Inside Walt Disney World’s celebrations for Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday

The humble mouse that became a global superstar has reached 90.

True, Steamboat Willie, Walt Disney’s first short film featuring Mickey Mouse, was actually released in November 1928.

But that won’t stop Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, from celebrating his anniversary throughout 2019 with new attractions.

For instant wow, start your journey where the Disney fun first began at Magic Kingdom.

Walking down Main Street to Cinderella Castle will delight all ages and the character meet-and-greets, classic rides and Happily Ever After fireworks show make this a favourite.

Whether you’re a cynic who questions why Donald Duck wears a towel round his waist after a shower but doesn’t own trousers, or you’re knee-high to one of the Seven Dwarfs, you’ll soon be buying a pair of Mickey ears.

There’s never been a better time to visit Mickey, Minnie and pals at Disney World

Or Minnie ears, or Stitch, or ears shaped like a donut. Novelty ears are big at WDW!

These days the Disney app is a must. It will keep you up to date with attraction waiting times and show schedules at all six parks with GPS-enabled maps.

When you register you select your favourite character. Don’t be surprised if you spend a good minute deciding, then just type “Mickey”. At least you won’t forget it.

Visitors can go to infinity and beyond at Toy Story Land

 

There’s also the MagicBand bracelet. This handy device, inset, holds your virtual tickets, the Disney Memory Maker for saving pictures and it’s your room key in a Disney resort.

My girlfriend Alison was delighted she could load it with credit-card details so her shopping was billed in one go when we checked out.

After the tradition of Magic Kingdom, the World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom is the futuristic place to have your mind blown.

The beauty of its flagship ride, 3D motion simulator Avatar: Flight Of Passage, is that you don’t need to have seen the film.

Riders sit on a motorbike-style console, which serves as a living and breathing banshee, and soar on a tour of Pandora. Animal Kingdom’s other highlight was the Kilimanjaro Safari truck ride through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, a real-life Lion King experience across 110 acres.

The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom is just breathtaking

 

Slinky Dog is the star of Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This new rollercoaster is, like the films, fun for all the family.

Hollywood Studios celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and the landmark will be marked by the launch of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Visitors will get the chance to pilot the Millennium Falcon this autumn.

Fans step into a cartoon for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway – that mouse’s first ride-through attraction.

Matt Robbins, posing in front of Toy Story’s Woody, joined in the fun

Over in Epcot, as well as a range of rides, there are 11 pavilions themed around different countries, all staffed by natives.

Talking of experts, head for Wine Bar George at Disney Springs, where master sommelier George Miliotes will help you toast Mickey’s birthday in style.

Or cool off at Disney’s two beautiful waterparks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.

Book through the Walt Disney Travel Company to get 20 years’ Disney experience. Friendly staff will help you tailor your trip to suit your tastes and age-range of guests.

There’s nothing Mickey Mouse about this burger

Once there, Disney’s VIP tour guides are also worth considering, particularly if you are in a large group. You get the chance to queue-jump and their encyclopaedic WDW knowledge will help you make the most of your time.

Our pick of the Disney resorts was the Animal Kingdom Lodge. This luxury safari-style hotel has swimming pools, waterslides, a cocktail bar and restaurant, as well as its very own savannah with 30 African species.

Like Walt said: “It’s kinda fun to do the impossible”, and it was “all started by a mouse”.

How to book the holiday

Book it: Seven nights at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida with Walt Disney Travel Company, starts at £1,326 per person, based on 2 adults and 2 children (aged 3-9) sharing a standard room at Disney’s Pop Century Resort. Includes return British Airways flights from Gatwick on April 17 and Disney’s Ultimate seven-day ticket for the whole family. Find out more at disneypackages.co.uk or call 0800 169 0730.

Tourist info: Find out more at visitorlando.com.

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