5 Facts About The Disney Animation Research Library That You Should Know

There were so many amazing experiences on the #HanSoloEvent trip.  We were actually able to visit the Animation Research Library and take an in depth look at original artwork in honor or the 65th anniversary of PETER PAN (available on Digital 5/29 and Blu-ray 6/5) and the in-home release of the Walt Disney Signature Collection Edition.


The Animation Research Library known as the ARL is “the repository of all the original art work that was created at Walt Disney Animation Studios from the 1920s to present day. In this building alone, we estimate we have over sixty-five million pieces of art,” says Mary Walsh, Managing Director.  I felt so honored since the ARL is not open to the public.  Kudos to Marshal for making the magic happen for us!  One by one we took a photo in the lobby with Walt and Peter Pan.


Photo Credit: Louise Bishop @momstart.com


Can’t you tell how much I was enjoying our visit?  I had a ball and learned so much not only about Peter Pan, but how they care for the history of Walt Disney and his legacy.  Our tour guide Fox said,

I think Walt being an artist first way back in the day, saw the value in holding onto the artwork. Because everybody within the company can learn from it. They can be inspired by it. And yes, in certain avenues, they can reuse the artwork, straight out.” 

Between touring his office and the ARL, I am truly in awe of The Walt Disney Company.  Here are a few facts about the Animation Research Library that I want to share with you.


  • The ARL is Disney’s Secret Weapon: Disney decided to preserve its artwork while other studios were not.  The collections housed there are very special.


Photo Credit: Louise Bishop @momstart.com


  • Walt Welcomes the Behind the Scenes Guests: There was an amazing photo of Walt Disney from an episode of the Disneyland television show Venturing wild with Heart.  We all loved his outfit…sorry we could not take photos.


  • Peter Pan Celebrates 65 Years: We were able to see some of the original artwork from the production of Peter Pan released in 1953.  It was incredible to see.  Fox said, “Because for the Blu-Ray release of “Peter Pan” the most recent one, they are doing a Special Feature with the voices with Catherine Beaumont and Mister Collins who is the voice of Jonathan.” 


Photo Credit: Louise Bishop @momstart.com


  • Captain Hook is the most Amazing Villain in Animation History: The nine old men were key animators for Disney and were responsible for supervising new characters.  Fox explained there was a bit of competitiveness with them saying, “there is an animator by the name of Milt Call who is known as the sort of God of Animation, but he was always envious of Frank Thomas because Frank supervised the animation on Hook.”


Photo Credit: Louise Bishop @momstart.com


  • Mary Blair was one of Walt’s Favorite Artists: It is said that Mary’s visual style was very crucial in the film.  She used colors and simple shapes which changed the look and feel.


Photo Credit: ARL/Louise Bishop @momstart.com

Overall, the ARL is an amazing (secret) place where Disney has been innovative in preservation of all the history of the Magic.  The priceless artwork and molds will be around for ages to capture the art form from inception to current state.  It was an eye-opening experience to see how Disney has captured in time and archived the works of not only PETER PAN but all the characters of Disney. 

I’m thankful for the once in a lifetime experience, I highly recommend you snagging your copy of PETER PAN on digital or Blu-ray!




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