For the past four months, Disneyland has offered Annual Passholders to spend an evening each week with Uncle Walt. This week and next are the last offerings of this fun program, and July 16th’s presentation is expected to include some nice extras.
Held in the Opera House on Main Street’s Town Square, Wednesdays With Walt has offered a variety of films and presentations. Full-length features, such as “Dumbo,” little treasures like “Donald in Mathmagicland” and Academy-award winning short films, and delightful romps such as Walt visiting Ireland to find its storied Little People in “I Captured the King of the Leprechauns” have been featured in past presentations.
Sure, you can catch some of these films on YouTube, or watch your own purchased versions of others in the comfort of your home. But, how better to experience the joy of these gems than to share them with fellow Disney fans in Mr. Lincoln’s hallowed hall?
On the day of each event, Annual Passholders make their reservations beginning at noon, just outside of the Opera House. Three screening times are offered: for 45-minute long presentations, times are 5:00pm, 6:00pm, and 7:00pm; the longer 65-minute shows take place at 4:30pm, 6:00pm, and 7:30pm (as always, times are subject to change). Different colored wristbands are issued to identify which showing the passholder has selected.
Shortly before showtime, wristband-wearing AP guests enter the theatre via a “secret” door just to the side of the main Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln entrance.
A good way to pass the time once inside, before the audience is admitted inside the theater, is to peruse The Disneyland Story. This exhibit is a regular installation that displays definitive artwork, scale models, and other memorabilia surrounding the formation and fruition of what would become the Happiest Place on Earth. Still playing here is the short film created for the park’s 50th anniversary a decade ago: “Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years,” hosted by funnyman and former Cast Member, Steve Martin.
In past Wednesdays With Walt, bonus gifts have been passed out to attendees prior to the screenings. There’s no promise this will occur with the final shows, but who knows? You may walk away with a Big Hero 6 backpack or another surprise.
The remaining two presentations scheduled are:
Wednesday, July 15th, 2015: Highlights of “Dateline: Disneyland”
This was the live broadcast of the park’s opening day, July 17th, 1955. Hosted by Art Linkletter, it includes numerous celebrities and other guests of Walt Disney enjoying what Linkletter called, “the Eighth Wonder of the World.” A favorite moment to watch for: the look of childlike joy on Walt’s face as he engineers the E.P. Ripley up to the Main Street train station.
This week’s presentation will feature special guest speakers: Tim O’Day, an author, historian, and public relations and creative consultant; and Miriam Nelson, the choreographer of Disneyland’s Opening Day back in 1955!
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015: “Disneyland 10th Anniversary Show”
In this 1965 Wonderful World of Disney television episode, Walt takes viewers on a stroll through the Disney model shop, revealing coming attractions. Featured with Walt is Disneyland’s very first Ambassador, Julie Reihm (now Julie Reihm Casaletto), who was just named as a recipient of the 2015 Disney Legend Award. The show includes a chat with Disney Legend Mary Blair, who discusses with Walt a mid-60s version of “Paint the Night” technology coming to the park in the form of special lighting for a World’s Fair import, it’s a small world.
And, of course, you’ll get to see the dancing candles.
There’s no charge for Wednesdays With Walt, although park admission is required.
For more details, see the Wednesdays With Walt webpage, or call Annual Passport Member Services at 714-781-PASS (-7277).
Are you a Wednesdays with Walt-er? We’d appreciate hearing your thoughts and stories about this popular passholder perk. Will you miss this weekly event?