The talking Mickey Mouse character that was seen in testing at Disneyland last year has returned, greeting guests outside his house in Mickey's Toontown.
Footage captured by YouTube user mrdaps on Friday, March 4 (embedded below) shows the talking Mickey having a brief conversation with a guest. It marks the first time that a talking Disney character has been seen outside in the park, with previous testing of the technology having taken place behind closed doors.
The technology used appears to still suffer from some teething problems, with Mickey responding to the question "Are you having a good time" with "Thank you!". It is widely believed that Disney will eventually roll out the technology more widely across its theme parks. This would be a major undertaking for the company, with the parks seeing thousands of character interactions every day. Therefore, it is likely that further extensive testing will take place before any full roll-out of the audible characters.
The talking Mickey Mouse was previously caught on camera during a test session in May 2010. He was also seen presenting on stage with Disney CEO Bob Iger at the premiere of the World of Color show at Disney California Adventure.
In the early years of Disneyland, characters frequently talked to guests. However, management eventually abolished the practice due to the Cast Members' inability to accurately mimic the character's "real" voices.