 2020 / 8:16pm ET