A Rare Look Into The Fort Knox Of Disney

Everyone has a favourite Disney movie; maybe it’s your favourite movie from your childhood, maybe one that brings memories of watching with your kids, or maybe with your brother or sister. But have you ever wondered where creators keep all the originals from those movies? Even the original sketches of Mickey Mouse? Well, in Glendale, California there exists a “vault” containing Walt Disney’s artwork dating back to the 1920’s.

The Mysterious Disney “Vault”

Disney recently shared a video from inside the Vault, giving us a sneak peak into what’s inside. This is probably your first look into the Vault—which isn’t actually called the Vault, by the way, but rather The Disney Animation Research Library. Just imagine, the originals from classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and The Jungle Book are lovingly stored here. If you are a Disney history buff, this is your heaven.

There are 11 Vaults in total that preserve everything up to your more modern movies like The Nightmare Before Christmas and the new movie Moana. Vault 3 is nicknamed “Walt’s Vault” because it holds most of the original artwork completed by none other than Walt Disney himself. They remain frozen in Disney history thanks to this climate-controlled, humidity-free vault.

A Big Job

The archivists that help care, catalogue and store the artwork belonging to Disney sure have their work cut out for them. Every drawing that has to be moved is done with the upmost care using a specially designed spatula and white gloves to ensure nothing is damaged.

The Digital Imaging Department at the vault work hard to transform the artwork into a massive digital library for use by animators, who can now access and learn from traditional hand-drawn animation thanks to the vault. Just imagine, without the use of computers any mistake had to be re-drawn and reinserted with the upmost detail. Today most is done with digital animation which I’m sure speeds up the process significantly and avoids a lot of headaches.

Archivists also have the task of photographing more than 1000 pieces of artwork per day, which amounts to over a million pieces in the last 7 years.

Being an archivist at Disney is no easy job. It took 5 people more than 11 months just too digitally archive all of the artwork associated with Pinocchio!

Fort Knox Of Disney

Photo: Nerdist

There are now over 56 million different pieces of artwork photographed and digitally catalogued from the vaults. As you can imagine, that number is climbing by the day and probably won’t be stopping anytime soon as Disney is even more of a power house today that when Mr. Disney started the company almost 100 years ago.

Check out the full-length tour of the Vault below!

Video: Disney Via YouTube

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