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Walt Disney Treasures: Disneyland - Secrets, Stories and Magic - documentary DVD / family DVD review
WALT DISNEY TREASURES: DISNEYLAND - SECRETS, STORIES AND MAGIC Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 1/2 stars
Featuring: Leonard Maltin, Steve Martin, Tommy Chico, Jeff Lam, Tony Anselmo, Cameron Lee
Directors: Jerry Rees, George Scribner   Studio: Walt Disney Video
DVD release: 11 December 2007   Runtime: 332 minutes
(2 discs)
Format: Color, NTSC, Closed-captioned
DVD features: Audio tracks (English, Dolby Digital Stereo), "Disneyland - Secrets, Stories and Magic," "People and Places: Disneyland U.S.A.," 3 original Disneyland TV broadcasts (The Golden Horseshoe Revue, Disneyland Goes to the World's Fair, Disneyland Around the Seasons), "Operation: Disneyland," "Building Walt's Dream: Disneyland Under Construction," "A Wonderful World of Disneyland" trivia game, Still frame gallery

"Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy," reads the legend over the entrance arch to Disneyland. It's all part of Walt Disney's dream to create a world of escape like no other. Disney broke ground in 1954 and, just a year later, the gates were flung open to the public. Sure, there had been other amusement parks, but none with quite this attention to detail or motif. The themes of Disneyland are divided into separate areas, tied together by the hub that is Main Street USA, based on Walt's home town of Marceline, Missouri. In each of the areas (Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland), the guest is submerged in a realistic universe fitting the theme. The creation of this amazing Magic Kingdom is the subject of Disneyland - Secrets, Stories and Magic.

The first DVD in this two-disc set has a new documentary - Disneyland: Secrets, Stories, and Magic of the Happiest Place on Earth - created for the theme park's 50th Anniversary in 2006, but not released until now. The second feature is People and Places, Disneyland, U.S.A. This 40-minute feature shot in Cinemascope was shown theatrically in 1956 before Westward Ho, The Wagons! and served as an intro to many people to the world of Disneyland. It may have been a theatrical commercial at the time, but now it serves as a time capsule of how Disneyland was shortly after it opened. Disneyland U.S.A. features audio commentary by Disney fanatic Leonard Maltin and Imagineer Tony Baxter.

The second disc features:

  • Operation: Disneyland, a featurette on how ABC Television achieved its live broadcast from Disneyland's opening day, no small feat in those days
  • The Golden Horseshoe Revue, a vaudeville-style variety show shot at the park's Golden Horseshoe Saloon
  • Disneyland Goes to the World's Fair shows the attractions that Walt and his Imagineers designed for the 1964-65 World's Fair. This includes the "It's a Small World" ride that has haunted many a nightmare since 1964. Sorry, Walt, but I still can't get that song out of my head.

All-in-all this is a nice, well-assembled DVD set with some great footage of the creation of a wonderful attraction. I went when I was little, and I plan to bring my children. It's a great idea for a vacation getaway, and I look forward to sharing the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy with my own kids.

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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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