Mickey is one lucky mouse. Created by animator Walt Disney in 1928, this irrepressible rodent caught a ride on a multimedia juggernaut (film, TV, publishing, music, merchandising and theme parks) that rocketed him into a global stratosphere of recognition, money and influence. Plus, he lives in the ‘Happiest Place on Earth,’ a slice of ‘imagineered’ hyper-reality where the streets are always clean, the employees – called ‘cast members’ – are always upbeat and there are parades every day of the year.
It would be easy to hate the guy, but since opening his Disneyland home in 1955, he has been a pretty thoughtful host to millions of guests. There are a few potholes on Main St – every ride seems to end in a gift store, prices are sky-high and there are grumblings that management could do more about affordable housing and health insurance for employees – but even the most determined grouch should find something to warrant a grin. For the more than 14 million kids, grandparents, honeymooners and international tourists who visit every year, Disneyland remains a magical experience.