Yes indeed, the news recently hit the Interwebs that Pal Mickey is being discontinued.
And I gotta say, as much as I enjoy my own little personal tour guide to Walt Disney World, it’s real clear to me that Disney never figured out how to make the most of Pal Mickey. I bought mine expecting interesting trivia and the occasional useful park touring tip…and instead, ended up feeling like I had a needy three-year old vibrating at my hip, wanting to tell me the same old joke again, and again, and again. Lisa and I tried to interview him on Episode #2 of Those Darn Cats (MP3), with predictable results. He also didn’t fare particularly well in comparison with a plastic cup from Club Cool.
But strangely, despite his clear failings I’ve found myself rather attached to Pal Mickey. I’ve been a fan of stuffed animals since I was a kid, and despite never being a huge Barbie fan there’s something fun about dressing Mickey up for the Pirate and Princess Party, or making him a duck costume for a DisBoards meet aboard a duck boat, or just making him a simple t-shirt with the logo of my local roller derby league.
Will I continue bringing Pal Mickey to the parks? Well, maybe not all the time. But he’s shown up so many times on Broke Hoedown that I feel almost duty-bound to bring him to MouseFest this December, and make up a batch of Those Darn Cats t-shirts for him and his little friends.
And I do hope that Disney eventually comes up with a genuine virtual tour guide, like Pal Mickey should have been from the start. They were testing a Nintendo DS-based guide a while back, so I suppose we’ll eventually hear more on that front.