Donald Duck: 10 surprising facts about Walt Disney’s character

Donald Duck was born – in Walt Disney’s cartoon The Wise Little Hen – 80 years ago. Here are 10 facts about the cartoon superstar


DONALD DUCK was created by Walt Disney when he heard Clarence Nash doing his “duck” voice while reciting Mary Had a Little Lamb. Disney wanted a character that was more negative than Mickey Mouse, so the bad-tempered Duck was born. Nash voiced the character from 1934 to 1983, training Tony Anselmo to take over. “Donald, I can’t understand a word ya say,” Mickey Mouse says.
• HIS MIDDLE NAME is Fauntleroy (first revealed in the 1942 film Donald Gets Drafted), and he is reportedly the only major Disney character with an official middle name. He has a twin sister named Dumbella. In the late Thirties, Donald was joined by his perennial girlfriend, Daisy Duck, and by his three mischievous nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
• RAY DAVIES of the Kinks namechecks Donald Duck in the opening lines of his 1968 song We are the Village Green Preservation Society, with the lyrics:
We are the Village Green Preservation Society,
God save Donald Duck, Vaudeville and Variety
• A SPECIAL microphone, The Neumann TLM-170, was used to record Donald’s voice. Preferred for its warmth, this microphone also rounds out the high tones and smoothes the “splat” in Donald’s voice.
• DONALD DUCK first appeared on the silver screen on June 9, 1934, in the animated short film, The Wise Little Hen, dancing to the Sailor’s Hornpipe. He has gone on to star in seven feature films–which is more than any of his Disney counterparts. He is six years younger than Mickey Mouse.
• HE WON AN OSCAR for the 1943 animated short Der Feuhrer’s Face, which was originally titled Donald Duck in NutziLand. The anti-Nazi cartoon begins with music from Wagner’s comic opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and also features Groucho Marx’s singing.

• FINNISH voters who want to register a protest vote mark their ballots with the name Donald Duck.
• DONALD DUCK, who usually wears a sailor shirt, cap, and a red or black bow tie, but no trousers, is the only popular film and TV cartoon character to appear as a mascot for the sports team of a major American university, namely, the Oregon Ducks at the University of Oregon.
• WALT DISNEY said of the character: “One of the greatest satisfactions in our work here at the studio is the warm relationship that exists within our cartoon family. Mickey, Pluto, Goofy, and the whole gang have always been a lot of fun to work with. But like many large families, we have a problem child. You’re right, it’s Donald Duck.”
• THE renowned early illustrators of Donald Duck were Al Taliaferro, Carl Barks, and Don Rosa. Donald Duck first appeared as a drawing in a May 1934 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine promoting the June film The Wise Little Hen. The magazine is sought after by collectors.

First look: Meeting Olaf, Mickey, Minnie at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney World visitors have two new places to meet three characters at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Olaf, the comic-relief snowman from “Frozen,” are now receiving guests in new digs at the theme park.

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The area designated “Mickey and Minnie Starring in Red Carpet Dreams” is off the park’s Commissary Lane, across from the entrance to Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. Its waiting area is primarily outdoors and covered, but a basic back-and-forth queue. (At one point, this was an entrance area for auditions for the American Idol Experience attraction.) The theming is minimal at this point: Mickey-fied movie posters and piped-in swing music.


Our wait was advertised as 30 minutes, but it was more like 45 minutes before we got into the air-conditioning on Sunday, the first day that Red Carpet Dreams was open to Hollywood Studios guests. It only seemed longer than 45 minutes because the 4-year-olds among us had mid-afternoon meltdowns in rolling fashion. It’s like when one person yawns, then another one does. Then another. Only with inconsolable, undecipherable crying.

Soon, we were greeted by Minnie Mouse, who has discarded her usual polka-dot motif for a pink, flowing starlet look (with matching bow, naturally).

Disney Junior to Offer Entire Library of MICKEY MOUSE CLUBHOUSE

Beginning today through 8/31, authenticated pay-TV subscribers can access over 100 episodes of the long-running hit Disney Junior series “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” to include all-time favorites such as “Choo Choo Express,” “Around the Clubhouse World” and “Minnie-rella” on HYPERLINK “” WATCH Disney Junior and the HYPERLINK “″ Watch Disney Junior app. Since its premiere in 2006, “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” has consistently ranked among the Top 10 series for Kids 2-5, reaching an average of 50 million viewers per quarter in the U.S. Globally, the series airs in 159 countries and in 32 different languages.


Combining the rich heritage of Disney‘s beloved classic characters with state-of-the-art CG animation, “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” introduces a whole new generation of preschoolers to Mickey and his pals Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Pluto and Daisy. The series’ curriculum is designed to introduce problem-solving and early-mathematics skills in a fun way through contemporary, interactive storytelling.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” airs daily on Disney Channel and Disney Junior.
Kids can also access and take part in Mickey Mouse-themed games via the WATCH Disney Junior App. In “Mickey’s Pet Playhouse,” kids play along with Mickey to adopt, groom and train their own virtual pets. Other games include “Disney Junior: Puzzles!” and “Disney Junior Color!,” an interactive coloring book that allows kids to paint, color and draw some of their favorite characters from Disney Junior including Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.


Disney Junior reflects the emotional connection generations of consumers have to Disney storytelling and Disney characters, both classic and contemporary. It invites mom and dad to join their child in the Disney experience of magical, musical and heartfelt stories and characters, while incorporating specific learning and development themes designed for kids age 2-7. Disney Junior’s series blend Disney’s unparalleled storytelling and characters kids love deeply with learning, including early math, language skills, healthy eating and lifestyles, and social skills. In the U.S., Disney Junior is a daily programming block on Disney Channel and a 24-hour channel reaching over 73 million U.S. homes. In total, there are 34 Disney Junior channels in 25 languages around the world.

Mickey, Cinderella and Goofy take on Disney World cone of silence

At Disney Mascot World, the men and women who portray Mickey Mouse, Cinderella and Goofy have something in common with those who labor in the CIA’s clandestine service: They can’t disclose their identities.


Then they take off the costume, clock out, and —Nope. It’s a secret. One so classified that performers at Walt Disney Costume World are now required to sign a document agreeing not to disclose what characters they play, so as to maintain the magic of the Disney experience. Jack Sparrow can’t ask the women he flirts with out on a date. Tweedle Dee can’t have a LinkedIn account or post photos of himself on Twitter. Goofy is vague about his job on his résumé. When Cinderella’s husband asks her about work, she mumbles something along the lines of “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.” Mickey is basically a big-eared, floppy footed secret agent, minus the ear piece and the invisible ink.

And the union that represents them, Teamsters Local 385, isn’t happy about it. The new confidentiality agreement formalizes a longtime tradition of keeping quiet about performers’ identities. But Donna-Lynne Dalton, recording secretary and business agent for the union and a former character herself, says the policy takes things too far.


“They don’t work for the CIA,” she told the Orlando Sentinel.
On Friday, the union filed a complaint about the policy with the National Labor Relations Board office in Tampa. The union has also filed a grievance with Disney’s labor relations department, according to Reuters.

Dalton said that the formal agreement was never negotiated as part of the characters’ contract last year. Mike Stapleton, the Teamsters’ president, added that it unfairly restricts their freedom of speech.

“Suddenly the company wants to pretend there aren’t people behind those costumes and the Constitution doesn’t extend to the theme park,” he told the Associated Press.

Besides, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse have careers to think about, and the new agreement means they can’t post their résumés online.

Dalton told the AP that 1,200 character actors across the park are covered by the policy. The park makes a distinction between “fur characters” like Donald and Mickey, who wear costumes that totally conceal their faces, and “face” characters — pirates, princesses and others — who don’t wear masks. But both are forbidden to reveal their identities. Dave Gardetta, a former Jack Sparrow at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. (which has similar policies but is not a subject of the NLRB complaint), wrote in an essay for Los Angeles Magazine that he was fired for giving his real name during an in-costume interview he did while not at work.

So far, none of the Disney World character actors have faced disciplinary action, Dalton said, but many are still worried.

“The performers are very concerned because you can’t un-tell somebody something,” she said. “They have family and friends that already know this and have pictures of themselves in their performing roles. It’s out there.”

Disney said that the cone of silence around characters’ out-of-costume identities is part of the park’s charm. Performers must act as though they’ve just stepped out of the movies they’re famous for — Snow White is baffled by iPads, “fur” characters are never spotted halfway in costume. Gardetta, the ex-Jack Sparrow, wrote that he was instructed to never admit to anyone that he played the character. “Jack Sparrow and I are just friends,” he’d demur instead.


“We’re proud of the role characters play in guest experience,” spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler told the AP. “This is in line with our longstanding expectation for cast members to uphold character integrity.”

Lee Cockerell, a now-retired former executive vice president of Disney World operations, said that concealing their Disney identities is “kind of one of these professional things that people do.”

“From Disney’s point of view, fantasy’s real,” he told the Orlando Sentinel. “You don’t want to start disappointing kids and having this out there.”

But Dalton said that restricting actors’ ability to talk about their work out of costume is a matter of fairness, not fantasy.

“I believe in character integrity and not destroying the magic, but these are performers,” Dalton told the AP. “A performer who plays Santa Claus and wants work, he goes out there and says, ‘I played Santa Claus.’”

Mickey Mouse is hidden in all these Disney films. Can you find him?

Can you spot the Mickey Mouse heads hiding in the background of these iconic Disney films?

Hidden Mickeys are one of Disney’s most intriguing traditions – apparently, animators hide an image of the famous mouse in all of the company’s films.

And even if you’ve seen the movies a hundred times (and some of us have!), they may well have passed you by.


Check out some examples below and test your observational skills by looking for the Hidden Mickeys, which have become a sort of secret bonus or ‘easter egg’ for the attentive viewer.

The company has never released a comprehensive list of all the hidden Mickeys before, leaving that to dedicated fans, who maintain websites tracking all the potential sightings.

But the official Disney blog has now revealed the Mickeys in a special round-up.

While some of the hidden Mickeys submitted by eagle-eyed viewers are indisputably the iconic mouse, others make you wonder if they’ve been looking so hard that they’re seeing Mickey everywhere!

Disney’s peculiar tradition of hiding its iconic Mickey silhouette wherever they can doesn’t end at its cinematic output.

Mickeys are also integrated into in the architecture and decor of Disney’s theme parks around the world.

The tradition started in the 1970s at DisneyWorld, and spotting the Mickeys soon became such a popular pastime for visitors that the secret designs were included in all Disney parks built since then.

And it’s not just Mickeys anymore – characters as diverse as Donald Duck, Tinkerbell and Jafar have all been spotted lurking in Disney theme parks.

So, if you ever find yourself in one of the Magic Kingdoms, remember to keep your eyes peeled!