This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Disney park references in Mickey Mouse shorts! Longtime readers know how much we love animation here at “The 6.” We’ve done articles on theme park references in The Simpsons, Easter Eggs in Disney animated movies, and more. Today we are going to celebrate the opening of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway with a look at Disney park references in the new Mickey Mouse shorts (which you can watch on Disney+) and we’ll start off with…
# 6 – Space Mountain
In Space Walkies (season 2, episode 10), we start off with Mickey Mouse and Pluto in space. Their return to Earth at the end of the episode brings them barreling to Florida, landing next to Space Mountain and what looks to be the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover.
The rocket ship that Mickey and Donald are on is referencing the one used for Disneyland’s Rocket to the Moon attraction in Tomorrowland, which at the time was sponsored by TWA (Trans World Airlines.)
# 5 – Jungle Cruise
The new Mickey Mouse shorts are known for being more than a little bonkers, and nowhere is that more evident than in Mickey Monkey (season 2, episode 11). Here we have Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy taking a trip in a Jungle Cruise-inspired boat. Due to some madcap antics, Mickey is actually replaced on the boat by a monkey wearing his clothes. At one point the monkey even grooms Minnie’s hair for insects. A moment like that is what makes the new shorts for me because it is so insane! I love it!! The episode also starts off with the gang in what looks to be a structure based off of the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, also located in Adventureland.
While the boats used at the parks have changed over the years, the one used in the short are based on the boats we have all seen on the Jungle Cruise attraction posters.
# 4 – Pirates of the Caribbean
In ¡Feliz Cumpleaños! (season 3, episode 7), we have an incredible reference to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. In fact, the reference is to a scene in the ride which was changed to reflect a more modern sensibility. When Pirates of the Caribbean first opened, it had a moment in which a pirate chased a woman around a balcony. Years later, “they revamped this ride because of the massive complaints of two people.” – Lisa Simpson
Bonus points for this episode also having a Three Caballeros cameo.
# 3 – Cinderella Castle
In Croissant de Triomphe (season 1, episode 3), we find Minnie Mouse running a café in France and discovers that she’s run out of croissants. It’s up to Mickey to get her the much-needed croissants as quickly as possible, so he hops onto his scooter and races across Paris to deliver them. At one point Mickey is launched in the air and towards a recognizable castle…
In a fun moment for Disney fans, Mickey actually crashes into the castle and interrupts a pretty big moment between Prince Charming and Cinderella.
# 2 – Matterhorn Bobsleds
Yodelberg (season 1, episode 2) has our favorite mice in Switzerland, and while Minnie’s yodeling from high atop a mountain brings sweet sounds, Mickey’s yodeling from the ground begins an avalanche. As Mickey makes his way up the mountain to see Minnie, he runs into an angry yeti. Not just any yeti though, a yeti based on Harold from the Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction in Disneyland. Harold’s blue skin and red eyes are unmistakable, but there’s also some crashed bobsleds next to his cave as well.
# 1 – Potatoland
For many fans, Potatoland (season 1, episode 12) is their favorite episode of the new Mickey Mouse shorts because of the direct references to the theme parks we know and love. Potatoland is a park built by Mickey and Donald in order to fulfill a lifelong dream for Goofy.
The main entrance sign to Potatoland echos the signage Disneyland used from 1989 to 1999.
Donald and Mickey created their own version of Main Street USA, including facades for Candy Palace and Penny Arcade.
Donald and Mickey not only created a façade for their version of the Haunted Mansion (looking much like the version in Disneyland), but the two also developed a ride system inside. During the attraction Mickey even does a Potatoland version of Grim Grinning Ghosts…
“As the potato creeps o’er the dead oak tree,
potatoes arrive for the midnight spree.”
Potatoland has its own version of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, an iconic Disneyland attraction. Much like the attraction it is based on, the potato-Lincoln gets up out of the chair. For theme park fans in 2020, it takes an audio-animatronic like Hondo Ohnaka in Smugglers Run to give us that “wow” moment. When Disney first created the Mr. Lincoln audio-animatronic back in the 1960s, the very act of the figure standing up from a chair was just as revolutionary to guests.
The heat of the sun ends up melting Potatoland away, but before it goes we do get one last look at Disney inspired attractions, including what looks like references to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, it’s a small world, Matterhorn Bobsleds, and even the Skyway!
A new Potatoland photo op is available outside the new Vacation Shorts theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
We may have to do a sequel article on park references, because while these are some of our favorites, there are many more!
So there you have it: Six Disney Park References in the New Mickey Mouse Shorts! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles covering the latest from the Disney Outlet Stores. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).
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Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.