Character meet and greets have been around since Disneyland first opened in 1955, offering Guests a chance to interact with their favorite Disney characters. But characters, such as Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck, have never been able to actually have a conversation with Guests because of their (Disney magic spoiler here!) elaborate costumes. But after 55 years of Guests shrugging this off and posing for photos with the silent stars, it appears that Disney is on the verge of unveiling a much more interactive meet and greet experience.
Two videos, posted on YouTube by user lrharrisjr, appear to depict a costumed Mickey Mouse character fully interacting with Guests at a meet and greet in Disneyland’s Toontown. Not only is Mickey smiling and waving, but he’s also blinking, moving his mouth, and – wait for it – talking with Guests. He even refers to them by name.
Update: I asked “lrharrisjr” about the experience and was told:
We went in as regular guests, however, we did have to sign something before entering the room. They said it was being video taped by Disney for internal research (or something like that). I don’t know if everyone got this interactive experience or not.
Update #2: After I contacted her, Disney spokeswoman Heather Hust Rivera commented on the talking Mickey Mouse, telling me, “This was a test and a surprise experience for our guests. We hope to have more information available on the Blog tomorrow.” She is a writer for the official Disney Parks Blog, so it sounds like whether they had planned on it or not, Disney may be taking this opportunity to share more about it with the world tomorrow.
Update #3 (5/6/10): Disney has responded today with a short video of their own of the talking Mickey Mouse character.
As of yet, Disney has not commented on this unique experience as a test for future meet and greet opportunities or if talking Mickey Mouse is here to stay, but this level of interactivity has been an inevitable addition to the parks ever since Disney premiered their “Dream Along with Mickey” stage show at the Magic Kingdom, which first showed off the eye-blinking, mouth-moving technology (though no direct interaction with Guests):
I’m personally looking forward to the day when I can have a conversation with Scrooge McDuck in the parks. Imagine the stories he could tell about all his wild Duck Tales adventures…
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