New Program Announced at Walt Disney Family Museum – Tales of Ghoulish Delight: Creating the Haunted Mansion

Walt Disney first announced his plans to add a haunted house-style attraction to Disneyland in 1958, but the Haunted Mansion didn’t open until a full eleven years later. It is believed to be the last attraction Walt had a hand in before his death in 1966. But, what happened in between conception and the Mansion’s opening in 1969? Take a look at the evolution of the attraction under Walt’s tutelage from a scare-a-minute walk-through to the creepy but comical Doom Buggy ride we all know and love. Join Imagineer Kim Irvine, Walt Disney Company alum Ed Squair, and Winchester Mystery House General Manager Walter Magnuson for a discussion on Walt’s influence on this adored attraction and the three scripts developed by his original “Illusioneers”:  Ken Anderson, Marc Davis and X. Atencio.

Disneyland-Haunted-MansionSat, Oct 15
Two times: 11am–12:30pm & 3–4:30pm
These two presentations will be identical.
$18 members | $12 student & youth members
$20 non-members | $15 student & youth non-members
Ticket On-Sale Date and Time
Tickets will be on sale to the public beginning Thursday, September 22 at 10am online.

Walt’s Circle donors and Supporter-level members may purchase program tickets for this program beginning Monday, September 19 at 10am. All other members may purchase program tickets for this program beginning Wednesday, September 21 at 10am.

Walt Disney Family Museum Announces New Program ‘Beyond the Wishing Star: NASA’s Search for Life Outside Our Solar System’

Walt Disney’s Pinocchio is set in motion when Geppetto spots a star in the night sky and makes an improbable wish. In the ensuing 76 years, wishing on a star has become synonymous with Walt Disney’s enthusiasm for a future of infinite possibilities. An early advocate of space exploration, Walt aired the first of three space-related “science-factual” television programs in 1955. The culminating episode, “Mars and Beyond,” speculated on the chance of finding life on other planets. Today that quest continues, invigorated by the discovery of more than 2000 exoplanets by NASA’s Kepler space telescope and by a NASA initiative dedicated to the search for life beyond our solar system. Mission Scientist and astrophysicist Dr. Natalie Batalha has been at the forefront of both projects providing leadership as science strives to answer its most important question: Are we alone? Geppetto wished upon on a star and beyond all expectation, his little wooden Pinocchio became a real boy. Join us as we talk with Dr. Batalha about Kepler’s important discoveries, the prospects for future missions, and what wonders we might find out there among the stars.


Sat, Sep 10 | 1pm


$18 members | $20 non-members | $12 student & youth members | $15 student & youth non-members




Dr. Natalie Batalha

Dr. Natalie Batalha is an astrophysicist at NASA Ames Research Center and the Mission Scientist for NASA’s Kepler Mission. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of California (UC), Berkeley, and a Doctoral degree in astrophysics from UC Santa Cruz. Dr. Batalha has been involved with the Kepler Mission since the proposal stage and has contributed to many different aspects of the science, from studying the stars themselves to detecting and understanding the planets they harbor. She led the analysis that yielded the discovery in 2011 of Kepler-10b—the mission’s first confirmation of a rocky planet outside our solar system. Today, she leads the effort to understand planet populations in the galaxy based on Kepler discoveries. In 2015, Dr. Batalha joined the leadership team of a new NASA initiative dedicated to the search for evidence of life beyond the Solar System. NASA’s Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) brings teams from multiple disciplines together to understand the diversity of worlds. Kepler has demonstrated that earth-size planets abound in the galaxy. NExSS will lead NASA’s efforts to understand which are most likely to harbor life.

Walt Disney Family Museum Announces New Program – ‘Becoming Real: A Muppeteer’s Journey with Dave Goelz’

Meet veteran Muppeteer Dave Goelz who has been bringing life to puppets—including The Great Gonzo, Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, and many more—for more than forty years. Explore the process of creating a puppet character, feeding life and personality into it until it becomes real, to both the creator and the audience. Goelz shares his challenges, successes, and experience in creating life-like, lovable puppets, from concept to construction to performance.


Sat, Aug 13 | 1pm


$18 members | $20 non-members | $12 student & youth members | $15 student & youth non-members




Dave Goelz has been a principal puppeteer with The Muppets for forty-one years. His characters include The Great Gonzo, Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Beauregard, and Waldorf from The Muppet Show; Boober Fraggle, Traveling Matt, and Philo the Rodentia from Fraggle Rock; Sir Didymus from Labyrinth; Digit from The Jim Henson Hour; Rugby and Ditz from Jim Henson’s Secret Life of Toys; Stinky the Skunk from Jim Henson’s Animal Show with Stinky and Jake; Randy the Stupid Pig and Gary Cahuenga the Vent Dummy from Muppets Tonight! and Chip IT guy from ABC’s The Muppets.”

Goelz first started working for Henson Associates in 1973 as a puppet designer and builder and periodically had the opportunity to perform. The first highly-successful characters that he built were Animal, Zoot, and Floyd Pepper. Despite the fact that he had no formal training for puppeteering, he went on to perform characters on The Muppet Show. He eventually stopped building puppets and worked exclusively as a performer.

Walt’s Circle donors, Supporter and Friend level members may purchase program tickets for this program beginning Wednesday, July 20 at 10am by calling 415.345.6829 or emailing All other members may purchase tickets beginning Thursday, July 21 at 10am, online or at the ticket desk. Tickets will be on sale to the public beginning Friday, July 22 at 10am online.

Celebrate Independence Day at The Walt Disney Family Museum

Kick off your Independence Day celebrations with a special talk and film screening of Johnny Tremain, which follows the exciting story of a young patriot in colonial Boston and the tumultuous times leading up to the American Revolutionary War. Rated among the best Revolutionary War films of all time, the film’s star, Hal Stalmaster, joins us for talk after the screening to share his personal stories from making the film, what it was like working with Walt Disney, his later career in casting for The Walt Disney Studios, and his time serving as an Army officer in the Presidio.

The film will be screened prior to the program at 4pm. Admission to the film screening is included with the program ticket.

TALK | A Conversation with Johnny Tremain’s Hal Stalmaster
Wed, Jun 29 | 4pm film screening, 5:45pm talk
$18 members | $20 non-members | $12 student & youth members | $15 student & youth non-members
The film will be screened prior to the program at 4pm. Admission to the film screening is included with the program ticket.

FILM SCREENING | Johnny Tremain
Wed, Jun 29: 4pm | Fri, Jul 1; Sat, Jul 2; Mon, Jul 4: 1pm | Sun, Jul 3: 3pm
FREE for members or with museum admission
$7 non-members | $5 student & youth

About the Speaker –

Hal Stalmaster was born in Los Angeles, California and attended Beverly Hills High School where he recalls that his accomplished classmates were not particularly impressed when he landed the lead role in Walt Disney’s Revolutionary War drama, Johnny Tremain. Hal was seventeen when the film debuted in 1957. Three years later, while studying at UCLA, he went to work for Walt again, this time as Gwynn in the Walt Disney Presents miniseries, The Swamp Fox. Although the role required Hal to grow a pony-tail, he continued to participate in ROTC—an obvious anomaly among his crew-cut classmates. After graduation Hal served for two years as an army officer in the Presidio of San Francisco—home now to The Walt Disney Family Museum—before returning briefly to acting. It was his interest in working behind the camera that led him back to The Walt Disney Studios, this time as a casting director. The job not only suited his career goals, but also provided him with an opportunity to work directly with Walt Disney. After leaving the Studios, Hal went on to a 30-year career as a talent agent.

Walt Disney Family Museum Announces New Exhibit – Wish Upon a Star: The Art of Pinocchio

The Walt Disney Family Museum is pleased to present Wish Upon a Star: The Art of Pinocchio. On view from May 18, 2016 to January 9, 2017, this never-before-seen exhibition created by the museum allows visitors to discover the artistic process and step behind-the-scenes to explore how one of the most influential animated films in history was produced: Walt Disney’s 1940 feature-length masterpiece Pinocchio.

Guest-curated by John Canemaker—an Academy Award®, Emmy Award, and Peabody Award-winning independent animator, animation historian, teacher, and author—this immersive exhibition invites the visitor to experience the production processes of the pre-digital era, providing a glimpse into how legendary animators worked and thought. Pinocchio inspired advances in character development and three-dimensional design, and the exhibition allows guests to enjoy the art created by the animators and designers of The Walt Disney Studios to create the stunning work featured in the film.

Featuring more than 300 objects, this unique, original exhibition takes a closer look at the settings, color, mood, character relationships, style, and costumes of this remarkable film, which has dazzled audiences for over 75 years.

Wish Upon a Star: The Art of Pinocchio is organized by The Walt Disney Family Museum and is being presented in the Diane Disney Miller Exhibition Hall from May 18, 2016 through January 9, 2017.

  • DATE

    May 18, 2016 – Jan 9, 2017

  • COST

    FREE for members. For non-member rates, Buy Tickets.


    Diane Disney Miller Exhibition Hall

Walt Disney Family Museum – Special Program: ‘Sixty Years of Mouseketeers’


October 3, 2015 marks an important date in Disney history—the 60th anniversary of the original Mickey Mouse Club, which debuted on the ABC television network on that day in 1955. To commemorate the occasion, The Walt Disney Family Museum is proud to present a special event, Sixty Years of Mouseketeers, to be offered on two successive days, Saturday, October 3, and Sunday, October 4, 2015.

The prelude to this exciting experience will be a presentation in the theater that includes the historical overview of the series and a panel discussion hosted by Disney author and historian Lorraine Santoli.

After the presentation, you will move into the awards lobby for a one-of-a-kind, personal meet and mingle opportunity where you spend time with each of our special guests as they switch from table to table for autographs and conversation. You will meet with the Original Mouseketeers Bobby Burgess, Sharon Baird, Sherry Alberoni, Tommy Cole, Darlene Gillespie, and Doreen Tracy, plus special guests Tim Considine and David Stollery, actors from Spin and Marty.

Bobby Burgess’s recent autobiography, Ears & Bubbles: Dancing My Way From The Mickey Mouse Club to The Lawrence Welk Show and Lorraine Santoli’s just released Inside the Disney Marketing Machine will be available in the museum store.

Sat, Oct 3 & Sun, Oct 4 | 4:30–9:30pm

Presentation and Meet-and-Mingle Session
$199 members | $249 non-members

Presentation Only
$49 members | $79 non-members

To Purchase Tickets Please Go to The Walt Disney Family Museum

New Program Announced for Walt Disney Family Museum – Behind-the-Scenes of Walt’s Vision for Today

Walt's Vision for Today

In conjunction with the exhibition, Tomorrowland: Walt’s Vision for Today, guest curator and film director Brad Bird presents an in-depth presentation of Walt Disney as a technological innovator, futurologist, and thought leader. Hear about Walt’s original concept for the Tomorrowland project, its revolutionary rebuild of 1967, and take a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the exhibition. See rare video footage, hear stories, and learn more about Walt’s fascinating passion for the future.

The program will be followed by a signing with Brad Bird at 5pm; the signing is open only to program ticket holders.

Tickets: Tickets on sale Monday, July 27 at 10am.
$18 adult member | $12 student & youth member | $20 non-member | $15 student & youth non-member

– See more at:

Walt Disney Family Museum Announces New Exhibition Tomorrowland: Walt’s Vision For Today

Walt Disney - Tomorrowland

The Walt Disney Family Museum is proud to announce its next exhibition, Tomorrowland: Walt’s Vision for Today, on view from July 22 through December 7, 2015. Guest-curated by Academy Award®-winning director, writer, and producer Brad Bird (The IncrediblesRatatouille, Tomorrowland), this engaging, multimedia exhibition showcases Walt Disney as a technological innovator, science fiction storyteller, and futurologist by spotlighting his vision of Disneyland’s groundbreaking Tomorrowland.

During his life, Walt spent his time redeveloping, plussing, and adding to his visions of Tomorrowland. Seven months after his passing, the new Tomorrowland opened at Disneyland on July 2, 1967. Though this themed land currently exists in five different Disney Parks and has experienced a number of additional changes since that day, one constant remains: as long as there is imagination in this world, Tomorrowland will keep moving forward towards a great, big, beautiful tomorrow.

Through animated sequences, musical compositions, sound bites, graphics, audio visuals, vintage posters, and more, Tomorrowland: Walt’s Vision for Today will immerse visitors in the story of Walt’s hopes and vision for the future, as reflected in his creation of the 1967 version of Tomorrowland at Disneyland.

This exhibition allows visitors to experience Walt’s perception of this beautiful tomorrow in a robust and vibrant way.

Tomorrowland: Walt’s Vision for Today is organized by The Walt Disney Family Museum, in close partnership with The Walt Disney Company’s Walt Disney Imagineering, and will be on view in the near future, from July 22 to December 7, 2015 in the museum’s Theater Gallery.

Coming to the Walt Disney Family Museum – Disney and Dalí: Architects of the Imagination

Disney and Dali

From an intangible dream to a phantasmagorical reality, The Walt Disney Family Museum is excited to announce Disney and Dalí: Architects of the Imagination, on view from July 10, 2015 through January 3, 2016.

Guest-curated by filmmaker Ted Nicolaou, this extraordinary, immersive, and enriching experience tells the story of the unlikely alliance between two of the most renowned artists of the twentieth century: brilliantly eccentric Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí and American entertainment innovator Walt Disney. Presented through an interactive experience of original paintings, story sketches, conceptual artwork, objects, correspondences, archival film, photographs, and audio—many of which highlight work from Disney studio artists Mary Blair, Eyvind Earle, John Hench, Kay Nielsen, and more—this comprehensive exhibition showcases two vastly different icons who were drawn to each other through their unique personalities, their mutual admiration, and their collaboration on the animated short Destino. Although the film was not completed during their lifetimes, the friendship between these two great men nevertheless endured.

The excitement for this exhibition is mounting, with great coverage seen already in The Huffington Post and NBC Bay Area.

Be among the very first to see this exhibition—Walt’s Circle donors and members at the Friend level and above will be invited to the Thursday, July 9 VIP preview. On Friday, July 10, all members will have a special opportunity to hear from guest curator and filmmaker, Ted Nicolaou. Members and their guests will enjoy a behind-the-scenes presentation from Nicolaou in the theater before touring the exhibition. To attend the preview and the exclusive curator talk, you can join today by visiting the membership page or by calling 415.345.6810. Note that members at the Friend level and above only are invited to the July 9 preview.

Lights! Camera! Glamour! The Photography of George Hurrell Coming to Walt Disney Family Museum

George Hurrell - WDFM

February 11–June 29, 2015

Located in the Theater Gallery

Step behind the lens and take a peek into the lights, camera, and glamour of the golden age of Hollywood with the newest exhibition from The Walt Disney Family Museum. Lights! Camera! Glamour! The Photography of George Hurrell brings together a selection of rare, vintage prints from George Edward Hurrell (1904–1992)—one of America’s finest photographers whose professional career had a worldwide impact that continues to this day.

Hurrell is credited with creating the standard for the idealized Hollywood glamour portrait. Always an innovator, he invented the boom light and developed several—now standard—lighting techniques. Hurrell’s signature use of precision lighting, spotlights, shadows, and hand-retouching on the negatives produced romantic portraits that became his trademark style and the definition of glamour for the movie industry. This influential look became known as “Hurrell style.”

Classically trained as a painter, Hurrell employed fine art techniques in his compositions. Beginning in 1930, Hurrell worked as a portrait photographer for most of the major Hollywood motion picture studios, first with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. While most of the country suffered during the Great Depression in the 1930s, the movie industry thrived. During this time especially, Hurrell’s photographs did more than just promote a film or a celebrity; for many, the glamour, romance, and drama of these photos provided a momentary mental escape from difficult times.

In the 1940s, Hurrell married Walt Disney’s niece, Phyllis Bounds, and they had three children. The Hurrell’s founded a television production studio—Hurrell Productions—in the 1950s, which was housed on The Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank. Though this company was independent from the Studios, its location on the lot made it possible for employees to work for both Hurrell Productions and The Walt Disney Studios. Disney animators and staff were employed to create animated television commercials, featuring some of the most iconic and memorable mascots of the 1950s, including Bucky Beaver for Ipana Toothpaste and the original Cheerios Kid. Notably, Walt’s younger daughter, Sharon, was employed as the assistant to her cousin, Phyllis Hurrell, and was personally delivered each morning to the door of the Hurrell Productions offices by her father.

Guest curated by Dr. Louis F. D’Elia, Lights! Camera! Glamour! The Photography of George Hurrell is comprised of prints that have been selected from the Pancho Barnes Trust Estate Archive: a collection of Hurrell photography that is arguably the best in the world in both breadth and quality. Pancho Barnes (1901–1975) was an adventuress, pioneering female aviatrix, and a close friend and early patron of Hurrell. She encouraged and helped start his successful Hollywood career.

This exhibition features more than 50 prints and objects—some of which have never been published and several of which have not been seen in more than 80 years. Lights! Camera! Glamour! highlights Hurrell’s impact as a photographer and the achievements of his unique and extraordinary eight-decade career.

Lights! Camera! Glamour! The Photography of George Hurrell is produced by The Walt Disney Family Museum.

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