This weekend, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will celebrate a major milestone with April 22nd being the 20th anniversary of its grand opening. Despite all of the exotic wildlife that have called the park home over the past 20 years, among its most popular residents are a pair of mice. Mickey and Minnie Mouse have been sharing in the adventure at Walt Disney World’s wildest theme park from the very beginning, starting at Camp Minnie-Mickey, an entire opening day land that was named after them, and continuing to their current meet and greet location at Discovery Island’s “Adventurers Outpost.” However, Disney’s most famous couple also once had a role in the park’s daily opening ceremonies.
From 2003 to 2011, Mickey Mouse and friends would kick off the day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom by hosting the “Let The Adventure Begin” welcome show. There were actually two versions of this brief rope drop presentation: the one pictured above with Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto that took place just inside the park’s entrance in the Oasis and another staged in front of The Tree of Life that added Goofy to the lineup of characters. For the Oasis version, the two mice would drive onto the scene in their safari vehicle and go through their checklist of supplies before declaring the park open to explore. The first 20 years of Disney’s Animal Kingdom has created some wild memories for millions of Walt Disney World guests, and it’s a safe bet that Mickey and Minnie will continue to be there to share in whatever adventures the next two decades bring.