Celebrate the Life and Legacy of Walt Disney with The Ultimate Disney+ Playlist
What to Watch for Walt Disney’s Birthday on Disney+ (Disneyland Specials, Classic Animation, Documentaries, and More!)
December 5th is a very special day for Disney fans, as it marks Walt Disney’s 119th birthday. And while you may not be at the parks or in a movie theater to celebrate, you can still find plenty of Walt’s magic on Disney+! We’ve assembled a playlist of some of Walt’s appearances that you can find on the streaming service. So to all who come to this happy list, welcome.
Walt and Animation
One of the most recognized figures in animation history, Walt was never one to keep the secrets of his trade to himself. In The Reluctant Dragon, Robert Benchley meets him on a tour of the Walt Disney Studios as he learns how animated features are made. In 1955, as part of the Disneyland anthology series, Walt looked back on the history of the medium in The Story of the Animated Drawing, which featured such early animated characters as Koko the Clown and Gertie the Dinosaur. (Fans of Disney’s Hollywood Studios might be familiar with the latter.) A year later, in The Plausible Impossible, he showed off how his studio produced animation, including pencil tests from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Through these offerings, Walt not only entertained the public, but taught them and perhaps even inspired a new generation of animators.
After conquering film, Walt set his sights on something brand new: the creation of Disneyland. Walt featured The Happiest Place on Earth often on his anthology series, even after it opened in 1955. You can flash back to before the park opened with The Pre-Opening Report from Disneyland, as Walt discusses the final preparations being made. Or see the real-life inspirations for Tomorrowland with Man in Space and Mars and Beyond. After that, you can jump ahead to 1966 and watch Disneyland Around the Seasons, where Walt shows off all the new offerings that came to the park from the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair as well as how the park celebrates the various holidays throughout the year. The episode has special significance, as it aired just three days after his death on December 15th. Or you can take a look behind the scenes of history with The Imagineering Story and its first episode, “The Happiest Place on Earth.”
Walt and His Life
If you really want to get to know Walt as a person, I recommend Walt & El Grupo, a documentary about his 1941 goodwill tour of South America, produced in part by Walt Disney Family Foundation Films. Or you can hear about Walt from the legends he worked with in Frank & Ollie, about legendary animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, or The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story. And finally, you can see Walt depicted by Tom Hanks as he attempts to work with P.L. Travers to make the film version of Mary Poppins in Saving Mr. Banks.
No matter what you watch, you can celebrate the life and legacy of Walt Disney on Disney+!