Friday, November 1, 2013

Can Disney Throw a Party or What?!

Elegance and Exhibits and Archives, Oh My!

Two weeks ago, Disney Gal Judy was invited on the VIP tour of the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives before it was open to the public. Lucky for me, she was able to invite 3 guests to return in the evening for the opening celebration. Judy brought her hubby Paul (A real-life Carl & Ellie from the movie Up) and I brought my daughter Tara.

I had no idea what to expect when the evening started. Being in Chicago, you get used to paying a good amount of money for events and then again for parking. What a wonderful surprise to be able to park and enter absolutely free! And that was only the beginning.

Once our foursome had checked in, we proceeded up the escalators to the event level. To make exhibit viewing hassle-free, Disney had staggered entry times. In the meantime, they had provided bar service and appetizer stations, again absolutely free! Never knew bartenders did not expect tips when the drinks are on the house. I digress...

When 6pm arrived, we were itching to enter the exhibit. In true Disney fashion, the first thing we did was have our picture taken and then we were allowed to proceed. Let the fan-girling begin! The exhibit is set up in sections; starting with Walt's early years through 90 years of Disney history.

Instead of rehashing much of what Judy has written, I want to share my highlights with you by category.


This one struck me because I first thought he was talking about school classes since it was for a school paper, but after taking a better look at the picture, he had something completely different in mind.

Stock certificate given to his parents.

Original telegram Walt sent to Roy after losing rights to Oswald and his animators. Even with that bad fortune Walt remained positive, and on that same train ride, Mickey Mouse was born.
And speaking of Mickey, the original Steamboat Willie script
 typed by Walt with drawings by Ub Iwerks.

Disneyland concept drawing, used to attract investors.

I LOVE this. Even the greats second guess themselves.
 I do believe they got the wording right!
You know you made it when you get a letter from
the President!  FDR!


Just a few of the famous costumes on display. My first thought was "Don't these women eat?" I had a chance to ask the new Director of Walt Disney Archives, Becky Cline, just what size Julie Andrews was wearing when she played Mary Poppins. She explained that the clothes really don't have a size as they are created for the individual actors. However, if she had to guess, it would be a size 2. Now here's the kicker...the coat was designed by her husband just a few weeks after she had her baby! Now that is magic! 

The other thing that jumped right out at me was Captain Jack's coat. In the Pirate movies it looked leathery to me, but seeing it up close it almost looks like burlap. More movie magic. But regardless of the size or what movie they came from, one thing stands true for all the costumes, amazing detailing.


A small sampling of Walt's awards are on display, but my favorite have to be the Disney Legend Award given to Mickey Mouse in honor of his 75th birthday, and the Mouser Award from Roy to Walt. While I do not know the story behind it, I can imagine the smiles it brought to both their faces, and it's kinda cute too. For a complete list of awards that Walt has won, click here.

And finally the piece that was the most meaningful to me, and I bet you all feel it to:

 After we had soaked in 90 years worth of Disney history, we had a chance to showcase our talents (or lack of) in the Animation Academy. We were shown step-by-step how to draw Mickey Mouse on our own clipboards. Let's just say I won't be framing that anytime soon.

Now it's time to say goodbye to all our company. M-I-C, See you real soon K-E-Y Why? Because we like you. M-O-U-S-E.  And just like that our tour was done. So much history to absorb, and such a feeling of inspiration. This world could use a few more Walts. As we passed through the exhibit exit doors, we were handed the pictures that we posed for at the very beginning, no charge!

For the icing on the cake, or in this case the cherry on top of the sundae, the museum had opened their ice cream shop and the good folks from D23 put out a spread to make our own sundaes!

This was a fantastic evening as only Disney could do. My daughter and I left uplifted, inspired, and full. There's something about being in the presence of Walt's legacy that make you see the day a bit brighter and feel more hopeful for the future. Somehow I think Walt knew he would have that effect, after all he said it best:

To all that come to this happy place, welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America... with hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.” 

If you find yourself in the Chicagoland area, head to the Museum of Science and Industries and take some time going through the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives. For more information, click here.

Kelly is a Disney Gal who loves finding fun and adventure on the High Seas aboard the Disney Cruise Line. Whether it's pampering, para sailing or the unlimited Diet Coke, she enjoys all the ships have to offer. She is currently wearing down Commodore Tom to allow her to blow any of the ships' musical horns. As of now, he is disinclined to acquiesce. To learn more about Kelly, click here.


  1. Thanks for the info Kelly. It sounds like a wonderful and "magical" exhibit.

  2. Wow, Kelly...fabulous review! ! found myself smiling as I read along. I absolutely LOVE that #1 Employee Badge. How stinkin' cool is that?!?