Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gone but not Forgotten - The Mickey Mouse Revue

Photo from LIFE magazine October 15, 1971
(click on photo for larger view)

One of the original “E-Ticket” attractions at Walt Disney World was The Mickey Mouse Revue in Fantasy Land. It opened as one of the original park attractions on opening day in 1971. Since I “grew up” (I still don’t admit to being grown up. Like Jimmy Buffet sings: “I’m growing older but not up.”) with the Mickey Mouse Club on TV, Mickey has always been my favorite and The Mickey Mouse Revue put him in the spotlight.

The Mickey Mouse Revue consisted of a pre-show and the main show like so many of the attractions at WDW. The pre-show was an 8 minute movie highlighting Mickey’s career and the use of sound. It was narrated by an animated sound oscilloscope line. From here you went into the main theater where an all audio-animatronics show was presented. Mickey, dressed in his finest white tie and tails, conducts an all character 23 piece orchestra. The expansive stage had a total of 73 different Disney characters where vignettes from Disney’s animated movies brought to life a medley of songs from your favorite movies. Songs included: “Heigh Ho”, “When you wish upon a star”, “So this is Love”, "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo”, "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” and of course “The Mickey Mouse Club March.”

I read an interview Bill Justice, the Imagineer who designed The Mickey Mouse Revue, gave with MousePlanet’s Wade Sampson. When he designed the attraction a large model was built to show Roy O. Disney. Bill Justice described when Roy saw the model:

“Roy looked the model over, then paid me the best compliment I ever had in my career: ‘This is the kind of show we should spend our money on.’ That’s how ‘The Mickey Mouse Revue’ was born.”

I loved seeing the Mickey Mouse Revue. It closed down 9 years later due to not playing to a full house - Justice continued:

“As the show’s theater in the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World was being constructed, someone came up with the idea of having a pre-show. They designed an area just outside the main theater where guests could watch a film on Mickey while they were waiting to enter. Good idea, except there was a glitch. The theater seated 504 people, but the space available for the pre-show could only accommodate 300. Unfortunately, there was no time left to make further changes.
“The Mickey Mouse Revue was always very popular. It came as a shock when I was told my pride and joy was being moved to Tokyo Disneyland. Why? ‘Because it never played to full capacity’. Of course not! How can you fill 504 seats with 300 people? Management!”

The Mickey Mouse Review became the first Magic Kingdom attraction to be removed. It showed continuously until September 1980 when the entire show was transferred to Tokyo Disneyland where it was an opening day attraction in 1983. It showed continuously at Tokyo Disneyland until it was closed in 2009 to be replaced by Mickey’s PhilharMagic. The Mickey Mouse Review was located in Fantasyland at WDW in the theater where you now find the 3-D attraction Mickey’s PhilharMagic.

The show ended with Mickey saying:

Thank you folks, that concludes our show. We hope you enjoyed it!”

I enjoyed it. Hope you did too. Do you have memories of The Mickey Mouse Revue? Share them with us using the link below.


  1. Something tells me I saw this in 1979, but I don't remember it. Boo! It sounds like a interesting attraction. The capacity problem is maddening!

    Great article! Thank you!

  2. great article!

    and then they replaced it with magical journeys... downgrade

  3. It really looks like it would have been a really neat show to see. It was long gone by the time I went for the first time. I think it was the "Legend of The Lion King" show when I first went. Everything changes…Fantasyland expansion….

  4. Speaking of expansion. Does anyone know what is planned (and was obviously under wraps) at MK near ToonTown? From the train approaching from Big Thunder Mountain RR it looks to be a multi story building at the center.


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