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.
“Walt watching happy people enjoy the park” – this is such a happy yet emotional fact!
Thanks for sharing these great facts, Jenn! Now I’ll imagine Mickey holding an ice cream cone or better yet, Mickey’s Premium Ice cream bar! 😀
Those are my fav!
Another fun fact; the Partners statue is where I proposed to my Cast Member fiancée just last October. 🙂
That is a VERY fun fact!
I love this statue. Having Walt forever watching over the eight lands of his kingdom with his shadow by his side. A beautiful tribute to an amazing man and his vision.
I visited Magic Kingdom a few weeks ago which prompted me to search for pictures from my visit during the late 80’s. One of the pictures I took was in front of the castle and the Partner’s Statue was not there. I was going to research when it was added to Magic Kingdom, but your post took care of that for me. Thanks for these fun facts.
As soon as I read about the ice cream in hand, I thought about a Mickey Ears ice cream bar! How great would that have been? Then again, they’d have to keep that statue pretty cold at all times 🙂
Not sure if it’s a fact, but think the MK statue was brought in as a “replacement” to The Walt Disney Story, when it was moved out of Main Street.
(I remember that attraction from my first trip.) 🙂
As a vacation club member our family visit The Magic Kingdom often. We always take time to walk by the Partner’s Statute. It is our way of thanking Walt Disney for the legacy he left behind. I can’t imagine a world without Disney.
Thank you so much!!! I absoluetly LOVED this article! More More More Fun Facts Please!!!
another fun fact is about this statue and it’s sister statue at the bottom of main street, the one of Roy and Minnie.
The Sister statue is Walt’s brother Roy and Minnie sat on a bench with an empty space. Walt is pointing up towards the sister statue telling Mickey to go join his brother and Minnie, as he can’t go any further.
Here is a sixth fun fact: Walt is wearing two wedding rings. The conventional one (obscured by Mickey’s glove) on his left ring finger, and an Irish “Claddagh” ring on his right ring finger. He and Lillian bought the claddagh rings for one another on a trip to Ireland, and wore them every day. The ring is difficult to spot on Walt Disney World’s “Partners” statue, but easy to see on the statue that stands in the courtyard at Team Disney in Burbank.