Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Mickey Mouse Revue - Disney World

Walt Disney World

This is another follow-up post to my series on Tokyo Disneyland's Mickey Mouse Revue attraction. The photo above shows what the exterior of the theater looked like when it was at Walt Disney World. I was wrong in Part 1 of my series when I said that I believed that Tokyo's exterior was similar to WDW's original exterior. Tokyo's is obviously MUCH more detailed as seen in the photo below. WDW did not have the gold figures of Goofy and Donald, or the gold treble clef symbols on top of their marquee.

Tokyo Disneyland

The photo below is from a scanned slide that had "turned" blue. I've corrected the color the best I could, but I'm mainly posting this pic just to show the gold crown detail at the very top of the facade. Compare that to Tokyo's topper that includes two gold horns, a drum, symbols and a gold Fleur-de-lis ! (As a side note, the photo below also shows three members of the band from "The Aristocats" greeting guests in Fantasyland.)

Walt Disney World

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Mickey Mouse Revue - Artwork


This is a follow-up to my series of posts on Tokyo Disneyland's Mickey Mouse Revue . In Part 1 of the series, I posted a picture of the sign above. Today's photos show closeup shots of the information and artwork on that sign. I've already quoted a couple of these captions (and posted the artwork in the next photo), but I thought the entire sign deserved to be seen up close.

The lady in the photo below is Harriet Burns, who helped create such Disneyland attractions as Storybook Land, New Orleans Square, Pirates of the Caribbean, Carousel of Progress, the Haunted Mansion, and Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln. Oh, and she designed ALL of the birds in The Enchanted Tiki Room and headed-up the creation of Santa's Village near Lake Arrowhead.

By the way, Mickey isn't the only impressive figure in this attraction. Taking into consideration that this attraction was built in 1971, I was very surprised to see how advanced the audio-animatronic figures of Alice, Snow White, Cinderella, and the Fairy Godmother were. We should have such advanced animation in the Fantasyland darkrides at Disneyland! How about ANY animation. I think Alice at DL was actually changed in recent years so that she "shifts her weight" from side to side, but how about having her move her mouth....or an arm. Is that asking for too much?

In the photo and the artwork pictured below, the two mice seated to the right of Pluto are Abner (the country mouse) and Monty (the city mouse) from the 1936 Disney cartoon short, "The Country Cousin."

Tokyo Disneyland created 25th Anniversary signs similar to this one for other opening day attractions including Small World, Pirates, Mansion, Tiki Room and Space Mountain. I will try to post more of these if there is any interest out there in seeing them.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Mickey Mouse Revue - Part 3

This is the Mickey Mouse Revue at Tokyo Disneyland and now we're ready for the show to begin (Please see Parts 1 and 2 of this series for my posts on the theater's exterior and the lobby and pre-show.)

As the curtain parts, Mickey rises up out of the stage along with an orchestra comprised of Disney characters. Mickey then raises his baton and leads the gang in a medley of "Heigh Ho," "Whistle While You Work," "When You Wish Upon A Star," and "Hi Diddle Dee Dee." Various players are featured in spotlight solos throughout the medley..

An interesting fact here is that when the attraction first opened at Walt Disney World in 1971, Mickey was the most complex Audio-Animatronic ever built. Thirty three functions (including tilting his head, raising his arm, and turning his body) all had to be squeezed into his 42 inch frame. This was the same number of functions that the 6 foot, 4 inch tall Abraham Lincoln figure had at the time.

Also interesting to the time that this show was designed, "The Jungle Book" was one of the studio's latest animated features, so Baloo, King Louie and Kaa the snake, are the most current characters in the show.

When the medley ends, Mickey and the orchestra lower down into the stage, and we see the shadow of the Big Bad Wolf sneaking across the stage.

Suddenly a portion of the curtain goes up, revealing the Three Little Pigs in a brick house, singing "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf."

When they finish, that portion of the curtain goes down and another section comes up on Snow White singing "I'm Wishing," while surrounded by her animal friends in a forest setting.

At the end of Snow White's song, the Seven Dwarfs appear next to her in their cottage and together they all sing "The Silly Song."

Next, Alice appears in the middle of a colorful garden while she and the flowers all sing "Golden Afternoon."

Just as they finish, gun shots are heard as The Three Caballeros rise up out of the stage to sing "Three Caballeros."

The lights go out on them in mid-song and what follows is their quick appearance and disappearance back and forth from the theaters two side balconies...only to reappear and finish their song back on the main stage.

Next, Cinderella appears dressed in rags and holding a mop and bucket.

As her Fairy Godmother sings, "Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo," the lights go out on Cinderella and a "star field" effect is projected onto her. The lights then come back on to reveal her wearing her ball gown.

At the end of song, the lights go out once more and Cinderella's silhouette appears on the curtain along with the prince's as they dance to "So This Is Love."

Next, Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Bear, and Br'er Fox appear and begin to sing "Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah." A few lines into the song, the orchestra rises again and the curtain goes up to reveal the entire cast of the show singing along with them in a big finale number.

There are a few cast and set changes seen here during the finale. First, an audio-animatronic figure of the prince now appears at Cinderella's side.....

Also, the houses of The Seven Dwarfs and The Three Pigs do not rise back up.

The sky in the background slowly turns orange while a rainbow materializes off in the distance.

The song ends and everyone sings the last line of the "Mickey Mouse March" (the M-I-C-K-E-Y part.) Mickey then laughs his trademark laugh while saying, "Thank you folks, that concludes our show. We hope you enjoyed it!"

The end.

I wish I could say that they all lived happily ever after, but unfortunately I can't. The Mickey Mouse Revue is slated to close permanently on May 25, 2009. It will be replaced by "Mickey's Philarmagic" which now plays at Walt Disney World in the theater once occupied by The Mickey Mouse Revue. The show is designated on the official Tokyo Disneyland website as being unique to their park. Also, the 25th Anniversary sign outside the attraction (seen in part 1 of this series of posts) states that "there is only one Mickey Mouse Revue - and it's been an Opening Day attraction at two different Disney Parks....on two different continents!"

I wonder what will happen to the one and only Mickey Mouse Revue that has seen two different Disney park openings? My guess, judging from Disney's past history, is that it will never be seen again. Whether it goes into storage (doubtful), or gets tossed in the trash (more least with anything that can't be cannibalized for parts like the audio-animatronic figures), I will be very sad to see it close. Of course, I would love to see it brought back to the United States. I wouldn't expect Walt Disney World to take it back since they have Mickey's Philarmagic and the two attractions have a similar theme. It would be great if it could somehow be put into the Muppet Theater in California Adventure. Even if Disney felt a need to update it with more current characters and songs, it would still be nice to see it continue on in some form, but that's just wishful thinking on my part.

R.I.P. Mickey Mouse Revue. I'll miss you! :-(

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Mickey Mouse Revue - Part 2

We are now inside the lobby of Tokyo Disneyland's Mickey Mouse Revue. The walls, carpet, drapery and furniture are all done in shades of pink.

All along the wall are paintings of Mickey Mouse in various roles from his films. Each one gives the illusion of being a marble statue sitting in a niche, but they are actually all painted onto the flat wall.

Each "statue" has a plaque that lists the Mickey Mouse cartoon that it is from, and the year it was released.

The painting below is the largest and features both Mickey and Minnie from the film, "The Nifty Nineties." There are Fantasia-esque cherubs pulling back drapery at the outer edges of the painting. Again, this has all been painted on a flat wall.

The Mickey Mouse Revue waiting area has its own small set of restrooms. I photographed the men's room sign, but just like Vintage Disneyland Tickets when he was recently photographing the Enchanted Tiki Room bathrooms at Disneyland, I felt strange enough taking a picture of the men's room sign, so I just skipped photographing the women's room sign altogether. Just imagine a very similar silhouette of Minnie for the other sign.

When it's showtime, an announcement is made and a curtain rises allowing access to the pre-show theater. This area is terraced with lean rails (like the Mission Control pre-show area was in Flight to the Moon and Mission to Mars.)

The pre-show film is the same one that played for the WDW version, with only a couple exceptions. When the attraction was brought to Tokyo in 1983, the narration was rerecorded in Japanese. Also, the last scene in the film was updated with a "then current" scene of the Disney characters dancing with children in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim.

While this updated scene has sort of an 80's feel to it (mainly because of the clothes worn by the kids), the rest of the film....including the music soundtrack, has a very 70's vibe to it.

There are even a couple spots in the film that include the original 1970's WDW logo of a block letter "D" with a Mickey head inside of it.

When the film is over, automatic doors open so that everyone can enter the main theater.

(Taken with flash)

There are more Mickey statues painted above the entry and exit doors, and painted on the curtain are two Mickey faces depicting "comedy" and "tragedy." Note the balcony in the photo above...there is one of these on either side of the theater. These are used during part of the show.

(Taken without flash)

We are now ready for the show to begin....but please check back for Part 3. Thank you!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Mickey Mouse Revue - Part 1

The year was 1971....I was in the second grade and Walt Disney World opened. I was fascinated with the fact that there was another "Disneyland" opening somewhere. I remember looking at photos of the park that were published in Life and Look Magazines. As I stared at the photos of The Hall of Presidents, Country Bear Jamboree, and The Mickey Mouse Revue, I wondered what those attractions would be like (at that time, Country Bear Jamboree had not yet opened at Disneyland.)

Look Magazine

Well, I never made it to Walt Disney World until after The Mickey Mouse Revue had closed, but I did finally get to see The Hall of Presidents. I hope they NEVER remove that attraction, or Country Bear Jamboree for that matter....especially since Anaheim's has been removed. What I didn't know at the time I visited WDW, was that the Mickey Mouse Revue had actually been moved to Tokyo Disneyland. According to the book, "Realityland" by David Koenig, when the Japanese were touring Disneyland and WDW and making a list of attractions they would want in their park, the Mickey Mouse Revue was on that list. At that same time however, the staff at Disney was spread pretty thin due to the planning and building of EPCOT, so top management demanded that the attraction be taken out of WDW and shipped to Tokyo, instead of taking the time to build them their own version. The management at WDW tried to fight this decision, but top management won out (as usual) and the Mickey Mouse Revue was packed up and shipped to Tokyo where it opened with the rest of the park on April 15, 1983.

Life Magazine

I didn't actually find out about Tokyo having this attraction until I was planning my first visit to their park and was checking out the official website. Needless to say I was very excited, and when I finally did get to see this attraction in person, 33 years after first learning about did not disappoint!
And now ladies and gentlemen, we present Tokyo Disneyland's Mickey Mouse Revue!
This is the entrance to the theater. I believe this is pretty close to what WDW's facade looked like.

The next two photos are close-up shots of some of the wonderful exterior figures of Goofy and Donald, dressed in medieval attire.

Posters located outside the theater announce what's inside. Music, Merriment and can anyone pass THAT up?

Featuring the WHOLE Disney gang! Well, a large portion of the Disney gang....the gang that existed up until 1971 at least (sorry, no Aerial, Belle, Simba or Aladdin....but that's okay!)

Your favorite Disney Stars performing Disney Songs! Let's go in!

Wait, let's check this out. This is a temporary sign for Tokyo Disneyland's 25th Anniversary. It designates this as one of the park's original attractions from opening day. It also explains the attraction's history along with some original artwork.

Below is the original attraction poster. Sorry for the blurriness of the photo! I think I used the macro setting on my camera when I really didn't need to.

I smiled when I first read this: "Anticipating the success of his first Audio-Animatronics show, The Enchanted Tiki Room, Walt Disney told an interviewer in 1962 that he would also like to create an animated musical revue starring "all the Disney characters." And so the first ideas for The Mickey Mouse Revue were born." I didn't know that!!!

Now we can go inside!

Konnichiwa! Yokoso! (That means Good afternoon! Welcome!)

Sorry, but this post has been quite longest ever. We will take a look at the lobby and the pre-show in my next post. Please check back for Part 2. Arigato gozaimasu! (That means "Thank you very much!")