Disneyland: Secrets, Stories & Magic (2006)

A comprehensive and entertaining look at Walt Disney's initial vision for Disneyland, considered to be "Walt's Folly" by many Disney Studio employees, and the various stages of the park's planning and construction culminating in its grand opening on July 17, 1955.

Originally conceived as a retrospective special to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the beloved park, Disneyland: Secrets, Stories and Magic has become one of the most recognizable journeys into the history of Disneyland. A “docutainment” program hosted by Julie Andrews, Disneyland: Secrets, Stories and Magic takes a fresh approach to the history of Disneyland, as key participants in the formation and continual supervision of this incredible piece of Americana tell the story through their own experiences.

George Lucas, Pixar’s John Lassiter and Pete Docter along with head Imagineer Marty Sklar and many others join Julie Andrews in the telling of the tale.

Notes from co-director and editor Pete Schuermann:

“This is just a sample of arguably my most prestigious work done to date. Thanks to former Disney Execs, producer/co-director Bob Garner and Executive Producer Jim Garber (both great friends to this day), I was given the proverbial shot at big time.

In the past, most Disneyland retrospectives were hosted TV specials, and my main contribution to the strategy was to shoot more documentary style; handheld often, with the story told by the actual people who built the park. From the postive critical response, one example being Werner Weiss’ (Yesterland) comment below, I’m happy to say the tactic succeeded.  The MOST fun was combing the vast archive of Disney stock footage from old TV specials and era promos, though.

 The opening [SCROLL DOWN TO VIEW] was a “test” of my edit abilities, a very real sense. The producers and execs at Disney Home Video had duties elsewhere for a few days and I was left with the instructions to ‘just cut an open’ and we’ll see what you come up with. Well, what you see here is basically that with very few changes. Upon return, the team was ecstatic – which of course was reciprocated in my reaction. What a relief!”

 NTSC 480p – please excuse the poor quality from a DVD source.

The critics weigh in...

Richard Corliss
Richard CorlissTime Magazine
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“When it comes to Disney parks, there's not a huge Undecided contingent...you'll want this stroll down Walt's fabricated Memory Lane.”
Brian OrndorfDVDTalk
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"...a wildly entertaining journey, with all the interview participants giddy from the discussion...a rewarding celebration of Disneyland, getting across that dizzying breadth of history while reassuring fans that the best is yet to come. ”
Werner WeissYesterland
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"Disneyland: Secrets, Stories & Magic doesn’t try to be hip or artsy. It keeps sugar-coated sentimentality to a reasonable level. The film keeps moving with quick edits, short sound bites, and plenty of interesting scenes."
Luke BonnanoDVDizzy.com
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“...a wonderful, concise, and needed account of Disneyland's first half-century. There is much to be gained from the interviews, which let us hear from Walt's daughter Diane, her husband and former CEO Ron Miller, former CEO Michael Eisner (briefly), and Star Wars wizard George Lucas, among many others.”


Disney Home Video created a very special home video release with “Walt Disney Treasures Disneyland: Secrets, Stories and Magic”; a DVD compilation which featured many special programs in one unique set.


The video below shows the fascinating contents of the special steelcase set, along with a couple of unique items the Disney teams crafted in gratitude for Pete Schuermann.

Shared below is the close of thr Disneyland: Secrets, Stories and Magic main program. The combination of some very special comments, creatively edited visuals and music makes this one of Pete Schuermann’s favorite segments from his entire body of work.