Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Happy Birthday, Walt
Walt Disney was born December 5, 1901, so to celebrate today's anniversary of Walt’s birth, here’s a wonderful photograph of the exterior of The Walt Disney Story from the cover of Disney News magazine (Winter 1975/1976). Housed in Disneyland Park’s Main Street Opera House, The Walt Disney Story opened on April 8, 1973, during Disney’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. Quite appropriately, Mrs. Lillian Bounds Disney (Mrs. Walt Disney) officiated at the grand opening of this salute to the man behind the Magic Kingdom and his creative legacy. This attraction was a mecca for hardcore Disney fans as much memorabilia and many historic photos were on display. There were also recreations of Walt’s two Studio offices—working and formal—but more importantly The Walt Disney Story featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln (the attraction’s full title as in 1975, by popular demand, the Mr. Lincoln attraction was combined with the Walt attraction, which had displaced Mr. Lincoln from the Opera House) was a tangible reminder that Walt Disney was a real person. In an era when more and more people are unaware of the historic Walt, it’s a shame that Disneyland has not yet returned The Walt Disney Story to the Opera House after the Disneyland 50th retrospective replaced it in 2005. It's not all bad especially as Walt is actually a part of the First 50 Years show, but one hopes that The Walt Disney Story will actually return one day, perhaps even as a newly-Imagineered attraction. Just imagine: Done with taste, respect and true Disney showmanship, an Audio-Animatronics Walt figure could be both a tribute to Mr. Disney and also an exciting way to introduce new generations who already know the Mouse to the Man who really started it all.