November 21, 2022
With the announcement by Disneyland that Mickey’s Toontown will re-open to guests on March 8, 2023, I have both an early birthday present and an excuse to write a little about one of the rides in Toontown. The particle ride is Gadget’s Go Coaster.
Concept artwork for Gadget’s Go Coaster.
The design intent foundation for Mickey’s Toontown was to provide a separate land for families with preschoolers. Disneyland had areas in the park suitable for preschoolers but no land devoted and designed for them and their families. The insight behind the decision was based on research that told TWDC and WDI that parents with very young children liked the park, wanted to visit the park but would wait to visit the park until their child was older because in Disneyland, “there was nothing for my child to do”.
Concept model for Gadget’s Go Coaster.
That insight drove the creation of Mickey’s Toontown.
Gadget’s Go Coaster at Tokyo Disneyland.
So, jumping ahead during the creative development it was decided that the new land really needed a junior roller coaster. Not a Space Mountain (which was adult), and not a Thunder Mountain (which was family friendly), but a coaster for little kids. Their very first coaster. Not scary but thrilling for little kids.
Rasti-Land image, home of the Go Coaster phototype.
The decision to design a junior coaster drove the effort to buy a junior coaster, and research yielded that Vekoma had such a coaster in their ride catalog, and I could ride one if I traveled to Germany and visit Rasti-Land park. Two plane flights later the WDI team stood in the station for the ‘Roller Skater’ coaster admiring the bubble gum pink color the owners had painted the ride. The ride was short, contained a bit of mild thrill and was perfect to design a show around. It had already been decided that the cartoon character Gadget who was part of the Chip and Dale television show would be the story anchor and that the inventor character built a coaster using methods she used in the television show.
Image of the Go Coaster team at Rasti-Land. I’m in the middle.
Following the character’s logic, the environment, props, and ride vehicles flowed and over two years of construction built and opened with the new land. The ride and indeed Mickey’s Toontown was a hit out of the box, and soon enough a second Toontown was built at Tokyo Disneyland. The second Toontown was the same as the first but for the fact that the layout of the land was reversed but that detail didn’t prevent the second version from being as successful as the first.
Image of the Nuthouse Coaster at Universal Studios Florida.
And that wasn’t the end of the Go Coaster because Universal Studios Orlando opened Woody Woodpecker Nut House Coaster with the same Vekoma track design and later still a longer track version of the coaster opened in Mermaid Lagoon at Tokyo Disney Sea.
Image of the extended version of the ride at Tokyo Disney Sea.
For a short ride Gadget Go Coaster has had a long history in the Disney parks and beyond. And now it has been reimagined as Chip n’ Dale’s Gadget Coaster which opens to guests March 2023.