Partners Statue Walt Disney World

Through the Years: Walt Disney World Resort’s Partners Statue

In 1995 on this week, the Partners Statue was unveiled in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort. Found in front of Cinderella Castle in the Hub, this larger-than-life statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse continues to be a source of joy and inspiration to the thousands of guests who walk by it every day. Many of these guests stop and take a picture with the duo. Others take the picture of them and feel a connection with Walt Disney and the realization of this dream that became Walt Disney World Resort.

Today, the Disney Parks Blog shared photos of the Partners Statue through the years. These photo show the area around the statue has changed through the years and even how the statue has changed with time. Check out these photos here:

The band plays at the Partners Statue dedication

When the Partners Statue debuted at Disney World, it was a big deal!  

As you can see in this rare 1995 photo from the archives, marching band music added to the excitement of the statue’s dedication in Florida. 

The statue that featured the likeness of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse hand-in-hand was made even more special by its location at Disney World – in the hub and just steps away from Cinderella Castle. 

Close-up of the Partners Statue

Several of you may even know that directly under Walt and Mickey is the “Partners” dedication plaque that reads, “We believe in our idea: a family park where parents and children could have fun together,” – Walt Disney. 

The Partners Statue at Disneyland on a foggy morning

The original – a bronze statue of Walt and Mickey – was installed in the hub at Disneyland on Nov. 18, 1993 to commemorate the 65th birthday of Mickey Mouse.  

The above photo of a foggy morning featuring the Partners Statue at Disneyland back in 2010 was one of the most popular on the Blog for several years.  

The partners statue with the Christmas tree at Magic Kingdom

The Partner’s Statue was sculpted by Disney Legend Blaine Gibson. A former Disney animator and Imagineer, Blaine took one year to create it and based his depiction of Walt on a bust he originally created in the 1960s.   

The final product was stunning day or night as seen in the 2011 photo above that was captured during the holidays at Disney World!

Zoomed-in photo of Walt as part of the Partners Statue

When choosing an expression for Walt’s face, Blaine tried to reflect Walt’s ultimate goal of spreading joy and making people happy. So, the expression you see is an interpretation of Walt watching happy people enjoy the park.  

And if you look closely, the initials on Walt’s tie are “STR,” for “Smoke Tree Ranch,” an area in Palm Springs where Walt once owned a vacation home.

Zoomed-in photo of Mickey as part of the Partners Statue

When considering having Mickey hold Walt’s hand while planning for the statue, Blaine consulted footage from the film “Fantasia,” that showed Mickey shaking the hand of orchestra conductor Leopold Stokowski.   

An early sketch of the Partners Statue even featured Mickey holding an ice cream cone in one hand. 

Partners Statue in front of the 25th anniversary "birthday cake" Cinderella Castle

Another memorable sight over the years happened during the 25-year anniversary of Walt Disney World when Cinderella Castle was transformed into a 185-foot-tall birthday cake.  

As this photo from the archives shows, The Partners Statue dazzled in front of a castle that had more than 55,000 tablespoons of pink paint in three different shades – along with 50 gumballs, 30 lollipops, 4 Life Savers, 12 gum drops, 16 red candy hearts and 16 green candy stars.

Partners Statue during the Magic Kingdom fireworks

Since being installed at Disneyland and then Disney World, identical versions have been added to Disney Parks locations around the world. 

What do you think of this variety of views of the Partners Statue at Magic Kingdom? Which one is your favorite? How many photos have you taken of or with this statue? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!