This Mickey Mouse Firefighter Tribute picture is one of my all time favorites. I own it in the form of a lithograph, a t-shirt and an extra large size postcard. My daddy was a captain on the fire department in my hometown for 35 years, so you can imagine that seeing Mickey in this way really touches my heart.
In 1993, December 15 was declared National Firefighters Day so in honor of that I did some research on this picture. I have been able to find out some interesting facts about this picture from Hammer Down Productions:
- This print was produced by Disney as a tribute to all firefighters for their heroic efforts during the Southland Fires of 1993.
- Disney called the Anaheim Fire Department requesting a firefighter to commission a sketch. The firefighter’s name is Dave Baker and he was a rookie at the time. He went to the Disney Studio and this print was produced in two weeks.
- There are three characteristics that make this print unique that had never been done before by Disney:
- Mickey is always standing above everyone else or on a pedestal.
- Mickey is shaking hands with a person. Two other prints were done with Mickey touching another person, but not shaking hands.
- Mickey is looking up, he never is looking up in a print. He is either looking down or looking eye-level.
Changing these attributes as a tribute to the firefighters is just another example of the attention to every detail for which Disney is famous.
Just so you know, there are two other wonderful things in the Magic Kingdom that also pay tribute to firefighters: Engine Company 71 and Fire Chief Smokey Miller. As you enter Main Street in the Magic Kingdom you will notice a city complex on the left side of the road. City Hall is located here and, next to City Hall, is Engine Company 71. Engine Co. 71 – Firehouse Gift Station has gifts, clothing and other firefighter-related items for sale (it also has gifts for your pet). I bought my lithograph, t-shirt and postcard of this picture there. As you might guess, the “71” is representative of the year Walt Disney World opened its doors to the public. If you visit this terrific little store, be sure to notice the wonderful antique equipment on display, as well as all of the patches on the patch board. Fire department patches from all over the country have been donated by real firefighters. Last year, I took them a new Galveston Fire Department patch, in honor of my dad. This year, I will look for it and take a picture of its new home.
Another Main Street treasure is Chief Smokey Miller of the Main Street Volunteer Fire Department. He is one of the Main Street Citizens. When we ran into him he gave my hubby an “Official Main Street Fire Department Volunteer” sticker which rests right next to the picture in our photo album. What a really nice guy!
Be sure to check out Engine Co. 71 and Chief Miller when you are in the Magic Kingdom next time. Chief Miller might be hard to find but he is always around during the holidays.
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