The Reluctant Blogger: On The Walt Disney Studios Lot
I was recently invited to take a walk around the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. There, I channeled one of my favorite, somewhat obscure, classic Disney films – The Reluctant Dragon.
Starring Robert Benchley — yes THE Robert Benchley of Algonquin Round Table fame — and filmed on location on the Walt Disney Studios lot in 1941, The Reluctant Dragon takes fans on a fish-out-of-water walk around Disney production facilities.
Benchley also meets up with Walt Disney!
Our tour guide [Benchley] is on his way to see Walt Disney to present a movie idea called THE RELUCTANT DRAGON. As he stumbles through the maze of the backlot, we discover how a cartoon is created through art, sound, and color. Along the way, we meet Donald, Pluto, Goofy, and other Disney favorites, witness the birth of “Baby Weems,” a brilliantly funny animated work-in-progress, and enjoy the complete animated short “The Reluctant Dragon.”
Back in 2016, D23 spoke about the significance of the film.
On The Disney Studios Lot: The Reluctant Dragon
From the Street
Beyond seeing Walt Disney, himself, the movie remains essential to me because of the moments that show how my favorite childhood films were made.
Having another appointment in Burbank, I specifically stopped to see the Disney lot and take some pictures from the street entrance (as you are not allowed on the campus without an invitation).
I was completely satisfied with that simple moment. So, you can imagine my surprise when I unexpectedly found myself on the guest list.
Here I am, a journalist since 1992 — I’ve covered the Winter Olympics, the Stanley Cup finals, and reported from The White House — and I was nervous (and almost dizzy) when I walked onto the lot.
From Poppins to Present
The Reluctant Dragon was in my head. As was a particularly moving short from the DVD extras on Saving Mr. Banks.
Lots of Photos
In any case, I recovered from the butterflies. And, as I traversed the lot, I took a ton of pictures.
Let me share them with you:
I think the two moments that I will take to my grave were:
- Seeing the Multiplane Camera
- Walking through the Disney archives (where I couldn’t bring myself to snap pics, as it was such a moving moment for me).
Check out the Multiplane Camera:
The clip is an older video, but it’ll give you the flavor of what I encountered (and has a segment about Tron: Legacy, too):
After the tour, I was just overwhelmed.
I know it’s just a movie studio, but because of all the hours I have spent enjoying Disney films and productions; it was a truly unforgettable experience.
And I am glad to have a place to memorialize my memory of the day, here on MickeyBlog.com.