Jeanine Yamanaka and Jason team up for this tour of the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.
Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the Reagan Library on Saturday, June 30, 2012.
Jeanine here--I also attended, and will be putting in my oar occasionally, between Jason's great photos.
This afternoon we had a great opportunity to preview the upcoming D23 Presents Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives at the Reagan Library.
For those that do not know, the Reagan Library is located in Simi Valley which is about 45 minutes from Downtown Los Angeles.
Jason got the easy drive this time--anyone coming from the Disneyland area probably has a minimum of a two hour trip each way, assuming you don't hit a lot of traffic.
Once the group had assembled we made our way through the museum entrance and then cut over to the Disney exhibit.
Time to head in. We had just under 2 hours to walk and photograph the exhibit. Which may sound like a lot but in reality it was not. The exhibit covers over 12,000 square feet featuring over 500 items.
Before having free roam a brief introduction. In the center of this picture (sorry for the darkness no flash allowed in this first room) is John Heubusch the executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.
Photography and video were permitted throughout the exhibit, with a restriction on flash photography in the first gallery.
Steven Clark the Head of D23 was also on hand to welcome us.
I thought it was appropriate to start at the beginning. Here is Walt's birth certificate.
Skipping ahead to Walt's Laugh O Gram Business.
A look at Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
A couple of telegrams about Oswald.
So here's one of mine, showing the end of the telegraph and Walt's reply. What I love about this exchange is that a) you can totally see what a jerk Mintz is, and the foreshadowing of his grab for Walt's business, and b) how reasonable Walt is trying to be, up to the end, where he clearly can't take any more of Mintz's lame suggestions, and just says "forget the monocle."
The next case had the animation script for Steamboat Willie.
Drawings by Ub Iwerks, typing by Walt Disney.
As well as some Brave Little Tailor sketches.
The next room featured an animators desk.
How is this for a collection of books.. these are the restored handmade books from the opening shots of Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.
Across the way a wall featuring the famous drawing of Disneyland.
So I can't even tell you how much I love this map. It is unbelievably detailed and huge and gorgeous, and you can't even imagine that Herb Ryman drew this thing in a weekend. If you look closely at it, you can see tiny ducklings wandering around in the Jungle Cruise, and boys rolling hoops down Main Street.
I'm not saying contemporary concept art is bad, but as the farmer said to the chickens, when he showed them the ostrich egg, "you can see what kind of work is being done elsewhere."
Walt's Formal Office has been recreated. This time to the exact dimensions and arrangements (unlike the version we saw at Disneyland for years).
Here's a link to a panorama I took as well.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
The original Model T from the Absent Minded Professor.
One of my favorite galleries was right after this--the "Magic Room." It had an abundance of props and memorabilia from The Shaggy Dog and Bedknobs and Broomsticks, including a prop portrait thought to be done by Herb Ryman, and Tommy Kirk's magical ring of the Borgias!
Might there be a hidden but familiar item in Emelius Browne's display? You'll have to go to find out.
Babes in Toyland
After this first set of rooms upstairs you head down stairs and into an expanded area that was constructed just for this exhibit. They actually cut a whole in the wall of the library to build this extension that sits in a tent structure.
In this axillary area, are most of the larger set pieces, from mostly contemporary properties.
To the right, 101 Dalmatians costumes and props.
Next a series of cases with the costumes worn in the Annie Leibovitz pictures.
This Tinkerbell worn by Tina Fey.
And Peter Pan by Mikhail Baryshnikov
A large gallery includes a number of costumes from a variety of recent movie/TV/theater productions.
The other side had some Enchanted costumes, and one from the Fairy Godmother in the 1997 ABC TV movie worn by Whitney Houston.
Moving on some Marquettes used for Alice in Wonderland.
Around the corner props and costumes from the film.
Next up Tron.. this is from Tron Legacy.
Thought this was interesting... not from the film but from DCA...
Both the lightcycle and the big lit "FLYNN" sign are from the lately departed ElecTRONica event there.
Some of the original Tron costumes from the 1982 film.
Next up the Avengers.
These would probably have held more significance for us, except that Jason and I are probably the last two people in America who have not yet seen the Avengers...
The next area has some Theme Park items..
This was apparently the start of the area themed to "things from the Island of Downsized Attractions."
Thought this was an interesting corner.. the dragon head from Fantasmic, Mickey from the Mickey Mouse Revue and in the background a Country Bears poster.
From the original Golden Horseshoe show and the Country Bears at Disneyland.
One of Slue Foot Sue's original costumes.
Next up a Haunted Mansion display featuring mostly items from Walt Disney World.
The tombstones chosen for display are the ones for Yale Gracey, X. Atencio, and Marc Davis.
The center area was for Pirates.. starting where it all began with the attraction.
Then moving quickly into the film.
This rounds out the lower level.. time to head back upstairs.
The next room was basically a small tribute to the second Golden Age of Animation for the Disney Company, focusing on the Ashman/Menken films and Pixar.
Next up a room with National Treasure items.
The National Treasure room, with its faux-Presidential connections, then leads us into...
This takes us to the last display room of the exhibit. On the left hand side busts of all the presidents from the Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World (first time all have been on display together)
Amazing to think that Blaine Gibson sculpted everyone one of these, except that of President Obama, who came along after he retired.
The other side of the room features mostly items from the Reagan Library collections.
The walls had letters from presidents to Disney and photographs of presidents at Disneyland/WDW and other Disney interactions.
The ear hat has "Mr. President" embroidered on the back, and was a gift to Reagan from Disney. Replicas are sold in the gift store.
A particularly adorable letter from Amy Carter on her favorite character. I suspect she got her picture.
The one piece of EPCOT memorabilia present. We have to assume the rest of it's getting boxed up to go for EPCOT 30.
Moving on to the last room.
It featured this display of the Team Disney Building (the Eisner building) in Burbank and featured another video that I did not have time to watch.
I made an extremely quick pass through the gift shop. Some pins for all you collectors. The gift shop had a decent crowd and we did not have time to browse/photograph items.
I actually found the shop before our exhibit time started, so I got a few photos then.
Mainly Archive items, with mostly pins, shirts, and a catalog specific to the exhibit.
They also had a plethora of copies of Dave Smith's new book Disney Trivia from the Vault, and Bob Gurr's Design: Just for Fun on hand, for the D23 signing later that evening.
Our time in the Disney exhibit was up, it was 4:30 and time for the D23 Members event, so we exited.
On my way out, I ran into Steven Clark and Becky Cline, whose hard work with D23 and the Archives has made this impressive exhibit a reality.
Did a quick tour of Air Force One before 5:00pm and closing. For more pictures of the museum and Air Force One visit my site..
One last picture on the way out. Here you can sort of make out the tent structure that was added and the stairs leading to it for the Disney exhibit.
So ultimately, should you go? Granted, the drive from the Disneyland area is long and occasionally painful, it's a great exhibit filled with many items never seen before. Having said that, a lot of it did seem somewhat familiar--the first room, detailing Walt's early life and career was very similar to galleries you could find in the Walt Disney Family Museum. Some of the Oswald-specific items were recently displayed at the E3 convention. A few of the costumes and props have been shown at the D23 Expos and on the Disney Studios Tours.
If, however, you didn't/don't have a lot of time and opportunity to attend all these different events, then this is definitely your best bet to see a comprehensive collection of artifacts spanning the length of the Walt Disney Company's existence. I think if you were determined to read everything and watch all the videos, it would probably take you a good 3-4 hours to do it all. There is also an audio tour available as well, although no one I spoke with had listened to it, or knew how long it went (estimates were for 45 minutes.) Although I didn't have an opportunity to check out the rest of the Reagan Museum, it seems as though that could easily take up another few hours to fill out a day trip there.
Frankly, I think Disney is missing out if they do not produce some sort of a shuttle between Disneyland and the exhibit at least for the Destination D weekend--I'm sure this would be of interest to a great many attendants who might not have the means or the motor to get there.
The exhibit D23 Presents: Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives will open to the public July 6, 2012, at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley, CA 93065. Tickets, which include regular admission to the rest of the Reagan Library can be purchased online at www.ReaganLibrary.com/Tickets or at the box office. General admission is $21, with discounts for seniors, youth/children, and military. The exhibit will run there until April 2013.
Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.