‘D23 Presents: Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives’ Exhibit Opens at Reagan Library

This week, a momentous occasion for Disney fans occurred, as Disney and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library officially debuted the D23 Presents: Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives exhibit. This exhibit, which is housed at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, is the largest Disney archives exhibit in the world, giving Disney fans a look at more of the historic and legendary items in the company’s Archives than ever before.

While the exhibit officially opened to the public on Friday, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Thursday, where Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger and Nancy Reagan officially opened this exciting new exhibit. Also on hand to celebrate the opening were Archivist of the United States David Ferriero; Frederick J. Ryan, Jr., Chairman for the Board of Trustees of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation; and, of course, Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

“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. “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.”

“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 exhibit celebrates over 100 years of Disney history with more than 500 Disney artifacts, many of which are being displayed for the first time ever. Exhibit guests can expect to see such extraordinary items as early original drawings of  Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney’s first cartoon; the first ticket issued to Disneyland; Walt Disney’s formal office; Disney theme park attraction pieces and ride vehicles; and set pieces, props, and costumes from such Disney films as Mary Poppins101 DalmatiansPirates of the Caribbean, Tim Burton’s Alice in WonderlandTRONTRON: Legacy, and Marvel’s The Avengers. In addition, the exhibit also includes a section devoted to the connection between Walt Disney and President Reagan, including photos, letters, and archival items that underscore the two men’s professional relationship and friendship over the years.

“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.”

D23 Presents: Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives will be displayed at the Reagan Library through April 2013. Admission to the exhibit is included with regular admission to the Library, and tickets can be purchased online at www.ReaganLibrary.com/Tickets or in person at the Reagan Library box office. D23 members can enjoy a special discount on tickets to the exhibit, and both D23 members and Reagan Foundation members may enter the exhibit 30 minutes prior to its public opening each day. For more information about the exhibit and to purchase discounted D23 tickets, visit D23’s official exhibit page here.

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