The comic strip story "Mr. Slicker and the Egg Robbers" (published September 22–December 26, 1930) introduced her father Marcus Mouse and her unnamed mother, both farmers. The same story featured photographs of her grandparents Marshall Mouse and Matilda Mouse. Her best known relatives however remains her uncle Mortimer Mouse and her twin nieces, Millie and Melody, though most often a single niece, Melody, appears. In many appearances, Minnie is presented as a close friend of Daisy Duck, Donald Duck's girlfriend and occasionally a friend to Clarabelle Cow. Minnie's sister Mandie Mouse was a recurring character early on.
Minnie, who at the time was not yet named, was designed in the fashion of a "flapper" girl. She was so probably intended to follow the trends of then-modern youth culture in an effort to add to her audience appeal.
Mickey and Minnie debuted together in Plane Crazy, first released on May 15, 1928. Minnie is invited to join Mickey in the first flight of his aircraft. She accepts the invitation but not his request for a kiss in mid-flight. Mickey eventually forces Minnie into a kiss but this only results in her parachuting out of the plane. This first film depicted Minnie as somewhat resistant to the demanding affection of her potential boyfriend and capable of escaping his grasp.
Their debut however featured the couple already familiar to each other. The next film featuring them was The Gallopin' Gaucho. The film was the second of their series to be produced, but the third to be released, and was released on December 30, 1928. We find Minnie employed as the barmaid and dancer of Cantina Argentina, a bar and restaurant established in the Pampas of Argentina. She performs the Tango for Mickey the gaucho and Black Pete the outlaw. Both flirt with her but the latter intends to abduct her while the former obliges in saving the Damsel in Distress from the villain. All three characters acted as strangers first being introduced to each other.
They appear together again in Steamboat Willie, the third short of the series to be produced but released second on November 18, 1928. Pete was featured as the Captain of the steamboat, Mickey as a crew of one and Minnie as their single passenger. The two anthropomorphic mice first star in a sound film and spend most of its duration playing music to the tune of "Turkey in the Straw".
The song firmly establishes Mickey and Minnie as a couple and expresses the importance Minnie holds for her male partner. Soon it would become the theme song to all of their series.'
In fact this was the case with her next appearance in The Cactus Kid (April 12, 1930). As the title implies the short was intended as a Western movie parody, but it is considered to be more or less a remake of The Gallopin' Gaucho set in Mexico instead of Argentina. Minnie was again cast as the local tavern dancer who is abducted by Peg-Leg Pedro (Black Pete in his first appearance with a peg-leg). Mickey again comes to the rescue. The short is considered significant for being the last short featuring Mickey and Minnie to be animated by Ub Iwerks.
The Shindig (July 11, 1930) featured Minnie joining Mickey, Horace and Clarabelle in a barn dance. Among them Clarabelle seems to be the actual star of the short. Director Burt Gillett turned in another enjoyable entry in the series, proved that production could go on without Iwerks. This was arguably the first time Minnie was upstaged by a female co-star.
In The Fire Fighters (August 6, 1930) Minnie is trapped in a hotel during a fire. She spends the duration of the short in mortal peril but is rescued by firefighters under chief Mickey Mouse. Horace Horsecollar is among the firefighters. An unnamed cow in the background is possibly Clarabelle making a cameo. The music of the short was, appropriately, the tune of "There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight."
The next entry in the series is considered curious: The Gorilla Mystery (October 1, 1930). The short starts with Beppo the Gorilla escaping from a zoo. Mickey learns of it and panics. He phones Minnie to warn her about the dangerous gorilla wandering about. Minnie is unconcerned and plays tunes on her piano for Mickey to hear over the phone and know she is not afraid. Her tunes are interrupted by her scream and Mickey rushes to her house to save her. Meanwhile Beppo has wrapped up Minnie in rope and holds her hostage. Mickey confronts the gorilla and once again rescues the damsel in distress. The short ends with Minnie and Mickey jointly wrapping up the gorilla in rope. Modern audiences have commented on elements of bondage apparent in the short and the mysterious motivation of Beppo. Note that the theme of kidnapping by a gorilla is present here three years prior to the King Kong film of 1933.
The final appearance of Minnie during the year was Pioneer Days (December 10, 1930). The short featured Minnie and her mate as pioneer settlers heading to the American Old West driving a covered wagon in a wagon train. They are unsurprisingly attacked by Native Americans on their way, a stock plot of Western movies at the time. While their fellows are either subjected to scalping or running for their lives, Minnie is captured by the attackers. Mickey attempts to rescue her only to be captured himself. In a reversal of their usual roles, Minnie escapes her captors and rescues her mate. They then dress as soldiers of the United States Army. Their mere appearance proves sufficient to have the entire tribe running for the hills. The Mouse couple stands triumphant at the end. The short has been criticized for its unflattering depiction of Native Americans as rather bestial predators. Their depiction as being part Jewish is not particularly fondly seen by modern audiences either. The finale has been edited out in recent viewings for depicting the "braves" submitting to cowardice.
Also, in House of Mouse, Mickey mentions his and Minnie's anniversary, which may imply that he and Minnie are married. However, it likely means the anniversary of their first date, as mentioned in the 1995 short Runaway Brain.
Minnie returned to animation came in Mickey's Christmas Carol (October 20, 1983). She was cast as Mrs. Cratchit. As with most Disney characters, she was given a small cameo in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" (1988).
In Mickey Mouse Works, she finally appeared in her own segments. Occasionally, she starred in "Maestro Minnie shorts, in which she conducts an orchestra of living instruments that she usually has to tame. In House of Mouse Minnie is in charge of running the nightclub, while Mickey primarily serves as the host, and appears in the Playhouse Disney children's television series Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
She appears in the Kingdom Hearts game series as the Queen of Disney Castle, with Mickey serving as the King and her husband. She, at the suggestion of a letter left by the missing King, sends Donald Duck and Goofy on their mission to find Mickey and the Keyblade Master. In the third game in the series, Kingdom Hearts II, there is a mission where the main characters must travel through Disney Castle while serving as the Queen's bodyguard. During this time, Minnie shows prowess as a sorceress in the arts of white magic, casting a holy light on the Heartless that attack as well as a powerful combination with Sora that unleashes a huge beam of light all around her.
In the 2004 direct-to-video movie Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, Minnie plays the role of the princess of France, who continually daydreams about her true love, Mickey. She's also the only monarch getting in the way of the plans of Pete, who can't take over the kingdom if he cannot get rid of her. Interestingly, for this particular film, Minnie is drawn with hair bangs, which do not appear in any later cartoons.
In the "Disney on Ice" play Disney Presents Pixar's The Incredibles in a Magic Kingdom Adventure, Mickey and Minnie are both taken hostage by an android replica of Syndrome, who seeks to construct "his" own idea of The Happiest Place on Earth in Walt Disney World's place. They are briefly imprisoned in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction's prison cell before an assault on the robot Syndrome by the Incredible Family forces "him" to lock them up in LASER prisons, but not without using a flamethrower in a botched attempt to incinerate their would-be superhuman saviors. After the robot Syndrome is congealed by Frozone, Mickey and Minnie are finally liberated, the Walt Disney World Resort is restored to its former glory, and the Incredibles become Mickey and Minnie's newest friends.