Walt Disney Family Museum – The Lost Notebook: Secrets of Disney’s Movie Magic

The Lost Notebook

Go behind the lens with one of the most enigmatic and fascinating characters of early animation: Herman Schultheis. On view from November 26 through January 12, 2015, The Lost Notebook: Secrets of Disney’s Movie Magic shares the special-effects wizardry behind Fantasia, Pinocchio, Dumbo, and Bambi, which was found in covert scrapbooks from this technician who worked at The Walt Disney Studios in the late 1930s. Additionally, this notebook has been turned into a 292-paged book with annotations, background information, and a biography on Schultheis. The Lost Notebook is written by John Canemaker and is now available at the Museum Store or online here.

See more at: http://www.waltdisney.org/lost-notebook#sthash.wqfPutjq.dpuf

Blast into a Day of Space!


In collaboration with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in conjunction with the Bay Area Science Festival, scientists and Disney historians discuss and demonstrate Walt’s influence on the Space Age with the “Man in Space” series from the Disneyland TV show.

Although all space-related activities on this day are free with museum admission, an additional paid ticket is required for the talk with Jim Korkis and Eric Toldi.

TALK | How Walt Put a Man on the Moon
3–4:30pm | Theater | $10 members, $12 non-members
Get ready to blast off on an outer space adventure with Disney historian Jim Korkis and space historian Eric Toldi as they reveal how Walt Disney teamed up with scientists to encourage America to aim for the stars.

LITTLE OPEN STUDIO | Make a Shooting Star
10am–noon | Learning Center, Art Studio | FREE for members or with museum admission
Let’s celebrate the sky! Make your very own shooting star or flaming comet using a variety of colorful materials.

OPEN STUDIO | Orbiting Planets and Multiplane Animation
10am–5pm | Learning Center, Digital Media Studio | FREE for members or with museum admission
Join us for a hands-on experience animating the solar system using our Multiplane Camera stations. Create your own planets, and then dabble with timing and spacing to imitate how they orbit at different speeds around the sun.

In our art workshop, help us build a Martian colony, with fun, hands-on ways to think like NASA engineers. This unique colony, inspired by the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, lets kids apply science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills to solve design challenges and answer the important social questions that must be tackled before our big trip to the Red Planet!

11am, 1pm & 3pm | Gallery 9 | FREE for members or with museum admission
Explore Walt’s influence on space exploration in the 1960s with a guided experience with museum educators.

FILM | “Man in Space”
11am | Theater | FREE for members or with museum admission
Ever wondered about rockets, satellites, or space travel? Join us for a special screening of “Man in Space,” an inside look at all things zero gravity.

To print out the schedule for your fridge or for a flyer to hand out to your friends and neighbors, please click here.

Wells Fargo customers get in free to The Walt Disney Family Museum as part of Wells Fargo Customer Appreciation Weekends. All Wells Fargo cardholders will receive one free ticket per household on Saturday and Sunday, November 8 and 9, 2014. Present your Wells Fargo debit or credit card, along with your photo ID, at the admission desk on the day of your visit to take advantage of this promotion. Additional charges may apply for special exhibitions, events, and programs.

All Aboard! Celebrate Walt’s Trains with Museum Exhibit

Walt Disney Trains

The Walt Disney Family Museum is pleased to present All Aboard: A Celebration of Walt’s Trains, on view from November 13, 2014 through February 9, 2015. This comprehensive exhibition explores the influence that railroading had on Walt Disney’s life and work. It also tells the story of how his railroading legacy lives on to this day in Disney films and theme parks around the world. with more than 200 artifacts, firsthand accounts, archival videos, images of Walt and his trains, and actual model trains running throughout the show, All Aboard highlights Walt’s early passion for trains and how it manifested itself in Disney short cartoons, feature films, and in Walt’s personal life at home.

Guest curator Michael Campbell, president of the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society, constructed the exhibition to reflect Walt’s railroad journey as told through multiple chapters: Lighting the Fire, Building Steam, Gaining Speed, Full Throttle, Switching Tracks, Branching Out, A Grand Circle Tour Around The World, and Coming Full Circle. The exhibition’s conclusion reminds us that, even over a century later, Walt’s railroading influence remains as a vibrant and relevant force.

Members enjoy an exclusive viewing of the exhibition on Wednesday, November 12. Walt’s Circle donors and Friend and Supporter members will be invited to our VIP opening reception on Tuesday, November 11. Become a member today to access these exclusive benefits.

Celebrate Five Years of Magic at The Walt Disney Family Museum

Walt Disney Family Museum

Celebrate the fifth anniversary of the museum’s opening with special programming all month long. On Wednesday, October 1, they will be extending their hours with half price admission from 6 to 8pm and treats will be available for purchase from food trucks starting at 6pm. Catch animated shorts in the theater and get creative with lots of hands-on activities in the Learning Center. They will have special programming just for members, too. Be sure to join everyone for some spooky New Orleans-themed fun at the after-hours event, Animate Your Night: Haunted Mansion Halloween on Friday, October 24. For the most current information on all of the celebratory programming during October, please be sure to check the website.

To enjoy access to members only events during the month of October, and special pricing for future museum events, become a member today!

Walt Disney Family Museum to Hold Screening and Talk ‘Marceline: A Tribute to the Town that Walt Loved’

Walt Disney Family Museum - Marceline

Watch a documentary about the small town in Missouri that had a lasting impact on Walt’s life. Hear from  filmmakers Andy and Sara Neitzert, who traveled there to trace the story of Walt’s early years,  and discover the ways in which the town has remained true to the values he so admired. Special guests: Kaye Johnson Malins, Marceline  historian and Director of the Walt Disney Hometown Museum, and Scott Zone, Film Conservator for The Walt Disney Family Foundation.

$18 members | $20 general | $15 youth (17 and under)


Sat, Aug 23




Walt Disney Family Museum – The Golden – Disney Legacy

Three Little Pigs - Golden Books

Many of the most beloved Golden Books were illustrated by artists who had worked at The Walt Disney Studios, including Mary Blair, John Hench, Gustaf Tenggren, and Al Dempster. Their work would live on to influence a new generation of illustrators. Historian Charles Solomon and Golden Books/Random House editorial director Diane Muldrow discuss the art and artists of the golden era of Golden Books and their ongoing influence. Come view some of Mary Blair’s Golden Book illustrations as part of the current special exhibition, MAGIC, COLOR, FLAIR: the world of Mary Blair.

To enjoy special pricing on this and future museum events, become a member today!

Our new program schedule through November has been announced! Check calendar for details. Tickets for July through September programs are on sale now.

The Golden-Disney Legacy
Sat, Jun 28 | 3–4:30pm
$18 members | $20 non members | $15 youth

Walt Disney Family Museum – Walt Disney: A Giant at the World’s Fair

1964 NY World's Fair

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Disney Legends Marty Sklar and Bob Gurr join Disney park pioneer Frank Stanek for a talk about Walt’s creation of four groundbreaking attractions for the exposition. Kathryn Ayres, curator for the exhibit on the 75th anniversary of the 1939–40 Golden Gate International Exposition provides special commentary, and  Disney Legends Alice Davis, Rolly Crump, and Richard Sherman make video appearances.

Presentation: Lucasfilm/ILM Premier Theater at 11am
Signing: Museum Lower Lobby at 2pm

$25 members | $30 general | $18 youth (17 and under)

Day of Railroading at Walt Disney Family Museum

WDFM Day of Railroading

Join us as we celebrate Walt’s lifelong passion for trains with a day of railroading fun! At 10am and 2pm in the main lobby, meet train producer Lowell Smith for a signing and release of his commemorative, limited-edition Great Locomotive Chase boxed train sets.

At 3pm in the theater, enjoy a special screening and discussion of Disney’s historic drama, The Great Locomotive Chase. Fess Parker stars as James J. Andrews in this true-life Civil War story of a daring raid by Union soldiers on Confederate railroads. Hosted by Michael Campbell, president of the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society, this program includes behind-the-scenes stories and rarely seen footage from the making of this classic film.  Special guests:  Harrison Ellenshaw, painter and visual effects artist; and Joel Fritsche, steam train expert and Imagineer.

$18 members | $20 non-members | $15 youth (ages 17 and under)

10am & 2pm signing | 3pm presentation


Sat, May 10


10am & 2pm signing | 3pm presentation

LOCATIONMain Lobby & The Theater

Walt Disney Family Museum Presents – Leading Ladies and Femmes Fatales: The Art of Marc Davis

Marc Davis - Malificent

The Walt Disney Family Museum is excited to present the exhibition Leading Ladies and Femmes Fatales: The Art of Marc Davis. On view in the museum’s Theater Gallery from April 30 to November 3, 2014, this exhibition co-curated by the museum’s director of collections and exhibitions, Michael Labrie, and animator Andreas Deja spotlights some 70 original pencil animation drawings, conceptual artwork, paintings, cels, and photographs from animator and Imagineer Marc Davis (1913–2000). Davis, who was named a Disney Legend in 1989, was assigned and executed some of the most difficult animation for Walt Disney’s leading ladies and femmes fatales from classics such as Peter Pan(1953), Sleeping Beauty (1956), and One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961). It was Davis’ mastery of the human form and authority on anatomy and movement that brought these iconic female characters to life and made them believable.

Although his work and accomplishments could fill a much larger gallery, selected artworks mainly from Davis’ personal collection, Walt Disney Imagineering, several private collectors, and the Walt Disney Family Foundation’s collection, intend to focus on a part of Davis’ life and career with his mastery of the human form. Leading Ladies and Femmes Fatales highlights Davis’ female characters in film—such as Peter Pan’s Tinker Bell, Sleeping Beauty’s title heroine Aurora, its villain Maleficent, and One Hundred and One Dalmatians’ Cruella de Vil—as well as in live entertainment, his fine art, and through his beloved wife Alice Davis.

“If you can’t draw it, you can’t animate it,” Marc Davis once told an interviewer. He was proud of his drawing ability and had all the reasons for being so. Basically a self-taught artist, he honed his skills through a lonely childhood, and from his life experience he developed a keen sense of observation and ultimately became an excellent draftsman. Davis’ gift for dramatic storytelling coupled with his ability to inject humanity, humor, and emotion into his drawings is what made him stand out.

Marc Davis - Haunted Mansion

“Marc can do story, he can do character, he can animate, he can design shows for me. All I have to do is tell him what I want and it’s there. He’s my Renaissance Man,” said Walt Disney of Davis.

Davis’ sense of style and ability commanded admiration and respect. Employed at The Walt Disney Studio for forty-three years, Marc Davis was a master whose skills proved essential to a wide variety of projects both in film and live entertainment. As one of Walt’s renowned “Nine Old Men,” Davis was the only of the nine whom Walt asked to help in the planning of attractions at Disneyland the 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair. His creative contributions include attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbeanit’s a small world, and the Haunted Mansion, to name a few.

“Marc Davis became the most prolific Imagineer of his time in developing ideas and drawings for Disney Park attractions. There is a treasury of some of the world’s best-known and most humorous characters,” said Disney Legend and Imagineer Marty Sklar.

In 1947, Alice Estes—a promising artist from Long Beach, California—received a scholarship to the prestigious Chouinard Art Institute—a training ground for many Disney artists. With Alice’s goals of becoming an animator crushed because of the male-dominance in the field at that time, Mrs. Chouinard herself assigned Alice to become a costume designer, and gave her the added task of assisting the new animation teacher, Marc Davis.

Marc Davis:Alice Davis

After her graduation, Alice married Davis, eventually working with him at The Walt Disney Studios and becoming one of the first female Imagineers. She designed costumes for a number of Disneyland attractions, including Pirates of the Caribbean and Carousel of Progress—many based on her husband’s whimsical drawings.

Both Alice and Marc worked with a team of Disney artists and engineers to design and dress the Audio-Animatronics® figures for it’s a small world, including famed artist Mary Blair, one of Walt’s most recognizable leading ladies.

The exhibition is aptly timed with MAGIC, COLOR, FLAIR: the world of Mary Blair, on view from March 13 through September 7, 2014 in the Diane Disney Miller Exhibition Hall.

Leading Ladies and Femmes Fatales: The Art of Marc Davis is organized by The Walt Disney Family Museum.


10am to 6pm, Wednesdays through Monday; closed on Tuesdays and the following public holidays: New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.


$20 adults, $15 seniors and students, and $12 children ages 6 to 17.
Admission is free for members.
Admission to this exhibition is free with paid museum admission or for members.


The Presidio of San Francisco, 104 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94129



Walt Disney Family Museum Presents – MAGIC, COLOR, FLAIR: The World of Mary Blair


The Walt Disney Family Museum is pleased to present MAGIC, COLOR, FLAIR: the world of Mary Blair. On view from March 13 to September 7, 2014, this comprehensive exhibition explores the artistic process and development of one of Walt Disney’s most original, beloved, and influential designer and art directors, Mary Blair (1911–1978). Blair’s joyful creativity―her eye-appealing designs and exuberant color palette―endure in numerous media, including classic Disney animated films, such as CinderellaAlice in Wonderland, andPeter Pan, and theme park attractions at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, most notably “it’s a small world.”

Guest curator John Canemaker—an Academy Award, Emmy Award, and Peabody Award-winning independent animator, animation historian, teacher and author—organized the exhibition to reflect the arc of Blair’s career before, during, and after her years at the Walt Disney Studios through artwork, artifacts, photographs, and videos.

MAGIC, COLOR, FLAIR: the world of Mary Blair features some 200 works and explores all phases of Blair’s work by examining her artistic development in three major areas: “Learning the Rules”—her student days at Los Angeles’ legendary Chouinard School of Art, and her fine art regionalist watercolors exhibited in the 1930s. “Breaking the Rules”—her artistic breakthrough with boldly colored, stylized concept paintings for classic Disney animated features during the 1940s and 1950s, including Saludos Amigos (1942) and Peter Pan (1953); and “Creating New Worlds”—freelancing in the 1950s in New York where she became a popular illustrator for national advertisements, magazine articles, clothing designs, window displays, theatrical sets, and children’s books.

The exhibition includes Blair’s rarely exhibited student art, which was influenced by the illustrations of her mentor Pruett Carter, and her mid-to-late artworks from the 1930s as a member of the innovative California Water-Color Society which reveal an essential humanism and empathy for her subjects. The exhibition also showcases The Walt Disney Family Museum’s extensive collection of Blair’s conceptual artworks in gouache and watercolor—some of which have never displayed outside The Walt Disney Studios—that reveal the artist’s inexhaustible creativity in design, staging of imagery, visual appeal, and unique color sensibility. Also featured are original illustrations from several of Blair’s beloved Golden Books including I Can Fly (1951).

An imaginative colorist and designer, Blair helped introduce a modernist style to Walt Disney and his studio, and for nearly 30 years, he touted her inspirational work for his films and theme parks alike. Animator Marc Davis, who put Blair’s exciting use of color on a par with Henri Matisse, recalled, “She brought modern art to Walt in a way that no one else did. He was so excited about her work.”

Mary Blair

In the mid-1960s, Walt brought her talents to a spectacular new phase by commissioning her to design large-scale, three-dimensional projects for his theme park attractions, using Audio-animatronic characters, wall murals and tile décor.

Walt played a significant role in Blair’s creative growth. His overall vision of the world and values (optimism, humor, love of tradition, families, and an avid interest in technology) were interpreted and complimented by her creative contributions. He continually championed her in his male-dominated studio giving her free rein to explore concepts, colors, characters, and designs that were definitely out of The Walt Disney Studios’ mainstream animation style.

Born in McAlester, Oklahoma, in 1911, Blair won a scholarship to Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. After graduation in 1933, at the height of the Depression, she took a job in the animation unit of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) rather than pursue her dream of a fine arts career. In 1940, she joined The Walt Disney Studios and worked on a number of projects, including the never-produced “Baby Ballet,” part of a proposed second version of Fantasia.

In 1941, she joined the Disney expedition that toured Mexico and South America for three months and painted watercolors that inspired Walt to name her as an art supervisor on The Three Caballeros andSaludos Amigos. Blair’s striking use of color and stylized graphics greatly influenced many Disney postwar productions, including Alice in WonderlandSong of the South, Make Mine Music, Melody Time, So Dear to My Heart, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Cinderella, and Peter Pan.

In 1964, Walt asked Blair to assist in the design of the “it’s a small world” attraction. Over the years, she brought her many artistic gifts to numerous exhibits, attractions, and murals at the theme parks in California and Florida, including the fanciful murals in the Grand Canyon Concourse at the Contemporary Hotel at the Walt Disney World Resort. Blair died July 26, 1978, in Soquel, California.

Thirty-five years after her death, interest in Mary Blair and her enchanting artworks continues to grow. Her early fine art watercolors and classic Disney film production concept paintings are popular with collectors. Contemporary artists still find inspiration in her independent spirit, and her ability to survive in traditionally male-dominated fields, her technical virtuosity, bottomless creative ingenuity, and powerful visual storytelling.

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