The Differences Between Mickey And Minnie's Runaway Railway At Disneyland And Disney World

 El Capitoon theater at Disneyland
El Capitoon theater at Disneyland
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It's hard to believe that until 2020, Mickey Mouse did not have an attraction in a Disney park to call his own. That changed with the opening of Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Starting this week, as part of Disneyland's 100 Years of Wonder Celebration, Mickey now has two attractions, as the same ride now exists in Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland. However, even if you've ridden the Orlando version of the ride before, don't think this new attraction is just a carbon copy.

While the two attractions are ultimately the same in story and design, I asked Marnie Burress, Portfolio Project Executive with Walt Disney Imagineering, if they took the opportunity of building Runaway Railway a second time to do anything differently, or if this was really the same ride. While she says it was important to keep the core of the story the same, she admitted that there were some changes made. She explained...

I think any time that you are able to do it a second time you absolutely are able to make some of those changes that make the experience even better, but we always hold true to the story and the creative conceit because the heart and soul of this attraction is the story and the artistic way that we've executed the vision of the artists.

So what exactly are the things that were changed between Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway at Disney World and the new version at Disneyland? I'll share everything that tracks.

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway queue
Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway queue

The Exterior And The Queue Are Completely Different

The most noticeable difference is the façade of the attraction and its queue area, which is amazing. At Disney's Hollywood Studios the attraction was built inside the building that previously housed The Great Movie ride, which looks like the front of the famous Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. The interior and the queue looks like the inside of a beautiful movie palace, with a few posters on the wall, but little else.

Disneyland's version is found in the new Mickey's Toontown, and so it's built into the El Capitoon theater, the toon version of the El Capitan, another famous movie house in Southern California, this one owned by Disney. As with all things in Toontown, it's a bigger and bolder façade, it really jumps out at you and makes sure you take notice, which the Disney World version never really does, especially during the day before the lights are noticeable.

It's what's inside the attraction that really sets the Disneyland version of this attraction apart. There are countless posters on the wall that take live-action Disney movies and transform them into their animated counterparts. The Rocketeer becomes the Mousekateer. Freaky Friday becomes a movie starring Goofy and his son Max called Goofy Friday.

Later in the queue you enter "Mickey Through The Ears," a celebration of Mickey's career in film, which include physical props from some of Mickey Mouse's most memorable cartoons, along with some deep cuts even serious fans might not remember. Seeing these "cartoon" props as if they were real is a unique experience that fans of Mickey will love.

Cowboy Mickey on Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway
Cowboy Mickey on Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway

The Ride Itself Isn't The Same

Both attractions have the same name, Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway, so one would assume that once the ride itself starts, the two experiences might be identical. In some ways they are. When Goofy's train goes literally off the rails, the various show scenes, and their order, are the same.

However, within those show scenes, not everything is identical. I had a chance to speak with Manager of Show Electronic Engineering Manny Chavez and he explained...

From a physical footprint point of view we are slightly different, so in addition to the little pluses that we added, the layout is actually slightly different, which added some extra moments that we have that are not in Walt Disney World. There's an extended tunnel scene, with dialogue with Goofy that you do not have in Hollywood Studios.

Marnie Burress added that there were several small tweaks to the existing show elements, saying...

The scenes are slightly different. Some are bigger, some are smaller, but they all hold true to the creative conceit.

The show changes don't make the ride a drastically different experience (a la Winnie the Pooh), but tweaks were made to ensure that Disneyland's Runaway Railway was a great experience for parkgoers.

Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway
Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway

The Ride Flow Is 'Very Different'

As Chavez had said earlier, the layout of the two attractions are actually not identical. This is due to the fact the Hollywood Studios version of the attraction was built into an existing show building, while the building for Disneyland's MMRR was entirely new construction.

This results in a path for the ride vehicles that isn't the same. I noticed this at the end of the ride, where the final turn before returning to the loading area was a right turn on the Disneyland attraction. In Orlando, it's a left turn. I asked about this and Manny Chavez explained...

It's not exactly mirrored, you're actually going a completely different direction because, like I mentioned with the different size footprint, we are more rectangular where they are more squared, so the flow is very different.

The big rectangular building that makes up the main show building was so massive during construction that even Disneyland poked a little fun at it. Now, with the building essentially invisible, it's perhaps a little instructive in reminding just how big the whole thing is.

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway was a fantastic addition to Disney's Hollywood Studios three years ago and it's a perfect new addition to Disneyland today. The fact there are two rides now simply means it will be easier for more people to experience and enjoy the attraction.

Having said that, I will admit that I'm partial to the new MMRR, if only because the queue is so much fun that you might actually want to wait in line for a while just to be able to see everything that there is to see. Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway is open at Disneyland now.