Most Famous Walt Disney Animated Characters

While many Walt Disney animated characters are recognized worldwide, it is still Mickey Mouse and his closest pals who lead the way when it comes to popularity and universal appeal. Disney was a true visionary when he created his little anthropomorphic mouse, as Mickey and the gang still make magic nearly a century after Mickey was first created.

Mickey Mouse
Mickey starred in the first sound cartoon, 1928's "Steamboat Willie," a cartoon inspired by a pet mouse Disney had as a boy. Mickey was inspired by the success of Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp, a small character always up against big odds. Longtime Disney friend and animator, Ub Iwerks, is credited with the early sketches of Mickey Mouse. Disney provided the voice for his character until 1947. Today, Micky's black body, red shorts and high-pitched voice have become synonymous with Disney entertainment.

Minnie Mouse
Also debuting in 1928, in her case in a short film called "Plane Crazy," Minnie Mouse went on to star in several films as the damsel in need of rescue. Minnie and Mickey are a couple and their relationship has progressed over time, to the point at which Minnie is a beloved film star in her own right, with cartoons and merchandising specifically about her. She looks like a feminine Mickey, but with eyelashes, a big bow and plenty of frilly dresses.

Donald Duck
At one point, Walt Disney's hot-tempered duck was more popular than Mickey Mouse. Donald evolved as the Disney studio anti-hero, a character who could indulge in the different dilemmas that good-natured Mickey could not. His film debut was in 1934 with "The Wise Little Hen," and he later starred in his own cartoon series. Donald was particularly popular in the 1930s and 1940s, appearing in twice as many cartoons as any other character.

Goofy
A happy-go-lucky doglike character, Goofy is a kind but clumsy fellow who always gets into trouble. He first appeared in 1932 in the short film "Mickey's Revue" but didn't get his name or become part of the Disney main group until 1934. Goofy's signature shout first appeared in 1941. Goofy starred in a series of how to cartoons that depicted an everyman dealing with different aspects of life. 

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