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Disney collector Richard Kraft has decided to embrace the words of Frozen‘s Elsa and, as he says — or, more aptly, sings — “Let It Go.”
Kraft, an agent for composers such as Alan Menken, who have worked on Disney scores, has been snapping up memorabilia from Disneyland for 25 years. He says that it was something he turned to following the death of this brother, David, from Crohn’s disease. As children, the two of them had always made a point to go to the theme park once a year, on a day when his brother was feeling well.
He gravitated there again after David died.
“I was really disconnected and didn’t know how to connect with him,” Kraft tells Yahoo Entertainment, “and I went to Disneyland, and it reminded me of him, so I started buying Disneyland, basically, bringing it to my house.”
Kraft’s change of heart comes at a milestone year for his collection and at a time that works well for what’s going on with him personally. Most of his treasure had migrated into storage, he says, and he has another priority.
“I also now have a 4-year-old daughter — I’m an old dad — she has special needs, and so part of the proceeds of the auction of all this going to go for organizations that benefit kids like her,” Kraft says. “So there are just a lot of compelling reasons to part with it. But I didn’t just want to have an auction. It was really important to share it with people.”
Kraft’s treasures will be on display for the public in a free exhibition called “That’s From Disneyland!,” from Aug. 1 to Aug. 26, in Sherman Oaks, Calif. The items are arranged according to their former location in the park; for example, a piece of the Dumbo ride is close to rare Snow White dolls. Original maps of the park hang on the wall above a miniature re-creation of the park.
Here’s a sneak peek at what’s going up for sale:
Dumbo the Flying Elephant vehicle
This vehicle, which people climbed into for the iconic Dumbo ride in Fantasyland in the ’60s, has been repainted to the original palette. Other than Mickey ears, does anything say Disneyland better than this?
From 1965 into the mid-’90s, Disneyland guests moved around the park via the Skyway in Tomorrowland.
It’s hard to believe it now, but a family of four could once easily eat lunch at Disneyland for under $5, as evidenced by this small flyer from 1955, the year the park opened.
Snow White and the Evil Queen window display figures
These figures of two of the key characters from Snow White and Seven Dwarfs were sold at Disneyland in the ’70s. Snow White’s face has warped over the years, but the doll is still expected to go for a minimum of $500.
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride vehicle
Although most everything on display is from Disney’s West Coast hub, this vehicle — named Mr. Toad, as opposed to Mole or one of the other characters from The Wind in the Willows — lived at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., in the ’80s.
Enchanted Tiki Room animatronic prop
This older version of Jose, one of the birds who hosts the Tiki Room show, dates back to the ’60s. The poster behind him is thought to be from the ’80s. Quick, grab a drink with a tiny umbrella in it!
Haunted Mansion figurine and Doom Buggy
The Disney fan who takes home the ’70s-era buggy that ushered Disney guests through the Haunted Mansion ride can feel like they’re at a Disney park anytime. It sits alongside a rare figurine of one of the ghosts in the mansion that was created in 2005 for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary.
Swiss Family Treehouse organ
This organ prop — the only music that came from it was via a speaker inside — sat inside Disneyland’s 1962 re-creation of the treehouse the clan from The Swiss Family Robinson called home.
Submarine Voyage animatronic mermaid
Not long after the park opened, Tomorrowland featured an underwater adventure called Submarine Voyage that featured a sea snake and, less menacing, moving mermaids.
Global Van Lines moving truck and neon D sign
The blue moving truck sat on Disneyland’s Main Street U.S.A. from about 1963 to 1979, reportedly when the company behind it, Global Van Lines, ended its sponsorship. In the background, you can see the neon D that once hung on the Disneyland Hotel, from 1963 to 1999.
All of these items and many more will be sold at auction Aug. 24-26.
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