9 Rare Photos Celebrating Disney’s Partners Statue 

Partners Statue during the Magic Kingdom fireworks

This week, in 1995, the famed, larger-than-life Partners Statue was unveiled at Walt Disney World. And over the years, it’s continued to captivate and inspire Disney fans of all ages! 

For many of us, the statue is in our trip photos or it’s part of a special tradition – maybe even a must-do first stop during every visit to Magic Kingdom Park. However this statue touches you, on this special day, we’ve got a batch of stunning and rare photos (some never shared here before) that you’ve got to see. 

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. 

We hope you enjoyed this special look at the Partners Statue.  If you’re planning on seeing it for yourself this summer at Disney World, here are some other things you’ll want to check out:

  • At Magic Kingdom, we’re just days away from the June 28 opening of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.  Check out everything you need to know
  • Country Bear Musical Jamboree opens July 17 in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom Park. Here are details
  • At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of Disney Animation’s “The Lion King” throughout the park through Sept. 6. Visit our latest story for details. 
  • At Disney Springs, you can enjoy “Disney Dreams that Soar” presented by AT&T features state-of-the-art drones choreographed to create designs in the sky with an amazing musical score.  Here’s more
  • At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Pixar’s Joy has joined other Pixar stars at Pixar Plaza. Visit our earlier story for more. 
  • And at EPCOT, everyone is talking about Bruno with a new summer sing-along featuring the beloved songs and story of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Encanto.” Here’s more. 

There’s much more to come at Disney World this year. Keep checking back here for the latest.