My Interview with Producer/Writer of Walt Before Mickey: Arthur L. Bernstein By: Chelsea Pulver


Walt Before Mickey is a movie based on a book of the same name by Timothy S. Susanin. It’s the only movie approved by the Disney family and even has a forward by Walt’s daughter Diane Disney Miller! It tells the story of Walter (Walt) Elias Disney’s Early Years, 1919-1928, from his days in Kansas City, MO, at Laugh-O-Gram Studios to Los Angeles, CA, and Disney Brothers Studios, now known as Walt Disney Studios or the Walt Disney Company. The tentative release date is April 18 or 19, 2015.

Walt Before Mickey is directed by Khoa Le, was produced and written by Armando Gutierrez and Arthur L. Bernstein, and has a pretty stellar cast for being a low-budget independent film. Some of the cast includes Thomas Ian Nicolas (American Pie) as Walt, John Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) as Roy Disney, David Henrie (Wizards of Waverly Place) as Rudy Ising, and Jodie Sweetin (Full House) as Charlotte Disney!
I started this interview by telling Arthur that I had a laundry list of fan questions for him, and after two long, late-night conversations, this is what he had to say.


C: How many months did this movie take to shoot?

Arthur: 18 days! It took from December 17 till December 23, 2014. Then we took a break, had a conference, and when we came back to finish the remaining 11 days, we came back with a new director and a new direction for the movie. Shooting resumed January 18, 2015.

C: Where was the movie filmed?

Arthur: We filmed the movie in Deland and Sanford, FL, and actually put the actors in an allegedly haunted hotel called the Artisan Inn! (Side Note: I didn’t ask if any ghosts were seen.)

C: Will this be a family friendly movie? I know Walt had a hard childhood.

Arthur: Yes! The whole family will love it! It’s definitely geared more toward older children and adults, but there are no curse words.

C: Were you a big Disney fan before this movie?

Arthur: Yes, of the man, a big fan of Walt! Not so much of the company. Walt was such an amazing man with so much to offer.

C: What was something new you learned about Walt that you didn’t know before doing this movie?

Arthur: Walt was the first to do live-action with animated characters. He wasn’t a very good business man, but became one with the help of his brother Roy! He was great at taking things apart and figuring out how they are made.

C: What made you decide to do this movie?

Arthur: No one had ever done a movie about Walt’s early years. We wanted to show the man behind all the magic! We want people to see that he is more than the movies and theme parks. He was a man who came from meager beginnings and truly lived the American Dream, and he built a kingdom from that dream.

Thomas Ian Nicholas as Walt Disney (Left) John Heder as Roy Disney (Right)

Thomas Ian Nicholas as Walt Disney (Left)
John Heder as Roy Disney (Right)

C: Let’s talk about the amazing cast you got for this project! Do you think Thomas Ian Nicholas did a good job portraying Walt?

Arthur: Thomas did a fantastic job. He was the last actor we hired. He got sick with a really bad cold and never took off work. He worked like a dog! He came prepared every day and even carried a copy of the book around and frequently read it so he could be as true to the character as possible. Thomas is going to really shine in this role.

Conor Dubin, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Flora Bonfanti, Frank Licari, Jon Heder, Alexander Leaty, and Arthur L. Bernstein on set of Walt Before Mickey

Conor Dubin, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Flora Bonfanti, Frank Licari, Jon Heder, Alexander Leaty, and Arthur L. Bernstein on set of Walt Before Mickey

C: What about John Heder? We are used to seeing him in comedy. Tell me more about him and his portrayal of Roy Disney?

Arthur: John did a great job portraying Roy, and he was perfect for this role! He was the first actor we hired for the film. John is a very low-key person, very family oriented, and very driven. He and Thomas randomly sat next to each other on the flight from California to Florida and bonded on the flight! By the time they landed, they were very good friends, which made shooting so much better!
C: You play Frank L. Newman in the film. What made you decide to play this particular character?

Arthur: I was originally going to play Charles Mintz, but we decided I resembled Newman the most out of our cast. He was the first to give Disney the opportunity to present his animation on the big screen through his theater and film studio Newman Laugh-O-Gram Films.
Arthur: Honestly, we had a fantastic cast! It was a pleasure to work with all these former child stars such as Jodie Sweetin, David Henrie, Ayla Kell, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Hunter Gomez, & Taylor Gray. There was a lot of synergy on set.

My wife and father have small roles. Armando (executive producer) and I are in it. It was truly a family affair and everyone did a great job!

Arthur L. Bernstein as Frank L. Newman

Arthur L. Bernstein as Frank L. Newman

C: I know I am looking forward to this movie, and to seeing the man who built a kingdom come to life! Thank you for your time, Arthur!

Here are 5 facts about Walt Before Mickey, the movie and its cast:
1. Both executive producers play small roles in the film.
2. Actor John Heder is into geocaching.
3. There are 8 child actors in the film.
4. The original title was The Dreamer, but then they got the rights to use the book title.
5. Diane Disney Miller was actively involved with the process until her death, and they are planning to dedicate the movie to her memory.

From left to right: Director Khoa Le, Actors Thomas Ian Nicholas, & John Heder, and Executive Producers Arthur L. Bernstein, & Armando Gutierrez.

From left to right:
Director Khoa Le, Actors Thomas Ian Nicholas, & John Heder, and Executive Producers Arthur L. Bernstein, & Armando Gutierrez.

Walt Before Mickey should release sometime in April 2015.
Here is a trailer for the film:

Visit the official site at:

Here are some set pictures that Arthur wanted me to share with you!


Associate Producer Max Nunziata with Karla Bernstein and Derek Packer


I’d like to do a shout out to all the people who made this interview happen and who helped me along the way!

First, let me thank Arthur for taking the time to talk with me and give me so much information! You can find more info about Arthur and his future projects on his website:

Thanks to my amazing husband Wyatt for all his input and advice!

Thanks to Jodi Whisenhunt from Magical Mouse Schoolhouse for supporting me and editing this article. Jodi went through this with a fine-toothed comb and I couldn’t have done this without her!

Thanks to Terri Miller from WDW Hints for all her help promoting and supporting me and this project!

And finally, thank you to all these other amazing blogs, Facebook pages, and people for their support:

Jeannifer- Peace Love Disney
Becca- Love Our Disney
Michaelyn- Mousekatools
Anna- Beyond Cute Boutique
Josh- Discovering the Magic Kingdom
Tabitha- “Mouse”cation
Mike- My Dreams of Disney
Jessica- RecyclEARS
Krista- Disneyways & Disney Parks Podcast
Jason- Sasaki Time
Amy- Mouse Ears Mom
Stefne- Stefne Miller Author
Megan- Big Ears Adventures Travel Agency
Janice- The Adult Side of Disney
Kimberly- Disney Runner Mom
Lisa & James- Home is Where the Mouse is

April- Pixie Dust Savings
Deb- Focused on the Magic
Diane- Can Do It Mom
Becky- Disney in your Day
Amanda- Great big beautiful blog/living with the Magic Vacations
Shawn- Disney Pinholics
Lauren- Focus on the Mouse

Jenny- My Disney Cloud

Tony- Disney Parks Podcast

Christopher- Walt Disney World by GrumpyMickey

Stacy- C & S Designs

Arthur and his Wife Karla

Arthur and his Wife Karla

Arthur asked me to give special thanks to all the great people and companies who made this project happen.

Special Thanks to

City of Deland

Ed Arenas

Stetson University

Casey’s Corner

Wells Fargo

Athens Theater

City of Sanford

State of Florida

Walt Disney Museum of San Francisco

Robert Murray Miller

Michael J. Napoleone

Richman Greer

Sheila Wentzel

Tampa Comic Con

Palm Beach Student Showcase

Lynn University

Chelsea Pulver-Started with a Mouse

Terri Miller- WDW Hints

Anna Farris- Beyond Cutie Boutique

Jodi Whisenhunt- Magical Mouse Schoolhouse

David Frankel

Mark Shuttlesworth

Stella Alex

Savage Agency

Al Packer Ford

Boston CoffeeHouse

JJ Mcdowell

Trent Hays

David Munguia

Tony Orlando

Sharon Wead

Clarion Hotels

Artisan Hotel

Rachel Winters

Deland Police Department

University of Miami

Peter Groverman

Bret Jones PA

Main Street Deland


Richard Bernstein & Associates Inc.

Wendy Libby

City of Tavares

Robert Apgar

Jeff Triplett

Derek Packer

Robert Mccain

Murray Miller

Sheila Wentzel

Creative Artist Agency

Ted Harbert

Chris Harbert

Creative Ideas Advertising

Central Florida Railroad Museum

Tavares Historical Museum

Orange Blossom Cannonball

Pioneer Settlement

Alexander Bernstein

Carlos Bernstein

Anne Robbins

Marshall Rosenbach PA

Special Thanks to:

Executive Producer Michele Packer for her hard work and belief in this project. Thank you Michele.

From left to right: Armando Gutierrez, Christian Vogeler, Arthur L. Bernstein, and Christoper Dosen

From left to right:
Armando Gutierrez, Christian Vogeler, Arthur L. Bernstein, and Christoper Dosen


Timothy Susanin & Diane Disney Miller

I would like to give an additional shout out to Associate Producer Max Nunziata. I’m sorry for the loss of his father, Jerry Nunziata.

Hope you enjoyed this interview and I’d love if you would follow my blog and share it with your friends!



Magic is….. Getting ready for Disney!!!

Our trip to Disney is a month away!!

Deep breaths….. I am so beyond excited!! This is our kiddos first trip to Disney!!!!! We are also celebrating our anniversary! So this trip is kind of a big deal!

Now I know I haven’t been very diligent in my posts, and for that I am sorry. Between getting ready for our trip, home remodeling, and my hubby’s surgery last month things have been hectic.

I was able to see Guardians of the Galaxy and hope to have a review for it later this week! As for now, onto the Magic is postings….

Magic is….funny memes on the net!

IMG_1258.JPG I love this meme it’s just so silly! Gaston is probably my favorite villain! Who is yours?

Magic is…. Getting great deals at the mall!

I found two of these Ariel totes for the MNSSHP (Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party) for Belle & I at Hot topic! They were $3.95 BOGO and I had a 10% off coupon! The amazing Tumbler came from HT as well!

Magic is… Having goofy, Disney potato heads chilling at your house!

I bought these adorable potato heads at Kohls for $12 and they came with the faces and hats to do Mr. Potato head and Jessie!! Yay for coupons and clearance!!! What is your favorite Disney toy?

Magic is growing your own food!

IMG_1256.JPG We started that yummy watermelon from a seedling in our garden! Now I know not everyone can grow their own food, but it’s been an amazing experience for our kids! I can’t wait to show my kids Living on the Land in EPCOT so they can see the foods Disney grows!

I am constantly reminded that Disney magic is all around us! We just have to look for the pixies!

We have so many big things coming up in the SWAM house this month and next so pardon my delays in blog postings! I try to keep this blog up to date for the few who do read it, but as I’m sure you know life has a pesky way of butting in! Please if you enjoy my page and blog, share with your family and friends! It’s very discouraging to lose a like!

I will be doing live Disney posts in 30 days!! I can’t wait to share the magic with you!! It’s been 8 long years since I’ve been “home” and I am so ready!!

For now I will leave you with this quote from Walt Disney


I hope you have a Magical week and I’ll see you real soon! °o°

Magic is…… Take 2

I was planning to make the Magic is post a weekly thing. However i think it’ll be easier if it’s a every two week post 🙂

So onto the magic…..

I celebrated my birthday almost a week ago. We went to the drive in and saw Planes, Million Dollar Arm, & Maleificent! All fantastic movies! Let me know if you want my review on any of these movies!!

When I picked up the mail that day I received an amazing package from my friend Stacy!

My first Magic is picture is my goodies from Stacy!

Two lovely pendants!! One to represent my blog and the other to represent “letting it all go!” I find the Let it Go charm just reminds me to not stress over every little thing!

Stacy’s jewelry is amazingly adorable & meaningful!! She puts her heart into everything she makes!! Go check her stuff out!! (Link to her store at the bottom of this post.)

Magic is finding Mickey in unexpected places….

Like the head of this adorable dragonfly necklace!


Or this cute bath toy!


Or in my morning coffee & a fun book to read to the kiddos!


Magic is in finding great finds at the store! I love shopping for Disney items! When I wear a Disney shirt or earrings or I buy a Disney movie it helps me keep the magic close!

Found some great Disney DVD’s at Target!


I bought these adorable earrings for our upcoming trip!! Picked them up for $18 at Kohls!! They had amazing deals on Disney jewelry!!


Hope you enjoyed this post about Disney finds and magic!

Remember Magic is all around us if we just stop to look!!

Please feel free to reach out to me on Facebook or by email to share your Disney magic with me!! I love to see what amazing Disney finds you see!!

Have a Pixie filled week and I’ll see you real soon!!


My pendants from C & S designs!
Link to store:

County Fair Disney Fun

Friday I took my kiddos to the county fair! It was a hot & fun day! While at the fair I saw lots of homemade Disney Goodies!!

Then Saturday we went to Hallmark to check out new Disney Keepsake ornaments!! So I thought I’d share a few pics with you guys! Be prepared for many Frozen goodies!!

I saw this amazing quilt!


and this adorable kids painting of one of my favorite snowmen!


Loved this awesome drawing! That is one amazingly talented kid!!


How totally adorable is this baby cap!?!


Someone made this awesome Disney picture display board! What a fantastic way to display pictures from an amazing trip!


And lastly this tasty Hidden Mickey!


On to Saturday and the fun Disney Hallmark finds!

My amazing new cup! Do you have a Tervis Tumbler? If not you defiantly should!! They are amazing at keeping your cold drinks cool for a really long time! Love them!!

Here are just a small sampling of the new Disney Keepsake ornaments!! They are so amazing in person!! So detailed!! One of my faves was the Dumbo one it plays Baby your mine!!


20140713-161732-58652217.jpgGo check them out at your nearby Hallmark store!!

Here’s two of the upcoming ornaments that you will want to go in and add to your wish list if you are a Frozen fan!

Olaf comes out on October 7th and Elsa on November 7th!

Well that’s all I have for you for now!!
Hope you have a magical week!!

Magic is…..

Chelsea here…..

I’m going to start a Magic is Weekly blog post! This will be a week of pictures or blurbs with a bit of Disney magic combined with my life! Hope you enjoy!

Magic is..
Hidden Mickeys in the Tomato garden!

Magic is….

Two of my favorite things, Disney Vera Bradley & Starbucks Frappucinos!


My Disney Ducks on our Urban homestead! Front and center is Jocelyn, & Jack Jack trying to fly, but realizing he can’t… In the back is Violet, Fix it Felix, Jessie, Blue, & Irene!

Magic is….

Finding Mickey in the pepper garden that some little Mouskateer left behind after watering.

It’s being silly dressing up like two of your favorite characters!! Meet Sulley-Hulk!! Squirt loves dress up!

If you look Magic is everywhere, you just have to take a second to enjoy the pixies hidden through out your day!

Hope you have a magical week!

See ya real soon!

Dining at Disneyland in Anaheim

When you come to Disneyland there are so many options to pick from ranging from the turkey leg to fried chicken, but like most amusement parks the prices tend to be pretty high. Here are a few tips to enjoy dining at Disneyland and get more “Bang for a buck”! These are my family’s favorite locations and some Helpful Tips!


1.       Try to dine with a pass holder. pass holders get a good discount on dining while at the park and can save you a lot of cash. Premium pass holders get 15% off the total bill so that will save you and everyone in your party a lot of money.

2.       Make reservations if at all possible! Disney in Anaheim now takes reservations online. This will be a HUGE time saver instead of waiting in the standby lines for hours. Below you will find the direct links on the Disney website where you can make the online reservations and a map of the location in Disneyland.

·         Thunder Ranch BBQ

Image– This is an all you can eat type place and offers all kinds of mouthwatering food from smoked sausage, corn on the cob, homemade cornbread, baked beans and more!

Pass holders can use their food discount here. You can make the reservations at . CLICK HERE to see the menu.

·         Blue Bayou Restaurant

Image– This is a cozy Cajun themed location with some awesome down south type cooking. This is also a fantastic place to have a romantic meal after a fun filled day at the park. Pass holders can use their food discount here. You can make the reservations at HERE to view the menu.

·         Plaza Inn

Image – Victorian type location with buffet style dining. Also if the buffet style isn’t for you the fried chicken, pot roast and Penne Pasta with Chicken, Pesto in Alfredo sauce is to die for! In the mornings you can have the “Character Breakfast” and dine with Mickey and friends. It’s a GREAT way to start your day at the park! You can make the reservations at HERE to view the menu.


Hope you enjoyed my first Disneyland post!


Started with a Mouse’s Christmas Shopping Guide

Hey SWAM fans!

So I  was thinking with Christmas just around the corner it might be nice to have a shopping guide!

I LOVE to shop small, so here is a list of some small businesses for you to shop from this Christmas!

1. Beyond Cute Boutique 

Adorable ornaments!

Adorable ornaments!

Anna makes necklaces, key chains, and ornaments that you can have personalized! I love her stuff! Amazing quality and she is a bit of a perfectionist 😉 So you know the attention to detail will be there!

Adorable Disney Frozen necklaces!

Adorable Disney Frozen necklaces!

You can check out more of Anna’s amazing creations here:

2. Discovering the Magic Kingdom: An Unofficial Disneyland Vacation Guide

Look at that cover!

Look at that cover!

Josh is a hilarious &  knowledgeable guy! He is full of all kinds of Disney fun facts!

His book is as much a fun facts books as it is a guide book, and best of all he live close to Disneyland so he can give you up to date information on all things Disneyland!

Book Description:

Never before has there been such a complete DISNEYLAND guide book for kids (and parents) of all ages. Whether it’s your first time or your family’s annual trip, this vacation guide has it all!

With over a thousand exciting “fun facts” in this one-of-a-kind Discovering the Magic Kingdom: An Unofficial Disneyland Vacation Guide , the learning never stops. Packed with over 100 photos, trivia, a scavenger hunt, ways to help cut park expenses and so much more, you’ll never leave for Disneyland without it.

About the Author: (From Author’s site):

First time published author, Joshua Shaffer, has spent his adult life frequenting Disneyland.

One year while on a Disney vacation, it struck him that he should write an all inclusive book compiling every bit of information into one vacation guide that cannot be found anywhere else. It started with that simple notion and has evolved into this final work.

As a hobby he spends much of his spare time researching and investigating to find out the facts not just the rumors on a variety of topics. Joshua has been a cartoonist and artist since the age of ten.

You can find the book here:

3. SimplyMade Greetings

Do you still need Christmas cards?

Are you looking for wall art?

Then Miriah is your gal!

She makes the most adorable cards, wall art, invitations, and custom cover photos for your facebook!

All her pieces have that adorable homemade touch!

Pre-made card

Pre-made card

Love the Christmas card about with Mickey,Minnie and Donald!

Sweet Card

Sweet Card

Miriah is a single mom with a full time job who still manages to put a whole lot of love into every card she makes! When you shop in her store you are helping her provide a better life for her little girl!

Check her other amazing products here:

4. Bebelambs

Lynn over at Bebelambs makes the cutest boutique clothes for your little lambs!

Lynn is a Mom of 7 little lambs and a busy one at that! She has a heart of gold and makes the most adorable kids clothing!

My little Belle in her Bebelambs dress!

My little Belle in her Bebelambs dress!

Above is my girl Belle in her Bebelambs dress! She loves it!

1006074_603597496357303_1867751576_n1240110_596942683689451_166190560_nMore of Lynn’s lovely creations!

You can find all of Lynn’s beauties here:

5. BeadforLife

The only non- Disney shop on the list…

I like to include at least one company that gives back in my list of amazing companies to support!

Bead for Life is AMAZING!!


Decription of BeadforLife (from the fb page)

BeadforLife is a nonprofit organization that helps Ugandan women turn recycled paper into beautiful beaded jewelry. We work to eradicate extreme poverty and create bridges of understanding between impoverished Africans and concerned world citizens.

Sweet Bangles!

Sweet Bangles!

Beadforlife makes the prettiest bangles,earrings, & necklaces, with grace and simplicity!

They also sell Shea products!


Above is just some of my personal collection! Each of these beauties only costs $5! They would make great stocking stuffers & it’s a gift that gives back!

You can find Beadforlife products here:

Lovely ornament from Beadforlife!

Lovely ornament from Beadforlife

Shea Butter Products

Shea Butter Products

So here it is Chelsea’s SWAM Christmas buying guide!! I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!