10 Interesting Facts About Walt Disney Presents
Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901. One hundred years later, as part of the 100 Years of Magic Celebration, Walt Disney World opened Walt Disney Presents: One Man’s Dream. The exhibit was an intimate look at the journey of Walt Disney from his boyhood in Marceline, Missouri to king of an empire of dreams and imagination in Hollywood.
The exhibit, located in Hollywood Studios, combines a walk through interactive gallery full of rare Disney artifacts with a short biographical film about Walt Disney’s journey. It’s a celebration of the trials and triumph of Uncle Walt, and a beautiful experience for any Disney fan.
10. The Walt Disney Archives
Materials for the Walt Disney Presents exhibit were culled from the Walt Disney Archives in California. Disney Legend Dave Smith and archivist Robert Tieman loaned the items to Walt Disney World. Jackie Harrera, curator lead at WDI, was also involved in the project and remembered, “My favorite memory was when I had the opportunity to go to Disneyland park to pack up Walt Disney’s working office, which had been on display at Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.”
9. The Spirit of Imagination
After items were selected for the exhibit, they had to be shipped to Walt Disney World. Over four hundred items were chosen in all and they were delivered to Florida via a special Airbus 300 known as the Spirit of Imagination.
8. Animation Camera Stand
It’s a well known piece of Disney lore that Walt wanted people to lose sight of the fact that it, “all began with a mouse.” The earliest incarnation of Mickey Mouse appeared in animated short films in the 1920s. His first appearance came in 1928’s “Plane Crazy.” However, he’d make his first major splash with “Steamboat Willie,” the first fully synchronized sound cartoon, released six months after “Plane Crazy.” Guests can view the animation camera stand Walt used to animate both films in the Walt Disney Presents gallery.
7. Granny Kincaid’s Cabin
In January of 1949, Disney released the film “So Dear to My Heart” starring Bobby Driscoll, Burl Ives, Beulah Bondi and others. The film tells the story of a young boy determined to raise a black sheep that has been rejected by its mother. Walt Disney adored the film, saying, ““So Dear was especially close to me. Why, that’s the life my brother and I grew up with as kids out in Missouri.”
His love of the movie inspired him to build a detailed model of Granny Kincaid’s cabin. It was an intricate model that included electrical wiring and represented one of Walt’s earliest attempts at dimensional storytelling that would eventually help create Disneyland. The cabin, hand crafted by Disney himself, is also a part of the exhibit.
6. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
The first full length cel animated motion picture in history, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a landmark in the history of cinema and in Disney history. Like many of Walt’s other ideas, it was initially greeted with skepticism. The press referred to it as “Disney’s Folly” and both Roy and Lillian Disney attempted to dissuade Walt from making the film. Walt was even forced to mortgage his house to help finance the picture.
Audiences responded with wild enthusiasm. The movie premiered at the Circle Carthay Theater, and received a standing ovation when the film was over. At the Academy Awards, Walt was awarded an Academy Honorary Award presented by Shirley Temple. It consisted of one regular size Oscar statue and seven small ones, which can be found in one of the displays at Walt Disney presents alongside the Oscar Disney received for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
5. Walt’s Desk
One of the more charming items located in the exhibit is Walt Disney’s second grade desk. Take a close look at the desk and you’ll notice the initials “W.D.” carved in the wood. It seems a young Walt Disney wanted to make his mark from a young age.
4. Abraham Lincoln
It’s only fitting that one of Disney’s most remarkable technical achievements be on display. Abraham Lincoln became the world’s first Audio Animatronic when it was developed for the Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln show at the State of Illinois Pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. It’s awe inspiring to look at that first Audio Animatronic figure and think of all that it lead to in Disney’s future, from Pirates of the Caribbean to the stunning Spider-Man who now flies over the heads of Guests at Avenger’s Campus.
3. A Test!
Guests who like to have their knowledge validated with an assessment and a grade are in luck! While visiting the attraction you can ask a Cast Member to take “the quiz.” They’ll provide you a quiz sheet with questions based on information you can gather throughout the exhibit. Get all the questions right and you’ll receive a certificate.
Walt’s final film appearance was a video where he discussed the revolutionary ideas that he envisioned for Epcot, or the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. His original plan was to create a fully functioning city that would solve the problems of modern living through intelligent urban design, advances in technology that could improve public transportation, and more. The set from that film is recreated in the exhibit, capturing the futurist, idealistic vision Walt had for the world.
1. One Man’s Dream
Guests can also watch a 15 minute film detailing Walt Disney’s life and it is more than worth the short amount of time it takes to view. The movie was originally hosted by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, but is now narrated by Julie Andrews. The film highlights Walt’s achievements alongside the struggles and tribulations he had to fight through to make his dreams a reality. It’s a beautiful and personal look at the man who created so put so much magic into the world.