Who is the “Coolest” Disney Icon: Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck?

Who is the Coolest Disney Icon: Mickey Mouse  or Donald Duck?

Mrs. Schonewise’s journalism classes competed in groups to see who could write the best editorial. Please read the editorials and then vote at this link.


Donald Duck Dominates Disney

 As the Class of 2022 embarks on their senior trip, many students have faced the controversy of whether Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse is better. Donald Duck is seen as an optimistic character–but has his flaws. Mickey Mouse is showcased as always happy and “perfect”. Therefore, humans cannot relate to him because no one or nothing is perfect. Donald Duck is full of wise words and preaches positive love/self-love to society. Donald Duck once said, “It doesn’t matter how much you have. It all means nothing if you are not happy with yourself”- Donald Duck (Donald Duck voice (James).

Mickey lovers feel as if Mickey is the best out of the two, although Donald lovers believe that he is the best out of the two because he is the more relatable character. Disney fans can not strongly relate to Mickey because he is portrayed as perfect. Many lifelong and newer fans of Disney believe Mickey Mouse is a superior character compared to Donald Duck as the beloved Mouse is statistically more popular and more recognizable than Santa Claus. However, Donald has many situations outside of cartoons that add to his character. 

Just like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck is a household name worldwide. Unique to Donald is the fact that he is the only significant cartoon character to be a college mascot (University of Oregon). Society depicts him as an American WWII  hero, earning him lots of respect. Whereas many children’s cartoon characters have an unrealistic, overly happy attitude, Donald shows a more realistic, humanlike mindset. Donald is often the “punching bag” of his cartoons as he is repeatedly beaten down by unlucky circumstances and life but always shows perseverance and determination, whether or not he fails or succeeds, a valuable skill for his viewers to learn.

Donald is the caretaker for his three nephews as well as constantly fighting for Daisy’s affection, even if the odds are rarely in his favor. Donald teaches his fans about the hardships of life. Other characters from the Mickey Mouse Cartoons may be generally happier, but Donald is the only one who experiences the true, realistic trials and tribulations of life and doesn’t look at it through rose-colored glasses, making him the best reflection of real people and teaching our youth valuable lessons in a way that absolutely no other character can do quite as well.

Since making his screen debut in The Wise Little Hen on June 9, 1934, Donald’s identity has been personified by his pompous attitude, his fiery temper, his iconic Sailor suit, cap, and bowtie, along with his semi-unintelligible voice (“The Wise Little Hen”). His most dominant trait, his temper, is religiously expressed through his explosive tantrums and fits of quacking and squawking. Donald is seen as a more problematic character. However,  he has times when he surprises everyone with words of wisdom that true fans can relate to “Things don’t always work out the first time, but keep trying”.


Donald Duck voice (James). “Donald Duck Saying ‘It Doesn’t Matter How Much You Have. It All Means Nothing… (Donald Duck Quote).” YouTube, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDy1Ontg_fA

“The Oregon Duck.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Mar. 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Oregon_Duck#:~:text=The%20Oregon%20Duck%20is%20the,%22Oregon%22%20written%20on%20it.

“The Wise Little Hen.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Apr. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wise_Little_Hen.

By: Riley Kunsiatis, Camryn O’Leary,  Connor Oulahan, Madison Gibbs,  Brian Talton

The Happiest Mouse on Earth

In the argument of who is better, Donald or Mickey, the answer is obvious — Mickey, the most famous mouse in the media, has stolen the hearts of people everywhere, proving that he is the superior character to an anger-fuelled duck. People who support Donald Duck talk about how he has a more fleshed-out character; Donald has more emotions and struggles than Mickey, who seems more two-dimensional in comparison. TJ Muscaro from Insidethemagic.net, in support of Donald, states, “Donald is the one who has to deal with raising three kids on his own and find a way to have a girlfriend–a high-maintenance one at that–at the same time. Donald is the one who knows what it’s like to deal with  terrible job, after terrible job to make ends meet half the time. And the other half, Donald, is the one who fights against the world to try and start his small businesses.”  But who wants to be a fan of a character that always loses. 

Mickey Mouse is better than Donald because of what he symbolizes to Disney and because of how well known he is to the world. Disney wants Mickey to represent happiness and hope. A quote from medium.com states, “Mickey Mouse represents everything that Walt Disney wanted to portray- happiness, fun, dreams, and the ability to bring families together. The Mickey symbol has the power to evoke positive emotions and make memorable experiences, thus forming a strong and consistent meaning round the world” (Priya).  Mickey Mouse represents something bigger than just a silly cartoon mouse with a dog, he represents bringing family together and happiness. 

Another reason why Mickey is superior to Donald is that he is more recognizable and prominent. Mickey is even featured in one of Disney’s logos. After all, he did come before Donald and was Walt Disney’s first success.  Wikipedia states, “Mickey Mouse is a cartoon character created in 1928 by Walt Disney, and is the mascot of The Walt Disney Company” (“Mickey Mouse”). Mickey was also a part of the first Disney show “Steamboat Willie”. All of these accomplishments by Mickey and his ability to bring joy to viewers overrule what Donald Duck brings to the company.

For years and many past and forward generations, Mickey has been one of the biggest characters in the world. Most of the time when people think of Disney, they think of Mickey. The popular character is the main face people see everywhere when it comes to Disney. “In almost all of his movies and short appearances, Mickey shows that he really does have a heart of gold, and it’s no wonder he’s a classic”… (Thomas). He represents something bigger than just a simple cartoon character. He is a symbol of happiness, warmth, and love for everyone that watches him or remembers him. 


“Mickey Mouse.” Wikipedia.org. April 5, 2022. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mickey_Mouse

Priya, Muskan. “Birth and Significance of Mickey Mouse.” The Phonetic House. Medium.com. https://medium.com/tphfamily/birth-and-significance-of-mickey-mouse-4bdb9b31c628 

TJ Muscaro. “OpEd: 5 Reasons Why Donald Duck is the Best Classic Disney Character.” ITM Insidethemagic. Dec. 19, 2020. https://insidethemagic.net/2020/12/donald-duck-best-disney-character-tm1/

West, Thomas. “Disney: 5 Ways Mickey Is the Best Classic Character (& 5 Ways It’s Donald).” SCREENRANT. Dec. 18, 2020. https://screenrant.com/disney-best-classic-original-character-donald-duck-mickey-mouse/

By:  Julia Bulkin, Elena Dunn, Jesse Kunkle, Sean McCarrie