Whatever Happened to the LiMOUSEine?

Jim’s Attic: Whatever Happened to the LiMOUSEine?

I grew up in Southern California so I have a particular fondness for Disneyland and greatly appreciated that I could enjoy some of its unique but limited promotional activities like “Blast to the Past” where the fun, music and fads of the 1950s and 1960s (like surfing) were mixed with Disney parades and other entertainment in the Spring of 1989.

However, Walt Disney World has had one of its own unique but limited promotional events in the Spring of 1989 as well that some folks have seem to have forgotten today.

Are any of the readers of this blog old enough to remember Mickey Mouse’s LiMOUSEine? It was a car especially built for the costumed Mickey Mouse.


To promote the May opening of the Disney-MGM Studios, the LiMOUSEine with a costumed Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney World Ambassador Kathleen Sullivan, departed Orlando on March 5, 1989, for a multi-city East Coast tour, beginning in Indianapolis.

The driver was Bill Marable, a former Disney bus driver, who often had to skillfully maneuver the 9,000 pound, six-wheeled vehicle that was 40-feet long through narrow and awkward turns during the trip.

The Rolls-Royce front end with gold-plated radiator shell and trim had a 24-karat Mickey three-circled head shape. There were custom-built Mickey ears over the front wheel wells, flashing Mickey shaped turn signals and “ear view” mirrors.

After all, this was publicized as Mickey’s home-away-from-home so all those Mickey touches were appropriate. The interior was filled with many high-tech gizmos of the day but also included a special cheese tray stand to hold some of the many cheeses that were in the cabinets.

Designed by Disney artist Tom Tripodi, at a cost of more than $100,000, the LiMOUSEine was built by Ultra Limousine Corp., of Brea, California, from a potpourri of car parts. Ultra would later build the famous Mickey “Mouseorail” vehicle made from the shell of a red Mark III monorail front cab for a West Coast promotion the following year.

The base vehicle for the LiMOUSEine was a Lincoln Town Car cut in half, and stretched more than 20 feet on a beefed-up frame.

After its tour, it was repainted and had the “mouseified” elements removed. It was refurbished for the “Magical World of Barbie” show at the American Garden Theater at Epcot’s World Showcase in 1994 when Mattel became a corporate sponsor at the Disney parks.

Do any readers remember that controversial show? The Disney Company claimed that Barbie was perfect for Epcot because she impacted so many world cultures over the years.

Barbie was the “Ambassador of Friendship” and a video tape with excerpts from her 20-minute stage show at the American Gardens Theater in front of the American Adventure could be bought from Mattel for a penny with the purchase of specially marked Barbie dolls.

Let’s all sing along with Barbie in Paris:

“When you’re not happy with what you wear,
And you know you’ve gotta do something with your hair.
It’s time to take drastic action,
Pull out all the stops.
It’s a fashion reaction,
You take it to the very top.
You’ve got the touch, the Barbie touch,
All you’ve got to do is accessorize!”

Barbie arrived at her show in the LiMOUSEine that was painted pink with metallic sparkles and included Barbie memorabilia inside. Devoted fans could meet both Ken and Barbie and have their pictures taken with them outside the car. The show ended May 11, 1995.

That Barbie Touch experience was another uniquely Walt Disney World experience that Disneylanders missed.

The LiMouseine finally ended up in the “boneyard” of Disney-MGM Studios Backlot Tour for awhile and was eventually placed in storage.

I have no idea if it still exists or where it is today but maybe some readers can supply some memories or additional information.

Deb’s Note: Several years ago I searched for photos of the LiMouseine and reader Ted sent me a few he took at the Orlando Auto Show in 1989. Here they are:






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