Updated for 2017!
Most people familiar with the success of Walt Disney will recognize one of his most famous quotes, “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started with a mouse.” Let’s take a Cheapskate Princess look at the history of Mickey and see how he has become a symbol of financial independence and success over 100 years after Walt Disney was born.
Mickey Mouse is a cartoon character developed in 1928 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks at the Walt Disney Studio. Mickey usually appears in red shorts, white gloves, and yellow shoes. He has become one of the most recognizable cartoon characters ever created.
Mickey debuted in November 1928 in the cartoon Steamboat Willie after he appeared in a test screening earlier that year. He went on to appear in over 130 films including some of the most well-known titles like The Band Concert, Brave Little Tailor, and Fantasia. Nine Mickey Mouse cartoons were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, with the film Lend A Paw winning the award in 1942. Mickey Mouse became the first cartoon character to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1978.
Beginning in 1930, Mickey was featured as a comic strip character. His self-titled newspaper strip, which ran for 45 years, was drawn primarily by Floyd Gottfredson. Mickey appeared in comic books, and he had a television series from 1955 to 1996 called The Mickey Mouse Club. He now appears in video games, tons of merchandising, and you can meet him “in person” at the Disney theme parks.
Walt Disney said of his most popular character, “Mickey Mouse is, to me, a symbol of independence. He was a means to an end. He popped out of my mind onto a drawing twenty years ago on a train ride to Manhattan to Hollywood at a time when business fortunes of my brother Roy and myself were at lowest ebb and disaster seemed right around the corner. Born of necessity, the little fellow literally freed us of immediate worry. He provided the means for expanding our organization to its present dimensions and for extending the medium of cartoon animation toward new entertainment levels.”
So in 1930, Mickey turned out to be a symbol of independence for Walt Disney, his family, and the people who worked both with and for him. And today, visiting “the House of Mouse,” “the House that Mickey Built,” in sunny Orlando is easily now a sign of independence and financial success for thousands of people world-wide every year.
Think about the people who can afford Disney vacations. While many have saved for months, some saving for years, to make it to Disney, just taking a vacation in Orlando is a symbol of financial independence. You have made it to the place many people only dream of visiting, and that’s a real accomplishment given the cost. Taking a Disney vacation is a sign that you are financially successful, even if you have to pay off part of that vacation on your Disney Visa when you return from vacation. You went to Disney; you’ve made it. You are successful.
For many American families, a trip to Walt Disney World has become known as “a childhood rite of passage.” That rite of passage comes with a pretty steep price, and it seems to get more expensive every year. The face of that passage? Mickey Mouse, of course. You’ll probably see his face when you look at your Disney Visa card.
What’s the problem with “making it” to Orlando? Well, you’ll want to go back…
Keep reading Cheapskate Princess, because we want to help you get there without spending a fortune. You’ll need to buy a t-shirt while you’re there, because your shirt – along with the selfie you post on the Internet of you wearing it- is the physical symbol of your success, like a trophy…
Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you, standing independently in line for Space Mountain. If you’ve ever checked your credit card balance on your cell phone in line at a Disney theme park, you just might be a Cheapskate Princess!
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Amanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.
Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast.
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