|Magic of WDW||
The following articled has been re-posted from 'Disney Entertainment History' and can be found in full here:
This photo from Daveland shows that the ugly duckling...I mean Donald...showed his face first at Disneyland's grand opening! He was just a human wearing Donald's clothes and a mascot head, direct from the Ice Capades. When these costumes were retired, oddly, Donald was retired too, and was not brought back even for "New Fun in '61" A costume for Ludwig von Drake was created a few years later and used in some parades. I have not been able to track down an image but when I do, I will post it here!
I'd finally returned in the late 1960s-early 1970s and gained this costume. He is a lot more accurate in appearance, in relation to the character's animated appearance. There are no buttons on his shirt, but the costume looks a hell of a lot more like Donald than the previous disgusting suit.
Donald started to be, ahem, "refined" during the early 1980s. I would say that this costume is slightly further from the actual appearance of Donald, but it was just a step on the way to the version used for the next decade. He gained bigger pupils and a new costume/body for this appearance. Daisy joined him for the first time during these years, but I have only one photo of her where you can barely tell who it is. At some point during this time the Ducks gained satin outfits.
This version of the Ducks is seen in many videos and photos from the 1980s and the 1990s. Introduced for Donald's 50th Birthday in 1984, this "makeover" was not very successful. In my opinion, they made Donald and Daisy look even less like their animated counterparts. By this point they were both wearing satin outfits all the time, and Daisy's eyelids were made able to jiggle, much like Goofy's.
Finally, in late 1996, Donald and Daisy received a makeover as an attempt to make them look more like their animated counterparts. Unfortunately, this makeover was not all that successful either, and made them look a bit demented. This photo does not make it clear, but Donald's outfit was made extremely light blue, and Daisy's was made a lighter pink, and both were made out of regular fabrics. Their bodies were increased in height and size and both were given big, ugly blue eyes.
A revision in April 2003 brought the most expressive, current version of the ducks. The fact that they have been constantly revised has proven to be an advantage over their friends, as they are certainly the most accurate matches to their cartoon counterparts. Their heads were completely rebuilt in this incarnation to feature more opened beaks. Their eyes were reshaped, Donald's were fully opened, and Daisy's were given purple eyeshadow. Donald's outfit turned a darker blue with only two buttons, and Daisy's new outfit featured purple instead of yellow trims, along with a purple bow.
Although this shot has been obviously altered with some CGI, it gives a pretty good idea of the Ducks' living character heads. This is from Disney Live's "Mickey's Magic Show", the only show where Daisy could be seen as a living character. Their eyes and mouths are able to open and close. Donald also uses this head in other Disney Live shows, as well as the Magic Kingdom's "Dream-Along with Mickey" and "Celebrate the Season" shows and various other events.
This is a fan-site and is not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company in any way. The site contains links and re-posts (credit given, unless written by me). The owner is a Disney Travel Agent registered with Never Grow Up Vacations.