Find out about the new changes for the WDHM ahead of its April 1 opening day.
The Walt Disney Hometown Museum opens for its new season on April 1 at 10 a.m. As a part of this opening day, a Walt Disney World Ambassador, Ken Facey, will be a featured speaker that evening.
But the WDHM continues to grow and change under the guidance of Creative Director Peter Whitehead. Whitehead, and Executive Director Kaye Malins, have spent some considerable time this off-season at both Disney parks, meeting with various Disney officials. Malins has also had the chance to speak at both parks as well.
Whitehead discussed some of the changes that are coming to the local museum.
“The first change is the addition of the collectors section,” said Whitehead. “It is where the old train display used to be. It features a 1936 Mickey Mouse tricycle, which was restored by the television show ‘American Restoration.’”
Whitehead noted that the room in question will change each year, keeping the WDHM’s offerings fresh for new and old visitors alike. The Collector’s Corner will also feature a miniature boat replica of the ride that was made for people to go on while waiting for the Jungle Cruise, two benches from the D23 that was held in Marceline, featuring signatures from many famous Disney dignitaries. But perhaps one of the biggest collector’s items will be a Walt Disney signed Tinkerbell animation cel. It was personally given to Malins, whom Disney often referred to as Tinkerbell.
The old Train Station office will feature the station’s history and various railroad memorabilia. The “Great Locomotive Chase” movie premier in Marceline will now have its own room, featuring old theater chairs from uptown theatre.
Another cool change is that Arcy, the graffiti artist who painted a Walt Disney mural during the Wine and Art Stroll, is painting a tribute to the Dreaming Tree in the upstairs of the WDHM. In speaking to Arcy, the influence of Disney is apparent.
“I think that Disney, and what he built, the culture that blossomed from his imagination really inspired me to take up art as a full-time career,” said Arcy. “You have to imagine the millions of kids that he inspired. I admired him, and as I grew older, I grew to admire his business model, and how he meshed his art and business together.”
In looking from the Susan Disney Education Center onto Main Street USA, the artist noted the surreal experience of Marceline that many of us take for granted.
“There is inspiration everywhere here,” said Arcy. “There is a magic here that you don’t feel anywhere else. The project here are more than just projects to me. It means a lot to me to be able to embrace what he has done that has made so many people happy. To share that with everyone is a very humbling feeling.”
Whitehead noted that the first 40 paid admissions on Opening Day will receive a free ticket to the Ambassador’s show that evening.