LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Did you know that Walt Disney once played the role of Abraham Lincoln? That at the age of 16, he was an Ambulance Corps driver in France? Would you like to hear him talk about what it felt like to create Mickey Mouse — in recorded words never before heard in public?
Treats for the eyes, the ears and the imagination — memorabilia from Walt Disney Archives that has never been available to the public about the career and heritage of Walt Disney and the company he founded — is showcased in Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The attraction takes 21st-century visitors to Walt Disney World Resort on an emotional journey that starts with Disney’s birth in 1901 and ends with the company’s vision for the future. The interactive gallery and film is located on Mickey Avenue at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
"When we were researching the attraction, we found that many of our guests under the age of 15 did not know Walt Disney was a real person," said Senior Show Producer/Director Roger Holzberg of Walt Disney Imagineering. "They thought it was just a company name."
Throughout the gallery, scenic pieces and props create an experiential trip through each era of Disney’s life, beginning with a brief look at Disney’s early years, from his birth in Chicago and his formative years in Marceline, Mo., a period that was crucial to his development as an artist and storyteller. Throughout, "connection cards" thread the stories of his creations, from boyhood dreams to reality.
And in one of the attraction’s most exciting features, Walt Disney himself talks about the most meaningful and emotional moments of his life through a rare collection of audio interviews, many heard publicly for the first time, which are triggered when guests approach the various sections of the gallery.
The attraction includes a short film of Walt Disney’s life that explores the extraordinary hardships he overcame to achieve what he did in his lifetime. "He is an individual, not an icon," said Holzberg. "This tells the story of Walt the man, and we hope that guests will be moved by the scope of his imagination, what he accomplished, and what he inspired."
"It’s important to note that ‘One Man’s Dream’ is in no way a retrospective," said Marty Sklar, vice chairman and principal creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering. "Walt always said he had one foot in the past and one in the future. We want to inspire the young creative minds of today to help invent the future."
Artifacts on Display
Rare, historic Disney artifacts on display to help transport guests through the decades of Walt Disney’s life include:
- Main Street, U.S.A. model for Disneyland
- Walt’s animation camera stand, the table on which he animated "Steamboat Willie" and "Plane Crazy"
- Oscars for "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" films
- Animated bird from the 1800s that inspired The Enchanted Tiki Room
- Disneyland castle model
- An interactive re-creation of Project X (Walt Disney World Resort) Florida conference room
- A life-sized Roy Disney graphic with interactive audio as Roy dedicates Walt Disney World Resort in his brother’s name
- Abraham Lincoln sculpture bust
- Disneyland Paris Sleeping Beauty Castle model
- Disney California Adventure model