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November At The Walt Disney Family Museum

Walt Disney Family Museum logoOne of the things I’ve been most remiss in covering recently has been this month’s opening of the Walt Disney Family Museum. Sadly, due to circumstances beyond my control I was unable to attend the previews at the end of September, so I’ve had to miss out on all the historical goodness that Diane Disney Miller and her family have been whipping up in San Francisco. Have I missed my only chance to meet Ron Miller? Oh, I hope not.

Thankfully, the Walt Disney Family Foundation has really raised its visibility lately with a number of high-profile projects as it continues its mission to increase the focus on the man behind the mouse. The end result has been some great new research and scholarship about the talented artists and filmmakers upon whose work the Disney reputation was founded, and a number of books and film projects to help tell these stories. The end effect is to shine a light on the truly great work that Disney oversaw in his time, and to remind us all why we share this strange obsession.

It’s hard to explain to someone today about why one loves Disney, when to them that means High School Musical, cheesy pop divas, or G-Force. Even I need to be reminded sometimes about Walt and Roy, Marc Davis and John Hench, Mary Blair and Herbie Ryman, or The Three Caballeros and Project Florida. As the Walt Disney Family Foundation increases their efforts after the long, hard struggle to bring this museum into existence, hopefully it’ll be easier for us to remember why we care in the first place.

In any case, they’re off to a great start. The museum looks incredible; Diane and her crew, which included a who’s-who of prominent Disney historians and scholars, have crafted a thoroughly modern museum experience that blends wonderfully into its restored facilities in San Francisco’s Presidio. There’s very little I can tell you here that can’t be found in the barrage of press coverage from earlier this month, or the coverage provided by any number of Disney-related blogs this month; I encourage you to take a look at that coverage if you haven’t already.

One of the great things about the museum is that it’s providing a range of activities and programs that have, so far, focused on a number of topics dear to Disney fans. This November will be no different, with a slate of fascinating programs and screenings that are sure to fill me with angst that I’m 3,000 miles away. Most of these take place in the museum’s 140-seat theater. Check it out, and consult the museum’s website for more information:

November 2009 Events Calendar


Film of the Month: Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty runs until November 20th

12:30pm, 3:30pm, 6:30pm, Theater
tickets available online at

The classic fairy tale of a princely kiss awaking a beautiful princess from a deep sleep is the subject of Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Throughout the month of November, relive or discover for the first time the visually stunning animated feature, Sleeping Beauty as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this incredible film.

November 14 – International Animation Festival and the Screening of the Alice Comedies
Landmark Theatres Embarcadero Center Cinema
tickets available on the SF Film Society website at

Walt Disney’s first successful series of films, the Alice Comedies, were built around a clever special-effects idea: a real little girl entering a cartoon world and interacting with the cartoon characters. The Walt Disney Family Museum will partner with the San Francisco International Animation Festival to present these charming films. A selection of the Alice Comedies can be seen during the Festival on Saturday, November 14 at the Embarcadero Cinema.

November 27 – Christmas with Walt Disney (Special Holiday Film Begins)
12:30pm, 3:30pm, 6:30pm, Theater
tickets available online at

Walt Disney’s Christmases past are remembered in this special holiday screening that includes Walt’s “Nutcracker Suite” from Fantasia (1940), Pluto’s Christmas Tree (1952), scenes from the television Christmas specials, and rarely seen home movies of Walt at home with his family. See how Walt celebrated this beloved holiday at the Studio, at Disneyland, and at home.


November 21 – The Art of Sleeping Beauty with Lella Smith
3:00 pm, Theater
tickets available online at

The rich tapestry appearance is the visual hallmark of Sleeping Beauty and the primary vision of animator Eyvind Earle. Lella Smith, Creative Director of Walt Disney Animation Studios Research Library, will discuss the unique art and design that brought Princess Aurora and her magical world to life 50 years ago.

November 22 – Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and Beyond: The Designs and Art of Herb Ryman
3:00 pm, Theater
tickets available online at

The first glimpse of the gleaming white towers of “Sleeping Beauty’s Castle” is a moment that few forget. But, who designed Disneyland’s most recognizable landmark and the dream home of many a prince and princess? Here is the opportunity to discover the creativity of an early Imagineer, Herb Ryman, from Marty Sklar, former International Ambassador for Walt Disney Imagineering.

Mr. Sklar, who was with the Walt Disney Company and Walt Disney Imagineering for 53 years, will talk about the extraordinary talent of Herb Ryman that went beyond his work at Disneyland by sharing his art and designs.

Who out there, besides me, is dying to shell out some cash for a DVD of Christmas with Walt Disney?

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