Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream’ Brings Guests Up Close and Personal With Entertainment Heritage
Did you know that Walt Disney once played the role of Abraham Lincoln? That at the age of 16, he was an Ambulance Corps driver in France? Would you like to hear him talk about what it felt like to create Mickey Mouse — in recorded words that the public has never before heard him speak?
Are you curious to see the office in which this great 20th-century visionary worked? Would you like to control one of the sophisticated Disney Audio-Animatronics® figures featured in theme park attractions? Would you like to play the role of a cameraperson, circa 1966, taping Walt Disney as he announces to the world his vision for Walt Disney World Resort?
Treats for the eyes, the ears and the imagination — memorabilia from the Disney archives that never has been available to the public before about the career and heritage of Walt Disney and the company he founded — will be showcased in a new attraction at Disney-MGM Studios.
“Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream” will take 21st-century visitors to Walt Disney World Resort on an emotional journey that starts with Disney’s birth in 1901 and ends with the company’s vision for the future. The interactive gallery and new film, located on Mickey Avenue at the Disney-MGM Studios, are being readied for the yearlong 100 Years of Magic celebration that begins Oct. 1, 2001.
“When we were researching the attraction, we found that many of our guests under the age of 15 did not know Walt Disney was a real person,” said senior show producer/director Roger Holzberg of Walt Disney Imagineering. “They thought it was just a company name.”
Throughout the gallery, scenic pieces and props create an experiential trip through each era of Disney’s life, beginning with a brief look at Disney’s early years, from his birth in Chicago and his formative years in Marceline, Mo., a period that was crucial to his development as an artist and storyteller. Throughout, “connection cards” thread the stories of his creations, from boyhood dreams to reality.
And in one of the attraction’s most exciting features, Walt Disney himself talks about the most meaningful and emotional moments of his life through a rare collection of audio interviews, many heard publicly for the first time, which are triggered when guests approach the various sections of the gallery.
The attraction includes a short film of Walt Disney’s life that explores the extraordinary hardships he overcame to achieve what he did in his lifetime. “He is an individual, not an icon,” said Holzberg. “This tells the story of Walt the man, and we hope that guests will be moved by the scope of his imagination, what he accomplished, and what he inspired.”
“It’s important to note that ‘One Man’s Dream’ is in no way a retrospective,” said Holzberg. “Walt always said he had one foot in the past and one in the future. We want to inspire the young creative minds of today to help invent the future.”