Beyond the Castle: A Look at the Partners Statue Through Time

partners statue

Beyond the Castle: A Look at the Partners Statue Through Time

In 1995, the iconic Partners Statue made its grand debut at Walt Disney World, becoming an instant favorite for Disney fans. It’s a fixture in countless trip photos and a cherished tradition, perhaps even the first stop on every Magic Kingdom visit. No matter how the Partners Statue holds a place in your heart, we have a collection of rare and captivating photos, some never before seen, to take you on a journey through its history.

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partners statue

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

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 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 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!


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.

mickey 4

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.

cake 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.

more fireworks

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

Ready to see the Partners Statue for yourself? Contact me today to start planning your next visit to Walt Disney World! I am a travel agent with Destinations to Travel, my services are FREE, and I’d love to help you plan a magical vacation.

Beyond the Castle: A Look at the Partners Statue Through Time 1

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