26 February 2013

Holy Cow

In the history of Disney critters, from Cinderella’s mice to Copper and Tod, nothing compares to seeing and interacting with a living and breathing creature. That said, of all of the magnificent creatures that have called Walt Disney World home, whether it has been in the Magic King, Discovery Island, or now in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, perhaps there is none more beloved than Minnie Moo.

Let’s dispel with this photographs side story, right off, shall we? Yes, that is Harry Caray in the photograph. In 1990, when this picture was taken, Caray and several of the Cubs’ players were taking a special vacation with fans of the Chicago Cubs. They happened to be on hand as Minnie Moo was welcomed into the Disney family.

Minnie Moo came to Walt Disney World via Edgerton, Minnesota, where she had lived on the Brockberg family dairy farm. Melvin and Dorothy Brockberg had a niece, Jody Kline, who began writing letters and sending photographs of Minnie the Cow to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 1988. It wasn’t until September of 1990, however, that Walt Disney World contacted the family about purchasing the Holstein. Minnie’s markings had been visible since birth and saved her on more than one occasion. According to Brockberg at the time, “She’s not a top producer. At different times we’ve talked about hauling her off to market, but she’d turn around and we see the spots. The spots saved her.”

Minnie Moo’s first home, as visible in this photograph was in Mickey’s Starland at Grandma Duck’s Petting Farm. The farm was shuttered in 1996 to make room for the children’s rollercoaster, The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm. Minnie Moo was then moved over to the Tri-Circle D petting zoo at Fort Wilderness. While the expected lifespan of a Holstein is 12 years, Minnie Moo lived to the ripe old age of 15, before passing away of natural causes in August of 2001.

Minnie Moo has a special place in the hearts of guests who visited her in either Mickey’s Starland or at Tri-Circle D. Even Brockberg, who had seen thousands upon thousands of cows in his lifetime, had never seen another cow with a spot pattern like Minnie Moo. Somewhere down the line there may be another cow with mouse-eared spots, but there will never be another Minnie Moo.

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