Museum of Science and Industry
Is there anyone who doesn't love Mickey Mouse? Sure, you might
have a fondness for Goofy or Dopey or the myriad princesses, but
when it comes down to it, Mickey and his squeaky-voiced charm can't
help but win you over. And in the 85 years since his debut in
Steamboat Willie, the good-hearted rodent hasn't really
changed-something we can credit to his creator, Walt Disney.
Now you can get the full story behind Mickey-and Snow White and
Mary Poppins and Ariel-at the Museum of Science and Industry's new
exhibit, The Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives. The exhibit
goes back to Walt's birth in Chicago, but mostly focuses on the 90
years since the Walt Disney Company's founding and the many
innovations Walt was responsible for in animation, live-action
television, theme parks and more.
The exhibit starts a little slow, especially for kids who might
not be interested in Walt's earliest years. But once it gets into
the actual treasures-clay models from Pinocchio, a storybook from
Sleeping Beauty, a replica submarine from 20,000 Leagues Under the
Sea-they'll be intrigued. Kids can listen to music from Disney
classics and see costumes from recent hits like Enchanted and
Pirates of the Caribbean. Plus, there are clips from early Disney
Even if you haven't made the pilgrimage to Disneyland or the
Magic Kingdom, it's pretty fascinating to see how Walt's vision for
a so-called theme park has become a reality. Kids are sure to love
the Lego replica of Cinderella's castle, as well as the fun,
harder-than-it-looks Disney trivia that surrounds it. Little ones
can build their own fantasy castles, thanks to a magnetic wall
nearby. Plus, send a virtual postcard at a kiosk directly next to
the original Disneyland mailbox, where visitors sent out more than
300 million actual postcards back in the day.
If the kids start to get a little fidgety, skip to the end,
where you'll find the exhibit's true highlight: the Animation
Academy. Disney-trained animators walk step-by-step through
how to draw a favorite Disney character, while the audience follows
along on individual sketch boards. I've never been accused of being
an artist, so imagine my surprise when I produced a passable,
albeit slightly cross-eyed, version of Mickey. Even little ones
will want to give it a try, so be sure to allow enough time for the
magic of Walt Disney to come to life.
After all, who doesn't love Mickey Mouse?
Elizabeth Diffin is the senior editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.
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