This story was shared with me by my father after he took Keys to the Kingdom tour at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.
We all know the famous statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse that is found smack in the middle of Magic Kingdom in front of Cinderella’s Castle. Did you know the name for the statue is called “Partners”? Neither did I…
But this post isn’t about Walt or Mickey. Instead, it’s about the bittersweet tribute made by “Partners” and its counterpart, “Sharing the Magic”.
As the tour guide explained to my father, Walt is holding Mickey’s hand and pointing towards something with the other. What he is pointing to is the “Sharing the Magic” statue of his brother, Roy O. Disney, and Minnie Mouse. Why?
Remember, these statues were created long after Walt has passed away. So, in “Partners”, Walt is telling Mickey that he cannot go with him. That he needs to stay behind with Roy and Minnie, and make the magic continue in his memory.
*Touching? It gets sweeter!
Sculptor Blaine Gibson is credited with creating these beautiful pieces of art. He was an original Imagineer who apparently was very close with both Walt and Roy Disney. While Walt and Mickey are always in the spotlight, Gibson felt that Roy was more in the background, supporting his little brother but keeping to himself.
It was obvious that Walt be paired with Mickey in “Partners”, however an almost better match was Roy and Minnie, who are both very important facets to the Disney “world” itself but always second to their celebrity counterparts.
This statue translates Gibson’s feelings for Roy being viewed as less approachable then Walt. He specifically places Minnie Mouse very close to Roy to close the gap and show that he was a welcoming contributor to the magic. They “share” the spotlight and the fame, and are happy to do it.
*Your eyes are watering
You will also notice how Roy and Minnie’s hands are placed. Roy’s hand is cradling hers by placing his underneath. This act of “support” by supporting her hand directly translates to how supportive Roy always was to Walt.
A final note, as if this could get any more bittersweet. My father was told that the open space on the bench next to Minnie Mouse is meant for none other than Mickey Mouse himself. As Walt points to his brother and Minnie, he is letting Mickey know that his place is there, with Minnie, to continue on the legacy of the Disney brothers.
*Cue the tears
I swear I will never look at those statues the same way!