This week in Disney history, back in 1995, the Partners Statue was unveiled at Magic Kingdom Park here at the Walt Disney World Resort. This statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, which is positioned in front of Cinderella Castle, was the second Partners Statue to ever be featured at a Disney Park. The first debuted at Disneyland park in 1993 in honor of Mickey Mouse’s birthday.
That said, here are five “fun facts” about our Partners Statue, which finds its way into so many guest photos each year.
- The Partners Statue was sculpted by Disney Legend Blaine Gibson. A former Disney animator and Imagineer, Blaine took one year to create the sculpture and based his depiction of Walt on a bust he originally created in the 1960s.
- When considering having Mickey hold Walt’s hand, Blaine consulted footage from the film “Fantasia,” in which Mickey shakes the hand of orchestra conductor Leopold Stokowski.
- One early sketch of the Partners Statue featured Mickey holding an ice cream cone in one hand.
- When choosing an expression for Walt’s face, Blaine tried to reflect Walt’s goal of making people happy. The statue’s expression is Blaine’s interpretation of Walt watching happy people enjoy the park.
- The initials on Walt’s tie are “STR,” and stand for “Smoke Tree Ranch,” an area in Palm Springs where Walt once owned a vacation home.