Disney had previously been featured on two US stamps. One in 1968, honored Walt Disney himself. Another was issued in 1998 as part of the Celebrate the Century Series, which pictured a scene from Snow White. It was honoring the film because it was the nation’s first feature-length animated film.
In 2004, the USPS worked with Walt Disney artists to create the first stamps in the Art of Disney Series. The set would include the first US stamp to picture Mickey Mouse, even though many other nations had issued Disney and Mickey stamps before. The first set in the series was dubbed the Art of Disney: Friendship, and featured some of Disney’s enduring friendships.
The stamps were issued on June 23, 2004, at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The first-day ceremony was held in front of the park’s Sleeping Beauty Castle and was attended by the postmaster general and Disney’s CEO, Michael Eisener. The postmaster said that with these stamps, “we get the chance to capture the spirit of friendship as it appears in the art, the imagination and the creative tradition of Walt Disney.” Eisner then noted that it was a rare honor for Disney to be featured on our stamps and that he was “pleased that millions will have the chance to brighten their correspondence with Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, and other Disney friends.”
The series continued in 2005 with the Art of Disney: Celebration stamps. Each stamp pictured Disney characters celebrating together. They were issued on June 30, again at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. These stamps also celebrated the 50th anniversary of Disney’s theme parks.
The third set in the series honored romance and was issued on April 21, 2006. Each of the stamps pictured one of Disney’s famous couples. The stamps were issued in Orlando as part of the 13th annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival at Disney World.
Though not part of the Art of Disney Series, the USPS issued a few more stamps in the years to come that featured Disney characters.