Mickey and the Roadster Racers
Photo Credit: Disney Junior/David Moir

Mickey and the Roadster Racers

Mickey and the Roadster Racers” will make its television debut in a simulcast SUNDAY, JANUARY 15 (9:00 and 9:25 a.m. EST), on Disney Channel and Disney Junior. Two more episodes will premiere MONDAY, JANUARY 16 (9:00 and 9:25 a.m. EST), on Disney Channel. Episodes will also be available on the Disney Junior app and Disney Junior VOD beginning Sunday, January 15, and on iTunes beginning Monday, January 16. 

The series, which will premiere internationally throughout 2017, takes Mickey and the gang, along with their unique transforming vehicles, on humorous high-spirited races around the globe, as well as hometown capers in Hot Dog Hills. Off the racetrack, Minnie and Daisy also run their own successful business as Happy Helpers, solving problems for anyone in need of a helping hand. Geared towards kids 2-7, the stories are designed to impart social and emotional lessons about friendship, teamwork, optimism and good sportsmanship.

Mickey and the Roadster Racers
Photo Credit: Disney Junior/David Moir

Behind the Scenes Featurette

Producers Rob LaDuca and Mark Seidenberg

While in San Francisco last month, we were able to sit down with the producers of Disney Junior’s newest show, “Mickey and the Roadster Racers”.  Producers Rob LaDuca and Mark Seidenberg have been working together for many years and you’d be surprised how many of their shows you’ve watched! This pair is behind Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Jake and the Never Land Pirates. Remember Gummi Bears? That’s where this duo actually met and started collaborating and they’ve been going strong ever since.

We had so much fun on Clubhouse. What we tried to do on that show was bring life back to the characters, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Minnie, and Daisy.  Making them lots of fun. The show dealt with curriculum. Clubhouse dealt with mathematics and we wanted to make it more than just Mickey talking to the kids like a teacher.  We started creating musical numbers and we made sure that Goofy was Goofy! Very goofy.  And so the kids were being entertained, but they were also being educated at the same time.

Then when we moved on to develop Jake and the Never Land Pirates. It was like our next evolution because now we were trying to age up the audience just a little bit because now we’re dealing with pirates and Never Land.  There was still a little bit of curriculum in the beginning but then we started to concentrate more on just fun stories and adventures for them. More social issues, like friendship and trust. Which evolved perfectly back into Mickey again because it is all about friendship and loyalty and sportsmanship, teamwork.

It’s great working with all of these characters that I grew up loving! You know, Jake and Peter Pan…

In Peter Pan, one of my favorite movies, you only went to certain locations in Never Land.  So we expanded that, and that was a lot of fun.  To have the privilege to do.

It also gave us a chance to look at the original artwork from Peter Pan.  We went to Archives.  And all the writers, we spent a lot of time researching what Walt had originally done with the property. He was pretty faithful to the book. He brought so much character to each character’s backgrounds, and development.  It’s beautiful to look at the real paintings in the Archives.  Just spectacular and we wanted it to be as true to the original heritage as we could.  And I think we did a pretty good job. -Mark

What are some of their favorite changes in animation over the years?

Well the advent of computers, we do everything on computers now. It’s everything from color to designing the cars, to the backgrounds, everything is done. That’s really kind of broadened our opportunities. It used to take so long to do a painting like water colors or acrylics.  To paint the cells,  you have to do each one. 24 frames per second is a lot of drawings that were involved.  So it broadened our world which is so dimensional.

So that’s what makes it fun for me being a director is that you can move that camera in that space, and create a lot more fun.  By moving the camera around, the world becomes much more three dimensional and you really feel like you’re there, especially in the racing episode. We’re racing along with them.  You know?  And the camera’s beautiful.

They just had Disney Junior at the movies on November 12th. Around 500 cinemas around the country. It was great to see.  It was great to be there with the kids, because we’re not hearing the kids.  We do some tests with kids and show them the show.  But to be in a theater full of kids and hear them laughing at particular moments is really great to hear.  It’s very soul satisfying. -Mark

Mickey and the Roadster Racers Rob LaDuca and Mark Seidenberg
Photo Credit: Disney Junior/David Moir

Now with Mickey and the Roadster Racers, we had the opportunity to age it up a bit.  And have some new fun. When Disney Junior asked us to develop a new show, we asked what was the most popular Mickey Mouse Clubhouse?  What were the most popular DVDs or shows?

Clubhouse Road Rally. Mickey’s Road Rally?  Mickey’s Road Rally.  And we were, like, oh! That involved every character who had their own little car that kind of fit their personality. So we expanded on that.  -Mark

What are the characters driving?

  • Mickey has a classic hotrod. It’s his normal car from Clubhouse, and then it turns into this classic American Roadster.  A Hotrod easily made from a model T. The Hot Dog and Hot Rod.
  • Goofy’s personality, being so goofy if his car could transform, what would it transform into?  A bathtub. The Turbo Tubster.
  • Minnie being elegant, and into fashion, they gave her a bow car, but basically the design comes from a French car called a Delahaye that had very smooth curves and looked kind of like a bow. A Pink Thunder.
  • Daisy loves flowers, so they turned her car into a smoking dragster, Snap Dragon.
  • Donald is a sailor, so they gave him the cabin cruiser. And his is the only roadster at this point that can go on land, and in the water.
Mickey and the Roadster Racers
Disney Junior/David Moir

How did they develop the cars?

They said it was a thrill to see the car collections of Big Daddy Roth, who customized cars, and George Barris, who did The Batmobile and the Munstermobile, along with the Monkees van. Those were a big influence on how the cars were developed.

Both Mark and Rob said that they really wanted to see Jay Leno’s car collection because it is the ultimate car collection. Through someone they work with, they were able to make contact with him and he gave them a tour!

And we brought a lot of the artists to sketch ideas. Jay gave us the tour himself.  And at the end of it, I said we have this race announcer, Billy Beagle announcer, and actually, we haven’t cast him yet.  Would you be interested?  And he was, like, of course! So he started doing the voice right then and there.  He’s just a great guy…

And we said you’re hired. He is a huge Disney fan.  He loves Disney.  He’s worked with the Pixar guys before. He’s been a real help. One fun little trivia fact is, whenever Jay comes to our recordings, he’s always in a different car.  And it could range anywhere from a World War II Jeep to a Model T to a ’67 Mustang.  He has over 300 cars. And he really loves working with our characters, which is great. -Mark

What can we look forward to seeing in Mickey and the Roadster Racers?

Mark said that it was a “real honor to expand Mickey into the future.”

Walt was a total innovator. Whenever there was a chance to use a new technology, Walt was always the first to experiment with sound and color, and, you know, all kinds of things. I like to think of this as an extension. If Walt was alive today, he would have been the first one to use computer animation. There was a lot of studio people who didn’t want to experiment with computer animation way back when.  But I know Walt would’ve charged right into it. He brought us animatronics and all the parks.  He was such a thinker that…I love that we can expand on his vision. -Mark

Mickey and the Roadster Racers
Photo Credit: Disney Junior/David Moir

Within the series, all our characters are gonna be featured well. You’ll be seeing a lot of Minnie and Daisy.  But also start to see a little bit more of Chip and Dale, ClaraBelle and characters like Hilda the Hippo.

We’re bringing back some favorites like Horace Horsecollar in episodes.  And Pete will be taking on different guises.  Sometimes we go to other countries, and we’ll see the foreign version of Pete. And sometimes he’s a villain.

But we’re also bringing back Mortimer Mouse. Walt originally wanted to call Mickey, Mortimer. And his wife convinced him not to.  And called Mickey. We’re bringing back Mortimer Mouse.  -Mark

Both Rob and Mark say that there will be recurring guest stars that will include racing icons Jimmie Johnson, Danica Patrick, and Jeff Gordon. We’ll also hear the voices of Jay Leno, Tim Gunn (travel critic), Hoda Kotb (Mrs. Sweetums who runs the candy factory) and Gordon Ramsay (chef that helps rescue the hot dog diner), Jane Leeves is Queen Elizabeth when they go to England.

They said to be on the look out for Mickey and the Roadster Racers themed toys, storybooks, apparel, and more soon. The theme song is currently on iTunes, and Disney Studios will release a DVD this spring.

Big Question! Do you have a favorite character of the gang?

Mark said, “I have a soft spot for all of them…”

For myself, I love Mickey because he’s everybody’s best friend. I would say I’m closer probably to Goofy. I mean, all of us feel a little goofy, but I definitely really respond to him. -Mark

I love Mickey.  He’s just such a great character. Like Mark said, he’s everybody’s friend and just a good guy.  Always willing to help. But once in awhile, Donald comes out occasionally in me… -Rob

Mickey and the Roadster Racers Producers Rob LaDuca and Mark Seidenberg
Photo Credit: Disney Junior/David Moir

Did I mention I got to meet Mickey in his Roadster Racer gear? Check it out! I was totally a five-year-old that morning.

Mickey and the Roadster Racers
Photo Credit: Disney Junior/David Moir

And Mickey is a selfie pro!

I made a new friend this morning. #MickeyRacersEvent #mickeymouse #disney

A photo posted by Sherry (@famluvstuff) on

“Mickey and the Roadster Racers” will make its television debut in a simulcast SUNDAY, JANUARY 15 (9:00 and 9:25 a.m. EST), on Disney Channel and Disney Junior. Two more episodes will premiere MONDAY, JANUARY 16 (9:00 and 9:25 a.m. EST), on Disney Channel. Episodes will also be available on the Disney Junior app and Disney Junior VOD beginning Sunday, January 15, and on iTunes beginning Monday, January 16.

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