A Peek Inside Walt Disney’s Private Offices #BambiBluray

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Disclosure- I was invited by Disney to attend this all expense paid press trip but all opinions are 100% my own.

walt's officesGrowing up in South Florida with easy access to Walt Disney World I have always been a fan of all things Disney but never in my wildest dreams would I have predicted that I would one day have the chance to peek inside Walt Disney’s office where all the magic happened from 1940-1966. Just think about all the films that came out during that era- HELLO, BAMBI! Being inside this 3rd floor office suite was so surreal. Our tour started out in Walt’s secretary’s office where his secretary, Tammie Wilck, worked for Walt Disney until 1968, just a few years after his death and when the office closed. Can’t you just picture her sitting there taking notes for Mr. Disney?



Once the office was closed, Dave Smith found the archives in Suite 3H and inventoried everything in Walt Disney’s offices. Over the years the office has been remodeled several times and occupied by several people such as Disney President and CEO Ron Miller (1972-1984), Disney President and Chief Operating Officer Frank Wells and Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Michael Eisner (1986-1990), Disney Vice Chairman of the Board Roy E. Disney (1991-2003), Producers Shaun Cassidy and Ned Nalle (2008-2011), and Producers Marc Cherry and Sabrina Wind (2011-2015). In 2015 the offices in 3H were renovated to look like how they had looked when Walt Disney originally occupied them and they were reopened as a permanent exhibit honoring Walt Disney.


Walt Disney had 2 different offices, one just past the other. Each office was filled with pictures, knick knacks, and memorabilia that Walt loved. The first one was his Formal Office where he conducted most of his business. It is where he held appointments with important guests and conducted important business. It is said that he spent at least a few minutes each day behind his “formal desk” signing letters to fans and business associates around the world.20170518_131732




Walt Disney even had a grand piano in his office where composers and songwriters such as Leopold Stokowski and the Sherman Brothers were known to stop by to play for Mr. Disney. I can just imagine what it must have been like when other famous voices would stop by the office and gather around the piano to play tunes for Walt Disney!piano sign


Just past the formal office was Walt Disney’s working office. This is where Walt spent most of his days meeting with producers, directors, writers, artists, and others. He conducted his daily business here and the room was often filled wall to wall with people. I wonder who graced these halls? Who stopped by to go over ideas for new projects and movies with Walt Disney in this office? Historians say that sometimes the office was so crowded that people had to sit on the floor. Imagine sitting on the floor in Walt Disney’s office with him going over ideas?!??!20170518_131810





Walt’s office suite even had a kitchenette. I wonder how many late nights he spent at his office needing to fix himself a quick meal? Who did Walt serve meals to in this kitchenette? Such history right in front of my eyes. The whole experience was surreal.


You can see in the pictures below how much attention to detail the archivists took when recreating Walt’s office to be exactly the way it was when he occupied it. This private room and gallery space is where his private quarters were located. It was designed as an apartment/overnight space but he rarely used it as such. Usually he just used this space to relax at the end of the day.



There was no shortage of pictures on the walls and knick knacks on shelves. Walt Disney surrounded himself with things he loved. Look at all these caricatures, cartoons, and sketches of Walt Disney.





There was even a torch from the 1960 Olympics!


It wasn’t part of Walt’s office but I wanted to share another special photo with you. As we left Walt’s office and made our way to another building we were taken down to a special underground tunnel. What’s so special about this tunnel? It was built so artists could take the cells of movies they were working on from one building to another without worrying about it getting wet if it was raining outside. I wonder what movie cells passed through this tunnel that I passed through? I get chills just thinking about it!


You can learn about the Disney Archives and more by visiting d23.com/walt-disney-archives/.

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Exclusive Interview With The Voices of Bambi and Thumper Plus Paul Felix, Visual Development Artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios #BambiBluray

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Disclosure- I was invited by Disney to attend this all expense paid press trip but all opinions are 100% my own.

BambiThe beloved classic movie, Bambi, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. In honor of this special anniversary it joined Walt Disney’s Signature Collection today on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere. It will be released on Blu-ray, DVD, and On-Demand on June 6th. The collection release will include a variety of bonus features and I will be reviewing it in an upcoming post. There is also a special deal going on right now. Disney Movie Rewards is offering a beautiful tank top featuring Paul Felix art inspired by BAMBI, for only $9.99 with every digital purchase/redemption of BAMBI.   Learn more about the tank top promotion here.
bambi tank top

Did you ever wonder what it was like to work with Walt Disney? Or what it was like to be a part of a classic Disney movie? During our trip to Los Angeles last week we had the unique opportunity last week to interview with 2 of the original voices from the movie. Disney Archivist Becky Cline moderated as interviewed  Donald “Donnie” Dunagan (young voice of “Bambi”) and Peter Behn (young voice of “Thumper”). We also interviewed  Paul Felix, Visual Development Artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios who was inspired by Tyrus Wong (animator on Bambi).
Here are the top things we learned:

~Hand-drawn Artwork and Attention to Detail

Talent_WEB_017Photo credit- BAMBI Disney archive image

Bambi was released in 1942 during World War II. It took over 5 years to make due to its exquisite hand-drawn artwork and attention to detail. Paul Felix told us how the studio went on strike and moved during the time Bambi was being made which also delayed the project. It was supposed to come out after Snow White but ended up coming after Pinocchio and Fantasia. They had to cut some of the movie out and only do what they could afford at the time. Paul also told us that one important thing that Disney animators of the time had to learn to do was learn how to create animals with faces that could emote dialog. A good example of this is comparing how lifelike and realistic the deer in Bambi are compared to the deer in Snow White that are stiff and don’t have much life to them.

~The Zen of Bambi

paul felix 2
Paul Felix shared with us how he feels Bambi is special because the themes are so broad. It deals with the reality of the world and has a zen-like simplicity that is profound. He also went on to talk about how the movie is so powerful even today because it shows how the connection between mother and child is so primal and relatable.

~There Were No Auditions For Thumper


BAMBI Disney archive image

Photo credit- BAMBI Disney archive image

Peter Behn’s father was a screenwriter in the 1920’s. He knew Walt Disney and brought Peter in to audition for the voice of Bambi but Donnie beat him out. They didn’t think his voice was right for Bambi but they thought his voice was right for “the rabbit” character. They never held auditions for Thumper, as they knew Peter was right for the part. He was only 4 years old at the time and the tender age of 5 when he voiced his character.

~Donnie Dunagan Knew What He Wanted As a Boy

donnie dunagan mickeyPhoto credit- BAMBI Disney archive image

Donnie Dunagan grew up dirt poor and his family entered him in a talent contest when he was 4 years old. In the contest he danced with a paper bag hat and a stick from a tree to the song, A Tisket A Tasket. He won and caught the eye of a talent scout! He went on to be a child actor at the age of 5 years old. He did lots of films as a child, 7 before the age of 5 1/2 years old, but when is agent told him not to take the role of Bambi he fired his agent. Talk about a boy who knew what he wanted!

~Peter Behn Only Saw Bambi Once In His Youth

Talent_WEB_023Photo credit- BAMBI Disney archive image
Peter Behn saw Bambi at the premiere and then didn’t see it again for a long time. I hadn’t thought about it before but back in those days they didn’t have DVDs, VHS tapes, or Netflix so movies were just seen in theaters when they came out.

~Commanding Officer Bambi

Talent_WEB_025Photo credit- BAMBI Disney archive image

Donnie went on to become a commanding officer in the Marine Corp but he didn’t tell anyone about his role in Bambi. He was afraid they would tease him- “My commanding officer is Bambi!” He didn’t even tell his wife about his role in Bambi when they were first married. It took her finding an old box of memorabilia and fan letters for Donnie to tell his wife all about his Disney past.

~A True Leader

When asked about what it was like to work with Walt Disney Donnie said that Walt was very helpful, a true leader. He was not a feared boss but instead a very hands on leader who was approachable and helped everyone.

~Recording The Voices

The voices were recorded first and then the artwork was created based on the recordings. The audio was transcribed with a needle on a plastic device because they didn’t have the digital technology like they do today.

~”Your Mother Is In Trouble”

bambi momPhoto credit- BAMBI Disney archive image
To get Peter to say his lines the director would read the lines and Peter would mimic him with inflection because he was too young to read the lines well. When Donnie was recording the scene where Bambi’s mother dies the director thought that Donnie sounded too happy and not sad enough. He told Donnie to pretend “Your mother is in trouble. Call your mother!”

~Bambi’s Legacy Lives On Today

flowerPhoto credit- BAMBI Disney archive image
Peter shared with us how Walt Disney was ahead of his time in protecting the environment as shown in Bambi. This speaks to his forward thinking and awareness of environmental issues. The legacy of Bambi still lives on today.

~Bambi is Forever

fansPhoto credit- BAMBI Disney archive image
The most touching part of our interview was when Donnie shared with us, with a quivering voice and tears in his eyes, that Bambi is forever. He showed us the letters he still receives from children from all over the world.

~Advice For Aspiring Animators

While Paul Felix is known for designing settings over characters he said anyone interested in becoming an animator should draw from life, draw both buildings and people. Try painting with watercolors and create a mood with colors. Don’t limit yourself. Learn art history to ground yourself in art and design.

donnie and peter group

Photo credit- Louise Bishop Momstart.com

Make sure to check out the 75th anniversary Walt Disney Signature Collection Bambi on Digital HD May 23rd and Blu-ray June 6th!

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image002 (1)Last month I had the amazing opportunity to go to Magic Kingdom with 24 other bloggers and while we were there we went on one of my favorite rides, the Carousel of Progress.  I just love watching how things changed over the course of a century and I dream about what’s to come in the future..carousel of progress carousel2 tomorrowland tomorrowland2 I saw a sneak peek of Tomorrowland when I went to Orlando a few weeks ago for the Monkey Kingdom Event and it was AMAZING.  I can’t wait for this movie to come out.  Tomorrowland is one of my favorite places in Walt Disney World so I am especially drawn to this movie.  It stars George Clooney judging from the trailers it looks like one big adventure of a movie! From Disney comes two-time Oscar® winner Brad Bird’s “Tomorrowland,” a riveting mystery adventure starring Academy Award® winner George Clooney. Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as “Tomorrowland.” What they must do there changes the world—and them—forever. Featuring a screenplay by “Lost” writer and co-creator Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird, from a story by Lindelof & Bird & Jeff Jensen, “Tomorrowland” promises to take audiences on a thrill ride of nonstop adventures through new dimensions that have only been dreamed of. The film also stars Hugh Laurie as brilliant scientist David Nix, Raffey Cassidy, Tim McGraw, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key and Thomas Robinson. “Tomorrowland” is produced by Damon Lindelof, Brad Bird and Jeffrey Chernov and directed by Brad Bird, with John Walker, Bernard Bellew, Jeff Jensen and Brigham Taylor serving as executive producers. “Tomorrowland” opens in U.S. theaters on May 22, 2015. “Casey” featurette “Athena” featurette “What Is Tomorrowland” featurette “Citizens Of Tomorrowland” featurette

image004 (1)Here are some fun facts from Tomorrowland- FUN FACTS • Director/writer Brad Bird is no stranger to the world of Disney and it isn’t just from working on his previous films. When he was 11, Bird developed an interest in animation and over the course of three years he finished a 15-minute animated film that came to the attention of Disney Animation, who offered to assign a mentor—the famous Master Animator Milt Kahl—to the then 14 year old. Bird stayed with a family friend in Los Angeles to take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime offer. • When the concept of “Tomorrowland” was just percolating in writer/producer Damon Lindelof’s mind, Sean Bailey, president of production at Disney told him about a box that had been discovered accidentally in a closet at the studio. The “mystery box” contained all sorts of fascinating models and blueprints, photographs and letters seemingly related to the inception of Tomorrowland and the 1964 World’s Fair. Lindelof imagined that these findings were a guide to a secret story that nobody knew about; a place called Tomorrowland that was not just a theme park but existed somewhere in the real world. This became the jumping-off point for the story of “Tomorrowland” that Lindelof would later develop with director/producer Brad Bird and executive producer Jeff Jensen. • In recreating the 1964 World’s Fair for “Tomorrowland,” filmmakers were lucky to find that one of the iconic pieces, the Unisphere, was actually in Flushing Meadows, New York, standing outside of the USTA National Tennis Center. The huge globe’s fountains are still in place as well as the gardens. The filmmakers dispatched a photographer to New York to take photos so that they could use the real images as a composite element in the scenes. • For the 1964 World’s Fair, the Walt Disney Company created three rides, the It’s a Small World ride being the one we remember most. Though quaint by today’s standards, back in 1964, Carousel of Progress and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln were revolutionary in how they used robotics and ride technology to create a thematically rich experience. • When it came to creating a city built by visionaries with advanced technologies, filmmakers knew it had to look like one and finding such a place was not an easy task. At first it seemed as though the whole of Tomorrowland would have to be built from scratch, an expensive and time-consuming proposition. But then in a series of wonderful coincidences, Tom Peitzman, the visual effects producer and the film’s co-producer, stumbled upon a car commercial early on in production; the location in the commercial looked so futuristic that he recorded the ad on his phone and brought it to director Brad Bird. The location turned out to be the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain, and was designed by Santiago Calatrava whose work was already serving as an inspiration for production designer Scott Chambliss. The discovery also dovetailed with director Brad Bird’s preference for physical locations over virtual sets. • For the filmmakers, the bizarre memorabilia emporium, Blast From the Past, was a fun—and nostalgic—set to create. Set decorator Lin MacDonald spent months curating the extensive display of collectibles, consisting of thousands of pieces, both purchased and manufactured by the production, and many originals—some from Brad Bird’s own collection. There are shelves and shelves of comic books and items such as classic sci-fi movie posters, an original Luke Skywalker action figure from the 1970s, and even items from “Space 1999.” The production design team literally built a store and set it in the middle of a sound stage. • Designed by illustrator Tim Flattery of “Men in Black” fame, the plasma ray guns used in the comic-book store scene feature interactive light that spills out into the environment, adding to their air of authenticity. The guns were built with a very small but powerful wireless battery pack that fits on the end. Upon the actor hitting the trigger, the gun throws interactive light out the front. When the “plasma” is empty, a red light goes on and, as the gun recharges, the lights turn blue again. • One aspect of working with the child actors, Thomas Robinson (Young Frank) and Raffey Cassidy (Athena), was that if you take an eleven-year-old and start them on a movie in the summer and don’t finish the movie until mid-winter, chances are they going to grow, and that includes their teeth. When Raffey arrived in Vancouver ready to start work, she was missing teeth, so she had to get fakes made before the start of principal photography. Then Thomas started losing his teeth one by one. So the kids spent a lot of time getting “flippers” made, which are temporary, removable teeth. • Young Raffey Cassidy, who plays Athena, underwent training in swimming, gymnastics, wirework and martial arts, which was the primary focus of her training as her character kicks some serious butt in the movie. 2 • The Bridgeway Plaza took six months to build and was about half the size of a football field. The set was so enormous that no sound stage existed that could house it and considerable height was also required for the intended aerial work above the set and for the cranes big enough to hold the lights required to illuminate the set. Adding to the complexity was the fact that the set had to serve different time periods over the course of the script: 1964, when young Frank first visits; 1984, the period in Casey’s pin-induced vision; and 2014, when the remainder of the story takes place. This required six-week intervals between shoots to allow the production design crew time to redress and alter the set for each time period. • The Bridgeway Plaza set included a fully functional monorail (called the levitating elevated vehicle). Once the monorail was completely built and the lights and glass were put in, it weighed about 35,000 pounds. That meant that the crew had to figure out how to move the hefty monorail—loaded with principal cast— safely down a track that was elevated 16 feet in the air and stop it at exactly the same position time and again. They came up with hydraulic winches that could be shut down very quickly in an emergency and brakes that they could apply whenever they wanted to bring the monorail to a very specific mark to stop, open the door automatically and have the cast walk out. • The film started principal photography on a farm in Pincher Creek, Alberta, where the filmmakers paid a farmer to grow winter wheat that had a particular shade of amber—director Brad Bird’s vision of rural perfection. Then the crew moved to a farm in Enderby, in British Columbia’s Okanagan, to shoot the Walker farm and its cornfields, also grown specifically for the production. • In addition to sets in Spain and Canada, locations included the “It’s a small world” ride at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif., a beach in the Bahamas and a secondunit shoot in Paris. In total, the film had over 90 different combinations of sets and locations, and moved ten times. • Costume designer Jeffrey Kurland had to dress almost 400 extras in 1964-era attire for the Hall of Invention and Unisphere Plaza World’s Fair scenes. • The 1964 jet pack designed for Young Frank (Thomas Robinson) was a feat of engineering and imagination. It has 40 different fasteners on the backpack frame and has mounts for Electrolux vacuum cleaners on the sides. Control cables operate the small shovels on the back. Cables run through the jet pack onto the handles so the actor can control it. The jet pack was fastened to a plate and could be easily removed from the frame so that Thomas did not have to walk around with 20 lbs. of jet pack on his back between takes. 3 • For the props department, creating props for the different time periods of the film—1964, 1984 and 2014—was a challenge. There are different influences and materials that affect the manufacture and design of the props for each era, so every prop needed to be carefully researched and analyzed to make sure the technology and materials they planned to use existed in the time period. Then the filmmakers had to try and find the real parts to make things authentic. • Filmmakers were thrilled to see a real NASA Maven rocket launch (a probe to Mars) at the Cape Canaveral set location and several of them were able to view the launch from a position closer than the press viewing stage. For the filmmakers, it was a dream-come-true and symbolized the future that the film inspires.

image002 image004 image006 image008 Like TOMORROWLAND on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyTomorrowland Follow Disney Pictures on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DisneyPictures Visit the official TOMORROWLAND website: www.Disney.com/Tomorrowland TOMORROWLAND opens in theaters everywhere on May 22nd!

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Saving Mr. Banks – Inspiring Recipes and Fun Scenes

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Saving Mr. Banks is now available on Blu-ray Combo Pack! This film delves into the story behind the making of Disney’s Mary Poppins and takes a closer look at Walt Disney, the man behind the studio.
Get a taste of the movie with a recipe for Walt’s Family Chili as well as dishes inspired by the film and the era!

Download Walt Disney’s Inspiring Recipes

Check out these fun clips, too!

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