The inspiration of and appreciation for Walt Disney knows no boundaries. The Membership at The Walt Disney Family Museum certainly reflects this diversity. Each month, we introduce you to one of our Members, so you can see the varied and frequently fascinating people who have come together to learn and experience more about the life, work, philosophies, and ideals of Walt Disney. This month, we’d like you to meet FOUNDING MEMBER Walt Blanchard!
Walt has been married 27 years this month tohis wonderful wife Pam--wonderful, he says, because she indulges his Disney affliction--and, like another Walt we know, they have two beautiful daughters, Samantha and Theresa. His daughters, too, have inherited their dad’s Disney affliction. Walt has lived in and around the South Bay Area since 1959, and currently plies his talents as a data analyst and programmer as a Business Operations Consultant. He has been not only a Disney fan for as long as he can remember, but also a Founding Member of The Walt Disney Family Museum since its opening in 2009.
Why did you become a member of The Walt Disney Family Museum?
Several years before the brick and mortar Museum opened, I discovered the online Walt Disney Museum, curated by the Greens. I spent hours going through the material and learning about Walt. When I learned of The Walt Disney Family Museum opening right in my backyard, in San Francisco's Presidio, I knew I had to join… [Membership Coordinator] Pam Spedus was my very first contact with the Museum.
What do you find the most enjoyable about your membership?
When I walk through the Tunnel at Disneyland, there is a warm and welcoming feeling that immediately puts me at peace. I get that very same feeling when I walk through the doors at the Museum. On top of that, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and become friends with several other members, staff, and volunteers… There is a sense of community among this group that keeps me hopefully and optimistic about life in general.
What do you enjoy most about the Museum?
This may sound a little trite, but, really everything. I love the galleries… well except Gallery 10; I still tear up every time… Michael [Labrie, the Director of Collections] does an amazing job of routinely incorporating new material to keep the experience fresh. The Museum Store is a must stop on every visit; my wife and daughters love exploring for new jewelry. And of course, there are the monthly presentations which are both entertaining and educational. With the intimate surroundings of the theater, these presentations really feel like a group of friend getting together. In three years, I’ve only missed a few. But, most of all, what I enjoy most, are the staff and volunteers. You all “plus” the visitor experiences so much--it literally would not be the same without all of you. Thanks so much!!!
How does Walt Disney inspire you?
Walt Disney believed in his visions so completely that he was able to inspire other to believe in them as well. It was in learning about Walt that I rediscovered a passionate I thought long lost. I started my Disney blog as a way to get back to that passion to write, and look for other way to express my creativity. I guess because it is a creative endeavor, in the last year I’ve become very interested in BBQ--not the throw on the grill and cook-it-quick type, but the slow smoking type. According to family and friends, I’ve gotten pretty good at it.
What was your first Disney inspiration or memory?
I would have to say that any time I think of Disney, one of the first memories that come to mind is of a young boy lying on the carpet in front of his grandparents’ TV as “Wonderful World of Color” comes on, and seeing Tinker Bell fly across the screen. I think it was there that my lifelong crush on Tink started. Fortunately, today, I have a very understanding wife.
Anything else you would like to share about yourself?
I guess this would be where I mention my deluded connection to the Disney family… I, like Walter E.D. Miller, was named for my Grandfather, another Walter E. (Walter E. Miller)… and my Mother’s maiden name is Diane Miller. There’s got to be a cosmic connection in there somewhere!