On this 65th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland in California, Disney+ shares an almost hour long documentary that originally aired the week before the park opened, “A Pre-Opening Report from Disneyland.” The documentary gives us an inside look at the park and the effort that was being done to make the park operational. It also including a look at the role of Mickey Mouse and some of his most iconic work.
This documentary is basically the forerunner for a lot of others Disney has made about their parks. The most recent being “The Imagineering Story” series on Disney+. This is a really cool look at how they were getting ready for the opening of the very first Disney park and the meticulous work that was put in more than six decades ago to make Walt’s dream a reality. It’s really cool seeing some of these old TV shows and documentaries where Walt appears. We can see his passion, his drive and his joy as he introduces both the new park and the mouse that gave life to his empire.
In hindsight, we know all about the problems that plagued the first day and the first few months and years at Disneyland. We also know what became of the surrounding areas in California that inspired Disney to begin developing the Magic Kingdom down in Florida. But, for 55 minutes, sit back and listen to Walt talk about the upcoming opening of Disneyland. His optimism is infectious.
Part of the documentary also includes a backstory on Walt Disney’s most famous creation, Mickey Mouse. We get to see some clips from the first Mickey Mouse short that was ever developed. Amazingly, it wasn’t “Steamboat Willie,” which was the first one released, but one about planes that I’ve never seen. The documentary also shows us two of Mickey’s most iconic shorts; “Lonesome Ghosts” with Goofy and Donald Duck and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from “Fantasia.” It’s a little weird watching them both in black and white after having seen them in color every other time I’ve seen them, but that was the difference between television and cinema in the 1950s.
I love seeing these old documentaries about important figures in the Disney lineage. I love seeing Walt show up to introduce the creations he’s clearly so proud to bringing to the masses. I love seeing behind the veil and the animators, the musicians and the voice actors who bring some of the films, television shows and even Disney park characters to life for us. They live to entertain us and I’m certainly entertained. And, it’s a nice look back at once was, and how far we’ve come with Disney.
Ranking: 4 stars out of 5
Did you watch “A Pre-Opening Report from Disneyland?” What did you think of it?