Mickey Mouse has spent nearly a century making kids laugh with his distinctive voice and silly shenanigans. He's been an icon practically forever, but when is Mickey Mouse's birthday? Even though he’s turning 91 this year, Mickey is still a symbol of childhood wonder and magic, and is, of course, the mouse behind “the happiest place on earth”.
On November 18, 1928, Walt Disney’s Steamboat Willie debuted, introducing Mickey to the world for the first time... which means the big guy's birthday is right around the corner. After his debut, it didn’t take long for his appeal to catch on with the masses. He starred in animated shorts that were played in theaters across the nation, appeared in a newspaper comic strip, had licensed merchandise, and was a character float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (formerly the Macy’s Santa Claus Parade), all before his 10th birthday. Then, in 1955, Disneyland opened and the magic only grew from there. It's worth noting that Minnie Mouse shares Mickey's November 18 birthday, as she also made her debut in Steamboat Willie (talk about true love).
Part of Mickey’s success can be attributed to the passion behind his creation. Walt Disney, of Disney Studios, originally worked as a part of Universal Studios in the 1920s where he and a team of animators developed a wildly popular children’s character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, according to Inverse. Once he realized the potential of children’s characters, Walt wanted to create more, so pitched the idea to the head of Universal Studios and asked his distributor, Charles Mintz, "for a slight increase in pay." But Mintz, who had originally encouraged Oswald's creation, refused to give Disney a raise and "informed him that not only would he not be receiving more money, but that he and his backer, Universal Pictures, had persuaded much of Disney’s staff to abandon his studio in favor of Universal efforts. To make matters worse, Mintz told Disney that per their original contract, Oswald didn’t belong to Disney but to Universal." Being the pro he is, Walt finished up his contract with Universal before leaving to start a new Disney Studio, which is where Mickey Mouse was born.
Unlike basically any other pop culture character that was created nearly 100 years ago, Mickey has continued to evolve and grow with the changing times. In Oct. of 1971, 16 years after the opening of Disneyland, Disney World opened its doors for the first time. Seven years later, for his 50th birthday, Mickey was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (the first-ever cartoon character to get one). Even now, despite all of the cartoons that have come and gone, the mouse is still considered an A-list celebrity.
Over the years, Mickey has continued to be the cornerstone of the Disney Corporation. His character is prominently featured at the beginning of many Disney movies, his iconic mouse-ears are still a must-have toy, and he’s one of the most sought-after characters to have a meet and greet with at Disney Parks around the world. Not too shabby for an-almost 91-year-old.
More than anything, Mickey is one of the only things that people across generations share a love for. Everyone has their own favorite Disney princess, movie, or memory, but there is only one Mickey Mouse (sorry, Minnie). He is the one who brings the Disney magic to life and inspires people to keep it alive by finding new ways to connect with kids and adults, while still maintaining the original spirit and passion that Walt put into the franchise in the 1920s.
Mickey has done so much to help make the world a little happier over the last 91 years, so he’s more than earned a big birthday bash. Celebrate the day with some Mickey-shaped ice cream bars, put on your mouse-ears, and turn on one of your favorite Disney shows or movies (and no, it does not have to be Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, no matter what your toddler says).