A film that has been shown exclusively at the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio of San Francisco has now been released for everyone to enjoy on Disney+.
“Christmas with Walt Disney” is a 50-minute Walt Disney Family Museum original production directed by famed Disney producer Don Hahn. In this special, you can view Disney family home movies and holiday segments from Walt’s shorts and feature films as Walt’s daughter, Diane, shares her Christmas memories alongside Disney family home movies, holiday segments from classic Disney films, and vintage Disneyland footage.
Some of the films and shorts featured in “Christmas with Walt Disney” include “One Hour In Wonderland,” “Lady and the Tramp,” “Babes In Toyland,” Swiss Family Robinson,” and more. Walt’s love of the holidays is unsurprising given his embrace of family. Christmas for Walt was yet another opportunity to create magic and happiness for his audience.
As an adult Walt looked forward to becoming a father and sharing special times with his family. Though Diane and Sharon Disney were the daughters of one of the most famous men in America, their Christmases were rather modest with a few sweet presents. The day was “centered on family,” as Diane recalled, with relatives enjoying quality time with one another. Walt and Lillian hosted Christmas dinner every year and the family would gather after the meal to sing Christmas carols together.
Walt was a generous man and gave the world so much through his innovative storytelling, but he was also generous when it came to gift giving for his grandchildren. “He liked playing Santa,” as Diane fondly shared. After Diane and Ron had Christmas morning with their children, they would travel to Walt and Lillian’s home where presents would be waiting. Diane recalled: “This was the mid-fifties when there was a lot of Disney merchandise and there would be a big box.” Walt was not only giving to his grandchildren but to children he did not know. Diane remembered: “We learned later that Dad sent boxes like this to a lot of people, it was just something he did, something he loved to do.”
Walt’s love of the holidays is unsurprising given his embrace of family, and Christmas for Walt was yet another opportunity to create magic and happiness for his audience. “He shared Christmas with us but also with the world at large” said Diane.
Be sure to watch the entire documentary, including the end credits to see Christmas cards from The Walt Disney Studios during Walt’s time.
“Christmas with Walt Disney” is now available to stream on Disney+.