Mickey and the Magical Map: Too Determined to Ask the Right Questions?
Mickey and the Magical Map features a return of two Disney traditions—one admittedly older than the other.
The newer of the two involves the venue. The Fantasyland Theater originally opened in 1985, and in a strange way owes its existence to Captain EO. When the Magic Eye Theater, where Captain EO was to be shown, was being built, it took the place of the Space Stage, and that left Disneyland without a venue for hosting large open-air concerts. To solve this problem, they built Videopolis (which has absolutely nothing to do with the Fantasyland theme, but that’s where they put it anyway).
Videopolis offered loud and rambunctious nighttime concerts, and was extremely popular at first, especially with teenage guests. Over the next several years, though, its popularity waned, and in the early 1990’s Disney used it to try out a new-but-old form of in-park entertainment: the stage show. That was even more well-received, and in 1995 it received a new name: the Fantasyland Theater. (Even that name was a nod to the past; the Mickey Mouse Club Theater—which sat where Pinocchio’s Daring Journey is now—held that moniker from 1964 – 1981.)
In 2006, the Fantasyland Theater closed and was replaced by the Princess Fantasy Faire, but now that the Fantasy Faire has a new home (sans the “Princess” part of the name) to the west of the Central Hub, near Sleeping Beauty Castle, the Fantasyland Theatre, now with a slightly different spelling to the latter word, made its triumphant return in May of 2013.
The other Disney tradition that returns here is much older. When Mickey Mouse debuted in Steamboat Willie back in 1928, he was a mischievous little character, and that continued for years. But with his increasing popularity, he was re-characterized as an “everyman,” and today is often more of a corporate icon than a relatable character. In Mickey and the Magical Map, Mickey returns to his adventurous and mischievous roots, but still with the same heart and dreams that made fans root for him for more than eight decades.
In case you haven’t yet seen the show, I’ll keep this spoiler-free, but the basic premise of the show is that Mickey Mouse is back as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and Sorcerer Yen Sid has created a magical map (hence the show’s title) that can “transport dreamers to any place imaginable.” The map is incomplete, though. Because Mickey is only an apprentice, he takes this as his golden opportunity. If he can just paint the unfinished spot on the map, he’s sure Yen Sid will make him a Map Maker.
He tries his best, chasing the spot all over the map—and into the map, through scenes and songs from Disney animated features. Mickey’s persistent, determined, and even conniving at times, sneaking up on the spot, trying to overpower it, and even trick it. [As a side note, anywhere other than in a Disney production, everything I just said in describing this plot would make no sense at all. Here, it is completely logical.]
Eventually, he does manage to trap the spot so he can paint it—I’m sure this will come as no surprise or spoiler to you—and declares, “Gotcha! I’m gonna paint you like it or not! I’ve just gotta be a map maker!”
There’s more to the story, of course, but that line jumped out at me. Have you ever been that way? There’s something you want to do, something you think you should do—you may even see how great things would be if only you could do this one thing. All the doors it could open! All the problems it could solve! All the ways you could serve!
The Apostle Paul had it happen to him. In Acts 16 it says,
“Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia,having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”
Paul was on a mission. He knew where he wanted to go, what he wanted to do, and who he wanted to help. But God kept putting obstacles in his way, things to slow him down and redirect him. Finally, God sent him a vision of where He actually wanted Paul to go next. I don’t know why He didn’t tell him right away. Maybe Paul wasn’t ready to listen, being so fixated on his plan that God had to get his attention first. Whatever the reason, when Paul was ready, God said, “OK, Paul. Here’s what I want you to do,” and Paul & his companions immediately changed their plans.
Later in life, Paul was more open to that kind of redirection and interruption. In Romans 15, Paul tells the church in Rome that he really wants to come visit them, and he plans to do just that. It will be wonderful when he can finally make it to Rome, but he has been given another assignment first. In spite of what he wants to do, he’s going to go where God has directed him. He’s learned to listen for that voice and obey the direction he’s been given.
What about you? I’m sure you have dreams and plans, goals and ideas. I do, too. But are you open to being interrupted? Do you continue to fight so hard for that thing you’ve just “gotta be (or do, or see)” that God can’t redirect you? He keeps trying to get your attention, but you’re so focused on the spot that you can’t see it?
Maybe you’re moving full-speed ahead now. If so, that’s great. But if you’re encountering obstacles, how are you handling them? One error is to assume that every obstacle is a sign from God you should change course. The other is to assume that they’re all just challenges to be overcome and fight through them without any reflection or consideration. If doing so is causing harm to those around you or making you compromise your core values (even in small ways)—and both of these were true of Mickey Mouse as he struggled to paint the spot—take those as warning signs.
Mickey needed to take his eye off the spot for a while, and focus on the bigger picture of what was happening to him and around him. So did Paul. Do you?
Question: Is there an obstacle (or two) in your life that may be an indication that you need to change your approach, goal, or direction? If so, prayerfully ask God to show you if this is a challenge to be overcome or a roadblock to be heeded. Then talk about it in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.