“That’s a made-up name, right?”
That was the repeated response following the announcement of Magic Kingdom‘s newest street party, Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! The punctuation. The exclamation points. That… strange… word. Is this real?
Sure enough it was, and the bizarre expectation relayed from the production’s title paired with the less-than-stellar track record of the park’s prior street parties didn’t bode well, especially for fans that prefer a more traditional approach to parades and shows. Nonetheless, the morning of January 18, 2019, arrived. A song blasted through the hub. Mouseketeers marched their way toward the crowd. A host of rare characters followed behind them. And Magic Kingdom debuted a street party superior to anything that came before it.
Having a street party in addition to the regular afternoon parade was a surprising idea first introduced in 2009 as a replacement for “show stops,” moments in the parade when floats would stop along the parade route to perform a brief music number and sometimes get the crowd involved. The street party would exist primarily for that sole purpose: to engage Guests in the street to dance with favorite characters. When the initial version, Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It!, premiered 10 years ago, certainly no one anticipated that it would be the beginning of a new Magic Kingdom tradition, to be reshaped and revised as the years progressed. But sure enough, in 2014, the production morphed into Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!, allowing Guests to choose which pop song would play in the show’s finale. And now here we are in 2019 with the premiere of Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It!
This new edition definitely feels like more of a new show than the second version was in comparison to the first version. The most significant way this materializes is the way the show focuses on celebrating Mickey and Minnie, rather than just celebrating for the sake of celebrating. With this purpose, the content of the production is filtered into something that is special, nostalgic, and, dare I say it, classy.
What’s more, the characters invited to this party are exclusive to the “Mickey and friends” category, making for a line-up that includes favorites and rarities alike. The cast features truly deep cuts of Disney animation history in what is the most unprecedented gathering of Disney stars in a Florida production maybe ever, taking a note from the book of Paris and Tokyo. I mean, come on. Max is here! MAX! The last time he regularly appeared in a show in Florida was the Mickey Mania Parade in 1995, when A Goofy Movie was a new film. This is also the first-ever regular Walt Disney World appearance of Clarice, Chip and Dale’s girlfriend (it’s complicated). I’ve never seen her. Ever. In my life. That’s the extent to which this show goes the extra mile.
A loose connection to the classic Mickey Mouse Club television series further enforces this as a bash thrown in Mickey’s honor (and most certainly is where the word “MousekeDance” originated). The MMC connection also influences some of the show’s costumes and song choices. The rest of the soundtrack is anchored by a new song, “It’s a Good Time,” which is easily the most infectious Disney theme park song in ages. I’ve had it on repeat all week long (yes, it’s already on Spotify and Apple Music, another example of this show being a big deal).
Rounding out the music are popular dance tunes, but not in the same sense as previous Magic Kingdom street parties. Whereas predecessors of MousekeDance highlighted modern, here-and-now hits from the likes of Hannah Montana (remember, it was 2009) and even songs that had just released and were still on the radio, MousekeDance selects songs that have at least stood the test of time to some degree. It includes choices that are dated but semi-beloved, old enough to not feel dated, like “Dancing in the Street.” (That is not to say that current pop music doesn’t have its place in the world, but that place might not be directly in front of something as timeless as Cinderella Castle.) The arrangement of the MousekeDance soundtrack takes a ’60s/’70s vibe that again helps it feel more fitting in the park. As a friend pointed out, at times it feels quite similar to Disney Channel’s Teen Beach Movie, a comparison I completely agree with and cannot un-hear.
MousekeDance debuts as part of Mickey and Minnie’s Surprise Celebration, a park-wide event taking place in Magic Kingdom through September 30, 2019. Other festivities include being able to meet Mickey and Minnie together in their birthday outfits in Town Square Theater, themed food, special merchandise, and long-lost characters meeting at the flagpole. With the effort that MousekeDance puts forth and the extent of a production that it is, I would be shocked if it closes when Surprise Celebration concludes later this year. Especially considering the other street parties each lasted at least four years, I’d say MousekeDance will be around for a while.
Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! is one of those wonderful things that sounds downright cringey on paper, but with the right strategy (and a simply terrific lineup of characters) becomes a game-changer for future Walt Disney World entertainment. For those seeking something fresh and a chance to see some stars you may not have ever seen before, it’s certainly a good time.
Images belong to author’s personal collection.
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