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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mickey Mouse to Appear in Wild West Show

What follows is unofficial, insider news that I may not have the right to reveal. It's hearsay in any case. As a precautionary measure, please disregard everything you read here and forget where you heard it.

A couple months ago the results of a Disneyland Paris survey revealed that guests want more contact with Disney characters. I assume this survey-informed revelation was the driving factor for another decision made by someone of high importance somewhere in the upper Disney heirarchy, probably in marketing, to make mandatory that all live shows, starting sometime in 2009, will be required to feature Disney characters in some fashion.

This means that if all goes according to plan, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill), Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort, France, will feature Mickey and/or Minnie Mouse in the show itself. So far the rumor is that their appearance would be limited to the introduction of the show.

This clearly is not in keeping with the illusion that is created when guests enter the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show building of being transported back in time and space to the 1890's, but let's be honest, painful as it may be: few people were likely ever really transported very effectively anyway, at least not since Peter MacLean left the show, yet the show was and is wildly popular and successful.

If Buffalo Bill himself were alive today, making a living producing or participating in circus-like shows that represent the American West as it is today, would he be eager or appalled to include Disney characters? Cody had great affection for children, and he certainly seemed to appreciate the input of a powerful producing partner, so he might have been quite happy to include Mickey and Minnie in the introduction to the show had they existed in his time, if Disney was footing the production bill.

Still, as much as I love the Disney company and its products and as much as I appreciate the marketing intent behind the idea of having Disney characters in all the shows, featuring Mickey and Minnie in this particular show somehow cheapens the legacy of one of the greatest showmen of all time, the first global superstar. W.F. Cody was a real man representing a real era and real people, which differentiates our show from others, which are purely fictional. It just doesn't seem ethically correct to disregard the legacy of a real person as if it were Disney fiction. What're your thoughts?

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