The magic of Walt Disney can now be seen at the Reagan library. "The Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives" presented by "D23" (The official Disney Fan Club) encompasses 12,000 square feet and is scheduled to run for 10 months, through April 2013. The exhibition celebrates the creative spirit of the Walt Disney Company and showcases several of Disney's most famous characters, movies, and cartoons. These archives have been carefully safeguarded for over four decades, and in addition to Disney's famous works, you will also find original scripts, movie props and costumes, theme Park artifacts, personal correspondence, several photographs, and much, much more.
Established in 2009, D23 is the Official Disney Fan Club. The name reflects the beginning of the dream by Disney in 1923 when he left Kansas City to open his first studio in Hollywood, embarking on the journey which lead to the creation of the Disney Studios and theme parks. D23 celebrates the magic that began in 1923 and grew over the years through the perseverance, hard work, and dedication of Walt Disney.
This exhibit also commemorates the friendship between Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan. When Disneyland opened its doors to the public on July 17, 1955, television station ABC aired a special show called "Dateline Disneyland." That show was hosted by Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings, and Ronald Reagan. During his lifetime, Disney enjoyed a friendship with President Reagan and when he died, Reagan, who was the California Governor, continued to be a true friend to Disney by petitioning the U.S. Postmaster General to issue a commemorative stamp in Disney's honor. The Walt Disney Commemorative Stamp was issued on September 11, 1968. In addition, President Reagan celebrated his re-election at EPCOT® Center, and in 1990 he reunited with Art Linkletter and Bob Cummings to celebrate Disneyland's 35th anniversary rededication. During the celebration, President Reagan paid tribute to his dear friend in his speech, reminding everyone of Disney's contributions to the world, his enduring spirit, and his lasting legacy.
Walt Disney Recognition Day
On December 5, 1986, the 85th anniversary of the birth of Walt Disney, President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation #5585 naming December 5, 1986 as "Walt Disney Recognition Day." In his speech, President Reagan said the following; "Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim December 5, 1986, as Walt Disney Recognition Day. I call upon all Americans to recognize this very special day in the spirit in which Walt Disney entertained young and older Americans.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 5th day of December, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eleventh."
Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives Exhibit
The tour begins with "Walt’s Early Years," showcasing his humble Midwestern beginnings. Next is "The Golden Age of Animation" which begins with the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney's first full-length animated feature). After that is "The Hub of a Creative Empire" where you will see, for the first time, Walt's formal office. Following this is "A Bold Entry into Live Action," here you will see Disney's approach to live-action filmmaking.
The next section is located downstairs and is absolutely breathtaking, it includes "Diabolically Divine: House of De Vil," here you will find props, costumes, and set dressings from Disney's classic "101 Dalmatians" and the sequel, "102 Dalmatians." Walk a bit further and you will find "Fantastic Creations for Heroes and Heroines," showcasing the talented costume designers for Disney's heroes and heroines on screen and stage. Next is "Tim Burton's Wonderland" where you will see artifacts and costumes from the Alice in Wonderland movie. After that is "A Legacy on the Grid," offering "candy for your eyes" with items from the science-fiction movies Tron and TRON: Legacy. Next, you will see "Avengers Assemble!" here you will find props and costumes from the hit movie "The Avengers." Next is the "Magical Kingdoms" showcasing an array of characters, props, costumes, and attraction vehicles from Disneyland and Disney World. Following this is the "Pirates of The Caribbean" which is one of the most awe inspiring exhibits, with a 26-foot-long Black Pearl special effects filming model.
After that, it's back up the stars to continue the final leg of your magical journey. The first thing that you will notice in "A Renaissance in Animation" is the bold and beautiful wall mural which encompasses the box-office hits beginning in 1989 with The Little Mermaid. Next is the "National Treasure" exhibit featuring several props from the movie, including The Liberty Bell. After that is "A Patriotic Legacy" highlighting the friendship Disney had with several presidents, including President Reagan. This exhibit also features busts of all of the Presidents of the United States. The final section is "Disney Today . . ." and it highlights the enduring legacy of Walt Disney.
Must See Displays
The Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives is full of amazing artifacts and the following are some of my favorite "must see" displays:
- The automobile from the movie “The Absent-minded Professor” - "It's absolutely 'FLUBBER-gasting!'" as the movie poster says
- The princess gowns from the "Disney Dream Portrait" series in 2007
- Alice in Wonderland – this display includes the Mad Hatter movie costume worn by Johnny Depp
- Tron – See the futuristic motorcycle from the movie TRON: Legacy
- Maleficent Dragon Head - also from Disney's Fantasmic
- Hitchhiking Ghosts and Ghost Bride from Disney's Haunted Mansion
- The Black Pearl, the Pelegostos Bone Throne, and costumes from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies
- Full size replica of Iron Man – looking right at you!
- A wall mural of all of the Disney cartoon hits since 1989's "Little Mermaid"
- The Hall of Presidents with a bust of every U.S. President
And much, much more!
The Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum is a must see! But it will not be open indefinitely! The exhibit is scheduled to close in April 2013. The Reagan Library & Museum is located at 40 Presidential Dr., Simi Valley, California - (805) 522-9953.
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