Sunday, July 14, 2013

Disneyland Review: Mickey's House and Meet Mickey

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun items in the house, friendly time with Mickey Mouse at the end
Cons: Long line to meet him
The Bottom Line
Many great details
And friendly time with Mickey
Highlight with young kids

Visiting Mickey at His House Can Still be Pure Magic

As much as I love all things Disney, I must admit that I don’t tend to hit everything at Disneyland.  Among the areas I tend to skip is Mickey’s Toontown.  Oh, I’ll head back there to go on Roger Rabbit, but I usually skip the rest.  This last year, I’ve taken a couple of trips through Mickey’s House, and I’ve found it does still have some magic to it.

Mickey’s House is located in the back left corner of Toontown right next to Minnie’s house.  Like the rest of the area, it looks like a cartoon inside and out.  And the fun starts outside with the Mickey Mouse head mailbox.  As you wander inside, you’ll see a doggie door with a Pluto shaped hole in it before you turn and go into the house.

The house itself is a self-guided tour and includes items that are props from his cartoons, like the old fashioned phone from “Through the Looking Glass.”  There are oversized chairs you can sit in and a bookshelf with punny mouse titles of famous works of literature.  Over the fireplace is a ship in a bottle, with the ship being Steamboat Willie.  (I so want one.)  He’s got a glassed in display case with pictures of Walt with an old Mickey Mouse doll and the original Mousketeers.  You can take these rooms at your own pace.  There isn’t too much to play around with, but there are things that kids and adults will both enjoy.

The real draw is around back.  After you’ve wandered through the house, you can go briefly “outside” through Mickey’s garden (where his plants are being eaten by some very hungry invisible gophers) to Mickey’s movie barn.  Mickey is back there filming, and he’s taking a break to visit with you on the set!

And this is where the line starts.  If you want to tour the house and not visit Mickey, you can take the alternative exit.  However, this is possibly the least chaotic way to visit with the famous mouse.  Of course there’s a line.  They have a waiting area that snakes around a couple of times, and in this room, you see previews for “upcoming” Mickey Mouse shorts like “The Band Concert,” “Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” or “Steamboat Willie.”  The projector is run by Donald and Goofy, which adds to the fun.  Unfortunately, the reel is too short, so you see it all two or three times while you are in there.

They take groups of a dozen or so at a time into the next room where Mickey and several handlers are waiting for you.  And from there, you get you turn talking to Mickey, getting his autograph, and getting your picture taken with him.  Yes, they have one of their photographers in the room, but they will use your camera to take your picture as well.

Okay, now I said at the start that I don’t visit Mickey’s House that often, and when I do, I usually bail before visiting Mickey himself.  I mean, wait in line for that?  I’m not a kid any more.  But twice in 2012, I’ve done just that.  The first time was with a group of friends who wanted to have our picture taken with him, and the other was with my 3-year-old niece.  Both times, we were given plenty of time with Mickey.  Granted, we didn’t try to take too long, but we weren’t rushed in our chance to say “hi” and pose for pictures.  I’m sure if we had been dawdling, we would have been politely hurried along, but I never witnessed the staff members there doing that.

Both times were more fun that I was expecting.  Even though Mickey doesn’t talk, his gestures and mannerisms are charming.  The other cast members in the room are also friendly and helpful, offering to take pictures with cameras before we even asked, for example.

The time with my niece was especially precious.  She ran to greet him, and he bent down and gave her a big hug and kiss.  It’s those kind of memories that make these things well worth doing.

So no, I won’t make Mickey’s House a must do on every trip to Disneyland.  However, if you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Mickey Mouse before, I highly recommend you do.  It is fun no matter your age, but if you’ve got young kids, it will be a highlight of your trip.

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