Thea Awards Recipients

Thea Awards 2021

Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement: Attraction

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway , Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Florida, USA

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway repurposes the replica of the Chinese Theatre at Disney’s Hollywood Studios into a new attraction for the ages. It replaces the classic Great Movie Ride after its 28-year run with a 21st century attraction featuring a combination of physical sets, Audio-Animatronics figures, animated media and projection-mapping techniques, all syncing in time with trackless vehicles and a catchy original song and musical score that turn a two-dimensional cartoon world into an immersive eye-popping experience. After stepping into the ornate restoration of the iconic theater, guests experience the cartoon world beginning to develop in the pre-show while watching a new cartoon short. An unexpected event blows a hole through the middle of the movie screen, revealing the highly stylized dimensional cartoon world on the other side.

In a mind-blowing transition, guests step right through the movie screen directly into the dimensional cartoon side, where they are greeted by Goofy, who invites them to take a leisurely ride around Runamuck Park. Soon, the trackless train cars unexpectedly uncouple from engineer Goofy’s locomotive, taking guests on a free-ranging romp through ever-changing and rearranging cartoon scenes. Guests experience surprising twists and turns, dazzling visual effects and magical scenes that transform right before their unbelieving eyes.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway raises the bar for all dark rides to come by utilizing many of the technologies Disney has developed over the last 20 years to turn a two-dimensional cartoon world into a vibrant and multidimensional environment in a way Imagineering has never done before.

The attraction’s hand-drawn look is authentic to the cartoon and not only feels like a Mickey Mouse cartoon short, it sounds like one, too. An exclusive theme score begins in the premiere of the short “Perfect Picnic” and then transforms from scene to scene to capture the particular genre/flavor in each, while still carrying the melody through the attraction from beginning to end.

This new attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is both surprising and mind-blowing; it keeps one engaged and delighted throughout the ride, making all guests feel as if they have literally stepped into an animated world in ways never imagined before. It deploys an astounding and impressive array of technology to tell a captivating story that will stay with you long after the ride. It is likely to remain one of the new crown jewels of Disney’s Hollywood Studios for decades.

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