Guests come out to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a number of reasons. The “newness” of Toy Story Land continues to draw folks to this particular section of the Park, then, of course, there’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway has also become a new must-do experience in recent years. And let’s not forget about all those other classic iconic attractions that have been Disney rites of passage for so long, like getting the drop on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, for instance.
Sure, Hollywood Studios is a Park with plenty of popularly recognized draws, but what’s less obvious to most folks is the fact that it also happens to be home to a vast treasure trove of authentic Disney relics. What’s even better is that they’re all conveniently located under one roof, right within the walls of that theater-like building titled Walt Disney Presents.
An attraction that is far too often overlooked, in my opinion, this is a wonderful go-at-you-own-pace gallery/mini museum setup displaying original sketches, artwork, photographs video clips, and so many other original displays from Walt Disney’s past. It also features later ideas and conceptual presentations that have emerged throughout later evolutions within the Walt Disney Company. Sitting right within Animation Courtyard, no less, Walt Disney Presents was originally opened back in 2001 to commemorate Walt Disney’s 100th birthday. More than 20 years later and it’s still an iconic on-premises showcase deserving great respect and admiration. Here’s a look at 10 fascinating finds you can explore for yourself when you venture into this most honored display of Disney history.
10. Walt’s School Desk
Here you will find a lot of callouts and exhibited inclusions from Walt Disney’s boyhood in Marceline, Missouri. But one display that tends to be especially eye-catching is that of Walt’s own second-grade school desk. Look closely, and you will even see that he carved his initials “W.D.” into the wood.
9. Animation Camera Stand
Among the many earlier entertainment exhibits, you will find on display here is the actual camera stand that Walt Disney personally used when animating his earliest Mickey Mouse features. These included Mickey Mouse’s premier cartoon “Plane Crazy” from 1928 as well as what’s been hailed as his more popular breakout work “Steamboat Willie” just six months later.
8. Abraham Lincoln
While Disney’s famed audio-animatronic features have become world-renowned, it all started with the development of an audio-animatronic marvel of Abraham Lincoln for the show Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln. It was developed for the State of Illinois Pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and it only seems fitting that folks now get to see this one and only original on display here.
7. Oscar Awards
In his lifetime, Disney received numerous awards, accolades, and achievements. He even earned a total of 26 Academy Awards, holding the world record for most wins as well as the most nominations for a single person in history. And while not all of his honors are physically showcased within Walt Disney Presents, Guests can still see some, like the Oscar he won for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Walt Disney was also awarded an Academy Honorary Award, presented by famed child actress Shirley Temple for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It appears as a regular-size Oscar and seven smaller ones.
6. Props and Costumes
Throughout the many displays and exhibitions, you will even get to see a vast range of actual props and costumes used throughout various Walt Disney Productions over the last century. These items from film and television span from Walt Disney’s time as well as to later Disney works. Some of these exhibits are switched out from time to time, but various permanent displays can be seen regularly, including props and costumes featured in the original Mickey Mouse Club (1955-1959), those from Mary Poppins (1964), and so many others.
5. Miniature Models
In order to better envision the ideas and concepts, Disney had (and still has) for different lands, attractions, and even hotel concepts, miniature-scale models have been developed time and again through the years. And you will find many such displays being showcased right onsite within Walt Disney Presents. Several of these models feature authentic original Disneyland plans, as well as those Walt himself oversaw in his vision for creating new “Disney worlds” in his upcoming “Florida Plan.” From models of Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland, to Sleeping Beauty Castle, and even the Jungle Cruise attraction setup, it’s so awe-inspiring to stop and stare at these working models both past and present alike.
4. Keeping Time
Did you know that there’s even a non-working clock within the walk-through section that appears to be permanently stuck on a particular time? And that time reads “9:30” –a reflection of the sad time in the morning in which Walt Disney was pronounced dead on December 15, 1966. While some may think this is a morbid nod to one of the darkest moments in Disney History, it seems a befitting tribute actually, as it tends to symbolize that time has stopped, and the lasting, timeless legacy of Walt Disney continues on, staying in place as a way of remaining alive and forever present.
3. Authentic Artifacts
All of the artifacts, memorabilia and other included objects on display within Walt Disney Presents are, in fact, completely authentic. Exhibited items were provided for this gallery by the Walt Disney Family Museum as well as by Disneyland Land Resort in Anaheim, California. They were meticulously shipped and transported from their original locations to Walt Disney World Resort via the Federal Express Airbus A300 method.
2. The Ultimate Test of Disney Knowledge
While most folks freeze up at the thought of having their knowledge quizzed right on the spot after learning a few things, others find it to be a motivational challenge, especially if they are being tested about all the interesting Disney-related stuff they’ve just picked up. And that’s just what Guests who are up to the challenge get to do, if they so desire. But don’t worry, it’s completely optional. Just find a Disney Cast Member onsite within Walt Disney Presents and let them know that you want to be tested on all the fun and fascinating facts you’ve just learned. If you are successful in mastering the quiz, you will receive your very own certificate denoting such.
Related: Walt Disney Trivia!
1. A Fitting Film Conclusion
Before heading out the backdoors of the attraction, there’s one other optional pursuit to take in—a 15-minute short film titled One Man’s Dream. Narrated by the one and only Julie Andrews of Mary Poppins fame, the film delves into the history and highlights Walt Disney’s achievements throughout the years. It also gives folks a more familiar, personal look into the man behind the mouse, his personal life, and his magical lasting legacy that lives on!
Due take note, however, that there are various times in which this film is temporarily preempted in order to feature a sneak-peak trailer or exclusive first look at an upcoming Disney or Pixar movie release.
I’ve barely even scraped the surface of all the highlights to be revealed within Walt Disney Presents. There are just so many interesting facts, tidbits, and awe-inspiring wonders to take in, sure to accelerate the true Disney experience you’re hoping to capture on your visit to Walt Disney World.