Ward Kimball and the mystery of Mickey’s Studio Tour

Rumors are staring to spread about the replacement of The Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with something named, “The Great Mickey Ride,” purportedly a trackless ride through Mickey Mouse’s film career. This rumor reminded me of an item that went up for auction last year on eBay, a set of drawings purchased from famed animator Ward Kimball’s estate of sketches for a never-realized attraction for the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland that gives a whimsical behind-the-scenes tour of the cartoon-making process. The project seems to have gone through several iterations, having stalled and been revived. It may have also inadvertently led to the creation of Mickey’s Toontown another decade later.


Here are images pulled from the auction listings:

Some highlights I’ve been able to decipher from the auction listing and documents:

  • Work on the attraction began around 1979. Ward may have been involved initially and was re-invited to work on the project again by Marty Sklar in 1983 or he may have been asked to consult after having completed work on EPCOT’s World of Motion.
  • The attraction is called by a variety of names though its development: Mickey’s Madhouse, Mickey’s Movieland, and Mickey’s Studio Tour.
  • Notes indicate that the attraction started out as an expansion for Disneyland’s Fantasyland.
  • By 1984, price estimates were done for the Walt Disney World version, which has to fit into an existing building. My hunch is that it would have been a replacement for The Mickey Mouse Revue, which had been sent to Japan.
  • A request is eventually made for Disneyland to find 40 acres to devote to the attraction and surrounding area. Perhaps they were looking to add a “studio tour” section to Disneyland?
  • The artwork may be by Ward Kimball, but it might also be by Tim Kirk, who worked with Steve Kirk on the attraction concept as well.

It’s crazy that something that looks this fun never got built. If you see anything interesting in the documents that I missed, please leave a comment so I can add it to the article!


The drawings and documents are back up for auction on eBay again, with a Buy It Now price of $2499. Any big collectors out there?

The post Ward Kimball and the mystery of Mickey’s Studio Tour appeared first on Kingdom of Memories.

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