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Walt Disney Treasures
Disneyland: Secrets, Stories & Magic

review by Zach B.

 

 

Running Time: 332 minutes

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $32.99

Features: "People and Places: Disneyland U.S.A." Music-Only 5.1 Mix, "People and Places: Disneyland U.S.A." Audio Commentary with Disney Historian Leonard Maltin and Imagineer Tony Baxter, Wonderful World Of Disneyland Trivia Game, Building Walt's Dream: Disneyland Under Construction, Gallery

Specs: 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Full Screen, Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Mono, English Subtitles, Two-Disc Set

Released: December 11th, 2007

 


 

Talk about a misstep: shockingly, the centerpiece of this set - the new restrospective documentary "Disneyland: Secrets, Stories & Magic" is presented in NON-ANAMORPHIC 1.78:1 widescreen. I thought we were way beyond presenting main material in non-anamorphic widescreen now, but I guess this slipped through the cracks. (What, did they think it was a long bonus feature?) It is disappointing, but not considering that, the actual feature looks fine and pretty sharp: fleshtones of Julie Andrews and the interviewees look pretty flawless and detail is good. The theme park itself is brought to full life with color saturation is bold and strong, without smearing and the archival material is in good shape. On the downside though, there is some noise and edge enhancement. Given what it is, it looks fine... but the lack of anamorphic enhancement is severely disappointing.

As far as the classic "Disneyland" episodes, those are in good shape and in 1.33:1 full screen. There are some nicks and dirt pieces to be had, but there is a sharpness to the image and color saturation is more-than-passable.

 

The feature has an English Dolby 2.0 mix. There's not much to say about it other than it's limited, but even with a 5.1 mix, it would have been limited too given that it's really just a bunch of talking heads. With that said though, the dialogue is very clear and crisp. Fidelity is pretty high, and the musical cues sound nice. But that's about it.

For the "Disneyland" episodes on the second disc, those are in English Mono. There's not much to say about these, except the sound range on these episodes are obviously limited. Still, the music cues sound nice and Walt's voice is clear and easy to hear. English subtitles are also included for all the programs. 

 

The first disc features a few goodies on People and Places: Disneyland U.S.A. The theatrical featurette is presented in glorious anamorphic cinemascope, and has also been remixed in Dolby Digital 5.1 But there's more - there's also a magestic Dolby Digital 5.1 music-only track, as well as Audio Commentary with Leonard Maltin and Imagineer Tony Baxter. The film looks great and the 5.1 remix is actually quite good, and the commentary is excellent. Maltin and Baxter are Disney experts, and throughout the 42 minute film they offer loads of tidbits about Disneyland, and put the entire thing in a historical context, especially from the filmmaking angle (apparently this was the third Disney film produced in Cinemascope).

There's also a well-designed Wonderful World Of Disneyland Trivia Game, with two difficulties - so bring your A-game so you can win your prize. I should note though that before answering each question, you're basically subjected to a history lesson/commercial about each area of the park.

The second disc has the immensley fascinating Building Walt's Dream: Disneyland Under Construction. Introduced and narrated by Imagineer Tony Baxter, Disney Inventory Group Ed Hobleman and Walter Magnuson, the trio guide us through the actual construction of all of Disneyland's main areas - seen from various time-lapse cameras. It's actually quite astonishing, and makes you feel like you're watching history come to life. It's amazing all this footage was found, and it's simply wonderful. 

The second disc also has a large Gallery of concept art for Disneyland.

You also get two informative Leonard Maltin introductions. I should note that on the set one of the features is "Operation Disneyland" feature a 90 minute piece about the opening of the park that was originally only available to ABC affiliates. Oh, and inside the DVD case is a replica of Disneyland tickets from the 1950s - fun!

 

"Disneyland: Secrets, Stories & Magic" is a great documentary about the history of the beloved theme park, filled with plenty of insights. The extra features on the set are great supplements to the documentary, but the set is disappointing given that it features a NON-ANAMORPHIC transfer. I really would have thought Disney would have known better at this point... and it's all the more odd given that they presented the film "People and Places" on the same disc with anamorphic enhancement. Regardless of that annoyance though, fans of Disney history and the park will get their money's worth if they check this set out.