Disney+ Drops Walt Disney’s Christmas Message

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Walt Disney and a Christmas Tree

Credit: D23

If there’s one thing Disney fans love more than the animated masterpieces, the theme parks, or the wealth of content on Disney Plus, it’s the legacy left by the man behind the mouse.

Walt Disney with Mickey Mouses
Credit: D23

To say that he was one of the most prolific figures of the 20th century is a grand and glorious understatement. Not only did the man build an entire empire from humble beginnings in his family’s garage, but the mark he made on our modern culture lives on even decades after his passing. There’s practically hardly anyone who doesn’t know the name “Walt Disney.”

Related: Walt Disney World’s Latest Attraction Already “Underwhelming” After Years of Delays

In spite of Walt’s incredible accomplishments in the name of entertainment, animation, film techniques, the theme park industry, and a laundry list of other contributions, Disney has rarely utilized its founder’s life, works, and story for a feature-length film.

Although there have been a handful of documentaries from Disney and even a feature-length film with Walt as a starring character (Saving Mr. Banks (2013)), Walt’s story has only been addressed in bits and pieces. Fortunately, Disney+ just pulled back the curtain on the company’s famous founder.

Spend Christmas with Walt Disney

Walt Disney at Disneyland
Credit: Disney History Institute

Christmas with Walt Disney (2009) is a documentary film that was recently added to the Disney+ collection, and it is far beyond the stereotypical clip show often seen on the platform. While the magical streaming service features episodes of Disneyland from the ’50s and ’60s hosted by the man behind the mouse, it doesn’t show nearly as much as this holiday time capsule.

Related: Mickey Mouse To Celebrate His Final Birthday

Brought to viewers by Don Hahn and the Walt Disney Family Museum, the film blends footage of Walt from the archives with home movies courtesy of Diane Disney Miller that depict the family man and loving father as opposed to the innovative animator most likely already know and love.

Mickey taking Christmas ornaments off of Pluto's tail
Credit: Disney

This isn’t just some hour-long Christmas special or compilation of Disney Christmas cartoons, but a very intimate look that showed Walt on and off the animation lot. Along with the holiday celebrations at both Disneyland Park and the Walt Disney Animation Studio, the film utilizes rare footage of Walt spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home and how his life away from the cameras influenced the animated works we have today.

Walt Disney posing in front of 'Sleeping Beauty' concept art.
Credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios

The phrase “art imitates life” might be a cliche in some circles, but it’s apparent from the first few minutes of footage just how much of his own background Walt brought into his movies and cartoons. Furthermore, the firsthand accounts from his daughter and son-in-law further ground the man seen outside of the Walt Disney Studio in the realm of reality.

Related: Dates Announced for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Given his reputation, separating the myth from the man regarding Walt Disney can be exceedingly difficult. However, Don Hahn and all those involved with this incredible presentation have introduced a different side of the famous creator to Disney+ subscribers everywhere.

Have you seen Christmas with Walt Disney? Tell Inside the Magic what you thought in the comments below!

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