At the recent D23 Expo, billed as the ultimate Disney fan event, attendees had the opportunity to see an exhibit that paid tribute to Disney history. The “Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives” displayed just some of the artifacts associated with Disney’s successes in animated movies, live-action film, theme parks and merchandising.
The “Treasures” exhibited Disney items from across the Walt Disney Company: props and set pieces, costumes, merchandise and memorabilia, paper ephemera and theme-park property.
For many Disney fans, the highlight of the exhibit was the elaborate book prop book that graces the opening to “Sleeping Beauty,” with its cover and several illustrated pages on display.
Or maybe it was the re-creation of Animation 1D-10, Frank Thomas’s office in the Animation Building. Special touches included drawings of Captain Hook from “Peter Pan” and a wooden Pinocchio model.
“It’s my favorite part of the exhibit,” Rob Klein, archivist, Walt Disney Archives, told D23. “Animation has always been the creative backbone of the Disney Studio, and our display shows the attention Walt gave to creating a work environment that would enable his animators to create work that would stand the test of time. We worked with Frank’s son, Ted, to locate the actual pencils Frank actually used for work. Even the linoleum floor used in the display is a copy of the original flooring.”
Click the “Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives,” left, to see some of the exhibit’s items.
Among the other “Walt Disney Archives” items on display:
- Mementos from the opening of Disneyland Park, including the first ticket (sold to Roy O. Disney);
- Mickey Mouse collectibles, from Mickey plush to watches to toys;
- Theme-park properties, including Mickey’s roadster and props from Magic Kingdom’s closed land, Mickey’s Toontown Fair;
- Displays focused on classic Disney television shows “Zorro” and the “Mickey Mouse Club” as well as to the more recent ABC hit “Lost’; and
- Costumes, set pieces, props, and photos from several films: “102 Dalmatians,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Hocus Pocus,” “National Treasure,” “Pinocchio,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, “The Rocketeer,” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”
While most of the Treasures models were on the second floor of the Anaheim Convention Center, where the 2011 D23 Expo was held, the show floor also included some of the Walt Disney Archives’ larger pieces. On display on the main floor was a 23-foot model of the Black Pearl, the Dharma Initiative Volkswagen van from “Lost,” and Walt Disney’s 1962 Cadillac Fleetwood limousine.
Many of the items at the “Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives” were being displayed publicly for the first time. This resulted in hours-long lines for D23 attendees who wanted to get a glimpse of the items.
While not a substitute for being there in person, hopefully the slideshow gives readers a sense of the long, and varied, Disney history that the Walt Disney Archives is responsible for maintaining.
The D23 Expo, billed the ultimate Disney fan event, is held every other year. The D23 Expo is produced by D23, Disney’s official fan club.
As the National Disney Travel Examiner I attended the D23 Expo to provide first-hand coverage, along with my colleagues Danny Cox (Disney World Travel Tips) and Erin De Santiago (Worldwide Disney Theme Parks). Look for more coverage from us, including photos and video.
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