The Rise and Gradual Decline of Mickey's Toontown in Disneyland

Disney Parks History

Mickey's Toontown Entrance Sign Tunnel Disneyland

Mickey's Toontown is one of the 9 lands of Disneyland and while it may appear at first glance to have changed relatively little since it opened, but it has actually had a prolonged gradual decline that has robbed the land of much of its best elements.

First emerging as a concept following the cancelation of a Hollywood themed land at the original Disneyland park due to budget constraints resulting from Disneyland Paris (then known as Euro Disneyland) underperforming in its early years, Mickey's Toontown tried to reuse some of the concepts developed for that land.

Gag Factory Laugh O Meter Disneyland Entrance Sign

It also presented the opportunity to centralize all of the meet and greets for Mickey and Friends characters in one permanent location.

Mickey's Toontown City Hall Building Disneyland

Opening in 1993 this land was based on the hit film Who Framed Roger Rabbit which created the concept of Toontown.

Downtown Mickey's Toontown Disneyland

The land was visually similar to the town from the film, notably just being more focused on Disney characters as Disney did not have the rights to use other animated characters like those from the Looney Tunes franchise in the parks as they had in the movie. This resulted in the word ACME being replaced with Gag, and an entire section of the land being dedicated to houses of classic Disney characters.

Mickey's Toontown House and Hills 1998 Disneyland

This land was primarily aimed at small children, with most of the character houses holding interactive play areas for kids. These were all themed based on various Disney characters from Donald Duck to Goofy and Chip and Dale.

The land was designed with three attractions, Gadget's Go Coaster, a kiddie roller coaster themed based on Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers, Jolly Trolley, a transportation ride that brought guests on journeys throughout the land in guest pathways, and Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin, a dark ride based on the film that had inspired the land.

The ride's most elaborate ride would open a year after the rest of the land.

Chip and Dale Treehouse Mickey's Toontown Disneyland

But for the next decade, various elements of the land would be closed down or minimized due to changing safety standards and/ or problems with the interactive elements that made up large parts of the land. Both the Chip and Dale ball pit and Toon Park would not survive the first decade of the land, and were replaced with much less elaborate elements.

The Jolly Trolley would also close in 2003, robbing the land of one of its rides amid increased safety concerns and operational challenges.

Goofy Mailbox Mickey's Toontown Disneyland

The Goofy themed bounce house would also close in 2008, representing the last in a series of closures that turned the land from a lively interactive experience evocative of the film that inspired it, into an experience with growing dead space and increasingly less to do, abandoned remnants of what once was filling the land.

The land remained stagnant in this lesser state for a decade, with rumors growing of its eventual replacement with a Fantasyland expansion. As Roger Rabbit and Rescue Rangers faded from pop culture this land was increasingly growing outdated. As Disney let various elements of the land fall into disrepair it seemed inevitable that this land would not survive much longer in the park.

But that would not be the case. It would be announced that Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway would be added to Disneyland in this land, replacing the Gag Factory shop. Hopefully, the land will see a resurgence in the coming years as it gets some much-needed love in anticipation of this new ride.


  1. Toontown is and has always been my least favorite land at Disneyland. I also had a displeasing experience there once with an unruly cast member that it tainted the land even more. I think they should take it all out and retheme the land. Or maybe extend Fantasyland and add some dark rides like Beauty and the Beast as well as Aladdin there. I always liked the Roger Rabbit ride though, but I guess they could just do away with it and re-do the entire land into something else.


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