Mickey Mouse was created by Walt Disney back in 1928, ever since he has been filling our lives with joy and happiness and became one of the most recognizable characters in the world!
So there was no surprise when Walt and Macy’s director back then Tony Sarg, decided to collaborate and bring Mickey high in the sky for the Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1934. The pair worked on four different balloons before settling on a four story high version of Mickey Mouse.
The first Mickey balloon was constructed in a hangar in Akron, Ohio by Goodyear using simple round shapes of rubber and fabric which complimented Mickey’s rounded features. The balloon was also hand painted and featured the famous Macy’s star on his chest. Unfortunately, shortly after a big fire broke out in the room destroying the ballon, so workers had to make a duplicate in just one week so Mickey could make the debut in the parade.
25 handlers were needed to carry the 40 x 26 balloon down Broadway, all donning fancied-up versions of the popular Halloween costume at the time. The masks of these costumes were made specifically for the parade and many still exist in fan collections to this day!
Mickey’s next appearance was in 1968 but this time as the character we know from the parks alongside other disney characters on top of a pink birthday cake due to Mickey’s 40th birthday! His next appearance would be in 1976 with Goofy and Pluto in the Circus Wagon specialty float as part of “The Wonderful World of Disney” unit.
Back to the Mickey balloons, in 1971 we saw the famous mouse in the sky again in honor of the grand opening of Walt Disney World Resort! It was 57 feet tall and was the second balloon constructed with 800 yards of nylon fabric and decorated with 75 galloons of paint.
In 1972 for the one year anniversary of Disney World, Mickey was joined by Donald Duck.
In 2000 a brand new Mickey Mouse balloon was created for the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade of the new millennium. Called “Band Leader Mickey”, the balloon was inspired directly from the opening tittle sequence of the 1950’s television program “The Mickey Mouse Club.”
The balloon featured a red and gold outfit with accented large rope laces buttons, a huge feathered marching hat and a giant bandleader’s cane covered in musical notes. It was carried down the streets by 35 handlers.
That year Mickey was named Macy’s Holiday Ambassador and even received the key to the store and greeted kids on the 7th floor of the midtown Manhattan store.
The fourth and most recent Mickey Mouse balloon debuted in the 2009 parade with a balloon knows as “Sailor Mickey”, and was made to promote the launching of the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy cruise ships. He was wearing his nautically inspired red, white and blue sailor gear.
The last time we saw a Mickey balloon during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was in 2012.
What was your favorite Mickey balloon? Do you remember watching any of them on tv? Let us know and happy thanksgiving!
Credit: Macys / D23
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