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  1. #1

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    Mickey's Toontown not classically Disney??

    I saw on this blog about Walt Disney World (*Passport to Dreams Old & New) that according to the writer, being based on "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", Mickey's Toontown is not classically Disney, compared even to Mickey's house in Mickey's Birthdayland (the thread is about how wonderful Storybook Circus is shaping up to be). Here's what the blog said about it:

    It probably seems like I'm being very down on Roger Rabbit, and I'm not. The film is wonderful, and it's grown into a real classic. But replicating the style of the "Toontown" sequence into an entire area which only the Disney characters inhabit was a real mistake. That style was only ever devised to make a universe where Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny - two characters who starred in very different films from very different studios - live in the same place and seem credible. The style of Who Framed Roger Rabbit is not that of Disney animation. It wasn't even released as a Disney film, but under the "Touchstone" banner invented by Ron Miller in the early 80s.

    There is also something to be said about the wisdom of attempting to recreate this particular visual style at all: buildings designed to move and sway and sing are one thing, but building the style necessarily involves freezing it into plaster and lathe and in that process something is lost.

    Yet by 1993, the "Toontown" concept had already spread like crab grass. Some of you may remember the "Bonkers" cartoon of the early 90s, with Bonkers being a Toontown cop, an unacknowledged riff of the Roger Rabbit franchise. What Disneyland built in 1993 is what people of that era would have expected to see, and there is of course a Roger Rabbit ride nearby to motivate the style. But doing so means that the "Toontown" concept was replacing over sixty years of visual continuity of films and in cartoons and even theme parks. Despite the name, this was in no way "Mickey's" Toontown.


    It seems as if he is knocking Mickey's Toontown simply because he doesn't think it's in step with Disney continuity, whatever that may be. I personally don't see anything wrong with Mickey's Toontown. I like it. (But then again, I'm probably one of the few on these boards who does like it.)

    Thoughts, comments, concerns?
    My top favorite Disneyland attractions:

    1. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    2. Pirates of the Caribbean
    3. Splash Mountain
    4. Mad Tea Party
    5. Peter Pan's Flight
    6. Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin

  2. #2

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    Re: Mickey's Toontown not classically Disney??

    I'd have to say I agree with this quote.

  3. #3

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    Re: Mickey's Toontown not classically Disney??

    All those stretchy warped buildings make my head hurt. The light reflection of the pastel colors doesn't help either. IMO it is sort of un disney in style. Plus it makes me a bit uncomfortable to be there.

    Make the land all black and white with steamboat willie and B&W meet and greet characters!!
    In the quest for quality, I have no problem with the characters footing the bill.

  4. #4

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    Re: Mickey's Toontown not classically Disney??

    I think it's a great land. When young children go to Disneyland, they expect to see Mickey and gang. Besides Main Street and various merchandise around the park, nothing really gives them the dose of the Fabulous Five they want. That's where ToonTown comes in. Not only are they transported to a world of fun and goofiness (which is the only land in the park like that), they get to see where Mickey and his friends leave. I remember being there when I was really little, and I was in complete shock that I was going to Mickey's house, to meet Mickey! I even had my first laugh as a baby in ToonTown.

    It is classically Disney to me, in the way that it captures every detail of ToonTown. They didn't just build a few buildings, paint it bright colors, put Mickey in it, and call it ToonTown, they made an actual town. Every square inch makes me feel as if I'm in a world inhabited by cartoons, from Goofy's laundry, to the books Mickey read. Whether you like ToonTown or not, you HAVE to admit that they captured the spirit of a town where toons live in.

    I think it's really a generation thing. If you grew up as a little kid going to ToonTown, it holds that significance for you.

    I know I'm one of the only few, but I give ToonTown an A+. They just need to get that darn trolley working again!
    Fear of the unknown.

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  5. #5

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    Re: Mickey's Toontown not classically Disney??

    What she (the blog author is a woman) is saying is that the idea that cartoons live in their own town separate from our sadly not cartoon world is a construct borrowed from the Who Framed Roger Rabbit film. In the old Disney shorts it is assumed that Mickey and his friends live like we live.

    Furthermore, she is saying that the visual style of Toontown is also borrowed from Who Framed Roger Rabbit and not consistent with the much more realistic style used in the old shorts. Toontown with it's swaying buildings and singing sun was used to be a jarring juxtaposition to the 1940s Los Angeles depicted in the film. Such things only rarely exist in the Disney shorts and as far as I can recall never happen in any of the ones released by the time the studio started putting out films in color.

    Her point is that Toontown's aesthetics are more in line with Who Framed Roger Rabbit than Disney short subject canon. To me the town in the film seemed a lot closer to Tex Avery than Disney. Storybook Circus more closely follows the Disney tradition of the physical world. The train station in particular reminds me a lot of the one in the Goofy short Baggage Buster or the one in Donald's Ostrich.
    It bothers me when people selectively edit quotes to support whatever point they are trying to prove.

  6. #6

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    Re: Mickey's Toontown not classically Disney??

    I agree. Ever since Toontown opened I never really felt like it jived with the rest of the park or with Disney cartoon style. I was like 11 when it opened too so I should have loved it (being in the target audience at that age). I also have never watched who framed Roger Rabbit in it's entirety so I always assumed that was why I didn't like toontown. The parts that I have seen (it was playing on TV one day) were full of adult humor and I didn't really see it as a kids movie.

    Yeah, I have to admit I always thought it was strange that Toontown was based off this movie, and the poster is right, it's not really a Disney movie. Aren't there all sorts of characters from other studios in it? The whole land feels like it ought to be at Universal or something to me.

    I actually think the idea of having Mickey and Minnie's house that you can visit is a super idea, and of course having them live in a cartoon like environment makes sense, but the style of the area doesn't look at all like any mickey mouse cartoons I've seen. If anyone cares to post an example of one that it resembles I'd be intrigued to see it.

    Apparently they are writing a sequel to Who Framed Roger Rabbit right now too, perhaps trying to keep Toontown relevant? Kids don't know who Gadget (of Gadget's Go Coaster) or Roger Rabbit are anymore! I was concerned that Cars Land would date itself too quickly also being based off of something so specific but hopefully there is enough "route 66" in there that there will be something timeless there.
    Last edited by Gwenchanter; 09-22-2012 at 11:09 PM.

  7. #7

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    Re: Mickey's Toontown not classically Disney??

    Since its "that season" my kids were watching Halloween themed DVDs today, including Mickey's "House of Villains". One the shorts on this show involves Mickey becoming unhappy with old home and moving into a modern "whistles and bells" house that ends becoming a nightmare for him so he returns to his old comfortable house. The house in this short, looks very much like the one that sits in toon town.

    As for the rest of toon town, no it does not look like "classical Disney" but I think that was supposed to be the point. Toon Town is supposed to be a separate place...we are allowed for a brief time to visit the land where cartoons live. I have never been overly fond of how it was done in DL, but I do understand the reasons it looks the way it does.

  8. #8

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    Re: Mickey's Toontown not classically Disney??

    Quote Originally Posted by Goofy Daddy View Post
    As for the rest of toon town, no it does not look like "classical Disney" but I think that was supposed to be the point. Toon Town is supposed to be a separate place...we are allowed for a brief time to visit the land where cartoons live. I have never been overly fond of how it was done in DL, but I do understand the reasons it looks the way it does.
    I agree, maybe it's not "classically" Disney, but then, I don't think it's any more classically Disney than, say, Indiana Jones. And that's not even a Disney property!
    My top favorite Disneyland attractions:

    1. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    2. Pirates of the Caribbean
    3. Splash Mountain
    4. Mad Tea Party
    5. Peter Pan's Flight
    6. Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin

  9. #9

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    Re: Mickey's Toontown not classically Disney??

    Well...this land could have been better...if made today...the amount of better tech they could have put into to make this land feel REAL....would have made it more the just a kids land...but as it is now..only Mickey's house and Roger Rabbit make the land worth having

  10. #10

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    Re: Mickey's Toontown not classically Disney??

    I've personally never really cared for Toontown. If they were to get rid of any land in DL, I'd say Toontown. Now don't get me wrong, it's not a bad land, it's just kind of...outdated? It either needs a serious refurbishment, or a serious remodel into a new area of Fantasyland. But (forgive me for contradicting myself) Toontown is only nearing twenty-years-old in comparison to the age of the classic lands, New Orleans Square, and Critter Country. If Toontown is outdated, then the other lands must certainly be outdated. But they don't feel that way. Toontown is one of those really awkward situations where the land loses its luster after just a decade or two and seeks TLC for what seems to be an eternity.

    The truly sad part of it is...you can tell how much love was put into it. Every last detail dwarfs just about everything you could find in DCA's Bug's Land or even the current Paradise Pier. There're details everywhere that have since been forgotten. The Imagineers certainly accomplished a great result, but alas it just is missing something. If it were to once receive that missing piece, Toontown may very well become one of the best lands in the resort.
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  11. #11

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    Re: Mickey's Toontown not classically Disney??

    i think the idea of toontown is absolutely great. mickey & friends deserve a home in the park. execution and upkeep, on the other hand, has been very poor. instead of feeling alive and bubbly the place just feels dead and askew.

    the writer of this article makes an excellent point. something needs to be done back there, here's hoping for a complete refurb done in a more classic disney style.

  12. #12

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    Re: Mickey's Toontown not classically Disney??

    Quote Originally Posted by thedustycoyote View Post
    i think the idea of toontown is absolutely great. mickey & friends deserve a home in the park. execution and upkeep, on the other hand, has been very poor. instead of feeling alive and bubbly the place just feels dead and askew.

    the writer of this article makes an excellent point. something needs to be done back there, here's hoping for a complete refurb done in a more classic disney style.
    Unfortunately, I don't think a lot can be done back there, short of maybe general touching up.
    My top favorite Disneyland attractions:

    1. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    2. Pirates of the Caribbean
    3. Splash Mountain
    4. Mad Tea Party
    5. Peter Pan's Flight
    6. Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin

  13. #13

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    Re: Mickey's Toontown not classically Disney??

    I love Toontown, it just needs some new stuff and upgrades. Disney has abandoned it since it opened, it needs something new.

  14. #14

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    Re: Mickey's Toontown not classically Disney??

    Toontown is not perfect, but considering that it is geared towards younger guests, it does seem to achieve its goals. If it wasn't called "Toontown" and did not have a Roger Rabbit-theme attaction, I doubt anybody would criticize the stylizing of the buildings. The fact that it does not mesh with the rest of the park actually enhances the theming. It is the only area outside of the Monorail beam, and that fact combined with the distinct style gives the impression that you've left Disneyland behind to visit Mickey's world (wheras Disneyland inside the berm lets you leave the rest of the world behind).

    I've always been amazed that no matter the weather (blue skies, hazy, or cloudy), the Toontown skyline blends into the real sky such when you are in Toontown it does not feel like yo are anywhere other than where Mickey and the rest live. it would be nice if there was more room (it gets REALLY crowded) and perhaps an new attraction to supplement Mickey's house and Cartoon Spin (the two keys to the land), but for what it is, it works. It certainly succeeds where the WDW efforts did not, and perhaps the misses in Florida make some think that Toontown also misses.

  15. #15

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    Re: Mickey's Toontown not classically Disney??

    I read the whole blog post and I agree completely with the writer.
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