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¡Feliz Cumpleaños, el Pato Donald!

Greg Ehrbar

by , Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group

It’s a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious privilege to join the Disney Parks Blog family! I hope you’ll join me in an ongoing journey through the magic of Disney Parks and their relation to music, films, TV and more — but especially music, since it was a labor of love to co-write “Mouse Tracks: The Story of Walt Disney Records.” It’s also an honor for my first entry to celebrate one of the greatest Disney stars of all time, Donald Duck.

One of the Greatest Disney Stars of All Time, Donald Duck

Our favorite feathered — and often furious — funny fowl would probably squawk if I reveal his age, but June 9 is his official birthday, coinciding with his debut in the Walt Disney animated short, “The Wise Little Hen.”

Donald’s appeal is that he’s so relatable. Life is full of frustrations and injustices, and while we must learn to choose our battles and restrain our tempers, Donald has no “edit” button on his combustibility. Yet his love of Daisy, his nephews, and even his loyalty to his Uncle Scrooge truly makes him a well-rounded character that seems more like a close friend or relative than a mere “character.”

Mickey’s PhilharMagic at Magic Kingdom Park

In his career, Donald has appeared in more theatrical feature-length films than any other Disney character, from “The Reluctant Dragon” to “Fantasia 2000.” Two of his greatest films were created as part of the “Good Neighbor Policy” between the United States and South America during WWII. “Saludos Amigos” and “The Three Caballeros” continue to delight all ages today with their innovative graphic styles, awesome effects and fantastic music (you can get a behind-the-scenes look at the making of these films in the superb documentary, “Walt and el Grupo”).

The Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros at Epcot

There’s only one place on earth where you can journey through the worlds of these films: Epcot, at the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros attraction. To me, it’s one of the most charming and endearing Disney Parks attractions. All the animation and the live action you see on this journey were created especially for the attraction by some of the top talent in the business. “We’re very proud of how it all turned out,” Director George Scribner (who also directed Mickey’s PhilharMagic) told me. “It’s a little jewel.”

“It was really exhilarating to work with Donald Duck, Jose Carioca and Panchito on this kind of exuberant animation,” added iconic Animation Director Eric Goldberg, who was responsible for the Genie in “Aladdin” and most recently was supervising animator for Rabbit in Walt Disney Picture’s upcoming “Winnie the Pooh.” “It was really a dream assignment for all of us.”

And then there’s that great music, also especially recorded under the baton of Musical Director Richard Bellis. “He matched the score, note for note,” said Eric. “We recorded it in the famous Capitol Records building in Hollywood, where Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland recorded. You could hear the history coming off the walls.”

And for someone who’s usually “bouncing off the walls,” Donald must be one distinguished duck for such first class artistic treatment. Many happy returns, pal!


  • Greg, I’m so glad to see you here. You’re a very special part of what makes Disney magical.

    My husband is mad for Donald and his family; we’ve got Paperino and Papernik toys and games (heard of Paperopoly?) all over our room.

    • That’s really nice of you to say, Michelle. Thank you!

  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros – best attraction at Disney World! We ride it over and over! It just makes me happy :)
    I really want more Mexican Donald souvenirs.

  • Happy Birthday Donald Duck!

  • Hi, Greg! So wonderful to read your post! I very much look forward to reading your future post.

    Happy Birthday Donald Duck! Today is also my Uncle Donald’s birthday. :)

  • So glad to see celebration for Donald, which is also my grandson’s Birthday. But to add to that, mine is on Mickey Mouse’s and my son’s is on Walt Disney’s!

    • Wow! You topped our family — my daughter was born on Walt’s birthday, but my son missed Donald’s by two days. My wife says “I can accommodate that sort of thing only SO much.”

  • Greg,
    I will NOT mention how old I am, but as a kid in the early 70’s, I use to listen to that album (that should tell you something!) all the time! I loved it! All the best Disney songs were on it!

    • As the song written for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (but deleted) says: “You’re never too old to be young.”

      The “Quack! Quack! Quack!” song popped up on several Disney LP’s, including MICKEY MOUSE AND HIS FRIENDS and MUSICAL HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB TV SHOW, both of which are available on iTunes in case you want to Let the Memories Begin (now where have I heard that before?)

  • You know that here in the Netherlands, Donald is more famous than Mickey, he has his own magazine which kids love to read.
    I’m reading this magazine already since I was a kid.
    Anyway Happy Birthday Donald, hope to see you in October again…

    • Many of Donald’s best comics were created in the Netherlands and translated for the U.S. for those of us who love to follow the adventures of Donald, his nephews and Uncle Scrooge.

  • Welcome to the blog Mr. Greg!

    • Thank you, too!

  • Welcome to the blog Mr. Ehrbar

    Based on the fact your first post was about one of my favorite Disney characters, I look forward to more of your post :)

    Happy Birthday Donald!!

    • Thank you!

  • My girl Debbie has blue duck feet going around her entire kitchen ceiling. She had painted a full figure portrait of Donald Duck on the door leading out to the garage. She has approximately some 15 Stuffed Donalds on top of the kitchen cabinets. Every year we go to Disney parks and Debbie must get her picture with the Donald.

    So Happy Birthday Donald from the guy who shares Deb with you!

    • Sounds like Debbie’s kitchen brings new meaning to the classic Rodgers and Hart song, “He Dances on My Ceiling!”

  • happy birthday Mrs, DOnald, happy birthday to youuuuuu

  • happy birthday MRs. Donald, happy birthday to you,happy birthday to you, happy birthday to youuuuuuuuuu

  • I’ve been tweeting and posting on Facebook Donald videos all day. He IS the best!

  • Donald is very special in our family. My parents names, (no I’m not joking) are Donald and Daisy. When I was little, I used to do the ‘Donald Duck Dance’ from The Three Caballeros. Now, PhilharMagic is one of my favorite attractions at MK. Such a wonderful character! Happy Birthday Donald! =D

    • I loved Daisy and Donald in the comics, too. It was like a classic sitcom.

  • I love Donald!

  • Happy birthday donald duck we love you

  • I like to see him waddle and I like to hear him talk, and when somebody makes him mad, quack, quack, quack, how he can squawk!!!
    Happy Birthday Donald!

    • Very cool! You know your Disney songs. That’s from the tune, “Quack! Quack! Quack! Donald Duck,” which was heard on an episode of Disney Sunday night show, as well as recorded for Disneyland Records ‘way back in the Mouseketeer days — in fact, it was written by Mouseketeer Jimmie Dodd himself, who also wrote the “Mickey Mouse March.”

  • It’s my birthday too! What a perfect Disney character to share my birthday with!

    • Happy birthday!

  • Mexico was one of my favorite countries to visit in Epcot and the Gran Fiesta was enjoyed by all.

    Happy Birthday DD!

  • Happy Birthday Donald! Loved him in Philharmagic!

  • Welcome to the Disney Parks Blog, Greg! Looking forward to reading your future posts. Thanks and best wishes!

    • Thanks very much, Stanford!

  • Happy Birthday Donald!! He’s my fave!

    I wish we could see him in AA form at the end of Gran Fiesta Tour . . .

  • The Gran Fiesta Tour is our favorite thing to do at Epcot (and one of our top rides overall)! We love the ride and we love watching The Three Caballeros at home. Happy Birthday, Donald!!

  • Happy Birthday Donald!

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