For some special birthdays, people will plan a trip to Disneyland. For Mickey Mouse, it’s just the opposite. The Walt Disney Company announced today that the mouse is making plans to travel around the world for his big day making surprise appearances and unannounced visits to popular and well-known places.
To prepare for his trip, Mickey has been building a larger social media presence by creating a new Instagram account (@MickeyMouse). During his trip, Mickey will be giving updates on his whereabouts on Disney’s very popular Mickey Mouse Facebook page which has 13 million followers.
For someone who is turning 88, he sure has been busy. The mouse has been working on a video to mark the occasion that features a new song, “What We Got,” and will debut on Facebook on the mouse’s big day, November 18. At Disneyland, a special pre-parade birthday celebration will be held in Mickey’s honor while over in Orlando at the Magic Kingdom, a special birthday-themed version of the popular “street party” “Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!” will be performed. Both resort locations, and all the Disney stores in the U.S., will be handing out “Happy Birthday, Mickey!” buttons.
The Disney Channel will be making a big deal for this milestone as well by airing new Mickey Mouse shorts all day long while on the web, D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, Oh My Disney, Babble, and other Disney websites will be posting memorable items to commemorate the day.
Mickey’s birthday is celebrated in honor of his first big screen debut, Steamboat Willie, on November 18, 1928, at the Colony Theatre in New York City. He has been featured in more than 100 cartoons since, but we wouldn’t even be celebrating the day if a tragic situation hadn’t happened first.
Before Mickey, there was Oswald, a rabbit, reports Biography. Though he looked similar to what would become the mouse that everybody loves, he was his own person with long black ears. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was created for film producer Charles Mintz at Universal. Oswald was Walt Disney’s creation, but Universal owned the rights to the character. When Walt and his brother asked for more money for their successful cartoon creation, Mintz refused and took over ownership of Oswald as well as most of Disney’s employees.
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Walt, and his only animator left, Ub Iwerks, literally went back to the drawing board to create a new character and settled on a mouse. Walt had initially named the mouse Mortimer but we all know that that name didn’t stick. However, there are two stories about where Mickey got his name. Walt’s wife has been credited for suggesting the name, but actor Mickey Rooney had said that after meeting Walt in 1920, he served as inspiration, but most believe the earlier story.
Steamboat Willie was also the first cartoon with synchronized sound. In 2013, Disney animators played tribute to the early technology of Mickey cartoons by creating the short Get a Horse which has the look and feel of an old black and white cartoon, but suddenly, the characters pop out of the screen in 3D color making the most of today’s advanced technology.
Walt Disney said it best many years ago about the rapidly growing company he was creating, “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.”
[Featured Image by Kin Cheung/AP Images]