Happy Birthday Mickey: 90 Magical Years
On November 18, 1928, the classic animated short film Steamboat Willie first appeared on screen and introduced the world to Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney’s cartoon mouse charmed the hearts of Americans and quickly rose to worldwide fame. In 2018, Mickey Mouse celebrated his 90th birthday on November 18, with visitors in Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort, and with other Mickey fans in Disney parks around the world.
An article in Newsweek stated, Walt Disney expressed his original inspirations for his cartoon mouse and his desire to make Mickey relatable and likeable to the audience. “When people laugh at Mickey Mouse it’s because he’s so human; and that is the secret of his popularity,” said Disney. Disney also reportedly modeled many of Mickey’s movements and mannerisms after comedic film stars during the 1920’s, including Charlie Chaplin.
Walt Disney was also responsible for voicing the cartoon mouse himself “from July 1929, when Mickey said his first words, ‘Hot Dog!’ until about 1947”. According to Huffington Post, Walt Disney Co. calls Mickey Mouse it’s global ambassador, which truly began after Mickey stared in his first full length feature film in Disney’s 1942 Fantasia, as a curious and mischievous sorcerer’s apprentice.
The Mickey Mouse Club began to air in the 1950’s, which was a popular television show for many American baby boomer children at that time. According to Variety, The Mickey Mouse Club also served as the beginning platform for several famous actors and musicians including, Keri Russell, Ryan Gosling, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears.
Every guest that attended the Disney parks on November 18 were offered commemorative and complementary pins, in honor of Mickey’s birthday celebration. Christina Nugent from Alpharetta, Georgia, expressed her love for Mickey and her emotional connection to the cartoon mouse. “Mickey has always represented happiness and magic to me and my children. My kids grew up watching Disney movies and I tried to take them to Disney World once a year when they were younger. Now, my daughter is the only one who really wants to come to the parks,” said Nugent.
Nugent made special plans to visit Disney World during Mickey’s birthday celebration with her daughter, and they both happily received commemorative birthday pins on November 18. “Every time I come to Disney, I am reminded of all the times I’ve visited with my kids, and it brings so much joy to my heart be here with my daughter today and to see new families share in this magical experience.”
Other Disney Parks around the world hosted unique and interactive birthday events, which included special parades and performances honoring Mickey’s birthday. Mickey’s birthday celebrations in Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort included “special merchandise and food & beverage items as well as the chance for guests to celebrate at Magic Kingdom Park during the “Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!” Street Party, in which park guest had the opportunity to sing “Happy Birthday” to Mickey Mouse along with many familiar Disney movie characters.
Rebecca Midhat traveled from England to be one of the many Disney fans that came to Magic Kingdom on Mickey’s birthday, only her visit on November 18 specifically was not done on purpose. “Truthfully, I just happen to travel to Disney World today, on Mickey’s birthday. It really feels like a happy coincidence. Like, maybe I was supposed to be here to celebrate with everyone. It makes me really happy to see people from all over, of all ages, celebrating and being happy. All for our shared love of Mickey.”
Midhat also tried one of the limited, specialty food items offered at the park on Mickey’s birthday. “I had the Birthday Bash Push Pop, and it was absolutely fantastic.” According to Attractions Magazine, the specialty cake pop was filled with birthday cake pastry cream and layered with cake crumbles, buttercream.
Attractions Magazine also reported other Disney parks around the world offered other limited-edition food items, in honor of Mickey’s birthday. Some of the celebratory food items included “a burger with a Mickey bun, a confetti Mickey pretzel, and a Minnie Kitchen Sink Sundae.” Including specialty foods, a new line of birthday collection merchandise was released for Mickey’s birthday and included a secret pop-up sale at Magic Kingdom, only available for Disney Park’s Annual Pass Holders.
Andrew Bart was another Disney visitor at Magic Kingdom on November 18. Bart and his family traveled from New Orleans, Louisiana, to be a part of Mickey’s birthday magic. “Mickey means a lot to me, and my family. I can bring my whole family and we can all have fun together.” Bart’s family donned matching shirts which read, ‘Happy 90thBirthday Mickey!’ on the front and, ‘DISNEY FAMILY VACATION 2018’ on the back. Bart said matching Disney shirts is a yearly tradition for his family, and that a group photo on Mickey’s birthday would look great for their family photo albums. “To me, 90 years is a huge achievement for Disney and for Disney fans. It shows how something as simple as a cartoon mouse can bring people together by making them smile,” said Bart.
Over the past 90 years, Walt Disney’s animated mouse has developed into an international icon and a treasured, meaningful symbol for Disney fans everywhere. From pencil to paper, from paper to film, and from film to the hearts of many around the world. As reported on Newsweek, Disney once said a few words to ode to his original dream of Mickey; “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing — that it all started with a mouse.”