Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A tour of the Disney archives

My mom was one of the first families to visit Disneyland when it opened back in 1955 and her love of all things Disney was definitely passed down to me.

We would go quite often as kids, sometimes staying for days at a time and it never got old. When I grew up my goal was to work for Disney and that dream was realized when I got to work for Disney Imagineering in architecture. The first visitor I brought to that job was my mom, of course.
 My love of Disney has never waned and I still go to the park every few weeks. So when I got the opportunity to get a rare look at the Disney archives I knew that it would be the perfect 'thank you' gift to my mom for all her years of Disney love.
The Disney Archives is up in Burbank and not open to the public. You can see the iconic building from the freeway but people rarely are able to get onto the campus unless they work there. There is comfortable a mix of old and new on the site with many of the original buildings from when Walt was alive and just starting out.
As you walk down the street at the very end is a familiar street sign. It's been featured in many Disney classics but the funny thing is that is actually has no function, it's merely a prop.

Next to it on  "Pluto's Corner" is a fire hydrant and if you look closely there are three doggie footprints...obvs Pluto is supposedly taking a leak.
So many current movies and tv shows are filmed here, no pictures are allowed inside the buildings but let me tell you when you see names on office doors you tend to do a double take. On this day they happened to be screening Avengers (before the release) it took all I had to not run into that building but there were so many other important things I needed to see.
The famous Disney Legends plaza - where you can see the names, hands, footprints of the creative people who have built Disney into what it is today.
It is also where you can find the iconic Partners statue, the twin to the one located in the middle of Disneyland.
And of course at the end of Legends Plaza, the famous Team Disney building by Michael Graves. The Dwarves holding up the facade is a nod to Snow White being the very first full length animated feature in Disney's history, the movie that started it all.

 In the lobby of Archives is the original  multiplane camera used to make Snow White. It's huge and hard to believe that all those cels were hand painted back in the day.

In the archives every item you can imagine is here, movie and tv props line the walls and there are Disney licensed items from the 50s to now. It's like a step back in time and you can feel the company history all around you.

We were so lucky that Dave Smith happened to be there that day! Dave, now retired - the first Disney archivist and basically the man who knows all.
He brought out the original Disneyland E tickets, opening day passes and one of Walt's Oscars. Walt Disney has 26 Oscars, more than any other person in history and I got to hold one! It was a thrill and you can tell when people win one that it is truly an honor, I felt special just holding it!

It was great to spend the day at the Disney archives and one that I won't soon forget. It was great to experience it with my Mom who made me the Disney fan I am today.


Blogger connie said...

How cool to visit the Disney archives! Thanks for showing us a little glimpse of something that most people will never get to see. I love Disney too, if it were up to me, every room in the house would have Disney art...but I don't think that will fare well with the Mr. Of course, if I do half Disney, and he does the other half of the house Star Wars, you'd find that totally acceptable, right?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 8:17:00 AM  
Blogger Dr. Alice said...

That sounds fantastic. Lucky you! I too was raised with a love for Disneyland thanks to my Dad. I remember the ticket books and the A through E tickets. I even have a framed poster of the Matterhorn ride in my living room. I would love to see the archives some day - glad you got a chance to do it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 12:59:00 PM  

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