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Articulated heads are animatronic heads with blinking eyes and moving mouths. Disney characters currently have these in the Disney Parks, Disney Live! shows, and some parades and Attractions. The earliest known uses of these were Baloo and Fat Cat in The Disney Afternoon Live!: Plane Crazy stage show in 1991.

However, early iterations of this technology were used before that. In a 1986 Walt Disney World commercial, Mickey winked at the camera. For this commercial, they used a modified Mickey head that was able to blink via a mechanism in the costume, just like the one introduced in 2005. By the looks of the commercial, he only winks on the right eye and doesn't fully blink. It's most likely that this winking Mickey was only used for commercials and special/private events at that moment.[1] In addition, the Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant chain implemented this technology in similar commercials from the 1980s[2][3][4] and some of the showtapes from the 1990s, as did McDonalds with some of their commercials and TV spots[5].

The articulated heads are used when characters appear at events such as ribbon cutting ceremonies [6][7], news show appearances[8][9][10], game show appearances [11][12][13][14], hospital visitations[15]

[16] , and other live events[17][18][19][20][21][22]. In these situations, the performer within the costume is still disallowed from speaking[23][24]; instead, the dialogue is often instead dubbed over by the character's respective voice actor (e.g. Bret Iwan for Mickey, Russi Taylor for Minnie, Tony Anselmo for Donald, Tress MacNeille for Daisy, April Winchell for Clarabelle, and Bill Farmer for Goofy and Pluto). Articulated heads make the characters even more realistic too. Sometimes, Bret Iwan himself gets into the Mickey costume and does his voice himself.[25][26]

Characters with articulated heads

Trivia

  • Tigger, Piglet, Kanga, Roo, Baloo, and King Louie better resemble their animated versions.
  • So far, Mickey, Minnie, and Donald are the only meet-and-greet articulated characters at Disney's California Adventure.[28]

Gallery

References

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  11. [11]
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  14. [14]
  15. [15]
  16. [16]
  17. [17]
  18. [18]
  19. [19]
  20. [20]
  21. Minnie's sendoff to Hollywood had her with an articulated head...
  22. ...as well as when she received her star
  23. [21]
  24. [22]
  25. [23]
  26. [24]
  27. [25]
  28. [26]
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