Mickey’s Toontown Fairwell

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Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  He only got it part right – sorry Ben, but 2 out of 3 isn’t bad.  The other certainty is change.  Nothing lasts, and rather than fight that we need to embrace it.  Walt Disney himself understood this better than most people.  He realized that change is not a bad thing, but rather its something we should drive and press and flow with.  Of Disneyland, Walt had said, “It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”  And Disney World is no different.

One day when the world looks back at this week in Disney history they will reflect upon this as the time when Mickey’s Toontown Fair pulled up its tent pegs and moved on.  This entire land in the Magic Kingdom was definitely one that people either “get” and love or don’t see the point of and always skip.  I’ve personally always liked the special nature of this land.  It is almost entirely directed at families with younger children, but at the same time it has factors that have continued to draw adults as well over the years.

The most important aspect of this land has been it’s core element – the meet & greet.  For starters, if for whatever reason you haven’t found Mickey anywhere else in the Magic Kingdom you could always visit his Country House, and then head on into the Judges Tent.  Inside, Mickey was always in to greet guests.  And on the way there as you walked through his house the tent there are so many neat and interesting features to look at.  Hidden Mickey’s, a kitchen renovation, Pluto’s Dog House.  So much to look at, take in, and absorb.  I’ve personally always loved the book bindings found in Mickey’s garage/workshop – all of which refer to various Disney shorts.

And if that’s not enough for you, other characters have often been found roaming the streets, especially near the Walt Disney World Railroad station.  Minnie can be hard to find, but she has appeared from time to time over the years, even in her own backyard.  After all her own Country House was found just across the street from Mickey’s.  While I find that there is much more to look at and take in in Mickey’s house, I sort of always felt that with its bright pink theme that Minnie’s house has always stood out just a bit more when passing by.

In addition to being home to the County Bounty store, the Toontown Hall of Fame is where, over the years, you’ve been able to meet various groups of characters.  Recently, the three meet & greet lanes inside have been broken into 1 for the Disney Princess (Aurora, Cinderella, etc.), another for the Disney Fairies (Tinker Bell, et. al), and a third “express” lane for guests needing assistance that want see the Princesses (the Fairy “express” entrance is through the exit to Pixie Hollow).  Originally, these were broken between other members of the “Fab Five”, and with other Disney characters mixed in like Mary Poppins.  For a long time, Chip & Dale could also be found here – as they are the absolute favorite of my wife, Cheryl, we always stopped here, and were sad when the Princesses and Fairies took over.

The Fair is also home to the Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm, one of 3 roller-coasters found in the Magic Kingdom.  It is certainly the tamest of the three, and also the shortest.  As this is Goofy’s home, outside you’ll find Goofy’s vegetable garden/farm, and inside you’ll walk through his workshop.  On the drawing board and strewn about you’ll find all sorts of gadgets and gizmos.  The general idea of the theming is that Goofy has “repaired” his crop-duster and it’s a bit out of control.  During the ride you’ll move through a Goofy-shaped hole in one of the building walls and various other missing building pieces throughout.

There’s also Donald’s Boat which is a playground area for kids.  Though adults can walk through as desired, there’s not a lot to really do in here if you’re not going run around and play.  It is nice to at least walk inside and see where Donald lives when he’s in Toontown.  While Donald’s gal pal, Daisy, lacks a home in Toontown, his boat has been dubbed the Miss Daisy as a tribute.

Always ones to hide a good jest out in the open, the Imagineers really came through in Toontown Fair with Pete’s Garage.  Found across the street from the final turn of the Tomorrowland Speedway is where you’ll find this gas station and mechanics shop run by Pete.  The joke?  Being near the end of the track it’s a pit stop for the racers, and it’s also a pit stop for guests because inside you’ll find the bathrooms.  I know, I have a terrible sense of humor.  Sorry.

There are a number of little things I’ll always remember about this land, not the least of which is that it’s always been a great place to just come, sit down, relax, and people watch.  I’ve also always been fond of the slight theme changes it gets during the various holidays throughout the year, especially on Halloween.

I find myself wondering just what will happen to all the little bits of eye candy found throughout this land.  Will it be re-purposed, or will it all fade away.  And after hearing his various stories over the years, I also wonder if Don “Ducky” Williams will ever get back all the little tchotchkes that he donated to help decorate the land when it originally opened as Mickey’s Birthdayland.

Photo by Josh McConnell

So, as the Fair ends, and the characters dismantle their vacation homes and move to other locations within the Magic Kingdom or even elsewhere in Walt Disney World, I will always look back on the fond memories I have of this land and the smile that it always brought to my face.  And, since I do honestly believe that there is always a great big beautiful tomorrow, I look forward to Toontown Fair’s replacement Storybook Circus Land and the changes that it will bring.

What about you? Did you love Toontown Fair?  Hate it?  Will you miss it?  If so, what will you miss most?  Are you looking forward to it’s replacement?  Excuse me, but after 2 cups of coffee I need to go visit Pete’s Garage.

Note: if you want to say good-bye to Toontown Fair with some friends, there is a meetup happening tonight, Feb 10th, at Magic Kingdom.  This is not a TouringPlans.com event.  Please contact Shane for more information.

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Posted on February 10, 2011

21 Responses to “Mickey’s Toontown Fairwell”

  • Before children we avoided toontown. When we took our children there, it became a staple. I think we will definitely miss parts of it, but really look forward to the expansion.

  • I just took my kids there in mid-January and my 2 year old daughter especially loved Minnie’s Country House and the meet-and-greet with the Fairies. We’ll miss it, but are excited to see the finished expansion in a few years.

  • I usually skipped it, except my last trip in Dec. The only reason I went was to bid it fairwell. I can’t say I’ll miss it because it looks like the replacement is going to be much better. The Toontown in Disneyland is also much better then this ever was.

    • Agreed, there is just a bit more that’s substantial to Toontown out in Disneyland. Thing is this is the country fair – the idea was that these are the vacation homes of the Fab Five, not their actual homes which are found in the Toontown in DL. So there’s a reason for this tied to the story behind both and how they’re tied.

  • So sad! Good bye old friend!

  • We took our last pic in front of Mickey’s Toontown just last week. Excited about the expansion but sad to see it go. I hope that Disney continues to find a way to spotlight Mickey Mouse and not just the princesses.

  • by Keith C (TheFugitiveGuy) on February 10, 2011, at 6:25 pm EDT

    Nice writeup Todd!

    I said my goodbyes to Toontown the other day, and found the most amazing rarity while spending my final hour there — a wandering Photopass photographer! She was located in Minnie’s living room, and since no one else was lining up, it almost felt like I had my own personal photographer, taking pictures that *weren’t* just the standard view with a wienie in the background.

    I will definitely miss Toontown. It contained the first rollercoaster that I let either of my daughters ride, it had the water play area that they spent far too much time in, and of course Minnie’s kitchen was endlessly fascinating for them. But aside from the kids’ love of it, for me personally, it’s where I’ll always remember that special cringing embarrassment at queuing up for the Princess meet and greet in order to complete an Ultimate Touring Plan. There’s nothing quite like being a grown man, without any kids in sight, waiting to get a princess autograph :)

  • Great post. Made me a bit teary. Goofy’s Barnstormer was the first coaster for my kids also and a family favorite still. Is it closing today also? When will the rethemed ride open?

    • Thanks. Got a bit misty myself when writing it the other night.

      As far as I know it’s all closed now. I had friends who were there on Friday night, and they were on the bench in front of Mickey’s house. And as soon as they got up they drew the rope across to prevent them from sitting down again.

      Barnstormer is staying, but being re-themed – so it will likely be closed for a bit.

  • My wife and I first visited Mickey’s Birthdayland in 1988. It ha djust opened and we weren’t really sure what it was but we ended up having our own personal greeting with Mickey. We then returned on all our subsequent visits and last visited in 2009 when we introduced our daughter to WDW. I remember we queued for ages with her for the Fairies meet and greet. Toontown always seemed different to the rest of the park. Sad to see it go all the same.

    • Thanks for reading Russell.

      That is awesome how you kept returning like that – it changed so much over time. It was a different sort of place – and I hope that’s not lost with the new land.

  • Ms. Bellcourt loves to dance