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  • Writer's pictureOC Edwards Co

Bowers Museum Presents Inside the Disney Archives

If you are needing that Disneyland fix, the Bowers Museum is hosting an exhibit that will soothe that hankering like a sugar fix!

Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserving the Magic is an intimate reminder of the heritage of magical entertainment that is Disney and a walk-through of its surprisingly humble beginnings. It is an array of memorabilia that is typically housed at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, taken carefully from a variety of different locations and transplanted in one contiguous exhibit.

The Archives include key historical documents, drawings, and objects. One display included early plans for Disneyland. Another display housed early Disney film scripts, props and one entire area packed with used-on-film cars.

We didn’t appreciate the history until reading details available along the walls (make sure to read them). These Archives started immediately after Walt died. Employees at Disney Studios were absolutely compelled to save everything after he passed, almost as if Walt himself didn’t skip a beat. And, by saving and cataloging these items, there is a treasure trove chronicling the evolution of Disney - first as an innovator of short form cartoons (Mickey!), to feature length animation, to a thriving live action studio, consumer products, and to the ground-breaking theme parks - and to the ground-breaking technologies that allow it to thrive today.

The Archives are a foundation for future cast members and Imagineers to understand how things were done in the past, understanding the creative history. They are also used to inspire future storytellers. Our kids were very interested in the numerous archival materials as they are objects that seem almost alien today.

Equally impressive is a replication of Walt’s ‘client’ facing office, down to each miniature statue. I was tickled to see the first ticket for entrance on opening day at Disneyland was purchased by Roy Disney for just $1.00! We were amazed at the on-camera worn costumes for feature films - like the black gown worn by Angelina Jolie in Maleficent, the pilot’s outfit as worn by Cliff Secord in The Rocketeer, and the dark, mysterious outfit worn by Christopher Lloyd playing Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Growing up loving 1964’s Mary Poppins, it was a delight to see her mysterious magic carpet bag up close and personal!

We would recommend taking your time as you browse through the displays and access the digital guide that is offered via cell. Overall time ranges from an hour to two and a half - depending how long you want to pore over materials. This exhibit has been extended through February 28, 2021 and you should buy tickets in advance of visiting.

Also, make sure to take advantage of Bowers’ regular exhibits. One of our favorite things to do at Bowers is a long browse at its dense gift shop. It is eclectic and has a variety of beautiful trinkets. We found the museum to be a safe environment with social distancing being practiced as patrons enjoyed their slice of Disney magic. Parking is free.

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