Tokyo Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland toted 2008 as the year of the mouse, rather than the rat, in honor of Mickey Mouse, of course.
This seems fitting because this is the year Mickey (and Minnie) turn 80! However, I'm not sure if Disney's doing anything special for the occasion. So, I wrote to Jeff Pepper, moderator of 2719 HYPERION, asking if Disney even cares about the characters' birthdays nowadays. Here's the response. (Yes, my real name is Marci Cameron, so, don't go accusing me of lying just because I'm called Acme Girl on the blog.) According to the response, Disney might not be doing anything special for Mickey's 80th. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel for it seems Disney is allowing merchandise to celebrate the event.
The first to appear is from PEZ Candy which commemorates the occasion with a three-PEZ set in a collectible tin. (Link from Cartoon Brew.) Strangely enough, PEZ is celebrating its 80th anniversary, too, which makes the set even more special for PEZ lovers.
Next came the Disney Dollars. Disney Dollars, in case you didn't know, are special currency used at the Disney theme parks here in the U.S. This year, the Disney Dollars showcase Mickey for his 80th. (Link courtesy of DisneyDollars.net.) Wow! Looks like Disney is doing something for Mickey's 80th after all. Although, it is a minor detail, but hey, I'm not complaining.
And Disney's not done contributing the merchandise themselves, even their online store has items celebrating the mouse's big moment. Among them, the creme del la creme of Mickey's 80th anniversary themed merchandise, this appealing snowglobe which features Mickey in his most famous roles: "Steamboat Willie", "The Brave Little Tailor", "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", "Mickey's Christmas Carol", "The Prince and the Pauper", and "Runaway Brain". What a lineup!
So, with all this merchandise around, what about the Disney theme parks? Will they hold a big celebration for Mickey and Minnie's birthday this year? I'm not sure, but I'll be at Walt Disney World during that moment, namely, November 18th, the day "Steamboat Willie" premiered, so, I will celebrate the occasion nonetheless.Be patient, Mickey. Just a whole month more.
UPDATE 12/2/08: I was in WDW for Mickey's (and Minnie's) big day and I had noticed at their pin stations that they had pins marking the occasion. I got a pin with Mickey from his first appearance standing in front of the number 80 since that's how old he is. There are others, but I don't know how to describe them all. And although it seemed very low key, at least Disney did do something for the birthday of the mouse that started it all.