Growing up Disney
Mickey Mouse is a beloved Disney character presented to the world on November 18
1928. Mickey Mouse’s appearance has changed throughout the years as well as the
people who voice him. Walt Disney was the original voice, followed by
Jimmy MacDonald, who voiced Mickey thirty years after Disney. Wayne Allwine voiced
Mickey Mouse after Jimmy MacDonald. Wayne met his second wife, Russi
Taylor; she was the Minnie to his Mickey, literally. Taylor was the voice actress for
Minnie Mouse for 30 years. Wayne and Taylor were very happy together. The name
Allwine may sound familiar, as San Joaquin Memorial High School's new drama teacher’s name is Peter Allwine. Could they be related? In fact, Peter is the son of Wayne Allwine. Peter was kind enough to answer some questions about how growing up with a dad who was the voice of Mickey Mouse affected him and his childhood.
Sarah: How was it growing up with the voices of Mickey and Minnie Mouse?
Allwine: Growing up with the voices of Mickey and Minnie as my parents was
pretty cool, I must admit. But I think what was funny at the same time to me was - it was
always just a job to me. Since they were voice actors, they did not have the same level of
celebrity as most celebs have. People know their voices but not actually what they look like or anything, so that level of anonymity was always something I thought was neat. But as parents, they were incredible. They supported and encouraged my love of the performing arts as well, and gave me an example of what true humbleness looks like.
Sarah: How did it impact your life?
Allwine: Honestly, as a kid growing up, it did not impact my life too much. Again, to me - it was just their jobs, so I did not truly understand the gravity of what their jobs really meant and how many people's lives they impacted. After my father passed 12 years ago, it hit me a lot more just how much of an impact he not only had on my life, but literally millions of other people's lives as well, and that was something I found to be super special. The same feeling hit when my step mother passed two years ago - knowing that I got to share my
parents with the world is a pretty amazing feeling. Impact wise - on my life, it was big. I
went to Disneyland far too often as a child, often getting there before the park would
open, and being given $40 and told to meet my parents later - "We'll see you at 6 for
dinner at the Carnation Plantation." So, like any kid, I would go spend my money in the arcade, and then ride a few rides. I spent a lot of my time sitting on a bench on Main Street just watching people, which I truly loved.
They were amazing parents that I had, so supportive, so caring, so loving and I miss them dearly every day. I used to talk to my Dad at least once a day, everyday, and I miss that so much. Also, haha, fun fact - I can also do the voice. I personally think my Mickey sounds pretty much exactly like my father's, which now sounds different from the current Mickey - but I digress!
Sarah: When people found out who your parents were and their profession, did they
treat you differently?
Allwine: When people would find out who my parents were as a kid, they would definitely treat me differently. I know that a few of the kids who were my friends just used me to get to them, because they thought they were cool, but they weren't true friends to me. As I got older, I did not talk about what they did as often, sometimes just saying my parents were either actors or voice actors or that they just worked for Disney so people might treat me differently and like me for being me. But as a kid, it was hard. I was a shy, quiet kid to begin with, so having people befriend you under false pretenses is hard. As an adult, people just think it's cool that they were the voices, and then develop a friendship with me after the fact.
Sarah: What is your favorite thing about growing up with the voices of Minnie and
Allwine: My favorite thing about growing up with Mickey and Minnie as my
parents... Hmm, probably just the love, support, and kindness they always showed me. Learning about acting from them, learning what true humility, humbleness, and genuine kindness and love looks like - those were probably my favorite things about growing up with them. So much of what the characters were like they were themselves, so I got to experience and witness what a true, incredible love looks like, and seeing what genuine good hearted, caring and amazing people can really be like.
Sarah: What is your least favorite thing about growing up with the voices of Minnie and
Allwine: The least favorite thing was probably the distance between us. My parents divorced when I was six, and my father stayed in Los Angeles due to work while my mother and I moved to Fresno. I only saw my father and stepmother once a month for a weekend from the time I was eight till I was eighteen. When I got a little older, I got to spend some more time with them as a teenager during the summers, but normally it was only once a month for a one weekend. My father would fly me down on a Friday after school, and I would fly home Sunday night. To me - it was never enough time, and I always wished I could have lived with him and just spent more time with him. But he wanted me to live a "normal" life, one that wasn't full of being in recording studios and having friends and not being busy as much as they were. So I understand why I was in Fresno and did not live with them. I see that now as an adult. As a child, I of course didn't understand it at all, and it was very hard on me - but hindsight is 20/20.