It was like a day out of a Disney Fairytale book and started Once Upon a Time just a short time ago in January of 2010. Disney Legend Alice Davis invited me into her home for what would be the most memorable Disney Day I’ve ever had. A Disney Artist friend of mine introduced me to Alice Davis after telling her about my passion for Disney and my business, Theme Park Connection, she welcomed me into her home for a day. It was a day I’ll never forget. The day was around the 10th anniversary of her husband's (Disney Legend Marc Davis) death January 2000, so it was a chance for Alice to share her memories of him.
When I walked into the home of Disney Legend Alice & Marc Davis, I was expecting to see Disney Props and Disney Artwork all throughout but was shocked to see a different style than I would have imagined. I was still impressed to say the least. What I saw was tons of original non-Disney artwork by Marc and Alice decorating the walls, along with many Polynesian-style Tiki Masks and African-themed collectibles. The artwork, of course, caught my eye and it was everywhere, from the hallways to the bathrooms. Not one wall was without a piece of history from their shared art career. The only thing that I wondered, though, was where was all the Disney stuff? Well, later I would find out.
Alice started pulling out some of her original Small World Doll Designs from the coffee table in the room. I couldn’t believe I was holding the original concept sketches used to design one of the most famous attractions in the world. Not only was I viewing the artwork, I had the person who designed it sharing the stories in her own living room. It was just mesmerizing that I was holding pieces of history that very few people in the world had seen, and I had only been there less than a half hour.
Then Alice offered a personal tour of her lovely Los Angeles home that spans over 3 levels with rooms, stairs and hallways full of original Marc & Alice Artwork. One of the most interesting stops was her bedroom. Above her bed was a ton of framed artwork that lined the wall above the headboard. She wanted to show me how sweet Marc was because every year for their wedding anniversary he would create one of a kind artwork for her and she would frame them and put them up. It showed the personal side of their relationship and how proud Alice was of her husband.
We continued on the tour passing through actual Haunted Mansion Gates, and walking by Company Service Awards that I had never seen before. A Puppet Modeled after Marc was the focus of one of the rooms which was custom created by the Imagineers and given to him when he retired. Then we stopped at one of the most amazing places I have even been to: Marc’s Studio. It was here where original Disney history was displayed on Marc’s Original Animation desk, on cabinets, and on the walls. This is where all the Disney Original Artwork was that I had wondered about earlier. I was shown original concepts for Haunted Mansion, Pirates of Caribbean and more. This was artwork that belongs in a museum or the Disney archives, and I was holding it and learning the history behind it firsthand.
Alice began to share the story of when Marc retired. He only asked for two things: His original Animation desk, and the actual chair Walt Disney sat in when he would meet with Marc. These both were in the office and, yes, I did sit in the chair as you can see in the photo above. Being a huge Disney fan, this was the highlight of my experience. Being in Marc’s Studio, sitting in the actual Chair that Walt Disney sat in, I began to imagine the stories, conversations and memories that this chair held and only wished that chairs could talk.
It was a day, I’ll never forget and the day ended with Alice presenting me with two Marc Davis Pirates of the Caribbean T-shirts for me and wife, along with a personal invitation to Club 33 whenever I’m in town. Alice was the kindest, sweetest person I had ever met. She was so wonderful to welcome me into her home based only on the fact that she knew I was passionate about Disney and had a company based on it as well. It's memories like this that make Disney so special and why it is my passion. Whether you like going to the Disney parks, collecting Disney items or love watching your favorite Disney Movie, there will always be an item or piece that I hope to have that will spark that memory that will bring you right back into the magic. That's why I do what I do. It's all part of the magic of Disney.