To any friends who were wondering, to the left is the freebie APs got as we left the Wednesdays with Walt presentation yesterday at the Main Street Opera House in Disneyland. Are these Rice Krispies treats leftover from Mickey's Halloween Party?
When I first learned about the Wednesdays with Walt series happening at Disneyland, I was very eager to check them out. Scheduled to run weekly through July, the series would offer Annual Passholders an exclusive opportunity to “...get a unique glimpse into the creative genius of Walt while enjoying highlights from the ‘Disneyland’ Television Series.”
The series announcement coincides with the 60th anniversary of the debut of Walt Disney's "Disneyland" television series. In the subsequent nine months of the first episode's telecast, Walt would use the series to update his viewing audience of what they would expect to experience inside his park once Disneyland opened. From the description of the Wednesday with Walt series, it sounds like Disney wants to somewhat emulate the experience by presenting The Walt Disney Company milestones supplemented with footage from Walt's TV series. I couldn't make it
to the first week's presentation, but this week I was there. And here's what I experienced.
Arriving at the Main Street Opera House around 1:30p, I found a podium there surrounded by cast members. I requested to attend the 5pm screening, and they scanned my pass before putting an orange wristband on me. There were different colors for the other two show times. The CMs recommended I arrive about twenty minutes before 5 for check-in. On the sign nearby, I noticed the evening's theme was the Mickey Mouse shorts.
My friends and I returned to Main Street Town Center just before 4p and enjoyed the Flag Lowering Ceremony at 4:15p. After that ended, we noticed a line had formed outside the Opera House, so we joined it. We were let in at 5p, with CMs checking wristbands and passes (but not scanning them). Once inside, we crowded outside the closed theatre for a little bit before they finally opened the doors for us to take our seats. It was a fairly full house for this showing.
The first ten minutes of the presentation itself was the most interesting. The Senior VP of Character Voices Rick Dempsey came out and essentially did a PowerPoint presentation of the four actors who have officially voiced Mickey Mouse. Beginning, of course, with Walt Disney, we were treated to some very entertaining archival video of Walt recording his lines for the short, "Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip". Walt's footage was then showed picture-in-picture style with footage from the Mickey short. It was fun and the audience enjoyed it! After that, archival video was shown of Jimmy MacDonald (Mickey Mouse #2) and Wayne Allwine (Mickey Mouse #3) each discussing how they subsequently got the job of voicing Mickey. It ended with the current voice of Mickey, Bret Iwan, stepping onto the stage, describing how he auditioned for the part and then taking a few questions from the audience. That concluded the presentation but we weren't asked to leave. Bret, in Mickey's voice, formally concluded the presentation and introduced the start of the shorts. The cartoons that were screened were:
Steamboat Willie (1928)
Mickey’s Trailer (1938)
The Band Concert (1935)
Clock Cleaners (1937)
The Brave Little Tailor (1938)
While these shorts played, there was a fairly steady stream of guests who sidled down the rows in the darkened theatre to leave. They'd seen what they wanted to see of the presentation already and of course, could see these all online (click the links above) or on DVD. While I enjoyed them, I will say it was kind of annoying not knowing when they would the last one was over, since nothing was provided to let us know which or how many shorts would be screened. Sitting in that opera house is comfy but my eyelids always tend to get heavy if I'm inside there too long. But they looked great, especially keeping in mind something Rick said at the top of the evening.
At the very start of the presentation, he'd shared the story of meeting a park guest outside. When the guest learned that the evening would include screenings of Mickey Mouse shorts, the guest said "I'll skip this. I could just see those on the internet." But Rick made the casual distinction that we would be seeing them tonight "in high def".
As a Blu-ray geek, that phrase rang loudly in my ears. Has Disney quietly started to remaster their golden age library in high def? I think they have! I attended another Disney function earlier this year, D23's Fanniversary event, in Burbank. Included in that presentation at the theatre on the Walt Disney Studios lot was footage from the "Disneyland" episode "Disney Goes to the World's Fair". When I saw it, it had obviously been remastered and it looked glorious! It's a smart move to start getting material prepared to use in screenings such as this. But when's their home video release? It would be so awesome to have stuff like this on Blu-ray!!
All About Me
A fan of Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Batman, comic books, Blu-rays, Disney, soundtracks, taking pictures, theatre and...Barry Manilow!