The Magic Behind Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway Attraction

Spoiler: it's technology!

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December 3, 2020

After nearly a century in the making, the first ride-through attraction starring our favorite duo is here! Disney’s Hollywood Studios welcomed Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway last spring — ahead of Mickey’s 100th birthday in 2028.

Guests are transported into an original Mickey and Minnie cartoon short called “Perfect Picnic,” inspired by the “Mickey Mouse shorts” shorts by Disney Television Animation. They join Mickey and Minnie on their quest for the perfect picnic spot — with some adventures along the way!

What makes this ride so innovative is the blending of different elements — from classic attraction design and sets to projection mapping and new art techniques. Guests truly feel like they’ve stepped into a rich and immersive cartoon world. Here’s how:

 

Life-Like Vehicles

Trackless vehicles carrying guests through the ride become their own characters in the story — each reacting and behaving differently as the story unfolds (like dancing to music or scurrying away from a volcano). So guests get a new experience every time they ride! Each vehicle has its own animation programming to make this possible.

Printing, Painting, and Projecting

Imagineers experimented with new printing and painting techniques in UV light — mixing them with scenic elements and projections to create a unique cartoon aesthetic. For their 4K laser projection needs, they collaborated with Panasonic to accurately convey the bright colors, unique textures, and depth of field. They made this happen all while ensuring many of the projectors were small and flexible enough to be hidden from guests’ view behind rocks, trees, and doors.

Audio-Animatronics

Audio-Animatronic figures are placed throughout the attraction of beloved Disney characters. They feature animated faces and mechanical bodies — using software to carefully choreograph their moves.

Scene Transformations

Several scenes make transformations right before guests’ eyes thanks to the work of WDI’s Scenic Illusions team. (For example, an ominous factory magically becomes a peaceful park.) This is achieved using theatrical tools and techniques in ways never before seen on a Disney attraction. 

All of these features are synced together to create a magical, childlike experience unlike any other ride. But that will soon change! Imagineers are hard at work creating a sister attraction at Disneyland Resort, set to open in 2023.