Back in our childhood, there was a one and only mouse we all knew, loved and were fascinated with: Mickey Mouse! The one and only Mickey, whose other name – Mouse – came to be more like a surname rather than a defining denomination, as I cannot imagine anyone identifying Mickey with a mouse. Ever since its creation, Mickey came to be this anthropomorphic creature managing to make our childhoods better – and not only! We, as adults, might have prone to become better people just by having had Mickey Mouse by our side as we were kids, to inspire us with its friendly smile and positive attitude.
Mickey Mouse & the Emergence of a Magic Kingdom: Disney
Mickey Mouse wasn't born yesterday. Let's follow his steps through Disney's phantasmagoric world...
Screenshot of Mickey Mouse from the film Steamboat Willie (1928).
Oswald The lucky Rabbit
But how did Mickey came to being? Well, Mickey was born from the creative imagination and harmonious collaboration of two good friends: Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. In 1928, Mickey came to life at the Walt Disney Studios. Before Mickey, there was also Oswald The Lucky Rabbit that Ub Iwerks had created; however, Oswald got out of the hands of the two friends Ub and Walt, as Universal Studios got hold of the rabbit, turning it into their own pal. No worries! Mickey made it bigger – and who could deny it? Mickey Mouse was the first animated cartoon to have got its own star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood in 1978! That's quite something!
Going back to the beginnings, one must know that Mickey Mouse made its debut in a cartoon that was also one of the first sound cartoons ever created: Steamboat Willie (dating back to 1928). For those days, animation with sound represented an outstanding technological accomplishment. Another accomplishment was the fact that Mickey's co-creator Walt Disney took his creation into his own hands further on by him himself – Walt Disney – becoming the voice behind the character. If the design belonged mostly to Ub Iwerks and his talent in drawing, the voice and personality were all due to Walt Disney – Mickey's voice!
Steamboat Willie - 1928
Mickey goes to Oscars
Walt Disney's Oscars, 1939
What followed was that the Mickey Mouse character grew bigger than any other created before. Nine animation movies got nominations for the Academy Awards (or The Oscars, as we all know them) throughout the years and, in 1942, Lend a Paw even won the award. Moreover, the adventures of Mickey Mouse did not stop on the screen, even though the character never stopped appearing in animation movies and even TV animation series. In the 1930s Mickey also started to be a comic strip character of its own, with its own newspaper strip for which Floyd Gottfredson was responsible. The comics ran successfully for 45 years and Floyd Gottfredson's name also got deeply connected with the fate of the successful Mickey. Due to his hard work, talent and most significant contribution to Mickey's development, Floyd Gottfredson found his way in the Comic Book Hall of Fame, as well as being mentioned in the Disney Legends – a program that recognizes those who left their most wonderful marks on the successful evolution of The Walt Disney Company.
Walter Disney, Mickey Mouse and friends
Despite being perceived as a character of its own, always joyful and friendly, always with a smile on the face, Mickey Mouse never stood alone, whether we refer to its creators and developers or to its other friends. Mickey stood for Disney, as Disney stood for Mickey all along. Also, Disney brought new friends into the picture for Mickey to have whom to play with and whom to go in the pursuit of wonderful adventures. There is Minnie, Mickey's girlfriends, of a sweet and disarming feminine charm. Then, there is Donald Duck, with its distinctive grumpy personality. And there are Pluto and Goofy, featured in many of the Mickey Mouse movies, series and strips. All of them together are our childhood friends.
Mickey's home: Disneyland
Disney - SpectroMagic Mickey!
However, one must know that Mickey would have never been Mickey without having had its own well-established land where to rule, a land of joy and endless fun where Mickey could have presided happily ever after along with its good friends and many other characters brought to life by The Walt Disney Company throughout the years. This wonderful land got to be called Disneyland, coming to be a most amazing theme park envisioned and brought to life by Walt Disney himself and his company in 1955. After this one, other Disney theme parks followed, such as Disney World in Florida opened in the 1960s or even Disneyland Paris opened in 1992 and still continuing to be Europe's most visited theme park ever.
Therefore, the amazing Disney world transposed into a theme park came to be one of the most successful attractions worldwide for children and parents alike. Nowadays, there's always an easy way to the Disney theme parks; there are always tickets available from FloridaTix so that you can take the kids over there, where they can shake hands with Mickey Mouse and friends, but also with many other Disney characters.
One might actually state that Mickey Mouse did not only grow on the big screen, through comic strips or TV animated series. Mickey Mouse grew along with us, we grew together. Ever since the 1950s Mickey could have been met in person by anyone at any time in his own kingdom, all made by Walt Disney as well. The interesting detail concerning the creation of the Disney theme parks is that they all sparked from Walt Disney's imagination – the same one who stood for Mickey's voice, sending the message.
Disneyland, the first Disney theme park located in California, opening its gates in 1955, imagined, planned and accomplished by Walt Disney, stood back in those days for a very impressive and original creation. However, rather sooner than later, the audience, the visitors, the fans, the people wanted more of Mickey and more of Disney altogether – they wanted more and more! Therefore, Walt had to set himself on going once again and plan a bigger theme park. This time, it was in Florida – Disney World! Back then, there was only the Magic Kingdom, but in the meantime the park expanded more and more, with even more adventurous sections that can entertain any kind of visitor. Unfortunately, Walt Disney died in the meantime without having seen even the germ of this other creation of his – the Magic Kingdom - coming into being. His spirit is still alive, though, kept on going by the evergreen Mickey and all that Disney World stands for.
The Disney theme parks are worlds of wonder where one knows only happiness, joyful adventures and amazing explorations. These amazing cities in themselves awaiting to be explored are a thrill for children and adults alike. For the kids, it is as if being at home – or in a homeland of their dreams. As for the adults, it's just as if returning to the age of innocence and laughter, when there was no such thing as stress, worries, anxieties or concerns. In the Disney World, you just have to let yourself go and simply go with the flow, let the child within guide you. Or, simply put in the mere words of Walt Disney: “Dance to the music of your dreams! The steps will bring you joy!”