Season 1, Episode 13: “Potatoland” 11/18/13
Starring: Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck
Mickey and Donald take Goofy on a roadtrip to fulfill his lifelong dream of visiting Potatoland. However, when Mickey and Donald realize that “Potato Land” is just a moniker on a sign welcoming tourists to Idaho, they scramble to build an actual theme park that would meet Goofy’s lofty expectations.
After working day and night peeling potatoes and pouring gravy under the hot Idaho sun, Potatoland is finally ready. Goofy can hardly contain his excitement as they remove his blindfold for the big reveal and his enthusiasm doesn’t wane as he gleefully saunters through the park and rides a few attractions. Mickey and Donald do their best to keep up the charade (wherein Donald suffers a series of painful physical pratfalls) but when Donald is revealed to be the duck behind the President, an angry Goofy seeks out the Park Manager. It’s here that Mickey comes clean and explains to his pal that Potatoland is all a façade. However, Goofy profoundly articulates that while Potatoland may be a sham, the gang’s friendship is not.
It’s at that moment the midday sun begins to melt the gravy and, in turn, Potatoland. The gang narrowly escapes the sinking theme park, jumps in their car and gets out of Dodge!
In celebration of Mickey’s 85th birthday/anniversary of “Steam Boat Willie” (1928), this episode is seven minutes long - about double the run time of every other short up to this point.
This is Donald’s first appearance since “Stayin’ Cool” and a six episode absence is definitely waaaaay too long. Along with that, even though Goofy is my all-time favourite, Donald needs and deserves an episode where he is given the room to appropriately spread his wings either as the star or second fiddle in a two-star vehicle.
It’s curious that an episode paying homage to/parodying Disneyland refers to Potatoland as a mere "Amusement Park" and not the more accurately titled Theme Park.
While building the park, Mickey and Donald are seen schlepping a tire branded as “Good Ear.”
The music playing during the park building montage VERY closely resembles “South American Getaway” – the song played during the Bolivia montage from the classic film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). (Do yourself a favour: youtube the song and be AMAZED by my ear for music)
What exactly is Goofy doing during construction of the park? Sure, they show him sleeping at night but what about during the day?
A more obvious musical homage plays during the unveiling of the park as the song sounds A LOT like “Baroque Hoedown” or, as it’s more commonly known: the song from The Main Street Electrical Parade.
There are too-many-to-list nods to Disneyland here both in the forefront/background and of the obvious/not-so-obvious variety.
Just kidding! I’m listing ALL of them!
- The old Disneyland Sign
- Main Street USA
- The Penny Arcade
- The Crystal Palace
- The Partners Statue (a potato sitting on a barrel)
- Sleeping Beauty Castle
- Thunder Mountain
- King Arthur Carrousel
- The Haunted Mansion (Mickey even impersonates the famed Ghost Host!)
- Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
- Skyway to Fantasyland/Tomorrowland
- It’s a Small World
- Fantasy Faire
Coincidentally, it’s during Donald’s impersonation of “Honest Abe” that the charade finally reaches its limit and Mickey is forced to be… honest!
I know Idaho isn’t in the Dust Bowl but all the browns from the dirt and potatoes sure made it feel extra dusty and hot.
Final Grade: A-
Nothing necessarily blows you away with this one but when you have an episode that’s so heavily referential to Disneyland, I can’t help but give it a higher mark than it otherwise deserves (especially when you consider the fact that I already gave an A- to the inferior “Stayin’ Cool” just because I was overly excited to see the “Big Three” for the first time). It also must be noted how ridiculous (in a good way!) the premise is: Goofy mistakes state nickname for a theme park so his pals build him an elaborate Disneyland out of potatoes. It’s almost like a bet was made with the writers/artists that they couldn’t make a compelling short based in Idaho.