Mickey’s Toontown (Part 2) – 30 Years Ago at Disneyland

This month— the suburbs.

But first, a short diversion. How should we get there? We could walk (it’s a pleasant walk). Or, we could take the Jolly Trolley.

Despite what anyone may have told you, thirty years ago at Disneyland the Jolly Trolley was a real thing. It really traveled along the tracks in Toontown, swaying gently and failing to stop at the small station halfway between downtown and the suburbs.

On opening day it was in such high demand they ran two of them in tandem. Truth to tell, it was quicker to walk to the suburban section of Toontown, but not nearly as much fun.

As for where the Trolley stopped, that was at each end of town where they circled the fountains. Here’s the stop at the Mickey fountain. You can see the sign that says, “Jolly Trolley/Board Here.”

Here’s a rather spectacular view of that tandem trolley, taken from the top of the lift at Gadget’s Go Coaster. This shows the east end of Mickey’s Neighborhood (that’s the official name!), and a few things that the designers probably didn’t want you to see. There are actual snowcapped mountains visible above the toon mountains, the roofline of a hotel on the other side of the Santa Ana freeway, and the rather abrupt termination of the bottom of the Toontown hills, visible just beyond the “elephant gate” next to Minnie’s House.

Closer to earth, the view is definitely what the designers intended. Mickey’s house (yellow) and Minnie’s house (lavender) share neighboring lots in front of the interactive fountain. Kids could help bandleader Mickey (at the highest point) coax a tune from the instruments around the base by stepping on metal plates placed in the pavement around the fountain.

Continuing west around the circle, Mickey’s other neighbors are mischievous Chip ’n Dale (that’s their treehouse) and Gadget, whose workshop served as the boarding platform for her Go Coaster.

In case there was any doubt that Chip ’n Dale were the residents of that big tree, this sign clearly identified that it was their’s. It also let kids know there was a tree slide, and an acorn crawl.

And what, you ask, is an acorn crawl? It’s a shallow cave in the hillside where the chipmunks have stored their acorns, and are now letting their guests dive, climb, and play to their heart’s content. (Once they have removed their shoes, of course.)

 Gadget’s workshop anchored a kid friendly coaster, all of which appeared to be cobbled together from whatever Gadget was able to find lying around. You can see the underside of the lift to the upper left in this photo.

Here’s a clearer view of that lift taken from across the circle in Minnie’s front yard. There’s even a train full of guests, headed for the top.

Dispatch for the Go Coaster was from inside the workshop. Amazing what Gadget was able to do with an old battery and discarded sardine tin!

Continuing our circular tour of this suburban neighborhood, we come to Toon Lake, the permanent moorage of Donald’s boat, the Miss Daisy. (This photo was taken from between Mickey and Minnie’s houses.)

Here’s a closer view of that boat. How Donald managed to navigate it into Toon Lake has never been explained…

Kids romping on the upper and lower decks of the Miss Daisy may have overlooked this whimsical buoy, floating in the lake.

Donald’s neighbor, residing in the last house on the left, is none other than Goofy. His “Bounce House” was (dare I say), the goofiest in Toontown.

You see, everything inside Goofy’s house was inflatable, and bouncy. Only kids were allowed inside to fling themselves about and bounce to their heart’s content. (Once they have removed their shoes, of course.)

Everyone could enjoy Goofy’s garden, which held the queue line for his Bounce House. Here we see his “Bell” Peppers and “Water” Melon. The flattened Squash are just to the right.

Goofy also grows Popcorn, thoughtfully pre-popped in the husk.

Up on the hillside above the garden, Goofy air dries his laundry on a revolving clothes line. Thank goodness none of his “unmentionables” have been hung out to dry!

But let us backtrack a bit, and take a closer look at the two most famous houses in Mickey’s neighborhood. This mailbox stands in front of Minnie’s house. Looks like some guests were so excited to visit, they dropped their drink cups and cigarette right there on the sidewalk!

This side view shows the “Squash ’n Stretch” style of architecture found throughout Toontown.

Step through the front door and find yourself in Minnie’s living room. On her answering machine, you could hear messages from Minnie’s many friends.

On the other side of the room is a cheerful fireplace. The radio was also playing loudly, competing with the answering machine across the way.

Minnie’s dressing room and makeup table could be found through an open archway. That big pink object on the desk is Minnie’s state-of-the-art PC, programmed to allow young visitors to try out different patterns and colors on the on-screen image of Minnie.

While many, many things in Toontown were interactive, not everything was. Some dear child decided to see if the lamp on Minnie’s side table was designed for climbing. (It was not.)

It was impossible to get any clear photos of Minnie’s kitchen that opening day. People simply had to linger to peek into the refrigerator, watch the cake in the oven rise and fall, and enjoy the musical interlude provided by the pots and pans. Most of them walked right past the corner cupboard by the back door, with Minnie’s copy of “Elvis: What Happened” sitting on the shelf.

After exiting through the back door, guests found themselves at Minnie’s charming wishing well, seen here from the sidewalk. Throw a coin, and listen for Minnie’s “well wishes,” echoing up from the watery depths.

This brings us, at last, to the signature attraction of Mickey’s Toontown (at least, until the Car Toon Spin opened a year later). At Mickey’s house you were guaranteed to Meet Mickey, “out back” in his movie barn.

Just inside the front door were the stairs and landing, closed off to guests by an Ace Doggie Door. Looks like a joyful entrance by Pluto has left the door a bit the worse for the wear.

To the left, just inside the living room, a radio blared cheerful music.

In contrast to Minnie’s confectionary lavender and pink decor, Mickey’s house is finished in wood, stone, and deep colors.

In an adjoining study, memorabilia and civic awards collected by Mickey over the years were displayed in glass cases on the left. Straight ahead a player piano cranked out jolly tunes.

After passing through a TV room, guests found themselves in Mickey’s laundry room. The old fashioned washer kept steadily churning a pair of red pants and a pair of white gloves.

Before stepping across the rather small backyard and into the movie barn, guests made their way through the greenhouse. Looks like Mickey has a set of four fingered gloves for every occasion!

Inside the barn could be found a staggering array of props, set pieces and gags, many recognizable from a number of Mickey’s screen triumphs.

There are work stations, as well, including a painter’s studio and an editor’s table. Looks like Donald uses Duck Boy paint exclusively.

The penultimate room in Mickey’s movie barn is the largest— a screening room showing clips from four of Mickey’s biggest hits: Steamboat Willie, The Band Concert, Thru the Mirror, and Fantasia. After working your way through the line to the front of the room, it was time to meet the Big Cheese himself!

And here he is, as he appeared in Fantasia. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was just one of four possible dressing rooms in which guests could magically find themselves. Once inside, it was time for a semi-private moment with Mickey and to get a photo or two..

Since it is a dressing room, there is even a dressing table with Mickey’s own make-up case and his personal copy of the script.

All too soon, the visit ended, and guests found themselves exiting back into Toontown by way of Mickey’s garage. Good to see that he is a responsible citizen, carefully separating his recyclables into glass, cans, and gloves.

What better way to say farewell to Toontown on opening day than with Mickey himself, as he appeared in his first release, Steamboat Willie. As they say in Hollywood, that’s a wrap! 

Read last month’s post that has the first half of this tour of opening day of Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland here!


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