Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Experience Disney History From Home
One of my favorite things to do besides going to Disney Parks is learning and experiencing Disney history. Going to the Walt Disney Family Museum to learn about Walt’s life or heading to Walt’s Barn in Griffith Park to experience Walt’s love of trains are a few places I love. While those places may be closed currently, I have discovered a few ways to still experience Disney history at home.
Walt Disney Family Museum Virtual Talks
I’ve gone to a couple special events at the Walt Disney Family Museum featuring panels and stories from Disney experts. I was excited to hear that in an effort to bring some Disney magic and history to people’s homes, they are offering a “Happily Ever After Hours” series, which are virtual talks and panels. They are free to register, however space is on a first come first serve basis. So far the talks include:
- April 15th at 5:30pm PT with Disney Legend and Imagineer Bob Gurr
- April 17th at 5:30pm PT with Muppeteer Dave Goelz
- April 22nd at 5:30pm PT with Directors Brenda Chapman & Kevin Lima
- Facebook Live No Registration Required April 23rd 12pm PT: Wonderful World of Women Part 1 (Discussing the Ink & Paint women at Walt Disney Studios)
- April 24th at 5:30pm PT with composer Fabrizio Mancinelli
- Facebook Live No Registration Required April 28th 12pm PT: Wonderful World of Women Part 2 (Discussing the Ink & Paint women at Walt Disney Studios)
- April 29th at 5:30pm PT with producer Don Hahn
- Facebook Live No Registration Required April 30th 12pm PT: Wonderful World of Women Part 3 (Discussing women in Imagineering)
- May 1st 15 5:30pm PT with Animation and Television showrunner Butch Hartman
- May 5th at 12pm PT Virtual storytime of Mary Poppins with illustrator Geneveive Godbout
- May 6th at 5:30pm PT with Eat Like Walt author Marcy Smothers
- May 8th at 5:30pm PT with Klaus producer Jinko Gotoh
- May 9th at 11am PT Storytime for Kids
- May 13th at 5:30pm PT with Beauty & the Beast directors Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise
- May 20th at 5:30pm with historian Michael Campbell
- June 13th at 2pm Behind The Imagineering Story with director Leslie Iwerks
To learn more about the virtual Happily Ever After Hours series and to register, click here.
Walt Disney Family Museum Online Trivia
The Walt Disney Family Museum has been posting daily trivia on their Instagram stories. It is all based on facts and artifacts you can find in the actual museum, making it feel reminiscent of actually visiting! And this trivia is perfect for die hard Disney fans, since it’s quite challenging!
Virtual Inside the Walt Disney Archives Exhibit
In early March Bowers Museum in Orange County, California debuted their temporary exhibit, Inside the Walt Disney Archives. Even though the museum is temporarily closed you can see many of the exhibit’s offerings from your phone. If you visit this page on your mobile device you can see different highlights of artifacts from the exhibits, which then has detailed history, descriptions, and photographs straight from the exhibit!
My Favorite Disney History Books
If you’re looking for a good read that also fulfills your craving for Disney history, here are some of my favorites:
- Travels with Walt Disney: A Photographic Voyage Around the World: Written by Disney historian Jeff Kurti, this book focuses on Walt’s love of travel from his boyhood to his late life. It not only talks about where he traveled and why, but contains some amazing photos from his journeys. You can find it here.
- The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company: This book is a memoir written by Bob Iger about his time with the Walt Disney Company. While it is a memoir about his experiences, it also shares a lot of Disney history about the past couple decades at the company. I learned quite a lot from it! You can find it available here.
- Yesterday’s Tomorrow: Disney’s Magical Mid-Century: This is a great Disney history read as well as beautiful coffee table book. It has amazing photographs of a time period I always find fascinating at Disney: the mid-century! You can find it here.
- Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation: This is another favorite book of mine, that specifically focuses on the women who worked in the Ink & Paint department of Walt Disney Animation’s earlier days. You can find it here.
Disney Parks Play App
The Disney Parks Play app is a great resource to get your fix of Disney magic and history at home! The free app has Disney Parks trivia available for each park at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. In addition to trivia, they also have Disney Parks music playlists available if you have an Apple Music subscription. If you don’t, when you download the app you can get a 3-month trial subscription to enjoy some of the parks music!
Walt Disney Archives Online
You can experience a lot of Disney history by visiting the Walt Disney’s Archives homepage on D23.com. On the site, you can find things like the recipe for Walt’s favorite chili to make at home, see vintage photographs of Disney Parks, and articles about Disney history.
Movies, Shows and Videos to Watch
If you feel more in the mood to watch a movie or show about Disney history, below are some of my favorites:
- The Imagineering Story on Disney+ – I highly recommend if you are interested in Disney Parks history, it outlines the parks’ history from opening Disneyland to what’s in store for the parks’ futures.
- Walt Disney Archives x Prop Culture – A Match Made in Movies coming to Disney+ May 1st. This show will talk about props and feature interviews from the prop crews from a variety of Disney movies.
- Waking Sleeping Beauty on Disney+. This documentary focuses on the history of Walt Disney Animation Studios during the Michael Eisner/Jeffrey Katzenberg era (aka the Disney Renaissance).
- The Pixar Story on Netflix. This talks about the history of Pixar Animation Studios, and gives a great behind the scenes look at its creation, with many facts I learned directly from this documentary.
- Down to Disness on YouTube. Creator Sarah Sterling has a video series called “Down to Disness” that gives in-depth history of the making of Disney movies.
- Defunctland on YouTube. This is one of my favorite YouTube channels, and has some great videos on the history of Disney things that no longer exist.
- YesterWorld on YouTube is another favorite! They feature a lot of history about attractions at Disney Parks that no longer exist. A couple of my favorites is the history of Disneyland Hotel and extinct attractions in Toon Town.
I hope you enjoy these pieces of Disney history at home, and would love to hear of any other Disney history resources or favorites you’re experiencing virtually!