"Hi Toontown fans -- this is Jesse Schell. You may have seen my red rabbit, Jaymo, running around Toontown sometime in the last 15 years.
I've been getting a ton of emails from Toontown fans, and I thought it might be useful for me to give some advice here, so that more people would hear about it.
First, let me say that I'm super sad about Disney's decision to shut Toontown. Toontown has been a big part of my life since 1998, when we first started working on it. To see it close is extremely depressing, when it means so much to so many people.
Next, I know that there are rumors going around about Schell Games buying Toontown. I can't really talk about this, but I will say that there are discussions going on about the future of Toontown, and whether companies external to Disney will be a part of that. Unfortunately, these conversations are likely to be slow, so we should all anticipate Toontown closing on the date that has been announced.
Does that mean you should give up? No way. Think of Star Trek. It was cancelled after being on the air for three years, and there was no new Star Trek for TEN YEARS. Why did it come back? Because the fans loved it so much, they had conventions, they wrote fan fiction, they did everything they could to keep the show alive in their hearts... and all that love paid off, and ten years later, Star Trek came back -- first as movies, but then as a new show. And now, forty years later, the Star Trek community is still going strong. I hope you don't have to wait ten years, but if Toontown really means something to you, and you aren't just a fair-weather fan, then do what you can to keep it alive! Here are my tips:
1) Keep the Toon spirit going on the web. Keep talking in the forums. Keep writing stories, keep drawing pictures, make your own Toontown indie games, whatever it takes!
2) Contact Disney A LOT. Send emails to any Disney execs or departments that you think might be relevant. Even better, send them actual letters! Draw them actual pictures! Emails are easy to send, and easy to delete, but when hundreds of actual letters start showing up, people really take notice. I can't give you specific addresses because that would be a breach of professional courtesy, but I'm sure with a little digging you can figure out some of the right people to contact.
3) Stage events. Pickets get attention. LA people, why not consider organizing a "save toontown" event somewhere near the Disney studios? Florida people, maybe have an event near DisneyWorld? NY People, why not have an event near the Times Square Disney Store? Dress in costumes, get the local media on you. It'll be fun (if you do it safely) and what have you got to lose?
4) Be creative -- do stuff that is safe, but attention getting and creative, to show the world how much you care about Toontown.
I can't say for sure that these kinds of things will work -- but they certainly can't hurt. If you make enough noise and get enough attention, it might be enough for someone to say, "You know... we should really give this thing a second look."
I wish I had a silver bullet (a platinum pie?) for you, but I don't. But if you care about Toontown, let Disney know about it, any way you can. They will be the ones who decide about this, ultimately, even if outside partners are involved, so do what you can to let them know you care, and how much you care.
Like fighting the Cogs, It is very possible this won't be a short-term battle, but a long-term war, one that will test your patience. But if you are patient, and you keep showing the world how much you care about being part of a game like this, Toontown may be able to rise again.
In the meantime, keep your Toon alive inside your heart. No one can shut that down.