As if he isn’t celebrated every day with the thousands and thousands of visitors to both California’s Disneyland® and Florida’s Walt Disney World® Resort, there is actually a special day set aside for America’s favorite mouse. November 18 is Mickey Mouse Day because on that date in 1928, Mickey was first introduced in the short film, “Steamboat Willie.” From his debut some 90+ years ago, Mickey has gone on to become the most recognizable mouse in the world appearing in countless films, welcoming guests to theme parks around the globe and even presenting an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film at the 1988 Academy Awards.

Plan a visit to see what’s new with Mickey as well as take in non-Mickey attractions near Anaheim, California, and Orlando, Florida. Visit thousandtrails.com and pick a campground to serve as your home base when visiting these magical locations and the surrounding areas.

Disneyland: Dubbed “The Happiest Place on Earth”, Disneyland opened in 1955 and featured five different themed “lands.” Many of the Park’s original attractions remain today including the Jungle Cruise, the famous spinning teacup ride known as the Mad Tea Party and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Fast forward to 2021, and the new, hot attractions include the recently opened Avenger’s Campus, focusing on the group of Marvel superheroes that includes Spiderman. Another new attraction is Pixar Pier, which opened in 2018 and is designed like a traditional boardwalk with rides and Midway-style games that feature characters from Pixar film favorites like “Toy Story” and “A Bug’s Life.”

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Non-Disney attractions in and around Anaheim include the recently opened Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, a six-floor museum in Los Angeles dedicated to all things about the movies! From costumes, props, and exhibits all about the history of films, including one dedicated to The Oscars, any movie buff will find this museum a blockbuster. For outdoor adventures, check out Yorba Regional Park, a 140-acre park along the Santa Ana River, great for hiking, biking, and picnicking. Anaheim is home to Major League Baseball’s Angels Stadium, the fourth oldest stadium in the U.S. Public tours are available from June through September and private tours can be scheduled off-season as well. The city’s Honda Center is home to the Anaheim Ducks hockey team as well as many musical events.

Walt Disney World: With the success of Disneyland, Walt Disney got the idea to open another theme park and began buying land in Florida in the early 1960s. Sadly, he did not live to see the opening of Disney World in October of 1971, which at the time included only the Magic Kingdom theme park. Today, Walt Disney World Resort is home to the Magic Kingdom as well as three other theme parks: Epcot, the Animal Kingdom Park, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. To celebrate the Park’s 50th anniversary in 2021, Disney added 50 insta-worthy statues of favorites from the old to the new through all four theme parks. Look for the old standards like Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, and Donald Duck and the newer favorites like Simba, Sebastian, Woody, Bo-Peep, and Dory. Rides are still the main attraction here and include old standbys like Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean as well as one of the latest attractions, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which opened in December 2019.

Gatorland, Orlando
Gatorland, Orlando

In and around the Orlando area, visitors can enjoy highlights such as Gatorland, which bills itself as the Alligator Capital of the World and has not only gators, but also crocodiles, wild animals, and reptiles as well as up-close critter experiences, a zip-line, and animal shows. A glimpse of an alligator or two in their natural habitat is possible with an airboat ride through the Central Everglades (check out spiritoftheswamp.com or wildfloridaairboats.com). Learn all about the ill-fated Titanic at the unique Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition (titanicorlando.com), take in the new 4-D show at LEGOland Florida or stroll the 50 acres of botanic gardens at Leu Gardens, all conveniently located near the Magic Kingdom.

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