Christmas at Walt Disney Studios

As a film buff I love to explore all the places that make up cinema history. Luckily, I live in Southern California where much of it;s right under my fingertips. Some of my favorite spots to explore are the movie studios where all the magic happens. I’ve been lucky enough to tour Warner Bros., Universal, Sony and Paramount but the others are open to invited guests only. Like Walt Disney Studios. Unless it’s a special event you’re not going to get in. Well, last Sunday there was a special event and I was lucky enough to finally get behind the studio gate.

It’s no secret I love Disneyland so awhile back I signed up for a free membership in the D23 Fan Club. D23 holds several member events throughout the year but most are only open to gold tier members who pay an annual fee. Well, I’m too cheap for that so I’ve just been enjoying the behind-the-scenes tidbits in the newsletter. But, a few months ago an event was announced that was open to all members – Light Up the Season at Walt Disney Studios. Determined not to let my chance pass by I quickly bought a pair of tickets so Shannon (my movie studio tour buddy) and I could finally visit.

Light Up the Season is an annual fan club Christmas party on the studio grounds with lots of fun Disney themed activities. Tickets aren’t exactly cheap but I was willing to pony up the money to see the historic studio. Opened in 1940 it’s long played a significant role in Disney history.

Several historic buildings remain and it was fun just to walk around and soak up the magic. We popped in the commissary,

spied the original animation building,

and watched “Have Yourself a Goofy Little Christmas” in the Main Theatre.

The theatre was first used to mix the sound for Fantasia and there’s a lovely tribute inside the lobby.

Since we were technically there for the Christmas party there were lots of fun activities to take part in. There were games to play, goodies to eat, rides, crafts, photo ops and a tree lighting.

But my very favorite thing was a peek into the archives.

Housed in the Hyperion Bungalow, the last remaining structure from Disney’s Hyperion Studios, “Holiday Memories” featured an array of Disney Christmas themed items.

Every year Disney creates a new Christmas card and I loved seeing some of the original artwork used.

There also was an array of Disney toys and goodies.

And artifacts from holiday films including two of my favorites – Mickey’s Christmas Carol and Muppet Christmas Carol.

There were even artifacts from the parks including the frozen penguins from the Country Bear Jamboree Christmas show!

Shannon and I were oohing and ahhing throughout the exhibit and it alone made the entire event worth attending.

After years of curiosity I finally made it onto the Disney lot and it was as awesome as I’d imagined. If given the opportunity I’d definitely go again but, for now, I’ll just cherish the memories of Light Up the Season.

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