Monday, September 29, 2014

Spending a Day With Mickey and Friends

A few weeks ago, Mickey invited me and a few of my friends for a tour of the Disney Studios in Burbank.  Regular tours are not given to the public here, so this was a very special invitation!

Checking in at the guard station
I was told when to report at the gate.  When I showed up, a guard had a name-tag all ready for me.

They completely mangled my name
I was supposed to meet the rest of my group at the company store.  So, I settled down to wait.

The Employee Store
It wasn't a difficult wait.  I loved the employee store!

These adorable Dalmation pups were for sale!
There was all kinds of Disney merchandise available.  It was a Disney fan's paradise.

Huge statues of the 7 Dwarves hold up the building
I was soon joined by my friends and our tour began.

The Walt Disney Studio was originally built in 1940 and started out with a simple, one-story white stucco building where animators, inkers and painters worked.  Walt and his brother Roy had their offices there, too.

Today, the studio covers about 44 acres and contains all kinds of buildings, including a streamlined animation center.  Walt wanted the Burbank Studio to be a workers' paradise, and it is!  In addition to having its own telephone lines, fire hydrants and roads, the studio boasts large lawns, with baseball and volleyball courts too!

Back in the 40s and 50s, there were all kinds of sets where live action films and television programs were filmed.  Many of the "backlot" sets have since been destroyed to make way for office space.

Julie Andrews and I are nearly a match!
According to their website, recent construction includes a new Feature Animation Building and administration buildings.  Since Disney purchased ABC, a new ABC building was constructed near the animation department.  A bridge spanning Riverside Drive helps to link the new additions (which are located across the street) to the Buena Vista lot that we visited.
I've heard that this statue of Walt and Mickey graces every park throughout the world
One of the very fun places on the property is the Disney Legends Plaza.  This plaza contains bronze plaques of the stars who helped make the Studio famous.  I slipped my hands into Julie Andrews' prints (see photo above) and was stunned to find them a nearly perfect match - with the exception of my weird, crooked little fingers!  That was fun.

Eva found Robin Williams' handprint

We got to poke around and look at all the celebrity prints.

Checking out the hand-prints while Disney gives us his blessing

Eva hanging out with Roy Disney and friend Minnie Mouse
Roy Disney, Walt's brother, was a huge part of the Disney Studio's success.  He never got any of the glory, however.

Hey Mickey!

Yours Truly enjoying the day

We wandered through the Animation Building afterwards and even ventured into the bowels of the earth to traverse a hidden underground passage to the Ink and Paint building.  Peggy pointed out that several scenes from one of our favorite TV shows, Alias, had been filmed down there!

A fortune in beautiful, framed animation art and cells lined the walls of each of these buildings.

This is an old map (maybe from the 1960s?) showing the lay-out of the studios
Quite a bit has changed since then.
As lunchtime grew near, we headed towards the commissary to chow down.  There were many different kinds of food choices!  I ended up getting carnitas tacos with rice and beans.  

A delicious lunch at the commissary
I loved the mural above the theatre.  Snow White was one of the first films I ever saw as a child.

This historic studio is literally where magic is made.  It has had a wonderful 60+ year history.  I hope it continues for many, many more!

We stopped for a group photo after our tour.

Chris, Lesley, Me, Eva and Peggy

This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and a lot of fun!  Thanks, Peggy!


Marybeth said...

What a fun outing!!

Linnea said...

So cool!! I'm glad you took pictures, it sounds like such a neat opportunity.