Panasonic at CES 2019: Mickey Mouse-themed Disney ride and Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle

The company shows off its work on Mickey and Minnie Mouse’s Runaway Railway, to debut this fall.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva
2 min read

Disney and Panasonic talked up a new Mickey Mouse-themed ride at Disney World.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Mickey Mouse turned 90 years old in November, but the classic cartoon character has never had a theme park ride devoted to him in the empire he spawned.

Until now. Mickey and Minnie Mouse's Runaway Railway will debut at the Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida, this fall. The entertainment giant is partnering with Panasonic for the projection technology that'll power the attraction.

The two companies talked up the new attraction Monday at CES , the world's largest technology show, during a Panasonic press conference at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

"For the first time, our guests will be able to step into Mickey Mouse's wacky and unpredictable animated world," Tom LaDuke, a technical director for Walt Disney Imagineering, said on stage.

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The attraction, first announced last year at Disney's D23 Expo Japan, will use tech from Panasonic for visual effects. The two companies have collaborated before, including on an Avatar-themed ride at Disney World.

"They really help us transform a two-dimensional cartoon into an amazing real world experience," LaDuke said of the partnership with Panasonic.

In the US, Panasonic's brand has fallen out of the limelight since it discontinued making plasma TVs in 2013, but the company is still a CES mainstay. Last year, Panasonic announced a range of new products, including OLED TVs, 4K Blu-ray players with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integration, and two models in its Technics turntable line: the SP-10R and SL-1000R. Now Panasonic is focused more on providing technology on the back end for other companies, including Disney.

During the keynote on Monday, Panasonic also made several other announcements:

  • A partnership with Harley Davidson on a new electric motorcycle called LiveWire. The bike is cellular-connected, and owners can check things like maintenance and battery status from an app. The LiveWire will cost $29,800 and is available for preorder today.
  • A smart home platform in Japan called HomeX, meant to control all the connected devices in your house. 
  • A new Technics turntable called the SL-1200 MK7 Direct Drive, with new play functions, including reverse playback.
  • In photography, a Lumix S full-frame mirrorless camera. One new features is a high-resolution mode for shooting expansive landscapes and getting detail shots.   

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