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Mickey Mouse Celebrates 75 Years as Pop Culture Icon, Entertainer & Friend

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BURBANK, California, November 18 /PRNewswire/ -- - Michael D. Eisner to Kick-off the Festivities at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida Today to Honor Mickey and Celebrate the Future of the World's Most Famous Mouse

Ever since Mickey Mouse debuted in the first synchronized sound cartoon, "Steamboat Willie," on November 18, 1928, he has remained one of the most beloved and enduring characters while also presiding as the face of The Walt Disney Company around the globe. Today, the company honored Mickey Mouse's 75th Anniversary by kicking off 18 months of celebration beginning at Walt Disney World Resort with the unveiling of 75 uniquely designed, 700-pound, 6-foot-tall Mickey statues -- a tribute to Mickey from an impressive group of friends.

"It's a true testament to Walt that he was able to create Mickey Mouse with such depth and personality that, on his 75th Anniversary, Mickey continues to take us on adventures, make us laugh and inspire us," said Eisner, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. "Mickey's relevance can even be seen in the diverse array of people who are participating in this statue program -- some have been working with Mickey for years and others are just true fans."

The statue program, appropriately deemed "Celebrate Mickey: 75 InspEARations," brings together Disney legends, as well as artists, actors, athletes, performing artists and painters who lent their creative talent or simply creative inspiration to the program that culminated in 75 original statues of Mickey (the complete list of artists and themes follows).

Whether deciding to use Mickey as a canvas or finding fun ways to dress him up, each artist's statue is a genuine work of art. Artists such as Raven, Wyland, David Willardson, Peter and Harrison Ellenshaw, Rosie O'Donnell and MEAR ONE chose to personally paint their Mickey statue. Otherwise, TivoliToo, a Minnesota-based design and sculpting studio, transformed each individual artist's design into the finished Mickey statue. TivoliToo also molded and sculpted each of the polyurethane statues.

After the unveiling, the statues will remain at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom through April 2004 for guests to enjoy. From there, the statues are presently scheduled to visit Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Houston, Dallas, Portland, Disneyland, Washington D.C. and New York City. In 2005, Sotheby's Auction House will auction off the statues for charity. All proceeds from the auction will go to the charity chosen by each artist.

The Walt Disney Company was able to bring "Celebrate Mickey: 75 InspEARations" to fruition with the help of The Coca-Cola Company, the primary tour sponsor. In addition, The Home Depot(R) provided the Disney Color by Behr paint and all the supplies to bring the statues to life. Suddath Relocation Systems will transport the statues to each destination. Kodak will use its EasyShare system to offer digital photographs of tour guests with the statues in each city involved with the tour.

Mickey's Future

A star of stage, screen and ice, as well as the Chief Host at all of Disney's Parks & Resorts, Mickey has entertained kings and presidents, prime ministers and princes, sports stars, film stars, TV stars and millions of just-plain-folks. He will continue to dazzle and spread his special mouse magic for years to come.

Added Eisner: "No other single character has remained in the limelight like Mickey, no other single character has been at the definitive forefront of a global entertainment company, no other single character has such timeless, ageless appeal or has engaged the hearts of so many. Chances are, if you talk to a 4-year-old or a 70-year-old anywhere in the world, they consider Mickey a special friend."

Just try to get on his calendar! Following is a glimpse of Mickey's schedule for the next 18 months:

    Fall/Winter 2003-2004
    - Mickey Mouse monthly comic books from Gemstone debuted in October
    - Mickey's PhilharMagic 3D Movie opened at the Magic Kingdom at Walt

    Disney World Resort
    - "Celebrate Mickey: 75 Years of Fun" logo debuts in Disney Channel
      programming
    - "Celebrate Mickey: 75 Years of Fun" Disney Visa card member
      sweepstakes
    - Nationwide Home Depot workshop for kids to feature Mickey Mouse
      project - Disney on Ice Presents Mickey & Minnie's Magical Journey
      (global five year tour)
    - "Celebrate Mickey: 75 InspEARations" statues unveiled at Walt Disney
      World. The statues will remain on display at Walt Disney World's Magic

    Kingdom for six months.
    - Mickey Mouse Statue Supersite launches on http://www.disney.com/
    - Mickey on the cover of November's Disney Magazine
    - House of Mouse Marathon and "Music Magic Sweepstakes" on Toon Disney
       and Disney Channel
    - Mickey 75th seen on Walt Disney World Christmas TV Special on ABC
    - Mickey's Letter Time interstitial on Playhouse Disney
    - Mickey featured on the event car for NASCAR's Daytona 500

    Spring/Summer 2004
    - "Project Playtime" featuring Mickey Mouse on Playhouse Disney
    - Walt Disney Treasures "Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Part 2)" DVD
      release
    - First day of issue for The Art of Disney United States Postal Service
      stamp program, featuring Mickey Mouse
    - Mickey, Donald and Goofy as "The Three Musketeers" characters in
      summer parade at Walt Disney World
    - "The Three Musketeers" Direct-to-Video Premiere. The first
      full-length
      feature film starring Mickey and Friends

    - "Celebrate Mickey: 75 InspEARations" statues tour U.S. cities
       Fall/Winter 2004-2005

    - Walt Disney Treasures "Mickey Mouse in Black and White (Part 2)" DVD
      launch
    - Twice Upon a Christmas Direct-to-Video Premiere, featuring Mickey
      Mouse
      and the gang in three-dimensional CGI animation for the first time
    - "Celebrate Mickey: 75 InspEARations" statues displayed at Disneyland
    - Mickey 75th exposure in Walt Disney World Christmas TV Special

    Spring/Summer 2005
    - The 75 Mickey Statues are auctioned in New York City for charity
    - First day of issue for The Art of Disney postage stamp, year two
      (June 2005)

No matter what he's up to, it's clear that Mickey will continue to spread joy and laughter to the young and young at heart.

    "Celebrate Mickey: 75 InspEARations"
    Artist List

    NAME OF ARTIST      NAME OF STATUE                NAME OF CHARITY

    Ben Affleck         Home Run Hero                The Jimmy Fund at
                                                     Dana-Farber Cancer
                                                     Institute

    Andre Agassi        Love All                     Andre Agassi Charitable
                                                     Foundation(R)

    Wayne Allwine &     I Speak for Mickey and       Elizabeth Glaser
    Russi Taylor        Mickey Speaks for Me         Pediatric AIDS
                                                      Foundation

    Lamberto Alvarex    El Mickey                    Make-A-Wish(R)
                                                     Foundation

    Gary Baseman        Base Mouse                   Childrens Hospital Los
                                                     Angeles

    Chris Berman &      ESPN 25th Anniversary        The V Foundation for
    Dick Vitale         Mickey                       Cancer Research

    Black Entertainment Mickey in the Park           Minority Task Force on
    Television                                       AIDS, New York

    Wayne Brady         Extended Play                Make-A-Wish(R)
                                                     Foundation

    Jerry Bruckheimer   Slapstick Mouse              Ilitch Charities For
                                                     Children

    Linda Cohn, Dan     ESPN Sports Center Mickey    The V Foundation for
    Patrick & Robin                                  Cancer Research
    Roberts

    Jeff Conine         Family Tree                  Joe DiMaggio
                                                     Children'sHospital
                                                     Foundation

    Jamie Lee Curtis    The Original Mouse Pad       Children Affected by
                                                     AIDS Foundation

    Ellen DeGeneres     Ellenland                    Children's Action
                                                     Network

    Andreas Deja        Fruits of the Mouse          Starlight Children's
                                                     Foundation(R)

    Disneyland Resort   Reflections on Mickey        Make-A-Wish(R)
    Entertainment                                    Foundation
    Art Dept.

    Kermit Eisenhut     Lone Star                    Texas Children's Cancer
                                                     Center

    Peter Ellenshaw &   Mickey's Dream               Childrens Hospital of
    Harrison Ellenshaw                               Los Angeles

    Chris Fedun for     Let's Party                  Make-A-Wish(R)
    Jump5                                            Foundation

    Annette Funicello   Always My Angel, Mickey      National Multiple
                                                     Sclerosis Society,
                                                     Southern Calif. Chapter

    Andy Garcia         Mambo Mickey                 Elizabeth Glaser
                                                     Pediatric AIDS
                                                     Foundation

    Luis Armand Garcia, Viva Mickey                  Make-A-Wish(R)
    George Lopez                                     Foundation

    James Gandolfini    Funny Bones                  Children Affected by
    AIDS Foundation

    Jennifer Garner     UndercovEAR Mickey           Elizabeth Glaser
                                                     Pediatric AIDS
                                                     Foundation

    Kevin Garnett       Believe in your Dreams       4XL - For Excellence in
                                                     Leadership(R)

    Christina Grantham  Fountain of Fun              Boys Hope Girls Hope

    Bob Guiney          Good Catch                   Starr Commonwealth

    Tom Hanks           Space Mouse                  James Birrell
                                                     Neuroblastoma Research
                                                     Fund

    Tony Hawk           Mouseskateer                 Tony Hawk Foundation

    Trey Hoyumpa,       Mickey's Shadow              Parson's School of
    Parsons School                                   Design Scholarship Fund
    of Design

    Vanessa Hunt,       It Was All Started           Make-A-Wish(R)
    The Disney Store    By A Mouse                   Foundation

    Anita Hurst         Mickey Reigns                Community Transitional
                                                     School, Portland,
                                                     Oregon

    Janet Jackson       Mickey's Nation 1928         A Place Called Home

    Sir Elton John      Music Royalty                Elton John AIDS
                                                     Foundation

    Ollie Johnston      All Aboard!                  Verdugo Hills Hospital
                                                     Foundation

    Star Jones          Wild for Mickey              East Harlem School at
                                                     Exodus House

    Thomas Knechtel     Patchwork Pal                Imagine It!
                                                     Children's Museum
                                                     of Atlanta

    Al Konetzni         Back to School               Make-A-Wish(R)
                                                     Foundation

    Dave Koz            Saxophonic Mickey            Starlight Children's
                                                     Foundation(R)

    Kelly Kozel &      Delivery Man Mickey           Boys and Girls Clubs
    Sharon Noh,                                      of America
    The Coca Cola
    Company

    Michelle Kwan       Peace & Love                 Children's Miracle
                                                     Network(R)

    Major League        National Pastime Mickey      Major League Baseball
    Baseball(R)                                      Charity, Inc.

    Dennis Larkins,     Memories                     Children's Miracle
    Kodak                                            Network(R)

    Lenox               Tuxedo                       Elizabeth Glaser
                                                     Pediatric AIDS
                                                     Foundation

    Susan Lucci         All the World's His Stage    Little Flower
                                                     Children's Services of
                                                     New York

    Marlee Matlin       True Blue                    Children Affected by
                                                     AIDS Foundation
    
    Brian Matson        Field Mouse                 Chicago Children's
                                                    Museum

    Brian McKnight      Music Mouse                 LIFEbeat

    Syd Mead            TRON Mickey                 Children of the Night

    Al Michaels &
    John Madden        Monday Night Mickey          Make-A-Wish(R)
                                                    Foundation

    Kathryn E. Morgan  Wonderful World of Mickey    ALS Hope Foundation,
                                                    Philadelphia

    Tuck Morgan,        Mickey Through the Years    Make-A-Wish(R)
    Disney Consumer                                 Foundation
    Products

    Ming-Na             Mickey and the Nightingale   Starlight Children's
                                                     Foundation(R)

    Rosie O'Donnell     Mickey: In Yellow.           Rosie's
                                                     Broadway Kids

    MEAR ONE            Crazy Style Mickey           Reaching to Embrace
                                                     Arts

    Shaquille O'Neal    Dunk Mouse                   Real Model Foundation

    Fess Parker         FrontEAR Tales               Alzheimer's Association
                                                     of Santa Barbara

    Regis Philbin       Super Fan Mickey             Our Lady of Solace
                                                     School, Bronx, New York

    Raven               Clouded Conscience           American Diabetes
                                                     Association

    Cody Reynolds,      "I'm going to                Make-A-Wish(R)
    WaltDisney World     Disney World"               Foundation

    Anthony Rietta,     Tune In                      Make-A-Wish(R)
    Radio Disney                                     Foundation

    Kelly Ripa          Big City Mouse               Elizabeth Glaser
                                                     Pediatric AIDS
                                                     Foundation

    Doris Roberts       Mousetaccioli                Children Affected by
                                                     AIDS Foundation

    Christy Carlson     Ready For Action             Children's Miracle
    Romano                                          Network(R)

    Breanna Rowlette    Lobsta Mickey                Boston Arts Academy
    
    Elva Salinas,       You Can Do It                Homer Fund
    The Home Depot

    Jeff Spohn,         Big Cheese Mickey            Otis College of Art and
    Otis College                                     Design

    Malcolm Stone,      Mickey on the Move           Dreams Come True
    Suddath Relocation
    Systems

    John Travolta       Jet Setter                   Hollywood Education and
                                                     Literacy Project

    Lori Tyminski,      Funny Pages                  Make-A-Wish(R)
    Disney Publishing                                Foundation

    Kataneh Vahdani,    Filmic Mickey                California Institute of
    California Institute                             the Arts
    of the Arts

    Mario Vaiana        Rockin' Mickey               Newborn Hope, Colorado

    Paul Wenzel         Mickey Celebrates            Childrens Hospital Los
                        Our Freedom                  Angeles

    Dave Willardson     Flying Colors #3             Make-A-Wish(R)
                                                     Foundation

    Wyland              Undersea Mickey              Wyland Foundation

    Paul Wylie          IceskatEAR                   The Jimmy Fund at Dana-
                                                     Farber Cancer Institute

Web site: http://www.disney.com/

SOURCE The Walt Disney Company



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