This month, Shanghai Disneyland celebrated the second anniversary of its grand opening. For American Disney fans who may not be able to travel to the other side of the world to experience the latest Disney destination in the near future, there is a way to get a taste of it in Epcot’s World Showcase. Since 2016, the China Pavilion’s “House of the Whispering Willows Gallery” has been home to the “Inside Shanghai Disney Resort” exhibit, which showcases concept art, models, costumes, and more from the first Disney Resort on Mainland China. Of course, no Disney destination would be complete without Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and the classic couple is well represented both at Shanghai Disney Resort and the Epcot exhibit it inspired.
Among the items currently on display at the “House of the Whispering Willows” is a maquette depicting Mickey and Minnie in their best formal attire. The full-sized version of this statue can be found welcoming guests outside the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, one of two Disney resort hotels adjacent to Disney’s newest theme park. Maquettes like this one are used by the Imagineers as a way of testing how a design looks in three dimensions before putting the time and money into the actual object, and it is especially helpful when translating characters that exist as two-dimensional drawings into something that can be viewed by guests from any angle. Thanks to pieces like this Mickey and Minnie maquette, Epcot’s “Inside Shanghai Disney Resort” exhibit helps give a behind the scenes look at how Disney translates its beloved animated characters to work in a theme park environment.