If you think waiting to get into Hall D23 or some of the smaller ballrooms for the D23 Expo has been difficult then don’t hold your breath for the new Walt Disney Archives Stage!

The small 275-seat theater promises a more intimate experience with a BEHIND THE SCENES theme for the programming in the venue. From panels with Disney Legends to presentations giving an inside look at the workings of the company, it promises to be an especially geeky round of offerings.

Full announcement below.

Walt Disney Archives Stage to Premiere at D23 EXPO 2015

Through presentations and panel discussions that represent nearly every facet of Disney history, this intimate 275-seat theater will give fans “a peek behind the magic” with presentations and panels featuring the Disney Legends, luminaries, and historians who help make the Disney universe, well… magical!

Several engaging presentations for fans are planned throughout the weekend. These include:

Before Ever After
Friday, August 14, 12:30 p.m.—Walt Disney Archives Stage

Based on his new book, Before Ever After, Disney author and producer Don Hahn offers a glimpse into the incredible true story of the Disney Studio’s early artist training program that Walt held in the build-up to his first feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.


In Conversation: Julie Reihm Casaletto
Friday, August 14, 2:30 p.m.—Walt Disney Archives Stage

Join an informal conversation with the first Disneyland Ambassador, Julie Reihm Casaletto, about her Disney career—from working with Walt to her appointment as “Miss Disneyland Tencennial” (1965), the post that would ultimately set the stage for today’s Disneyland Ambassador Program.

In Conversation: Carson Van Osten
Friday, August 14, 4 p.m.—Walt Disney Archives Stage

Settle in for a fun conversation moderated by Disney Legend Floyd Norman with Disney artist Carson Van Osten about his long-time career with The Walt Disney Company. From comics to character merchandising and video game concepts, Carson has done it all!


Disney Did That?: 4 Artists Paint 1 Tree—A Celebration of an Inspirational Masterpiece
Friday, August 14, 5:30 p.m.—Walt Disney Archives Stage

“4 Artists Paint 1 Tree,” originally part of the Disneyland anthology series program An Adventure in Art, profiles how artists use their own perceptions and techniques to capture the way they view the world. Though the program was made in the context of informing the audience about the making of Sleeping Beauty, the approach and the care put into this film elevated it beyond the mundane, creating something extraordinary, a visual and inspirational document of the creative process. Hosted by Fox Carney, Manager of Research for Walt Disney Animation Studio’s Animation Research Library.

Don DeFore’s Silver Banjo Barbecue—Frontierland: 1957–1961
Saturday, August 15, 10 a.m.—Walt Disney Archives Stage

Ron and David DeFore recollect their exciting adventures growing up in Disneyland when their father, actor Don DeFore, owned a restaurant in Frontierland. A unique part of early Disneyland history will be rediscovered via vintage park imagery paired with humorous tales and cherished family memories.


Disney University and Its Professor Emeritus, Van France
Saturday, August 15, 11:30 a.m.—Walt Disney Archives Stage

Join Doug Lipp, former head of the training team at the Disney Studios and author of Disney U, as he interviews Disney Legend Jim Cora, retired chairman of Disneyland International, for an engaging fireside chat about Van France, who helped create The Happiest Place on Earth. Learn rarely told stories as shared by Jim, who was a founding member of the Disney University with Van.

In Conversation: Donnie Dunagan Sorcerer Guest-Only Presentation
Saturday, August 15, 1 p.m.—Walt Disney Archives Stage

Disney author and historian Jeff Kurtti sits down with voice actor Donnie Dunagan to talk about his early film career. Dunagan is perhaps best known for having provided the voice for young Bambi in the 1942 animated epic of the same name.

Disney Animation: Preservation-Restoration-Reconstruction
Saturday, August 15, 3 p.m.—Walt Disney Archives Stage

Theo Gluck, The Walt Disney Studios’ Director of Library Restoration and Preservation, will discuss and demonstrate the techniques and technologies used to digitally preserve the fragile original negatives of classic and iconic Disney films from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Mary Poppins.

In Conversation: Council of Disney Archivists
Saturday, August 15, 6 p.m.—Walt Disney Archives Stage

The Walt Disney Company has a long and storied past. Such history is currently saved by several groups across the company, all of which work toward the same goal of preserving and sharing the very best of Disney’s history with the world. Fans have the chance to sit in on this informal panel discussion with some of the archivists, librarians, and researchers who oversee several of The Walt Disney Company’s amazing historical collections

Sounds Delightful: Disneyland Edition
Sunday, August 16, 10 a.m.—Walt Disney Archives Stage

Disney artist and historian Stacia Martin hosts Sounds Delightful: Disneyland Edition, an “Illustrated Audio Adventure” across the Disney decades via vintage vinyl recordings from her extensive personal collection. Enjoy forgotten favorites from the turntables of yesteryear, rare promotional and production tracks… and a special 60th anniversary salute to Walt Disney’s original Magic Kingdom of Disneyland!


Everyone Loves the Circus…Including the Mouseketeers!
Sunday, August 16, 11:30 a.m.—Walt Disney Archives Stage

Thursday was “Circus Day” on the Mickey Mouse Club television show, but for the 1955–1956 holiday season at Disneyland every day was a circus: the “Mickey Mouse Club Circus”! Join Disney historian Paula Sigman Lowery as she explores Walt Disney’s love of this famed American tradition, and celebrates this unique event with rare stills, film footage, and Mouseka-memories from Disneyland’s past.


Disneyland: Fond Memories of the Past
Sunday, August 16, 1 p.m.—Walt Disney Archives Stage

Didn’t get a chance to experience D23’s Destination D: Attraction Rewind? Well, let’s turn back the clocks! Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline and Disney artist and historian Stacia Martin revisit their popular 2014 event presentation taking fans on a journey through some of Disneyland’s most beloved attractions of yesteryear.


Walking with Giants: A Virtual Visit to Walt Disney’s Hyperion Studio
Sorcerer Guest-Only Presentation
Sunday, August 16, 3 p.m.—Walt Disney Archives Stage

Not since 1940 has anyone been able to walk the historic halls of Disney’s Hyperion Avenue studio, birthplace of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Mickey Mouse, and feature-length animation. Combining state-of-the-art technology with never-before-seen vintage imagery, fans will explore this legendary location where Walt and his team unlocked the secrets of animation and turned amusement into art. Hosted by animation historian Hans Perk.


In Conversation: Wilma Baker and Ginny Mack
Sunday, August 16, 4:30 p.m.—Walt Disney Archives Stage

Hand-inked and painted cels helped bring the magic of Disney animation to the silver screen. Join host Mindy Johnson, author of the forthcoming book Ink & Paint—The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation, for a sneak-peek—and lively conversation—with Ink & Paint artists Wilma Baker and Ginni Mack, who worked on Disney’s animated feature films from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfsto The Little Mermaid!