My travel and accommodations were provided for this trip but all opinions are my own and I will proudly shout them from the rooftops! #DisneyInHomeEvent #SleepingBeauty #Maleficent
Being from Alabama, born and raised, I never expected to be able to go to the West Coast. Until this past weekend I had never seen the Pacific Ocean and the farthest west I have ever went is to Austin, TX on an epic road trip. I especially never expected to go where few have ever gone. By that I mean that I was able to get a private tour of Walt Disney’s Los Feliz Estate. It was just recently opened back up after many years of being a private residence. So we were some of the first people to see it in a very long time. It was amazing but that does not do it justice. I will let the pictures do the talking. This is the skyline outside of Walt Disney’s estate. Can you imagine waking up everyday to see that?
I lied about letting the pictures do the talking. I have always loved Disney. You would be hard pressed to find a kid who didn’t love Disney growing up because Disney is where the magic happens. I can probably tie Disney movies into almost every great memory I have of family time when I was a kid. So I was super honored to be a part of the tour to see where Walt Disney raised his own children. Where he lived and ate and worked. I have stood in the shoes of greatness and I was humbled by it. Walt Disney built the house for $50,000. We were told by the historian that some critics complained that he was spending a ton of money when so many had nothing. He actually put a lot of people to work during a bad time in history. There would be people standing around the block hoping to be chosen that day to work. I did not see opulence in his house. I saw a family home.
Isn’t the house amazing? After we walked up the steep hill and admired the view for awhile, I just stood and looked at the exterior of his house. You can almost imagine Walt Disney himself standing there. One of the statues he had outside was creepy but awesome. I posted on Instagram that I needed some of these.
I have stood on the same stairwell that Walt Disney has. I have stood in the same place that his children stood and and peered over to see their Christmas tree and decorations.
“Diane Disney named the Juliet balcony “Christmas Tree Point.” On Christmas morning, she and sister Sharon would peer out from here to get their first glimpse of the decorated tree and presents below.”
It seems to me that Walt Disney loved his family dearly and he did not want them in the limelight. There are few photos of them because of that. Standing in his house I can tell he was the type of father to design everything around his family. He made a comfortable, lovely, well lived in home for them. I was able to go to the bedrooms of his girls and while they were not decorated the same as when they lived there, they did have many photos of Walt Disney and his family.
Sometimes it is hard to believe that Walt Disney was a real man. Not only that but he was a father and husband. He has done the go-all-out Christmas thing we all have done for our children. He even built his girls a Snow White playhouse. I learned on my tour that it even had a phone and it was plumbed. He used the phone to call them as ‘Santa’ and ask how they loved their present.
“Still intact, the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs-style playhouse was a Christmas gift from “Santa” to Diane and Sharon and was designed to match the house. It originally included a sink, kitchen, table and chairs. The original corner shelf for play dishes still exists inside.”
Just seeing these images makes me think of how blessed I felt when I put my booties on and walked through the door the first time. We had an amazing tour guide telling us all about Walt Disney and his family. She sounded like he could have been right there with us walking through the house. Paula Sigman Lowery, a Disney Historian, is the one that led us through the magic and she was amazing. All quoted references in this post were taken from her tour.
I was able to see his older daughter’s room. This was where both Winnie the Pooh and Mary Poppins started because she loved them. I always knew about Mary Poppins but I had no idea about Winnie the Pooh until my tour.
“And he said, these stuffed Mickeys are popular all around the country, but in my house, Diane goes to bed with a Winnie the Pooh. So, actually, his interest in obtaining the rights to both Mary Poppins and Winnie the Pooh began in this room. Isn’t that amazing?”
The screening room was probably where I caught my breathe the most though. To imagine that so many movies that I loved where watched in here by Walt Disney himself.
‘The screening room features sliding wall panels for the projectors. Here the family gathered for private screenings of the great films of the day, including Gone with the Wind, and previewed dailies of current Disney films in production, which likely included Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940), Dumbo (1941) and Bambi (1942). Note the original art on the walls, including a drawing of Maleficent!’ (taken from the Woking Way Home Tour notes)
Seeing where Walt Disney lived and worked, where so many movies were made, has been the chance of a lifetime. I don’t think anything will ever top this.
I will be writing soon about meeting Don Hahn, the Executive Producer of MALEFICENT discussing the legacy of SLEEPING BEAUTY. Be on the lookout for it and be sure to check on social media for the hashtags #DisneyInHomeEvent, #SleepingBeauty, and #Maleficent to see what the other bloggers on my trip thought.
Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition is out on Blu-ray and Digital HD on October 7th & Maleficent will be out on Blu-ray and Digital HD November 4th!