UPDATE: APRIL 03, 2011 - NEW VIDEO ADDED
Mickey Mouse is moving to a new location in Magic Kingdom to meet and greet his friends at Walt Disney World Resort. As of April 1, 2011, guests can go backstage at Town Square Theater for photos and autographs with Mickey -- without waiting in a standby queue!
The New Town Square Theater
And that's no April Fools' Day trick! Nor is it "magic." Rather, it's the result of the first-ever use of Disney's FASTPASS Service for a character meet-and-greet experience. FASTPASS allows guests to reduce waiting by designating a window of time when they can return for a theme park experience.
But there IS magic in the air at the Town Square Theater presented by Kodak, located just inside the Magic Kingdom entrance. Previously known as Town Square Exposition Hall, the venue has been re-imagined as a turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century theater where posters proclaim Mickey Mouse as the star of a magic show.
Town Square Exposition Hall (Now Town Square Theater)
A glistening marquee with gold-leaf trim and sparkling lights beckons guests to enter a lobby that serves as a hub for character meet-and-greet queues, the Box Office Gifts merchandise shop and Tony's Town Square Restaurant. Lush curtains with gold rope tie-backs, polished-brass chandeliers and a huge tile floor mosaic of the Town Square Theater logo adorn the space.
Just beyond the lobby, guests pass through an ornate arch and enter a queue to meet Magician Mickey Mouse -- or a queue to meet the Disney princesses, for whom Town Square Theater will be a meet-and-greet location during New Fantasyland construction.
The meet-and-greet experience begins when magical posters featuring Mickey's various magic acts come to life, enhancing guests' journey through queues into the backstage corridors of the theater. Mickey greets guests in a rehearsal-room environment amid posters, steamer trunks and stage props. It's a classic backstage area with a wood floor and ceiling. One wall is brick, the others are papered in red and black -- Mickey colors.
During the Princesses' limited engagement at Town Square Theater, they will greet guests in an area fit for royalty -- replete with plush carpeting, lush velvety-blue drapes with gold tiebacks, and a large mural backdrop of a chateau amid green, tree-covered hills and fields.
Exiting the meet-and-greet areas, guests pass through Curtain Call Collectibles, a shop with design elements suggesting a backstage area used for theater shipping and receiving -- with large, barn-like doors through which props and set pieces could pass. Adorning the room are some of the apparatuses used in magic tricks, including the dunk tank, sword basket and saw of dread.
Guests wanting to meet Mickey or the Princesses can either obtain a Disney's FASTPASS ticket or get in standby queues. FASTPASS tickets, which are available near Town Square Theater, designate an hour window of time during which the guest can return to the theater and have their "magic moment" with Mickey or the Princesses without joining the standby queues.