Disney Legend Tony Baxter Teams Up With the Walt Disney Birthplace For a Virtual Celebration of Walt Disney’s 119th Birthday

Did you know Walt Disney was born in Chicago? If you didn’t, you’re not alone. Many Chicagoans are surprised to learn that one of the 20th century’s most influential Americans was born in an unassuming home on a quiet street in the Windy City’s Hermosa neighborhood. But the Walt Disney Birthplace restoration project is working hard to change that. And a special celebration of Walt Disney’s would-be 119th birthday on Dec. 5, 2020 is helping to further the cause.

Thanks to the dedication of project founders Dina Benadon and Brent Young, the home where Walter Elias Disney was born in 1901 is now being restored and transformed into a museum.

Walt Disney Birthplace Front Porch
Walt and Ruth Disney on the front porch of the home, the earliest known photo of any of the Disneys at the birthplace. Photo courtesy of The Walt Disney Birthplace.

Since 2013, the Walt Disney Birthplace has hosted a star-studded birthday celebration for Walt—bringing the community together with celebrities like the legendary Dick Van Dyke, NBA star and diehard Disney fan Robin Lopez, and even Mickey Mouse. This year, the party is going virtual, letting Disney fans from around the world join the celebration. 

Get a virtual tour inside the home as a celebratory candle is lit in the room where Walt was born and get a look back at the history of the Disney family in Chicago. The event will feature surprise guests, giveaways, a reading of the official Mayoral Proclamation of “Walt Disney Day in Chicago,” a re-dedication of the Diana Waller Hermosa Community Library on its first anniversary, and more. 

Walt Disney Birthplace Exterior Restoration
Photo courtesy of The Walt Disney Birthplace.

Registration for the main event is $10.00, which is tax-deductible and can be credited towards the purchase of a collectible event t-shirt ($35) or dedicated paver stone.

A Very Special VIP Reception

Register for the $75 VIP reception package and you’ll get the chance to hear from and interact virtually Disney Legend Tony Baxter, the Walt Disney Imagineer responsible for iconic Disney attractions like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Indiana Jones Adventure, and Splash Mountain. You’ll also hear from project founders and homeowners, Dina Benadon and Brent Young. The VIP Reception package includes admission to the VIP reception, the main event, and a souvenir T-shirt.

Tony Baxter

To learn more and purchase tickets, visit thewaltdisneybirthplace.org.

Brooke Geiger McDonald is a Chicago native who has worked for O, The Oprah Magazine and Shape magazine in New York and for various book publishers in London. Back home in Chicago, she’s outnumbered by her husband and two sons, and the four of them are certifiable Disney and Star Wars fanatics, always counting down the days to their next Disney vacation. Her favorite nonprofits to support include The Walt Disney Birthplace in Chicago and organizations focused on environmental conservation and combatting climate change, such as the Environmental Defense Fund and Shedd Aquarium. Follow her on Instagram @brookegmcdonald and Twitter @BrookeGMcDonald.

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