By Andy Guinigundo
Simi Valley, Calif. – July 6, 2012 will mark the opening of the largest-ever exhibit of iconic props, artwork and artifacts from the Walt Disney Archives. Likewise, it will be the largest temporary exhibit ever on display at the Reagan Library.
D23, Disney’s official fan club, will present the exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, Calif. The exhibit will occupy 12,000 square feet. It will include favorites from Oswald to Mickey Mouse to Captain America. Over 500 artifacts from throughout Disney history will be on display. Some of these have never been on public display. The artifacts will include costumes, props, models, set pieces and artwork. Some of the more impressive pieces to be displayed will be the original script to Steamboat Willie, the first animated feature starring Mickey Mouse and sculptured busts of all 44 US Presidents created in conjunction with the Audio-Animatronic presidents seen at the Hall of Presidents at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando.
Disney CEO Bob Iger said of the exhibit, “Ronald Reagan and Walt Disney were longtime friends, two optimists who shared an unwavering belief in the essential goodness of the American way of life. We’re proud to partner with the Reagan Library and the National Archives to showcase Disney’s rich entertainment legacy. This extraordinary exhibit will offer visitors an unprecedented look into Disney’s history and celebrate the connection between these two American originals.”
Ronald Reagan is intertwined in Disney history. He was one of the ABC co-hosts on the live broadcast of the opening of Disneyland in 1955. He visited the Anaheim landmark on several occasions as governor of California. Additionally, after leaving the White House, one of his first public appearances was officiating the 35th Anniversary of Disneyland in 1990 declaring it “one of America’s national treasures”.
The setting of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum will prove to be a magnificent one. In addition to a multitude of temporary exhibits, there are several impressive permanent exhibits including the Air Force One Pavilion that houses the actual 747 Air Force One jet that transported seven presidents and specifically transported President Reagan 660,000 miles! It was Reagan that declared, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” He was of course referring to the Berlin Wall, a large chunk of which is permanently displayed at the library. It is indeed a library in that over 55 million pages of Gubernatorial, Presidential, and personal pages are housed there.
The exhibit will be open from July 2012 through April 2013. Admission to the exhibit is included in the admission to the Ronald Reagan Library & Museum – which incidentally is free for children 11 and under and parking likewise, is free.
• Andy Guinigundo is the author of the Out of The Loop column in “Orlando Attractions Magazine”. Out of the Loop keeps you up-to-date with attraction news outside of Central Florida. Andy lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife and three daughters. He grew up frequenting theme parks around Ohio and making trips to Orlando with his family. While for most of the year, he’s out of the Orlando loop, he tries to visit Florida at least once a year.