Peter Pan Takes Flight in a Disney Movie Club Exclusive Anniversary Edition

Created especially for the Disney fan and collector, the new Disney Movie Club anniversary edition of Disney’s Peter Pan features cover art based on the original 1953 theatrical poster and an all-new, must-see bonus featurette In Walt’s Words: Peter Pan on Blu-ray™ disc.  Don’t miss the fascinating backstory of the 15-year development of Disney’s Peter Pan and an insider look at story meetings between Walt and his famed animators.

We caught up with David Daniels, producer of Disney Movie Club’s exclusive featurette In Walt’s Word’s: Peter Pan, who shares his insights about the making of the featurette.


Disney: All of Walt Disney’s Animated Masterpieces have fascinating backstories. What do you think makes the development of Disney’s Peter Pan so unique and interesting?
David Daniels: Peter Pan was originally a stage play by J.M. Barrie that first was produced in 1904. Walt, from the time he was a little boy, loved the story of Peter Pan. He saved all his pennies to see the play, and then that story became a part of him. Walt really related to the character of Peter Pan.

So Walt always had in his head to make his own version of Peter Pan, with Walt’s touch. On stage, people could fly, but they were attached to ropes. Through the magic of animation, Walt could make the characters really fly. Instead of Tinker Bell being a little speck of light on the stage, Walt and his animators got to make her a fully realized character. There were a lot of things that they were able to do through the magic of animation and through Walt’s imagination that couldn’t be done in a stage production.

Like Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up, Walt was very young at heart. Disney’s Peter Pan has that magical element to it that’s such the embodiment of Walt Disney… that sense of magic and adventure every kid dreams of. Imagine a boy coming and giving you pixie dust, you flying over London and going to an island full of adventure with pirates and mermaids, lost boys and fairies—that’s every little kid’s imagination come to life!

Disney: You’re a longtime Disney buff, but in working on this new featurette, what was something new and unexpected that you learned?
DD: I didn’t realize that it was actually one of the first feature animated movies that Walt wanted to make. It was potentially supposed to be the second movie, before even Disney’s Pinocchio, but it ended up taking 15 years and not happening until the early ’50s.

His original animators, like Freddie Moore and Bill Tytla, were supposed to be the original character leads. But by the time the Studio got into production, it was the next generation of animators, the Nine Old Men—so Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Marc Davis, Eric Larson—and those guys ended up being the lead animators.

It took 15 years because Walt had to work on getting the story rights, and then World War II happened and production on feature animated movies stopped. During that time, the Studio started working on the war shorts, and the kind of movies they put out, like Disney’s Make Mine Music and Disney’s Melody Time, were compilations of animated shorts with interstitials between them—and not full-length feature animations.

Disney: Why do you think that Disney’s Peter Pan is such an enduring classic?
DD: The characters! The characters were always there from the original story but Disney interpreted those characters, developed them, and brought them to life through animation in a way that was magnificent and magical. They became classic Disney characters that lived on in the Disney legacy, especially characters like Tinker Bell.

Tinker Bell became an iconic Disney character, from lighting the castle in the theme parks and starting the fireworks every night to being in the opening logo of all the Disney television shows—even the company logo had Tinker Bell in it. She is such an interesting character—pretty, magical, sassy. There have been rumors that Tinker Bell was modeled after Marilyn Monroe, but the featurette dispels that myth!

Disney: Who is your favorite character in Disney’s Peter Pan?
DD: I would say it’s Captain Hook. He’s the quintessential Disney Villain. He’s evil, but he’s also a comedic character, which led the way to other characters like him. Captain Hook was one of the first villains where Disney created this comedic element to the otherwise evil characteristics, leading the way for other great Disney Villains like Gaston, Scar, and Ursula.

Disney’s Peter Pan 70th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy includes the all-new bonus featurette In Walt’s Words: Peter Pan on Blu-ray disc, available exclusively through the Disney Movie Club. This special anniversary edition also features collectible cover art based on the original 1953 theatrical poster.

Visit today to purchase your copy of the Club-Exclusive 70th Anniversary Edition of Disney’s Peter Pan or to join the Disney Movie Club!