While much of the day-to-day activities of the Walt Disney Archives take place within its Studio home, the Archives develops and manages projects that bring Disney’s legacy far beyond its walls. Internal support ranges from providing enhanced content on DVD and Blu-ray releases to research and artifacts for new theatrical films and shows and documentaries on Disney+. External projects include special exhibits like “Inside the Walt Disney Archives” that celebrate historic anniversaries, and travel to bring treasures to Disney fans around the world.

D23: The Official Disney Fan Club relies on the Walt Disney Archives to support its events and Expos, from articles published in Disney Twenty-three to special screenings, panel presentations, and tours of The Walt Disney Studios (including Walt Disney’s original office suite, meticulously restored by the Archives staff).

Among the most prestigious of the Archives’ projects is the Disney Legends Award. Initially developed by the Archives and established in 1987 by The Walt Disney Company to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the Disney legacy, Disney Legends were selected originally by a special committee including our archivists and chaired by Walt Disney’s nephew, Roy E. Disney.

Originally the Disney Legends Awards ceremony was hosted at The Walt Disney Studios. Since 2009, the award ceremonies have been held at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, allowing Disney fans of all ages to share in the celebration.

Over the past 32 years the program has honored gifted animators and artists, Imagineers, filmmakers, actors, singers, composers, writers, broadcasters, journalists, and business leaders from around the globe and all divisions of The Walt Disney Company. To date, 290 recipients bear the proud title of “Disney Legend.”


The Disney Legends Award

tap image to read

Joanna Pratt
Senior Manager, Operations & Programs

In 1989 sculptor Andrea Favilli was commissioned by The Walt Disney Company to design the Disney Legends Award.  Ever since, for every new ceremony each award is created and bronzed, by hand, by the original designer.

The Disney Legends Award depicts the arm of Mickey Mouse holding a star-tipped wand, and has three distinct elements that characterize the contributions made by each talented recipient:

The Spiral ... stands for imagination, the power of an idea.

The Hand ... holds the gifts of skill, discipline and craftsmanship.

The Wand and the Star ... represent magic: the spark that is ignited when imagination and skill combine to create a new dream.



Visit for today's programs 

2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA


Copyright © 2020. Bowers Museum. All Rights Reserved