The Walt Disney Family Museum is pleased to present All Aboard: A Celebration of Walt’s Trains, on view from November 13, 2014 through February 9, 2015. This comprehensive exhibition explores the influence that railroading had on Walt Disney’s life and work. It also tells the story of how his railroading legacy lives on to this day in Disney films and theme parks around the world. Including more than 200 artifacts, firsthand accounts, archival videos, images of Walt and his trains, and actual model trains running throughout the show, All Aboard highlights how Walt’s passion for trains developed long before manifesting itself in Disney short cartoons, feature films, and in Walt’s personal life at home.
Guest curator Michael Campbell, president of the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society, constructed the exhibition to reflect Walt’s railroad journey as told through multiple chapters: Lighting the Fire, Building Steam, Gaining Speed, Full Throttle, Switching Tracks, Branching Out, A Grand Circle Tour Around The World, and Coming Full Circle. The exhibition’s conclusion reminds us that, even over a century later, Walt’s railroading influence remains as a vibrant and relevant force.
Walt was undeniably a great storyteller. So it came as no surprise when he used railroading as a tool to fully immerse his audience in stories planted throughout his Magic Kingdom: Disneyland. In all of the Park’s lands, locomotives served a greater purpose than just transportation. They were also essential elements to the story, responsible for helping guests imagine themselves part of an American train voyage at the turn of the 20th Century.
The journey of this exhibition doesn’t start and end with just Walt, though. All Aboard also explores the interest and passion for railroading of Walt’s friends and staff, including two of Walt’s “Nine Old Men,” animators Ward Kimball and Ollie Johnston. Notably, Kimball was the first private owner of a full-sized steam locomotive, and Johnston’s railroading hobby was latent until he stumbled upon the miniature train Walt was building in his office. Showcased alongside the animators are WED Enterprises’ “Imagination Engineers” Roger Broggie and Bob Gurr, whose creative locomotives helped Walt transport his guests throughout Disneyland, and later, the Magic Kingdom Park in the Walt Disney World Resort.
Finally, All Aboard will reveal how Walt’s railroad legacy continues today. Guests will learn how Disney theme parks and films continue to honor trains and railroading, from recent creations to those that have yet to be imagined.
The museum is located at The Presidio of San Francisco, 104 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94129 and the hours are10am to 6pm, Wednesdays through Monday; closed on Tuesdays and the following public holidays: New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
For further information, call (415) 345-6800 or visit www.waltdisney.org.