Group: Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter/AdministratEAR
Joined: Aug. 2001
||Posted: Mar. 23, 2003 4:03 am/pm
UPDATE: As of Monday 9/22/03, Pal Mickey's price has gone up from $50 (including tax) to $60 (including tax). It is now also $60 for the rental deposit. You can get Pal Mickey to speak Spanish to you! That version won't be available at the resorts (at least to start) but you'll be able to buy him or rent him at the 4 WDW theme parks as well as at Downtown Disney Marketplace's Once Upon A Toy for purchase only.
Pal Mickey - My Review
We were very lucky to be able to spend some time with Pal Mickey on our trip, choosing to share the Magic Kingdom with him. Here’s what we found out about him and our impressions after we spent about an hour with him. I'll post more after I buy one for myself during my WDW trip in June.
Pal Mickey is perfect for first-timers to Walt Disney World because he’ll tell you all about where you are, acting as your own personal tour guide. But he’s also great for Guests who visit WDW frequently because he’s filled with little-known facts and trivia as well as letting you know current information about theme park parades, shows, and attractions. He’ll even tell you how long the wait times are at attractions, help you meet up with the Characters, and help you search for Hidden Mickeys!
You can clip Pal Mickey to your belt (or the strap of your fanny pack/camera bag) or just hold him as you would any other plush. He’s only 10 1/2 inches tall and very light. You can interact with him in two ways: game mode and interactive guide mode.
First of all, make sure he’s on . . . he has an on/off button on his back. To put him in game mode, press both of his hands at the same time and he’ll tell you jokes and offer you a choice of three different games that he’ll play with you. You can choose from
When in game mode he won’t be triggered about his surroundings, so be sure to turn off game mode by pressing both of his hands simultaneously again for him to be your tour guide.
- Mickey Says – Pal Mickey’s version of Simon Says in which you have to squeeze him where he tells you if he says “Mickey says…”
- Trivia – related to what attractions are found in the Disney theme parks (this one is about the specific park you’re in if you’re actually in one)
- Disney Villains – Mickey will give you names of Disney Characters and you’re scored on how well you know which of them are Disney villains.
When in tour guide mode, Pal Mickey will giggle and shake when he wants to tell you something related to where you are. That’s your clue to unclip him from your belt (if that’s where he is) and bring him up to your ear and then press his stomach or either of his hands and he’ll talk to you with park information or a joke. If you couldn’t hear him or want another person to hear what he just said, just press his stomach within 15 seconds and he’ll repeat it. You can have him repeat up to five times for each remark. This is a great feature for those traveling with more than one child: you might be able to buy or rent just one Pal Mickey and share him rather than getting one for each child. In a normal room environment like your resort room you’ll hear him just fine but when you’re in the parks you’ll need to bring Pal Mickey’s mouth close to your ear in order to hear him. This looks quite cute when you see an adult cuddling Pal Mickey near their face!
Folks, please don’t get distracted and be very careful when you’re using Pal Mickey. Just like people who drive with one hand while talking on their cell phone with the other, I dread to think what could happen if a Guest is holding Pal Mickey close to their ear and concentrating on what the little guy’s saying rather than watching out about being careful in exiting a ride or bumping into someone else. It could be a whole new thread on the Disney discussion forums to rival ones about strollers hitting other people’s ankles. And parents, the off button is your friend: please make sure your young’un isn’t playing games with Pal Mickey inside where he’d be distracting others - - although personally I’d love to hear Mickey mouth off about certain ex-presidents in the Hall of Presidents!
Thankfully, though, the Disney Imagineers thought ahead and put a feature in him that they can silence Pal Mickey in certain places of the parks and they have enabled this feature in the attractions (the MK's teacups being one exception, and there might be others). When they have him silenced, you can't even play games with him, so he won't be distracting others.
Every time you enter one of the four WDW theme parks, Pal Mickey receives a wireless signal via infrared (picked up through his black nose) to let him know where y’all are so he’ll respond with appropriate information - - his jokes are even about the places you’re at! For example, in Tomorrowland he loved to tell us many space jokes including ones about Buzz Lightyear and Zurg. There are infra-red transmitters scattered just about everywhere in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I even heard him talk in the DAK parking lot!
We saw and heard Pal Mickey in people's hands on Tuesday, April 22nd at Disney's Animal Kingdom. He had just become available that day for WDW Resort guests at Old Key West Resort and Wilderness Lodge. Now he’s available at all the WDW Resorts and as of mid-May he became available in all four WDW theme parks.
You can choose to buy him for $50 ($46.94 plus $3.06 sales tax) or rent him. A $50 refundable deposit using a credit card is required each day you rent him and when Pal Mickey is returned before noon of the following day you’re charged $8 plus tax. You can also sign up to rent him for several consecutive days: $16 plus tax for two days, $24 plus tax for three days, $32 plus tax for four/five/or six days). If you don’t return your rented Pal Mickey, your $50 deposit fee will be converted into a $50 purchase price on your credit card bill and he’s yours to keep.
Pal Mickey is not only aware of where you are in the park, but he knows what direction you’re going and if you’ve been there before. Make sure you have him facing towards the front of you when carrying him or when he’s clipped to your belt. If you put him under your poncho when it rains or carry him in your backpack he won’t be triggered unless you stick his nose out. The first time you enter Main Street USA from Town Square he’ll be triggered to tell you something about it. But when you’re at that same spot later heading the other way he’ll say something different instead of the same thing over again.
Pal Mickey was very talkative in Tomorrowland. Take him for a ride on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority and he’ll wiggle and signal you quite often that he has something to say: space jokes (as mentioned above), all about the attractions there and a lot about Buzz Lightyear and Zurg in Space Ranger Spin. He told us about Space Mountain and how tall you need to be to ride it - - and he sounded relieved that he wasn’t tall enough for it. But then he suggested a ride on the Astro Orbiter because everyone can ride that. I found this quite helpful because he gives out the height requirements in a fun way, plus offers alternatives for those who aren’t tall enough. I bet Disney consulted with child psychologists when they were planning what responses Pal Mickey would say.
He’s dressed in his classic yellow shoes, white gloves, and red shorts - - with white white ovals for the “buttons.” The outline of the buttons glow in the dark when the TTA took us inside Space Mountain and in the tunnel behind Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and Mickey’s Star Traders. I haven’t heard of Pal Mickey being refused entry at any “no shirt/no shoes/no service” eateries at WDW, but you might want to personalize his wardrobe with a plush-sized t-shirt (which would be a perfect place to include a label with your name and address on it). Hmmmm, Pal Mickey-sized t-shirts… there’s another marketing opportunity!
Disney EchoEar Beth / Liv2CdWorld was wondering if you purchase Pal Mickey, will he be as valuable for your next trip - or will you need to bring him somewhere for an upgrade? Pal Mickey was 5 years in development and includes 700 responses. Some of them are not used now but will be triggered for new, upcoming attractions in the future. So if you buy Pal Mickey this trip he should be just as much fun and informative on your next trip.
His plush is fully washable but don’t get him wet when his electronics module is still inside him! In fact, Pal Mickey will remind you to keep him dry when he’s near a splashy attraction. But if he gets dirty just open the zipper on his back, remove the electronics (they must not get wet) and the plush can be washed with mild soap and water. He runs on three AA-size batteries which can be replaced after you unzip his back and then use a small Phillips head screwdriver to open battery compartment. The batteries should last 5 - 7 days of normal use. If you’re going to buy Pal Mickey and will be spending almost a week or more at WDW, you might want to bring your own extra batteries from home rather than paying Disney prices for them, because with constant use you might wear the batteries down - - but he doesn't work well with rechargeable batteries or generic brands because they don't put out as much voltage as the premium, non-rechargable batteries do.
If you rent Pal Mickey and don’t buy him then you won’t need to worry about changing batteries or cleaning him - - the Disney folks will make sure his batteries are fresh, launder him after each time he’s rented and they won’t rent him again after he starts to look worn.
Right now Pal Mickey only tells you things about Walt Disney World’s four parks and even Downtown Disney (note: not anywhere in the Disneyland Resort yet) but you can play games with him and hear his jokes anywhere. You have to come in person to WDW to buy (or rent) him because he cannot be bought using the WDW Merchandise phone number.
He kept us quite entertained when we were on line for the Mad Tea Party. Some of what he told us about the ride is a suggestion that you don’t have to spin the teacup by using the wheel-shaped handle if you don’t want to - - you can not turn it at all and you’ll just glide. All three of us found that the line for the teacups seem to go much faster because he told us a lot of jokes there. Here’s an example of Mickey’s humor: What happened when Goofy was struck by lightning? It really hurt! A little while later Mickey asked us what happened when Goofy was struck by lightning again? It really, really hurt! How about that - - a running gag from a plush! The topper was when he got our attention soon after that when he asked “What happened when Goofy was struck by lightning a third time? He took the lightning rod off his head! Ha-ha!” Another favorite of ours was when Mickey told us that Cinderella is lousy at basketball - - because she had a pumpkin for a coach! In Fantasyland he'll spring this one on you: Why is Captain Hook's boat still sailing through the sky? Because it's going to Never Land!
The teacups would be our last ride with Pal Mickey before we needed to return him to our friends who let us experience touring with him. I was very touched and a bit surprised at the coincidence in the timing when just after we settled down into our teacup together he told us, “Aw, gee. Thanks for playing with me today.” When we gave him back it was like parting with an old friend. When we return to WDW in June we'll be sure to buy Pal Mickey so this time we can have him to keep.
Picture Copyright 2003, THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY
RichKoster, Disney Echo modEARator