Mrs. Ronald Reagan and Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company, officially opened D23 Presents Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum this morning–the largest Disney archives exhibit in the world, presented by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club.
“This is a rather historic day for Disney–the first time we’ve ever opened our archives to the world on such a grand scale,” said Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. “We are deeply honored to share this exhibit with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and the countless visitors who can now explore and appreciate the legacies of both extraordinary men.”
Joining Mr. Iger and Mrs. Reagan at the ribbon-cutting ceremony were David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States; Fredrick J. Ryan, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation; and Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
“The making of this incredible exhibition actually began 57 years ago this month when, in July 1955, a young actor named Ronald Reagan was invited by his movie producer friend, Walt Disney, to the vast orange groves of Anaheim, California, to emcee the opening of what was being described as a ‘new amusement park,’” said Mr. Ryan. “When the opportunity arose to have this spectacular collection of Disney treasures open for the public, we knew there would be no more appropriate place then here at the Reagan Presidential Library.”
The 12,000-square-foot exhibition, which opens to the public tomorrow, showcases more than 500 Disney artifacts, many publicly displayed for the first time, from more than 100 years of Disney history. The extraordinary collection includes early original drawings of Walt Disney’s first cartoon, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit; the first ticket ever issued for Disneyland; Walt Disney’s formal office; Disney theme park attraction pieces and ride vehicles; and props, set pieces and costumes from beloved Disney films including Mary Poppins, 101 Dalmatians, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, TRON and TRON: Legacy, and Marvel’s The Avengers.
“This has been a labor of love for all of us at the Walt Disney Archives and D23, and one that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the wonderful people at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and the National Archives, who have been invaluable partners throughout this project,” said Steven Clark, head of D23 and the Walt Disney Archives. “Together, we’ve created an experience that celebrates our history and honors the connection between Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan, two American originals.”
“The Reagan Library, the Reagan Foundation and the Disney team have created a one-of-a-kind exhibit that pays tribute to a great American. An exhibit that takes you from humble beginnings in the Midwest to the lights and glamour of Hollywood. An historic journey where a president and a creative genius crossed paths, became great friends, and left legacies unmatched by few,” said Mr. Ferriero.
Additionally, D23 Presents Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives features an entire section devoted to items that celebrate the connection between Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan. Photos, letters–including a hand-written draft of a letter from Reagan to the U.S. Postmaster General urging the creation of a special Walt Disney stamp–and an assortment of archival items underscore the close personal and professional relationship between the two men, and Reagan’s commitment to honoring Walt Disney’s legacy.
D23 Presents Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives will be open every day of the year, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, during regular Reagan Library operating hours. Entry to the exhibit is included in the price of regular admission to the Reagan Library, and tickets can be purchased online at ReaganLibrary.com/Tickets or at the Reagan Library box office. D23 Members receive a special discount on tickets to the museum, and, along with members of the Reagan Foundation, can visit the exhibit 30 minutes prior to its public opening each day.