The time finally arrived after months of waiting! Overnight, Yensid took a break from his sorcery in Fantasia, leaving his magical, spellbound hat behind... The perfect moment for Mickey Mouse to step into his shoes and put the final sparkling touches of magic to the Toon Studio project at Walt Disney Studios Park! This morning, 26th May 2007, guests were given their very first look at the brand new entrance marquee.,
Well, here it is! Over eight years since concepts were first drawn up for a Sorcerer Mickey statue on this spot, the idea has finally become a reality. The statue, plinth and lettering looks almost perfectly like that seen on the concept art of February 2007, but keen-eyed fans will already notice one important change…
Mickey is presented full-colour! Not golden or bronze, but fully coloured in blue, red, yellow and more. With three other statues of the mouse that started it all already featured at the park (including one in almost the exact same pose at Front Lot), this detail at least gives the statue a unique appeal.Â We can notice also that the star and detail on the plinth has been presented not in gold as expected from concepts, but instead in silver – hinting that the stars and sketch lines on the Sorcerer’s Hat itself won’t infact be repainted to a matching gold.
But don’t forget the rest of this work of Imagineering art – the stylised, gradient-painted plinth is also an impressive piece of beauty for the eyes, decorated as expected with a design mimicking the Sorcerer’s Hat and featuring golden ‘Toon Studio’ letters against blue and silver for a stunning effect. The exaggerated curves of the plinth are exaggerated even further with several extra outcrops behind the main blue base, painted in gradients of gold.
The actual size of the statue on these photos above is quite deceptive. Whilst Mickey appears as quaint and modest as you’d expect a little mouse to be, the following photo below shows the full scale of this impressive new entrance marquee. As seen in the ‘Tales from the Laughing Place’ magazine when the statue was being sculpted, Mickey infact measures taller than most humans. And when atop the large blue plinths, his marquee easily reaches over 15ft in height.
Currently, no sign of the golden spark due to arc across the parade route can be spotted. Mickey’s wand also appears as if it wouldn’t support such an addition, and no further preparations have been made at the spark’s landing spot on the opposite side. Whilst the Sorcerer’s Hat did welcome Wendy, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell last week, we now can’t be so certain that any of their friends (Ariel, Flounder, Dumbo and Winnie the Pooh were shown) have made it across the Atlantic. As it stands, we’ve got pixie dust and sorcery – already more than enough for a spot of Disney magic to happen!
In place for only around 4 hours, the statue is already providing a special detail for guests to point to, to stop and admire, and to pose for photos in front of. Positioned on its own separate planter at the entrance of Toon Studio, the Sorcerer’s Apprentice signals that the end is almost in sight on this well-thought out (and well-received) expansion and makeover of Animation Courtyard.
As the very first expansion of Walt Disney Studios Park since it opened in 2002, the Studio hasn’t half done badly from Walt Disney Imagineering this time around. And, since Sorcerer Mickey is the unmistakable icon of the Imagineering department, their work will now be rememered long after the construction walls finally fade…
All photos by Photos Magiques.