What a treat we’re in for today! A couple months ago we were discussing our plans for Christmas break with Ruston, saying how all of Theresa’s family was coming to visit us in California. Knowing what big fans they were of Disney, Ruston invited everyone on a tour of where he worked. Disney Studios! When they heard, everyone was really excited!
The plan was for the entire family to meet him up here, but Ian and Alli both got sick a few days before, and were both pretty miserable. T and her parents stayed home with them while the rest of us hopped in the car and left for the Studios.
Meet our unofficial tour guide Ruston! Where we just came from was the Zorro parking structure. So named because it was built on top of where the old Zorro tv show was filmed.
Our first stop is the Roy E. Disney Animation building.
Originally finished in 1995, this building is now on the tail end of a 14 month overhaul. Similarly to the parks, you can see some of the movies/characters they’ve worked on on the construction walls out front. Movies like Big Hero 6, Frozen, Zootopia, Wreck it Ralph, and Tangled.
Ruston was able to get us inside the lobby to see some of the awards they’ve won here.
He challenged us to find the one with the misspelling. I think it was Abby who found it first, and hey, it’s an award for one of my favorite Christmas series, Prep and Landing.
Hanging above a stairway is a giant snowflake chandelier, which is a tribute to the one in Elsa’s snow palace from Frozen.
The Shadow Man, Dr Facilier, beckons us down the stairs.
Just across the driveway are the ABC Studios. There’s signs on the doors as you enter stating that photography is forbidden, so you won’t see anything inside here, but lining the hallway were large TVs, with each one dedicated to a channel produced by ABC. Of course there’s the regular ABC station, but also ABC Family, ESPN, the Disney Channel, and Disney XD.
Mostly though we were walking through this building so we could take the overpass back to the Disney Studios on the other side.
Across the street, we found a couple closed recording sets, including the Annette Funicello soundstage. Ruston was actually part of the choir that sang here during the dedication!
Continuing our parade of the grounds, there was a Mickey Mouse topiary which was given by the Walt Disney World resort in Florida. You can also see the entire group standing in front of a flagpole below.
That flagpole is from the 8th Winter Olympic Games, held in Squaw Valley back in 1960. Walt Disney was the Chairman of the Pageantry committee, and was responsible for both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
The always popular Pluto Corner. The kids had an “aha” moment when they realized why there were only 3 paw prints in the cement next to this hydrant.
This is the only real street sign on the Studios lot. It was placed here for a shot while they were filming “The Reluctant Dragon”. The film is about one man’s attempt to find Walt Disney and have him create a cartoon. Along the way, the man is given a tour of the Disney Studios and learns all about the animation process. The sign was used for the movie and never taken down.
Continuing down Dopey Drive, there’s two buildings across from each other. The first is the Studio Theater, where lucky cast members get to watch some of the big hit movies weeks, and even months before they’re released to the public. Ruston got to watch Star Wars here on the Thursday before it was released everywhere.
Across from that is the former Animation Building. Built in 1939, it was here that Disney artists created some of our most beloved classics. Also in this building were the offices of Walt and Roy Disney.
Just inside the door was a portrait of Walt, created on black granite.
Now that animation has moved across the street to the Roy O. Disney Animation building, this building is used for Talent and Administration.
The hallway pays tribute to many of the Disney classics. I’ll just share this photo because it’s from my favorite movie, Hercules.
Exiting the animation building, everyone stared up at the next building before us.
Here we see the Team Disney building, which is sometimes called the Seven Dwarfs building. Completed in 1990, it pays tribute to the very first Disney animated feature, Snow White. The money from Snow White was what gave Walt the funds to purchase the land here for the Disney Studios, and this building is a tribute to everything here leading from the success of that movie. This building houses the offices of the current Disney President and CEO Bob Iger, along with many other senior Disney officials.
I love how the hallways and offices within the building have various Disney memorabilia. Here’s a blueprint of the Haunted Mansion track. We traced the path from the loading zone, through the ride, and finally to where you unload. I’d really like to ride that last part between the unload and the loading platform, just to see what’s there.
I’m not sure if this Flynn’s sign came from the movie TRON, or if it came from the parks. I didn’t see any information beside it.
I really liked this hallway. Back in 2011, The Muppets finally made a comeback with their film of the same name. During the film, our protagonist Walter goes to visit Kermit at his house. Kermit misses the old gang and has these painting hanging in his hallway.
From the movie.
And a youtube clip of the movie.
Not far down the hallway, we found Yoda! This statue is identical to the one we saw in San Francisco outside the Lucasfilm Digital Arts building we visited in May.
A few props from the movie Oz the Great and Powerful.
Austin doing his best to look regal on the throne from Cinderella.
While Abby practices her royal wave.
And I haven’t seen the movie, but I hear this chaisse lounge was in it too.
Arr, thar be pirates round these parts says I. Best keep a weather eye open mates.
Here be a cannon from the latest movie Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
About 25 cannon balls, at 8 pounds a piece, that’s about 200 pounds right there.
Or it’s a neat prop from the film.
While escaping from the British, Jack Sparrow made a leap from a flaming carriage onto this sign.
From the film.
Onward we continued to a large foyer with advertisements from recent films.
Like Star Wars: The Force Awakens!
An old Fix-It-Felix Jr arcade box from Wreck-It Ralph.
Sulley and Mike from Monsters University.
A glass slipper from Cinderella.
And a new movie coming out in March, Zootopia. I’m curious to see how this one turns out. I’ve seen a couple previews that were funny. Hopefully it will become another Disney classic, but time will tell.
There were so many things to see on this tour, I had to break it up into two posts. We’ll continue the rest of the tour in the next post.