Originally a special produced as a part of Disney's House of Mouse in 2001, Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse is returning to DVD. With tons of Disney characters making an appearance as well as classic Disney cartoons, the DVD is a can't miss success for fans of the Mouse... unless of course, they bought it the first time it was released.
The basic premise of the House of Mouse series involved Mickey and friends running something of a supper club with a floor show. Famous (and not-so-famous) Disney characters would show up, have a meal, and get to watch Mickey and company perform as well as getting to see old Disney cartoons. There was also a story that involved the main characters behind the scenes.
Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse opens with all the attendees of the evening's show trying to leave at the end of the night only to find that they have – as the title indicates – been snowed in. While Mickey quickly comes up with the plan to celebrate Christmas there with all the guests, Donald finds himself lacking the Christmas spirit, and it is up to Daisy, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, and everyone else to restore his positive attitude towards the holiday. As for the cartoons within the main cartoon, the episode includes "Mickey's Christmas Carol," "Donald on Ice," "The Nutcracker," and "Pluto's Christmas Tree."
The entire affair is incredibly fun, both in terms of the new footage and the old. Though "Mickey's Christmas Carol" may be the best known of the pieces (and a great version of A Christmas Carol), one of the most fun segments is "The Nutcracker," which features the legendary John Cleese as the narrator. In true cartoon-style, the narrator spends a significant amount of time interacting with the characters involved, mainly, in this case, Donald. The narrator is both sly and exasperated, as one imagines they might be if they had to actually convince the duck to do anything he might not want to do (in this case, Donald isn't very big on having to be the Mouse King).
Some younger viewers may be disappointed that various classic characters (Cinderella, Aurora, Pooh, and Tigger to name a few) don't really have much to do even if they are prominently placed on the DVD's box. Many characters are simply there for brief cameos. However, in the case of the younger viewer this reviewer watched with, she was thrilled to see her favorite characters, even if they were just there momentarily.
In terms of bonus features, the release contains a couple of sing-along songs, a kid-oriented brief featurette on Foley work, as well as the premiere episode of House of Mouse. This last is certainly the best of the extras, but each of them has something to recommend it, and each of them feels germane to the release, not something just tossed in so that the DVD could have bonus features.
Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse is a fantastic holiday treat. It has something for adult fans as well as younger audiences. Just looking at the House of Mouse's audience and trying to figure out where everyone is from is great fun in and of itself. Additionally – and very importantly – the stories, new and old, are infused with the holiday spirit in a way Disney excels at. It is virtually impossible to watch the cartoons contained herein and not receive a touch of that Christmas feeling.