What comes to mind when you think of Walt Disney’s impact on Disneyland? Perhaps you think of the classic park elements from 1955, like Sleeping Beauty Castle, the firehouse in Town Square, or the timelessness of Main Street, U.S.A. But what if we told you that a land that opened in 1993 would soon honor Walt in an incredibly heartfelt way?
That’s right — today, we’re talking about the upcoming Toontown transformation and why this colorful backdrop will soon become a staple at the happiest place on earth!
A New Era
Toontown, the colorful home of Mickey, Minnie, and all their friends, boasts loud colors, sound effects, classic characters, playful experiences, and interactive elements for the child in all of us, and has become a go-to for the youngest of theme park guests.
However, in recent years, as areas of Disneyland Resort have received updates (or opened for the very first time) like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Avengers Campus, Toontown has felt a bit past its prime.
But, that’s about to change! That’s right! We have a Toontown transformation on our hands, and the update will usher in a fresh new era that pays homage to Walt Disney himself.
Disney announced in November that Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland Park in Anaheim will be “reimagined with new experiences and interactivity for young families in 2023.” From the announcement, it quickly became apparent that this wasn’t just a simple renovation.
Instead, it’s a substantial effort to breathe new life into a land that currently feels like a relic of the ’90s. The essential elements of Toontown — the bright colors, the playful details, and the homes of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse — will remain. Even Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin is here to stay, while other attractions like Gadget’s Go Coaster, Goofy’s House, and Donald’s Boat will undergo the reimagining.
Even before Disney confirmed that Toontown would be reimagined, we felt change was coming. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, the popular family-friendly attraction that opened at Walt Disney World in 2020, will be opening in Disneyland in 2023, and an update makes sense.
Construction has been ongoing for quite a while now, and guests can’t wait to embark on a fun-filled escapade through a cartoon world while riding on a runaway train conducted by Goofy himself. Naturally, the all-new Disneyland attraction is bound to bring more guests to Toontown, after all, it was time that Disney bring this ’90s-retro land into the 21st century!
Without a doubt, the reimagining of Toontown is significant, as it demonstrates Disney’s prioritization of elevating nostalgic experiences in all-new ways, including the Dreaming Tree, which pays homage to Walt Disney himself.
A Dream, and a Tree
As described in an article in the OC Register, the new tree in Mickey’s Toontown evokes Walt’s childhood in Marceline, Missouri, as Walt would often daydream under a Cottonwood tree. The Dreaming Tree, slated to be located in a new area called CenTOONial Park, will greet guests as they enter Toontown and set the tone of the land.
We can’t wait to spend time here lounging on the grass, eating a Mickey ice cream bar, and daydreaming in the California sun.
In the reimagination of Toontown, Disney shows its commitment to elevating the guest experience and upholding Walt’s legacy in every possible way. Toontown may not be a land that opened with Disneyland in 1955, and it may lack sentimentality for many guests, but its significance to the Disney story is apparent.
It’s not easy to revitalize an area of a theme park in a way that upholds the original intention while honoring Disney history, but it’s not impossible, either.
With the upcoming Toontown transformation, Walt Disney Imagineering sets out to add more magical experiences to Disneyland, providing families with more opportunities to dream and play together. And that, at its core, is what Walt always wanted.