Mickey Mouse: Theme Park References
Walt Disney was able to get people excited for his development of Disneyland by showing them what they could expect from the theme park once it was built. This naturally had people excited in going to this theme park because not only could they go on some awesome riders, going to a theme park based on all of Disney's films and animation attracted a huge amount of people. Now, with the Disney property being so well known in modern times, advertising for something like Disneyland can have high and low levels of subtlety. In the new Mickey Mouse shorts, the advertising for Disneyland came in the subtle variety. Usually by taking place in an area where a Disneyland ride took place or by referencing the theme park in some fashion.
As shown from the picture above, the thirteenth episode of the first season, Potatoland, the Mickey Mouse TV series can poke fun at its source material by constructing an accurate replica of the Disneyland theme park with potatoes with equally accurate attractions. But there were other episodes that took place inside of a Disneyland attraction or made a reference towards that specific attraction. In the fifth episode of the second season, Down the Hatch, the viewer got to see an episode where the plot took place in the Tomorrowland section of Disneyland. Another episode, Space Walkies, not only referenced Tomorrowland, but it even referenced one of the rides. Walt Disney introduced the idea of promoting his products through televised conversations with the audience, the cartoons of today do it in a more hilarious manner.
To poke fun at a theme park created by Walt Disney, one should use the characters that were created by Walt Disney. That was why, in the episode Potatoland, the viewer got to see a humorous parody of Disneyland through three of Walt Disney's most popular creations. This episode began with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy driving in a rural area. Goofy then starts talking about how all three of them were going to see Potatoland, an amusement park that Goofy wanted to see when he was a kid. As a plot twist, it turned out that a Potatoland sign was really a sign welcoming people to Idaho, America's "Potato Land". Of course, Goofy was completely oblivious to this fact and just kept singing Potatoland's praises until an accident knocked him out. Fortunately, while Goofy was knocked-out, Mickey resolved to make Goofy's dream come true by making an actual amusement park. All in one night. Using potatoes and junk.
Then next morning Goofy got to see Potatoland with his own eyes. And it was basically Disneyland, but made entirely out of potatoes. There were shops that appeared in Disneyland, the Haunted Mansion from Disneyland got a reference, and even the stage show Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln got a reference. And they were all created and operated by Mickey and Donald. Of course, an act of slapstick caused the entire ruse to be revealed. Fortunately, Goofy was quick to forgive. And even quicker to suggest leaving the park to melt because the sun was destabilizing the entire theme park by causing the gravy used to make the potato buildings melt.
Down the Hatch
Some references to Disneyland were not as blatant as Potatoland. Some episodes, like Down the Hatch, were different in that they took place in an area that looked similar to a section of Disneyland. Taking place in what appeared to be Tomorrowland, Down the Hatch saw Mickey, Donald, and Goofy walking through a Hall of Science building looking through a vast assortment of science experiments. One of the more emphasized science experiments was the Shrink Ray. Which Mickey and Goofy were under. And Donald accidentally turned on while getting a drink of water. For some reason Mickey and Goofy ended up in a cup that was held by Donald. Which eventually Donald drank, sending Mickey and Goofy inside of his body. Predictably, Mickey and Goofy started messing with Donald's body by doing things like having guitar solos with Donald's vocal chords, messing with Donald's funny bone, bouncing around in Donald's lungs, and eventually ending up inside Donald's brain.
Naturally, Donald eventually found out where Mickey and Goofy were. And was so angry that his brain started a literal storm inside of his head. Which forced Mickey and Goofy to evacuate into Donald's stomach. Which resulted in Donald assaulting both of them with eaten corn and drunken soda, forcing the both of them to dive deeper into Donald's body. Soon, the effects of the Shrink Ray began wearing off on Mickey and Goofy, causing them to evacuate Donald's body via a laid egg. Which resulted in the implication that Donald was going to be experimented on by the scientific community of the Mickey Mouse world. But Donald was not experimented in this episode and even ended this short by singing a song from an old Disneyland attraction.
People who went to Disneyland in 1967 could see Down the Hatch as a reference to the Tomorrowland of old. Space Walkies could be seen as a reference to the Tomorrowland of today. Mostly because the Tomorrowland in Disneyland received a relatively new makeover which included installing a giant rocket merry-go-round as a new attraction at the front. Coincidentally, Space Walkies began inside of a rocket ship. The viewer's first look at Mickey was the establishing scene where Mickey, the rocket's pilot, was getting ready to return to Earth. Suddenly, Pluto, Mickey's pet dog, was making it very clear that he needed to use the bathroom. Which forced Mickey to take Pluto out in space so he could relieve himself. Which meant doing things like crossing a gravity well, finding a satellite the Pluto could use as a bathroom, and try to make sure that the other people in space did not get too angry about Pluto.
Of course, things quickly went wrong one Mickey found out Pluto ran away. And not the planet. Fortunately, Pluto was easily found rummaging through some space junk. But, Mickey was able to distract Pluto from the space junk by using a space disk to get Pluto to get Pluto back on the rocket ship faster. Unfortunately, that disk was actually a flying saucer. And when Pluto started chasing said flying saucer, Mickey was pulled along and forced to experience some negative aspects of outer space. Like getting dragged through an incredibly cold planet, getting burned by a sun, running on Saturn's rings, and ending up drifting through space. As a last ditch attempt at saving their lives Mickey decided to use Pluto's dragging skills to get the both of them back to their rocket quickly by utilizing a gravity well that appeared earlier in the short. Which they did successfully. And ended up landing back on Earth in and area that was a blatant reference to Tomorrowland. Space Walkies then ended with Mickey needing to go to the bathroom.
Walt Disney introduced the idea of showing off his theme park Disneyland by televising it to the viewers as the park was being built. This made people excited about going to Disneyland and seeing what new attractions would be at the park. Now that Disneyland is already fairly well-known, shows like Mickey Mouse can reference Disneyland in less blatant varieties. Sometimes by having its shorts take place in a section of Disneyland that was best suited with the context of the short, or, as Potatoland showed, poking fun at Disneyland by making another theme park that was an exact copy.