Friday, September 11, 2009

Disney Reveals Their Old and New 'Treasures'

Like any good magician, Walt Disney always tried to keep his audience from peeking behind the curtain. He never wanted to break the illusion. It's why the costumed characters at his theme parks are strictly forbidden from taking off their heads in front of visitors, and it's part of the reason costumes and props from his films have been locked away for decades.

Now the vault is opening, and for the first time a collection called "Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives" is being put on display for the public. It's part of the first D23 Expo, a four-day convention in Anaheim, CA put on by the Walt Disney Corporation. D23 (1923 being the year Walt opened his studio) is being promoted as a chance for true Disney fans to get an up-close look at items from the company's past and previews of what's in store for the future.
Costume from 'Captain EO'At the center of the convention is the "Treasures" exhibition, a 92-piece collection of articles ranging from the golden book from the opening of "Sleeping Beauty" to Miley Cyrus's blond "Hannah Montana" wig. There is an array of costumes, including Mouseketeer uniforms from the original "Mickey Mouse Club," and Johnny Depp's ratty threads from "Pirates of the Caribbean." The exhibit also has never-before-seen costumes and props from Michael Jackson's "Captain EO," on loan from producer George Lucas.
Also on display are some of Walt Disney's personal items, most notably an Oscar statuette, his glasses, and a hand-signed receipt. While efforts have been made to repair and clean up many of the costumes and props in the collection, all of Disney's objects have been left untouched. The Walt Disney Company is considering putting the exhibition on tour so that fans across the country will get their chance to see these rarities.
The "Treasures" display is just one part of the D23 Expo. Disney is also following the example of the gigantic San Diego Comic-Con and presenting panel discussions and screening of upcoming movies and series. Robin Williams and the cast of "The Golden Girls" will be honored with the "Disney Legends" award. Stars of Disney Channel shows like "Wizards of Waverly Place" will be on hand, and there will be a live preview of the new season of "Dancing With the Stars."
The Princess and the FrogMost exciting for movie fans will be the previews of Disney's and Pixar's future film projects. Directors Robert Zemeckis and Tim Burton will appear to show off their films, "A Christmas Carol" and "Alice in Wonderland." Attendees will get a look at the long-awaited sequel, "Tron: Legacy," along with a screening of the digitally-restored original. There will be a special presentation of footage from Disney's return to traditional animation, "The Princess and the Frog," featuring a musical performance from lead actress Anika Noni Rose. Plus, Pixar's John Lasseter will present what they've been working on, including the world premiere of the new 3D versions of "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2."
So will a generation that has grown up on 3D animation warm to 2D fare? Lasseter seems confident. "Supposedly, people weren't interested in watching hand-drawn animation as much as computerized animation," he told USA Today. "But what people weren't interested in was watching bad movies... 2D became a scapegoat for bad storytelling."
The D23 Expo runs from September 10-13, with over 30,000 people expected to attend. To get a look at some of the films that will be previewed at the event, including the new exclusive trailer for "The Princess and the Frog," watch the videos in the player below.

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