By KENDRA GENTRY
Bucks County Courier Times
A boisterous fanfare of horns rang out when a black limousine pulled up to Walt Disney Elementary School Tuesday.
When the car door opened, students and teachers cheered to see their special visitor step onto the red carpet.
“I'm not Cinderella, but thank you!” chuckled Diane Disney Miller, the daughter of Walt Disney.
Miller, 73, was invited to the rededication of the 52-year-old school, which was named after her famous father and recently underwent an $11 million renovation.
As part of the ceremony, student representatives took turns telling the history of the school.
They said when a new school was to be built on the Lakeside Road site in the 1950s, children in the area immediately wanted it to be named after Disney.
The choice was easy because Disney cartoons and merchandise were popular and Disneyland in California had recently opened, students recounted.
When Disney learned about a school bearing his name, he was delighted.
On Sept. 4, 1955, he arrived in Levittown at the Tullytown train station as the guest of honor for the school's dedication. To show his appreciation, the creator of Mickey Mouse said he would give $2,000 to the school each year to be used for educational purposes.
He also made sure the school had the Disney touch.
Disney donated memorabilia, sketchings and cutouts of his famous characters to be placed throughout the school.
Dozens of recognizable figures remain in the school today, including Winnie the Pooh, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Bambi and Dumbo.
On Tuesday, “Snow White” presented Miller with a plaque, which dedicated the school's library, known as “Treasure Island,” in her honor.
First-grader Halle Szumigala, 6, was dressed as the fairytale princess. She said she is proud to go a school named after such an influential and historical person.
Miller, a California resident, then cut a ribbon at the school's entrance to commemorate the recent renovations, which began in June 2005 and ended the summer of 2006.
The projects included upgrades to classrooms, an expanded and renovated library, a reconfigured main office with improvements to building security, installation of central air conditioning, new windows and a new roof, said Elliott Alexander, district spokesperson.
Alexander said Miller's visit came a year after renovations because of scheduling. He said the district was lucky enough for Miller to be attending family graduations on the East coast and have time to visit the school.
In recent years, she also upped the yearly Disney donation to the school to $10,000, Alexander said.
After the ceremony, Miller answered questions from students about what it was like being the daughter of Walt Disney.
She said she remembers being upset when she found out her dad was a celebrity. She said it felt like everyone had a piece of him. But she said that feeling passed as she grew older.
She told students that hard work and support from family and friends is what helped her dad become famous.
Although Miller said she doesn't have a favorite Disney character, she said she remembers not being fond of Donald Duck.
“He was rude,” she told a group of kindergarten and first-graders.