Ever since his big-screen debut in Steamboat Willie on Nov. 18, 1928 at New York City’s Colony Theatre, Mickey Mouse has been the global ambassador for The Walt Disney Company. Now, the massive media empire built from those early shorts is celebrating the character’s 90th birthday with festivities all year long, including an exclusive fashion show, new ABC TV special, Disney Parks celebration, and a fifth season of the Emmy Award-winning Mickey Mouse shorts.
The party kicks off March 7 with “The Happiest Show on Earth”: a runway fashion event featuring a Mickey-inspired collection designed by couture brand Opening Ceremony founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon. The show will also be the label’s Spring 2018 runway show. Select items will go on sale immediately following the show at shopDisney.com, OpeningCeremony.com and Opening Ceremony stores; more ready-to-wear looks will hit stores in November. Minnie Mouse, who shares this milestone anniversary with Mickey and recently received her official star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, will also be celebrated at the fashion show.
This collaboration will launch “Mickey the True Original,” a global celebration of Mickey’s heritage, personality and status as a pop-culture icon. The campaign will come to life through fashion collaborations with other true original brands, as well as engaging content and events that embrace Mickey’s impact on the past, present and future.
D23: The Official Disney Fan Club is also celebrating the milestone. Notably, D23 and the Walt Disney Archives, in partnership with Walt Disney Animation Studios, have commissioned legendary Disney animator Mark Henn to paint Mickey’s official 90th birthday portrait. Henn follows in the footsteps of artists such as Disney Legend John Hench, who crafted five of Mickey’s official portraits. Henn animated Mickey for Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) and is currently at work on Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (2018). The new portrait will debut on the cover of the fall issue of Disney twenty-three, a quarterly publication from D23.
The celebration continues through 2018 and beyond:
- This fall, ABC will air a star-studded celebration of Mickey in honor of his birthday, with special guests, musical performances and more.
- Disney Channel will debut season five of the Mickey Mouse animated shorts, taking the series total to more than 90 shorts, including a special seven-minute extended-length birthday episode that will air later this year.
- Walt Disney Parks and Resorts around the world will celebrate Mickey’s 90th on November 18, marking the day with commemorative merchandise, photo locations and more.
- Beginning in late 2018 and into 2019 the World’s Biggest Mouse Party, saluting Mickey and Minnie, will take place at Disney Parks worldwide.
- Disney On Ice will salute Mickey as the “True Original” host of Disney On Ice since its inception in 1981 by creating Mickey’s 90th pre-shows for productions touring the United States, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America.
- Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Special Celebration, a new production showcasing Mickey Mouse’s memories throughout the years, will launch in Japan in July 2018 and continue touring throughout the Asia-Pacific region until August 2019.
- In France, 38 design and art schools will take part in “Mickey Is Art,” a unique contest in which students will craft works of Mickey, inspired by their favorite artistic movement. The winning designs will be displayed this summer in 12 major train stations in France and for sale this September at Galerie Glénat in Paris.
- Disney store will continue to celebrate milestone moments for Mickey Mouse with the Mickey Mouse Memories Collection (launched Jan. 2018), a monthly, limited-release series of 12 collectible plush, mugs and cloisonné pins inspired by Mickey’s most memorable movie roles.
- Disney Publishing Worldwide will introduce more than 30 titles globally as part of Mickey’s 90th, including books, arts & crafts and comics.
Additional D23 highlights:
- This November, D23 will present Destination D: Celebrating Mickey Mouse, a two-day event at Walt Disney World Resort featuring panels, presentations and fun-filled entertainment.
- This year’s annual D23 Gold Member gift is an exclusive box set of 23 special Mickey Mouse mementos—authentic reproductions of such treasured keepsakes as pages from the script of Steamboat Willie and a miniature animation cel from Parade of the Award Nominees (1932). Fans are encouraged to use the hashtag #Mickey90.
Since first hitting screens in 1928, Mickey Mouse has appeared in more than 100 cartoons. His most recent animated incarnations appear on Disney Channel’s Mickey Mouse shorts series (voiced by Chris Diamantopoulos) and Mickey and the Roadster Racers (played by Bret Iwan, official voice of Mickey since 2009).