Hi. I'm Sasha. I'm excited to welcome you to Walt Disney: A Life in Color, a walking tour brought to you by my public history project, Enchanted Archives (EA). You might already know a lot about Walt Disney, a boy from a small town who moved to Hollywood and built an animation studio from the ground-up. This is not the whole story. This EA walking tour uses accounts from dozens of professional historians and journalists to give a more textured, nuanced perspective on Walt's life. This is a story of his well-known dreams and triumphs, but also his challenges, shortcomings, and lesser-known failures. Today, think of Disneyland as Walt Disney's photo album. Each stop will use a park attraction to transport you to a different moment in his past. You'll learn about his childhood and family, his career in animation, his employees, friends, and enemies, his attempt to create a family friendly park in Anaheim, and his death at age 65. Who was the man who built the "Happiest Place on Earth?" You're about to find out.
This tour is a labor of love. It took me hours of research and writing to bring it together. But I decided that the tour should be free. I believe in the power and possibilities of history, and I want this story about Walt Disney to be accessible to everyone! That's why I am asking for donations instead. With your support, I can continue to add to the Enchanted Archives and build more walking tours. We accept donations via Venmo @herhistoryland, PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org, and on our homepage.
A quick logistical note. Each stop of Walt Disney: A Life in Color is five or six paragraphs long and could take several minutes to read. In other words, if you have kids to keep track of or not much time, consider skipping around, reading only the stops that interest you, just getting through the first paragraph of each stop, or waiting until you're in line to get through the tour. I am currently working on a shorter, "fast past" version of the tour that will be prefect for people who only have a few minutes to stand in front of each stop. The full version that's on your screen now is going to take some time.
The tour stops are arranged roughly in chronological order, which means that they are designed to be experienced sequentially. You'll begin at the park's entrance, on Main Street, to experience Walt's upbringing, and eventually make your way to Pirates of the Caribbean, the last Disneyland ride that Walt personally worked on before his death in 1966. You're not required to do the stops in order, though! I've included links to make it easy for you to skip around.
- Main Street, USA: Walt’s Childhood
- Main Street Cinema: The Early Years of Animation
- Snow White's Scary Adventure: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
- Goofy's Playhouse: The Animators' Strike of 1941
- Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
- The Golden Horseshoe Saloon: Lillian Disney
- New Orleans Square Train Station: Disneyland's Opening Day, 1955
- The Jungle Cruise: Working at "The Show"
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Walt's Death, 1966
- The Partners Statue: A Historian's Journey
I hope you enjoy the tour! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out via email or on Instagram @herhistoryland. For a list of my sources, click here.