While the name of Epcot’s main gift shop is “Mouse Gear,” Mickey and his fellow mice aren’t the only characters to be featured in its decoration. This futuristic depiction of Donald Duck, for example, can be see on the wall of the store’s toy department alongside similar versions of some of his famous co-stars. Long before he first appeared in Future World, the often-irascible duck, whose 83rd birthday is only a few days away, came into contact with some other unusual mechanical creations in the 1937 animated short “Modern Inventions.” In the film, Donald visited a “Museum of Modern Marvels” showcasing the technology of the future (or at least what people in the 1930’s thought the future would be like).
While exploring the exhibit, Donald Duck encountered a number of odd contraptions including a robot butler, a robotic nursemaid, and an automated barber chair, all of which cause him no end of trouble over the course of the cartoon. Among the story men who contributed ideas for these “modern marvels” was Carl Barks, but this was far from his only encounter with Disney’s ducks. Barks would later write and draw the most celebrated “Donald Duck” and “Uncle Scrooge” comic book adventures, creating many of Duckburg’s most popular citizens and inspiring the “DuckTales” television series in the process. Donald may be turning 83 years old on June 9th, but with several projects on his plate this year, including Disney Junior’s new “Mickey and the Roadster Racers,” another season of Disney Channel’s “Mickey Mouse” shorts, and the much-anticipated reboot of the “DuckTales” on Disney XD, the future looks pretty bright for this octogenarian duck.