The Walt Disney Company has been around for almost 100 years, and so it’s not hard to imagine that the company has an absolutely massive archive representing the history of animated films, live-action movies, and theme parks. A new television special on Disney+, Adventure Thru the Disney Archives will take viewers through some big moments in Disney history, but as you might expect, what you see in the special only scratches the surface of what the Walt Disney Archives include, and it was tough to decide what to show off.
I recently took part in a roundtable with many of the talents behind Adventure Thru the Disney Archives, including filmmaker John Gleim, Director of the Walt Disney Archives Becky Cline, and the project’s host, former Disney producer Don Hahn. I asked Gleim how he decided which particular items to showcase, and he explained that he worked with Cline, as well as several of the other archivists, to find a mix of what they all thought was particularly special, along with a few things that he personally wanted to spotlight. He explained:
There were several more high-profile items that were filmed for the special — which was originally shown to Disney D23 Fan Club members last year — than what actually showed up in the final product. The special isn’t just a look through the archives, either, but showcases a narrative that sees Lion King producer Don Hahn taking a tour through various parts of the archive as he attempts to get to Walt Disney’s office. After highlighting several different pieces of priceless memorabilia within each sphere, it came down to the final edit to decide which items had the best stories for viewers to enjoy. Glein continued:
Certainly, Adventure Thru The Walt Disney Archives could be an ongoing series on Disney+, and not just a special. There is so much footage and iconography that didn’t make the cut, and so much more that was never even filmed in the first place. Still, for fans of Disney, there’s a lot to enjoy in what now exists. The special not only focuses on the treasures that are stored at Walt Disney Studios, but the filmmakers also visit one of Walt’s homes to reveal where some of the genius' iconic photographs were taken. It covers a lot of ground, but here's so much more that we don't get to see.
Adventures Thru the Walt Disney Archives arrives on Disney+ on November 19.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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