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Inside the Walt Disney Archives at The Bowers Museum

We visited as a guest of the venue

Archives at the Bowers Museum

Calling all Disney fans The Walt Disney Archives has arrived at The Bowers Museum.

Established in 1970, the archive has collected, preserved, cataloged, and made available for study merchandise, awards, pictures, art, and so much more.  This 10,000 square foot exhibit made its debut in 2018 for Japan’s D23 expo, and due to its popularity, the team in Japan asked if they could tour the exhibition.

Animation desk from the Disney Archives

After a nine-city tour that took 19 months, The Walt Disney Archives bought the exhibit back home.  Seeing the success and outpouring of love for the archives in Japan, the company decided that they needed to share the spirit of Disney starting right here in Walt’s backyard.

Entrance to disney exhibit at the Bowers

Located only 6 miles from Disneyland, The Walt Disney Archives felt that The Bowers Museum would be the perfect location as the first stop on a much-anticipated exhibition tour.

Haunted Masion at the Bowers Museum

Opening on March 7ththe exhibition, Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserving the Magic, will give the public behind the scenes access that has never been granted before. Guests will be able to immerse themselves in over 400 objects such as the ghouls from the Haunted Mansion, costumes, props from movies and tv shows, original artwork as well as personal items that belong to Walt.

Herbie Car at the Bowers Museum

A few of the items that caught my eye and made me feel like a kid again were Herbie the Love Bug! The original Alphabet Block set from Mary Poppins as well as her magical bag, the Sleeping Beauty book from 1959, Zorro’s sword, and a magical bed knob from the Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

Items from the Disney Archives at Bowers

Along with the exhibit will be special speakers as well as lecture series, which is a must for every Disney fan.

Lecture Series Dates

Mary Poppins from the Disney Archives

March 8
Lecture by renowned Disney Filmmaker Don Hahn Author and Oscar-nominated Filmmaker; Producer of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast.

Saturday, March 14
Theme Songs of Disneyland Stacia Martin, Disney Artist, and Historian with The Walt Disney Company.

April 11th
50 Years of the Walt Disney Archives: A Gold Mine of Fun Finds Featuring Ed Ovalle, Matt Moryc, Maggie Evenson, Rick Lorentz, Michael Buckhoff, Kevin Kern, Nicole Carroll and Director of the Walt Disney Archives, Becky Cline

April 25th at 11 am
Inside the 20th Century Fox Collection Lynne Drake Senior Manager, Collections, Walt Disney Archives

April 26th
Book Signing Why We Love Disney Dr. Andi Stein Author and Professor CSU Fullerton

May 9th
An Invisible History: Trailblazing Women of Walt Disney’s Animation Mindy Johnson, Author, and Winner of the Academy Film Scholar Award, featuring Jane Baer, Disney Animator

May 16th
Dali and Disney: Destino David A. Bossert Author and Animator on Beauty and the Beast, The Nightmare Before Christmas.

June 27th
“Weird Mickey” Becky Cline, Director of the Walt Disney Archives

July 12th
Disneyland: Fond Memories of the Past Becky Cline, Director of the Walt Disney Archives; and Stacia Martin, Disney Artist, and Historian with The Walt Disney Company

August 9th
Photo Library presentation Michael Buckhoff, Cesar Gallegos and Heather Hoffman

August 15th
Animation Lecture Mark Henn, legendary animator, and artist on the Oscar®-winning feature Frozen (2013) and 2016’s Moana. Creator of Ariel from The Little Mermaid (1989), Belle in Beauty and the Beast (1991), Princess Jasmine in Aladdin (1992), and Young Simba in The Lion King (1994).

August 22nd
“The Art of Disney Costuming” book panel Jeff Kurtti, author of “The Art of Disney Costuming” and Disney Archivists Robert Maxhimer, Holly Brobst, and Rick Lorentz

It wouldn’t be a magical Disney experience unless you take it to the next level, which Bowers and Disney have with their dining experience. Saturday, March 21, you can join other Disney enthusiasts at the ‘Eat Like Walt’ Dinner Celebration and also have the opportunity to meet Marcy Carriker Smothers, Author of Eat Like Walt.

Tea at the Bowers Museum

Tea time at Bowers

Tea garden at bowers museum

Saturdays April 4, June 6, & August 1, you can partake in the Walt Disney Archives Tour & Tea Party! Join the Walt Disney Archives for a tour of the exhibition followed by a charming tea party on the patio of Bowers’ award-winning Patina restaurant Tangata.

April 4 Robert Maxhimer, Exhibitions Manager for the Walt Disney Archives
June 6 Natalie Auxier & Melissa Pankuch
August 1 Kelsey Williams & Chris Rexroad

If you can’t make those events but would love to experience a special-Tea experience, every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, guests are invited to select a tea of their choice. At the same time, they nibble on sweet and savory treats provided on artful three-tiered stands at Tea on the Terrace. Seatings are at 11 AM, and 1:30 PM Tickets can be upgraded to include admission into the exhibition Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserving the Magic for an additional $10 per person.

Now, if this were any other exhibit, you’d think okay they are offering a lot now way there’s more, but again Disney + Bowers = so much more!

After Hours

Mary Poppins Purse from the Disney Archives

Friday, June 12 Disney Trivia Night
Friday, July 31 Virtual Reality Walkthrough of Disney’s Hyperion Studio
Saturday, August 29, Sips, Bites, and True-Life Adventures of Tiki featuring Rum tasting, appetizers, and signature cocktails from Smuggler’s Cove.

Film Screenings

Walt statue at the Bowers Museum

Sunday, March 29 Fantasia,
Sunday, May 31 Saving Mr. Banks
Sunday, June 20 The Hand Behind The Mouse (Q& A with Filmmakers)
Friday, June 26 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Friday, August 7 Isle of Dogs
Friday, August 21 Tron

Family Fun

Walts office replica at the Bowers Museum

Sundays | March 22, April 26, May 24, June 28, July 26, August 23 I 10 AM – 12 PM Kidseum-led Disney Workshops
Sunday, April 12 I 10 AM – 4 PM Disney-themed Scavenger Hunt
Saturday, May 9 I 11 AM Pencils, Pens & Brushes: The Colorful Women of Early Disney Animation

As you can see, there is so much Disney in the months to come, but we all know all good things must come to an end, and we know specifically when August 30, 2020.  Now Disney hasn’t leaked out where the exhibit is traveling next, but I’m pretty sure that this is it for Southern California, which means tickets will be in demand and will sell out.

Ticket Information

Grand opening of Disney Exhibit at Bowers Museum

Luckily for you, you can purchase your tickets ahead of time at  If you are looking for those extra experiences, I would contact Bowers now and get more information.  Bowers Museum is located at 2002 North Main Street Santa Ana, California 92706 and is open Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Naz Nodjoumi has lived in Orange County for over 35 years. She married the guy she sat next to in French class at WHS (go warriors), graduated UCI (zot zot zot) and has two kids. She’s grown up along side this once sleepy County and loves learning more and more about the ins and out of its great cities. When she’s not chauffeuring her kids around town, she’s either cooking, volunteering, or snapping away on one of her cameras. She loves museums, theater, art, discovering fun facts as well as traveling.
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One Comment

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