We were invited to the media preview of Mickey and the Magical Map at Disneyland. Set in the Fantasyland Theatre near the Small World Mall, Mickey and the Magical Map is a colorful, multi-level stage production with some twists of technological wizardry.
The “Mickey” in Mickey and the Magical Map is the sorcerer’s apprentice himself, clad in his red robe. According to the Disney press release, “Wise sorcerer Yen Sid directs his Mapmakers, a singing-dancing ensemble cast that paints a wondrous map – capable of taking dreamers to any place imaginable and so large it spans the entire stage of the Fantasyland Theater”.
Disneyland President Michael Colglazier talks with Mickey before the big show.
Not only does the show take up the full stage, but on several levels. I sat near the very back, getting a great view of everything in front of me. If you’ve ever seen Cirque Du Soleil’s La Nouba, it reminds me of that – where sitting a little further back allows the best vantage point. This is a big production – Tiana’s showboat is 18 feet tall! I don’t think there would be a bad seat in the house. Going through my photos, I realized for the first time how much of the show is in earthtones – it really has an earthy feel, with backgrounds that often look like watercolors paintings.
Here is our video, along with about 50 photos. Thank you to Paul Barrie from Window to the Magic for assisting us with video!
Disney says about Mickey and the Magical Map, “When his (Yen Sid’s) young apprentice, Mickey Mouse, picks up a brush to help paint the map’s one unfinished spot, he soon discovers this is no ordinary map. That’s when his adventures really begin!” And what an adventure it is!
A new song “Journey of the Imagination” sets the tone of the show, along with a wide variety of songs from classic Disney films. One of my favorite Disney films – the vastly underrated Mulan, is represented here as part of a princess segment, which also includes Pocahontas and Rapunzel with Flynn Rider from Tangled. The songs and characters included are: King Louie from The Jungle Book (“I Wan’na Be Like You”); Pocohantas from Pocahontas (“Just Around the River Bend”); Mulan from Mulan (“Reflection”); Rapunzel and Flynn Rider from Tangled (“I See the Light”); Princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog (“Dig a Little Deeper” and Sebastian from The Little Mermaid (“Under the Sea”).
I spent much of the show behind my camera – and while taking photos, I turned to Paul and asked him if I saw this right! The effect is brilliant, with the live Mickey changing into the “on-screen” Mickey.
Pocahantas, Mulan and Rapunzel seem like an unusual combination onstage, but this was a beautiful segment.
The live performances include puppetry, with Sebastian “Under the Sea”.
Stitch was one character who was seen on the screen, not on the stage.
Mickey is no longer an apprentice, after learning the secret of the map.
Some of my favorite Disney songs come from The Princess and the Frog, and this segment captures the spirit of the film! The showboat entering the stage was really a “wow” moment of the show.
Check out this group interview with the designers of the show!
Mickey and the Magical Map officially debuted to guests on May 25th after Annual Passholder previews.
Mickey and the Magical Map was one of two shows that I experienced while at the Disneyland Resort. The other, a show at the Fantasy Faire Royal Theatre based on the film Tangled, is in a more intimate setting with seating for about 300 (including children on the floor up front). The latter I was able to see twice, the storytelling just floored me – that Disneyland would put that much thought and entertainment into a show that many fewer people would see is impressive. Mickey and the Magical Map wowed me, and the Tangled show moved me – they are two very different experiences.There is also a Beauty and the Beast show in the Royal Theater that we’ll see during our August visit.
Signs around the Disneyland Resort say “The Happiest Place on Earth Just Got Happier” – and it’s true! If you’ve not been to Disneyland in a few years, this is a great time to experience everything new that Disneyland and Disney California Adventure have to offer!
Here are some fun facts about Mickey and the Magical Map:
– The show stars Mickey Mouse as the curious and slightly mischievous apprentice to sorcerer Yen Sid. Yen Sid (“Disney” spelled backwards) first appeared in the Disney animated classic “Fantasia”.
– Yen Sid sets his mapmakers to work painting an enormous map, so large that it covers the entire width of the Fantasyland Theatre stage. The Map has the power to take dreamers to any place imaginable. When Mickey attempts to paint the one unfinished spot on the map, his adventures begin, taking him into fantastic worlds of music, color, excitement and beloved Disney characters.
– Mickey’s adventures include scenes with King Louie from The Jungle Book, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider from Tangled, Sebastian from The Little Mermaid, Tiana from The Princess and the Frog, Pocahontas, Mulan and an on-screen visit from Stitch from Lilo and Stitch.
– Mickey and the Magical Map runs approximately 22 minutes and includes six Disney production numbers, featuring classic songs and an original number, “Journey to Imagination”, written especially for the show.
– The show is scheduled to run five times per day, seven days a week, during the summer. Show schedules will adjust in the fall.
– By opening day, May 25, the cast for Mickey and the Magical Map will have spent more than 40 days in rehearsal and training.
– More than 900 hopefuls auditioned for the show and the final company includes more than 50 dancers and singers.
– Mickey and the Magical Map can be seen only in the Fantasyland Theatre in Disneyland.
– The innovative Map features nearly 1 million pixels and more than 35,000 square inches of LED screen surface.
– Sections of the Map are moved on wagons that weigh more than 9,000 pounds each. The total weight of the scenery installed is approximately 71,000 pounds.
– Tiana’s showboat in the finale reaches 18 feet tall, stretches 11 feet wide and weights nearly 1,200 pounds.
Fun Facts about the Fantasyland Theater:
– For Mickey and the Magical Map, the Fantasyland Theatre has been thoroughly refurbished and remodeled, with new lighting and audio systems, a new tech booth, enhanced wheelchair access and improved guest flow.
– New benches provide seating for more than 1,800 guests.
– The Theatre stage has been built up to support the spectacular map for Mickey and the Magical Map.
– Today’s Fantasyland Theatre originally was called “Videopolis”. It debuted in 1985 as a dance location featuring a 5,000 square-foot dance floor and 70 TV monitors showing music videos.
– Even in it’s earliest days, “Videopolis” hosted live daytime stage shows such as a “Mickey Mouse Club Reunion” show and “The Magic of Christmas” holiday show.
– Large scale stage productions in “Videopolis” included One Man’s Dream, Dick Tracy in Diamond Double-Cross, Mickey’s Nutcracker and Beauty and the Beast.
– In 1995, the name of the venue changed to Fantasyland Theater with the opening of The Spirit of Pocahontas, followed by Animazement – The Musical, Mickey’s Detective School, and Snow White: An Enchanting New Musical, which opened in 2004.
– When Snow White closed in 2006, Fantasyland Theater became the home of “Princess Fantasy Faire”.