Mickey Mouse Unveils Latest Train to Join Disney History, Mickey’s Magic Choo Choo, in Kansas City

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGDAqCdG9qsKANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mickey Mouse paid a visit to Kansas City this weekend, Walt Disney’s hometown, as he celebrated the unveiling of a traveling art exhibit that pays homage to Walt’s lifelong love of trains. He also unveiled the latest Mickey Mouse-inspired toy train set, Mickey’s Magic Choo Choo, releasing in time for the holidays. Local preschoolers along with Kansas City officials and hundreds of fans saw Mickey off as he kicked off his virtual train tour departing Union Station for Los Angeles, where he will arrive just in time for a viewing party showcasing the upcoming Disney Channel primetime special, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Choo Choo Express airing Sunday, October 25th (7:00-7:45 p.m. ET/PT).

Families and their kids can track Mickey’s travels online at www.YouTube.com/DisneyLiving, where they can now view the debut of “Mickey’s Evolution,” a video retrospective that reminds us why Mickey Mouse is a bona fide global icon. Fans can also follow Mickey’s virtual train tour on www.Twitter.com/DisneyLiving, and on Facebook, search word: Disney Living, as he makes his way to the Travel Town Railroad Museum in Los Angeles.

The Art Exhibit
The exhibit captures the history of Walt’s and Mickey’s love of trains with a nod to life on the railroad in the early 20th century. Introducing visitors to rare animation art, historic photography and some of Walt’s personal train-related artifacts, the gallery tells the story of a simpler time when Mickey and friends traveled by rail and Walt himself was building one-of-a-kind miniature railroads in his backyard for friends and family. Including photographs of Walt riding the “Lilly Belle” or Mickey rushing to catch a train in an early animation sketch from Mr. Mouse Takes A Trip, this unique art collection comprised of nearly two dozen pieces, will be on display at Union Station from October 10-11, 2009; select images will then move to the Travel Town Railroad Museum in Los Angeles, Calif.

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Report: D23 Member Preview Weekend at the Walt Disney Family Museum (Review)

It makes its official debut this Thursday, October 1, but D23 members were offered an exclusive preview this past weekend to visit the new Walt Disney Family Museum located in San Francisco’s The Presidio. Reports of the free tickets selling out fast were all too common and it’s not any fault of the Museum. A steady stream of D23 Members crowded the ten galleries focusing on visually and audibly telling the story of Walt Disney’s life.

From the moment you step into the beautiful but non-descript building, you get a taste for what you’re in for. Nine trophy cases line the walls filled with literally hundreds of different awards and recognitions received by Disney along with a few bonus items thrown in. Also on display in the lobby area is some of the original furniture from the Disney apartment above the Disneyland Fire Department as well as the multi-plane camera just inside the gift shop area (the multi-plane camera is so large that it actually extends to its proper exhibit on the second floor).

Inside the first Gallery, you are introduced to Walt’s family, even pre-Walt. There are literally hundreds of photos that help depict the life of the childhood of Walt and his siblings. You also get your first taste of the technology heavily employed within the museum: LCD monitors (a few of *many*) play a short, stylized video along with actual records of Walt recalling his youth — everything from growing up on a farm to forging a document so that he’d be accepted by the American Red Cross to join an Ambulance unit in France during the war after being rejected by the Armed Forces for his age (he was 16 at the time).

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Disney Theatrical’s ‘The Lion King’ Items Become Part of Smithsonian Collection (Updated)

Photo courtesy of the National Museum of American HistoryWASHINGTON, Sept. 24 — In a special ceremony today, Disney Theatrical Productions donated objects from the Tony and Olivier Award-winning musical “The Lion King” to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Costume elements from the show’s protagonist Simba and the tribal shaman Rafiki will join objects from the musicals “Cats,” “Rent” and the “King and I” in the museum’s permanent entertainment collections.

Designed by Julie Taymor, the costume components include Simba’s stylized lion mask and headdress — co-designed by Michael Curry — and the costume, custom shoes and hat designed for Rafiki. The donated items were conceived for the original Broadway production of “The Lion King,” which opened Nov. 13, 1997.

“Taymor’s designs bring the story of Simba the lion cub, fulfilling his destiny to become king in the African Pride Lands, to life,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “This donation is a significant addition to the museum’s entertainment collection and joins materials representative of Broadway hits.”

The Simba mask-headdress is made of carbon graphite, a lightweight but durable material cast from a silicone mold, paint and polyester fibers. The Rafiki costume is made of cotton fabric, decorated with metal amulets and a horsehair collar. The hat is made of textured kente cloth, and the custom shoes are made of rubber.

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A Sneak Peek Inside the Walt Disney Family Museum: Gallery 10, Remembering Walt Disney

Our series peeking into the galleries at the new Walt Disney Family Museum comes to a close with Gallery 10: Remembering Walt Disney.

Mickey CryingWalt Disney died on December 15, 1966. Reactions from around the world, in newspaper articles, editorial comment, and letters and telegrams present an appreciation of the joy, hope, and inspiration Walt provided to millions of people around the world.

All images © Disney Enterprises, courtesy of the Walt Disney Family Museum

Visit the official Walt Disney Family Museum website and follow it on Twitter and Facebook.

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A Sneak Peek Inside the Walt Disney Family Museum: Gallery 8, Walt and the Natural World

Continuing in our series of exploring the Walt Disney Family Museum, set to open on October 1, we are pleased to bring you a look at Gallery 8: Walt and the Natural World

Artist's Rendering of Gallery 8 at the Walt Disney Family MuseumWalt — who had a love of nature since his youth in Marceline — also ventured into live-action documentaries during the ‘40s and early ‘50s. The first of these was a nature documentary, Seal Island, a 27-minute account of the seasonal habits of seals that won the 1949 Academy Award™ for best two-reel documentary. Later documentaries in the series, “TrueLife Adventures” continued to focus on nature, while “People and Places” highlighted peoples and destinations around the world.

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A Sneak Peek Inside the Walt Disney Family Museum: Gallery 7, Post-War Rebuilding: Mid-‘40s to the early 1950s

Continuing in our series of exploring the Walt Disney Family Museum, set to open on October 1, we are pleased to bring you a look at Gallery 7: Post-War Rebuilding: Mid-‘40s to the early 1950s

Look MagazineWith the end of the war, Walt and Roy found inventive new outlets for animation and ventured into live-action production. They developed new package films for theaters that combined shorts and feature-length animated films, as well as movies that combined live action and animation. In addition, the Studio produced the enormously successful Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Lady and the Tramp, the studio’s first wide-screen animated feature. Disney also produced his first live-action features, including Treasure Island and 20,000 Leagues under the Sea.

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A Sneak Peek Inside the Walt Disney Family Museum: Gallery 6, the Late ’30s – ’40s

Continuing our series into the galleries at the new Walt Disney Family Museum, we are pleased to present to you some of the artifacts that can be found in Gallery 6: TheLate ’30s – ’40s

DispatchThis difficult period in Walt’s life included the deaths of his parents, a studio strike that threatened the company’s viability, and a period when the U.S. military used part of the studio as a base.  The company released Dumbo and produced training films for the military, public service shorts, and morale- boosting films, and Walt embarked on a goodwill tour of South America to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Latin American countries. He later produced two Latin American-themed animated movies based on the trip.

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A Sneak Peek Inside the Walt Disney Family Museum: Gallery 5, New Success and Greater Ambitions

A character model for PinocchioContinuing in our series of exploring the Walt Disney Family Museum, set to open on October 1, we are pleased to bring you a look at Gallery 5: New Success and Greater Ambitions

The worldwide success of Snow White let Disney Studios create new studio buildings in Burbank, CA, and produce even more ambitious features, such as Bambi, Pinocchio and Fantasia. The last film featured classical music and an orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Although well A character model for Hyacinth Hippo from Fantasiaregarded by critics, none of the films was immediately financially successful, in part because overseas revenues were affected by World War II.

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A Sneak Peek Inside the Walt Disney Family Museum: Gallery 4, the First Animated Motion Picture

Continuing our series into the galleries at the new Walt Disney Family Museum, we are pleased to present to you some of the artifacts that can be found in Gallery 4: The Move to Features: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

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A Sneak Peek at the Walt Disney Family Museum, Gallery 3: The Emergence of the Walt Disney Studio

Galleries 3 New Horizons: The Emergence of the Walt Disney Studio (1928 to 1940)

Walt Disney watches on as daughter Diane rides her tricycleThe success of Mickey Mouse let Walt Disney expand the newly renamed Walt Disney Studios and improve the quality of Studio animations, so he embarked on a series of ambitious projects, including the “Silly Symphonies,” one-reel shorts that let him experiment with images, music, and story lines. In the following years, the Studio created the first Technicolor cartoons, introduced a multiplane camera to create the illusion of depth in animated films, and developed distinctive styles of movement and personality in their characters. Also in this period, Walt and Lillian’s family grew to include daughters Diane and Sharon.

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