Sunday, March 18, 2012

History of WDW: Mickey's Toontown Fair

I would suspect that a year or so is long enough to discuss the recently closed and demolished land of Mickey's Toontown. Though I first remember it as Mickey's Starland, it was originally opened as Mickey's Birthday land in 1988 by then Disney CEO Michael Eisner. It was Eisner's idea to put Mickey in a permanent spot, though the land was never meant to be a permanent place. Mickey's Birthdayland was converted to Mickey's Starland in 1990, and eventually to Toontown Fair in 1996.

The idea of Toontown Fair was a place for Mickey, Donald, and their friends to have a "vacation spot" in Florida as it would make little sense to children that Mickey could live in both California and Florida (As Toontown exists in Disneyland Park) This idea to keep the canon going was created to explain the land to guests. Toontown Fair included Mickey's Country House, Minnie's House as well as Donald's Boat and The Barnstormer at Wise Acre Farm. These attractions made Toontown Fair an attractive place for children and parents alike.

Mickey's house concluded with a trip to the Judge's Tent, as part of the story includes that Mickey has come to Toontown Fair to judge the farm contest. Here was the permanent spot to meet Mickey until the areas closing and the opening of Town Square Theater. This area included mostly walk-throughs with the exception of The Barnstormer. Goofy's Barnstormer was and is a children's style roller coaster, based on Goofy and his plane. This attraction closed with the rest of Toontown Fair in February 2011, but will re-open in the coming weeks with the new Storybook Circus set to open next month officially. There will be a few changes, though they will only revolve around the story and theming.

The area included Donald's Boat, a children's play area that included Donald's sailor suit. There was also Pete's Garage, that housed the restrooms, but we always looked out for the key to Pete's bathroom in the gas pump, but don't worry, the bathrooms were always unlocked.

Mickey's Toontown Fair closed in February 2011in preparation for the opening of New Fantasyland. Some of the structures, like the tents and such have remained as part of the Storybook Circus area, and as stated even the Barnstormer has survived. What was once supposed to only be a temporary area is now gone for good, but its footprint remains. For an area that was not supposed to last, 23 years sure was a long time, and they even built a train station for it. Toontown Fair/Starland/Birthdayland will always hold a special place for many Disney World fans. We said we wouldn't be caught dead in there, but we were always found within the confines of the Fair at some time in every trip.

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