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Ride / Mickey's PhilharMagic

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Mickey's PhilharMagic is a 3D Movie attraction created for the Disney Theme Parks that debuted in 2003 at the Magic Kingdom park, 2005 at Hong Kong Disneyland and 2011 at Tokyo Disneyland. It premiered in autumn 2018 at Disneyland Paris as part of the Mickey 90th Anniversary celebrations, and later premiered in April 2019 at Disney California Adventure replacing Muppet*Vision 3D (which had previously been repurposed as a center for Disney film previews in 4-D, as well as for a Frozen singalong).

A Spiritual Successor to Magic Kingdom and Tokyo's The Mickey Mouse Revue, Mickey's PhilmarMagic is set inside the Fantasyland Concert Hall, where Mickey Mouse is conducting his PhilarMagic Orchestra with the help of the Sorcerer's Hat. While Mickey goes off to attend to last-minute details, Donald Duck decides to use the hat to try conducting himself, only to be sucked into various musical numbers from Beauty and the Beast, Fantasia, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Peter Pan, and Aladdin — ultimately having to be bailed out by Mickey. In 2021, it was announced that an updated version would come to the parks, including a new scene involving the cast of Pixar's Coco.

A collaboration between Imagineering and the Walt Disney Animation Studios, the attraction is notable as one of the early experiments in rendering Mickey and other classic characters as CGI characters in the midst of the Executive Meddling going on at the studio, when the plan to drop hand-drawn animation altogether was being discussed. The attraction also features Clarence Nash reprising his role as Donald Duck posthumously through the extensive use of stock audio.

Mickey's PhilharMagic contains examples of:

  • Advertised Extra: Despite the show being ostensibly his given the title, Mickey Mouse shows up for barely one minute of total screen time. The main character is Donald, who kicks off the plot.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: The whole attraction is animated completely in CGI, in order to coincide with the 3D visual effects.
  • Aspect Ratio Switch: After Donald dons the hat, the stage ornamentation lifts up before "Be Our Guest" begins. The side walls then become screens. At the end of the show, the aspect ratio retracts and the ornamentation falls back into place.
  • Butt-Monkey: Donald is subjected to all sorts of embarrassing events throughout the show, from being shocked by an electric eel to flying through someone's laundry.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: Donald's eyes appear amidst a black screen before Lumiere lights up the scene.
  • Calling a Rabbit a "Smeerp": No, they're not 3D glasses, they're opera glasses!
  • The Casanova: Much like how he was in The Three Caballeros, Donald immediately finds himself attracted to Ariel and begins flirting with her. In a unique twist, Ariel seems to reciprocate Donald's flirting and acts as The Tease.
  • Cultural Translation: Disneyland Paris had a stage show called Animagique that was essentially an adapted version of this attraction, where Donald entered the vault of Disney classics despite Mickey's warnings and interacted with many classic characters (the characters in question being a lot more welcoming to Donald than in Mickey's PhilharMagic). The show stopped performing in 2016, two years before PhilharMagic itself premiered in Paris.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" becomes even more abstract than the original film's take.
  • Food Porn: There are a couple of prolonged shots during "Be Our Guest" of gourmet banquets for the audience.
  • Foreign Re-Score: For some reason, the "Just Can't Wait to be King" segment will notably sound different in certain parts depending on where you are watching the film (aside from obvious language differences):
    • At the Magic Kingdom, the bit before Simba starts singing (the shot of the sun) is simply a drum beat and a string hold. The ending note fades out quickly in the transition to the "Un Poco Loco" segment.
    • At the Disneyland California Adventure, however, the main melody will start up as soon as the transition finishes, and the ending note holds out longer in the transition to the "Un Poco Loco" segment.
    • The Disneyland Paris version, although taking after the Magic Kingdom version musically, includes additional cymbal sound effects during Zazu's first part (synchronized with the background light effects) and a sparkly noise during the rotating herd shot near the middle of the segment.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • During "Part of Your World", after Ariel shows off her gems and they fall below screen, they can be seen on Donald's back as he floats back up on camera (after most likely having picked them up), where he promptly drops them when seeing Ariel again.
    • At the end of the attraction, if you turn around, you'll be able to see a real-life animatronic of Donald crashed through the roof behind the seats.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: The film was updated in 2021 to add a Coco scene.
  • Interspecies Romance: Donald, who's a duck, becomes smitten with Ariel, who's a mermaid.
  • Letting the Air out of the Band: Played With. As Mickey gets the rebelling instruments under control to the musical climax of The Sorcerer's Apprentice, the instruments slam into the floor with an ungraceful sound.
  • Love at First Sight: Donald is instantly smitten with Ariel after she tickles his chin.
  • Mama Bear: Donald gets on a giant broom's bad side when mocking a little one.
  • Match Cut: The sun shining through the top of Ariel's grotto becomes the sun shining over the Pride Lands.
  • Mythology Gag: Although not present in the final product, the scene in the storyboard for the "Un Poco Loco" segment where Donald starts to dance with Miguel and Héctor features poses directly lifted from The Three Caballeros.
  • No Fourth Wall: At the end of the film, Donald Duck is shot out of the screen and collides into the back wall of the theater!
  • Paddleball Shot: Several, as expected for an attraction like this, but there is a shot near the beginning of Donald trying to escape a vortex that remains commonly used in promo material for the ride.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite Donald being The Chew Toy of the short, the other characters he meets are quite nice to him: Ariel flirts with him, Peter Pan saves him from falling, and Jasmine returns the magic hat which prompts a sincere "Thank you!" from Donald. Zigzagged with Dante and Pepita, who tend to switch between helping Donald and hindering him.
  • The Runt at the End: The Sorcerer's Apprentice brooms are accompanied by a baby one in this film. Donald plays keep away with its bucket of water, whereupon the Mama Bear turns up.
  • Secondary Character Title: Yes, Mickey appears, but this is really Donald's show, as reflected in the exit gift shop primarily featuring Donald merchandise.
  • Sorcerer's Apprentice Plot: With Donald Duck!
  • Source Music: The song "Un Poco Loco" starts out as background music while Miguel and Héctor are in the cable car, but when the camera switches to the town, it is revealed that the music is literally being played by a mariachi band that follows the two around. Finally, if you look closely at the musicians (save for the brass players), they are the ones who sing the background chorus ("He's just un poco crazy, leaves my cabeza shaking"). Very justified, since Coco is the sole diegetic musical out of Pixar's (and by extension, Disney's) animated movies, and the song "Un Poco Loco" is an in-universe song written by Héctor for his wife, Imelda (according to Lee Unkrich).
  • Stealth Pun: The "A Whole New World" scene used to have the scent of Jasmine's perfume pumped into the theater. Naturally, her perfume was jasmine-scented. Unfortunately, it had to be taken out because too many people were allergic, and so the scene is now odorless.
  • Stock Footage:
    • Only five lines were recorded by Donald's modern voice actor Tony Anselmo, including him humming "Be Our Guest". The rest is all Clarence Nash. If you have a good ear, you can pick out Anselmo's lines fairly easily. Additionally, many of the featured songs use the original film recordings.
    • The version of "Be Our Guest" briefly samples the very original version, when Maurice was intended to be sung to (not Belle), as Lumiere sings, "Tonight, sir, eat up."
    • "A Whole New World" uses the soundtrack version (the opening of the song is more peaceful than the one used in the film).
    • Overall, all of the songs used in the film primarily use the original vocal tracks from their respective movies. Jerry Orbach ("Bonjour", "Enough, I'm done!"), Jodi Benson (the lines from "Part of Your World (Reprise)"), and Blayne Weaver ("Here we go!") are the only three actors to record new voice clips for their characters.
  • That Poor Cat: At the beginning, stage manager Goofy is heard accidentally stepping on a cat.
  • Villains Out Shopping: On the walls of the queue area are posters from previous Fantasyland Concert Hall productions. Hades once performed torch songs (well, if Genie could sing the blues...), and the Three Little Pigs and Big Bad Wolf had a show of their own.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Happens to Donald when he kisses an electric eel at the end of "Part of Your World".


Video Example(s):


Donald and Ariel

Donald, being the ladies' man of a Caballero he is, ends up falling in love with Ariel, in spite of him being a duck and her being a mermaid. Ariel also seems to show feelings for Donald, romantically teasing him every so often.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / InterspeciesRomance

Media sources: