After much trauma and drama for the most part in the last few weeks and not really hopeful that I would make it to TDL for their 22nd anniversary, the Angels above wept on me, and voila!!! I am in Tokyo on April 15th just in time to collect my free Rock Around the Mouse fastener gift and enjoy the new 50's musical show "Let's Rock" at the Tomorrowland Terrace Stage, featuring Stitch doing a rather funny impersonation of young Elvis of the 50's, complete with cowlick do. But wait! That is not the main event! The main event is of course "Rock Around the Mouse" castle stage show/parade, which conveniently debuted on TDL's 22nd anniversary and plays thru the summer months, ending on Aug 31st, 2005.
TDL has been dressed in cool retro banners and the shops are stocked with commemorative merchandise. A jukebox welcomes guests as you enter the park. I proceeded down World Bazaar until I emerged at the other end of it, to find two very colorful and whimsical photo locations, one of a 50's gas station featuring Donald, daisy and the nephews; the other featuring a Car Tune Garage (get it? Car Tune??) with Big Bad wolf on a cool looking convertible, with the Three Little Pigs do car work on the vehicle. These two photo locations are well done and if it had not been for the long lines for the photo op, I would have gladly posed. Vogue!
Further on at TDL's expansive Hub, a gorgeous 50's centerpiece adorns the area. It is the signature photo spot for the event with Cinderella Castle in the background, a cool looking Mickey and Minnie dancing on a record turntable, with two very unique personalized 50's convertibles. Also around the Hub inner walkway, a variety of stands can be found selling personalized Rock Around the Mouse nametag keychains, wristchains, and even snacks in collectible Rock Around the Mouse mugs and 3D cups. The popcorn bucket featuring the event logo is way cool, as is the jukebox cookie boxes. One food item that caught my attention was the cookies in the shape of a 45rpm vinyl record! How cool is that??
Now on to the main show... Rock Around the Mouse does have a central viewing area in front of the castle stage where the most part of the show takes place. In order to sit there, you must participate in the now World renouned seating Lotto, A TDL-exclusive. I of course...lost the lotto so no seating for me in the central zone, so I had to camp out 30 mins prior to show start by the ropes in back of the seating area and hope for the best over some short guests videotaping the show in front of me. It afforded me a great view of the stage, albeit I was a little too far back. Imagine watching a castle show at WDW from the bridge area in between Main Street and the Hub, and you get the idea. Most people would not realize how expansive TDL's hub is over the other hubs at the other DL parks around the World. The 5 mins announcement comes on over the PA system and the announcer says "let's go back 50 yrs in time..." Hmmm.. DL reference?? You be the judge.
Anyways... the show gets underway in a most settled fashion. Goofy comes out on stage playing the part of the Big D's Drive In restaurant manager complete with mop as he readies the place for business. Two waitresses also join him on stage. Goofy plays some tunes on a jukebox and dances with a mop and the waitresses get a chuckle out of the scene... Then Goofy calls their attention to get back to work!
Off to the left of the castle over the bridge leading into Westernland, we see a rather lively crowd of high school kids with some well known Disney characters making their way to the Big D's diner. As they get closer, we spot Mickey, Max (wearing a jersey with the number "55" on it...another DL reference? Hmmm..), Pluto in a rather Mickeyish huge convertible, followed by Minnie and Daisy (the flirts) in their own convertible, then Lilo & Stitch in a arther stylish hawaiian car, and finally the Three Little pigs. They park in front of the stage as if they are pulling into a drive in restaurant, and the party begins!!!
Lots of music from the 50's plays along with some Disneyfied tunes such as Rock Around the Mouse (no CD yet at the park), and other classic 50's tunes. Everyone gets into the act...The dancers dance up a doowop storm a la Grease, waitresses on rollerskates do their thing on wheels as they bring out huge servings of hamburgers and fries for all to enjoy (I even got a bit hungry!) All in all, this portion of the show is a pleasing blast to the past!
As everyone is having a blast at Big D's, the music shifts from slow to euphoric, playing such favorite tunes as "Only You" and "let's all do the Hop", "Great Balls of Fire", "Tutti Frutti" and many other classic tunes of the era. I could not help but to tap along as the music played...not that I am that old but these are true musical gems exploding on stage as the Disney gang lavishly puts on their best foot forward in great musical choreographies that do justice to the genre. It's like watching a mini Grease musical on stage!! Fun Fun Fun!! My favorite part comes when Pluto does a solo number to the "Hound Dog" song, complete with chorus girls wearing poodle skirts that actually feature Pluto on them rather than poodles!! Simply awesome!!!
But then, the show gets Better!!! That is when Cruella DeVil, Gaston, and a cool Big Bad Wolf dressed in Leather a la Danny Zuko, complete with ultracool Harley, plus the bad guys' bullies crash the party and start intimidating everyone. Goofy tries his best to shoo off them bad guys. But then Gaston and the gang start harrasing everyone at the Diner. Mickey, as brave as he can be, steps off to the plate and tell the bad guys to beat it, but Gaston being the bully that he is...(and cute too) challenges Mickey to a car race around the Hub and whoever looses the race will be banned from the Diner. Mickey does the honorable thing and accepts the challenge.
Out of nowhere, we see a green flag waiver and both the bad and good boys take to their wheels and away they go as the race starts around the hub as the green flag drops! (Please note the race is done at very moderate speed around the hub area where guests are lined up in the same manner they would for the daily parades)
As the race gets underway, it was hard for me to see what was going on but I did see Big Bad Wolf and gang off to an early lead, then followed by the good guys in their respective cars. In the meantime.. Minnie brings out pompoms and starts to cheer for Mickey. Tres cute, but not to allow the fun to stop, as the race is underway... Here come Clarice, Chip and Dale and some greatlooking Supremes-like dancers and back up singers to do a show at the diner.. Clarice, looking rather HOT HOT HOT!! in a very sensual dress that brings out her best body features...ahem... while Chip and Dale are great in Blues Brothers style outfits and playing sax. "My boyfriend's Back" and other songs are featured here by Clarice and backup girls. In the meantime, the Big D's waitresses come into the audience and engage the crowd into your obligatory audience participation dance. As all of this goes on... the race around the hub continues and the three little pigs manage to derail the bad guys chances of winning by (as told by my friend Nezumi) sabotaging the bad guys' car with chocolate syrup instead of motor oil... Personally I didn't get to see that happened due to my positioning at the hub, but rest assured that Mickey seizes the chance to win the race at the last moment. Mickey claims victory as the checkered flag is raised and droped as Mickey finishes the race. An elated Minnie cheers on with her pompoms!!!
To celebrate Mickey's race win, the entire gang gets together for a huge and contagious musical finale featuring hoola hoops and the song "Mickey Be Goode". Even the Bad guys join in on the final celebration. As the final musical number ends, the entire gang gets on their cars and leave Big D's as Goofy and staff wave goodbye from the diner and proceed backstage at the end of the show.
But wait..It's not over yet!!! The gang then parades out Castle stage right and proceed down into Tomorrowland and Toontown, as the music plays and the dancers do their thing along the now parade-style roling show. It is here that most guests get to see the show's cast up close and personal as they go by. You also get to appreciate how big the convertible cars are...they are HUGE!!! One more thing... the pairing of Gaston and Cruella is pure genious! These two are perfectly matched in style and attitude, and they definitely have chemistry strong enough to make them Disney's next super couple. Kudos.
In closing...my opinion is.. "Rock Around the Mouse" delivered the goods. It's a very colorful show with a great cast of performers (what show at TDR have bad performers??? Oh Encore! at times) The costuming rocks and the diner castle stage set is way cool. The musical selections are for the most part well known and for me, it was simply impossible not to tap my feet along to the rhythms of the 50's. The race around the Hub presents some true challenges for the audience since it it truly hard to follow the action due to the Hub's expansive area and trees, people and such blocking the way. However, I thought this part of the show was truly an inspired gimmick as it allows those around the hub (cough*lottoloosers*cough) to get into the act as well. Big Bad Wolf and Clarice stole the show for their well conceived characters in regards to the 50's motif. All in all, I highly recommend this show, especially if you are a 50's baby and/or a lover of such classic americana tunes. Kudos TDL for a really fun show!!!
Check the pictures or be square...