When I was three, I took a picture in front of Mickey’s mailbox at his home in Mickey’s Starland. A few years later, I visited Mickey’s house again in Mickey’s Toontown Fair. On that trip, my mom went into labor with my younger sister, and I got to accompany her behind one of the mysterious tall green fences that sit behind the attractions in Toontown. I took pictures in front of the same sign when I was 10 and again when I was 12.
I have ridden the Barnstormer too many times to count; played in Donald’s Boat when it actually worked; met Winnie-the-Pooh and friends, the princesses and the fairies in the Toontown Hall of Fame; taken a picture of every square inch of both Mickey’s and Minnie’s houses; and talked to Mickey and Minnie in the Judge’s Tent. I have grown up at Walt Disney World, and I have spent my childhood in Mickey’s Toontown Fair.
This past Friday, Feb. 11, Mickey’s Toontown Fair closed forever. Although the Barnstormer will just be repainted and receive a new name, no child will be able to pop popcorn in Minnie’s kitchen, gawk with wide eyes at Mickey’s bedroom, or watch original Mickey Mouse cartoons while waiting in eager anticipation to meet the mouse in charge of the magic.
Although the Disney company has many amazing plans for the new expansion of Fantasyland, this traditional aspect of the Magic Kingdom will be sorely missed by many traditionalists. Small visitors to the Magic Kingdom will have to settle with the rides in Fantasyland. The park lost a bit of its magic when the rope was pulled across the entrance of Toontown for the last time.
Will the new rides and attractions be worth it? Disney certainly seems to think so. Is it possible that the expansion could have been completed without closing the home of the Mouse that started it all? Probably and Disney would have been able to keep that much more magic in its magic-filled park.
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