Disney promotes ‘Carol’ with train tour

40 city journey features exhibits, 3-D theater

The White House may be promoting the future of train travel, but the Mouse House is pushing a cross-country rail tour very much linked to the past.

Four Disney-branded train cars left Los Angeles’ Union Station last week as part of a stunt to promote “A Christmas Carol,” the performance-capture pic starring Jim Carrey that bows Nov. 6.

The effort is unique not only because of its length — it stops in 40 cities in 36 states and runs through November — but also what’s on board. The remodeled passenger cars from the late 1940s and ’50s are plastered with images and slogans from the 3-D toon.

Inside the gingerbread-scented cars, visitors can check out the cutting-edge technology used to produce the pic, as well as play games, gaze at the film’s costumes, and examine artifacts loaned from the Charles Dickens Museum, including a first-edition copy of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

A two-story, inflatable 3-D theater, will be erected at each city and give visitors a first look at the film.

A fifth car is used to house personnel traveling with the exhibit.

Director Robert Zemeckis called the stunt “such a classic idea about promotion that it’s actually new again. When the circus would come to town 100 years ago, the circus train would come into town and that was their promotion. Everyone would turn out for the train.”

Carrey described the promo as “kinda like Hollywood on wheels going out into the world.”

Disney paid Amtrak an undisclosed fee to attach the cars to its trains. Tour is backed by Hewlett Packard, although Amtrak will also launch a website around the exhibit.

The 16,000-mile trip ends at New York City’s Grand Central terminal.

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