A late start was in the cards for the next day, as the midnight Star Tours Meet Up was that evening, and I was attempting to keep my candle from burning out at both ends. That afternoon I visited the Magic Kingdom to check out the new Mickey Mouse meet-and-greet location recently installed in the Town Square Theater on Main Street.
The conceit behind it is that Mickey is performing a magic act at the theater and you, like some overzealous groupie, are going backstage to accost him in his dressing room.
The detailing in this whole area is impressive and seems frankly out-of-proportion for what is more or less a photopass set up. Virtually all the items reference other films or places in the Disney canon, with particular emphasis on the Pixar short "Presto."
On his dressing table: A bill of sale for a motorcar Mickey has apparently purchased from Badger, in the name of J. Thaddeus Toad Motors; and a bag of birdseed for the occupant of the cage just out of frame on the right. The label on the bag marks it as "Tuppence" brand seed and, if you could zoom in on it, displays a tiny bird--a wren, for architect Sir Christopher Wren, who built St. Paul's Cathedral, which is of course, where the old bird-woman sits and sells the bird seed in Mary Poppins. THAT'S how deep the detailing goes.
On another shelf, sits some innocuous items that, when considered a moment, represent the other three parks' icons: The Hat, The Tree, and The Ball.
Even his trunks (holding canisters of "Magic Feathers) have stickers from all the different parks around the globe, from the Mira Costa hotel at Tokyo Disneyland Resort, to Club 33 in Anaheim. His magic rings hang in an interesting formation...
Leaving the Magic Kingdom for the Disney-sponsored Star Tours Meet, I headed over to Blizzard Beach, where we were to check in and board buses to Hollywood Studios. At the parking lot were some DJ's playing music out of the back of their van, asking trivia questions, and generally trying to entertain people waiting in a long line to register.
Once arrived at the Studios, we were ushered in from backstage through a fog-filled tunnel into the immediate vicinity of Star Tours.
On the other side of the tunnel were a plethora of aliens from the Star Wars canon.
The ride was open for all to experience, with a a combination of new and old elements in the queue, and 50-odd different flights around the galaxy. Just not with Captain Rex.
Outside of the ride, there was an ice cream sundae bar, various props, and a stage where some Imagineers were available for Q&A.
At the end of the night, all participants were given one of four posters depicting four theoretical Star Tours destinations. Fifty people drawn at random were given all four, signed by two of the artists that drew them--a great souvenir!
The event ended around 2am, and although some people went straight back to the front of the park to sit in line until opening, the less-persistent of us went home for a few hours of sleep. Then, it was back again the next day to see the opening ceremony for Star Tours--featuring Bob Iger and George Lucas.
There was, of course, the usual copious amounts of merchandise for sale.
The rest of the day was spent in attending the many specialty shows they had going with that weekend's Star Wars celebrities. The first was Behind the Force with host James Arnold Taylor, Ashley Eckstein, and Clone Wars Supervising Director Dave Filoni.
Then Inside the Ackbar's Studio with Anthony Daniels and Daniel Logan...
...Followed by Anthony Daniel's solo show Inside the Saga.
The day's presentations wound up with James Arnold Taylor's high-energy one-man cavalcade of voices in Obi-Wan and Beyond.
At night they had their traditional Hyperspace Hoopla which was moved to the central Hat stage instead of the little area they usually use right outside Star Tours. While it was a vast improvement over everyone trying to squish themselves in to get a view, the visibility was still pretty poor secondary to everyone putting their young (and not-so-young) kids up on their shoulders*. For some reason, even though they had a number of large video screens around that area, they didn't put any of the show on the screens, so they weren't much help.
It was a reasonably corny but enjoyable show, and irreverent enough to make a fitting end to the Star Wars-filled day. The next day I flew home.
Next up: Everything Opens at Disneyland.
*By general consensus, I think we agreed that if your kid is a) driving, or b) wearing a bra, they might not need to be up on your shoulders anymore.
The previous post in this blog was Disneyland Fireworks - Where's Your Favorite Spot?.
The next post in this blog is Happy Independence Day!.