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Posted by on Sep 5, 2012

The Disney Barn at Griffith Park, California

By D’land Diva

By now, you may have figured out that I am a bit of a Disney buff. I love Disneyland and Walt Disney World, but I also love Disney movies and history.

This is why I was so excited when I had the opportunity to visit the Disney Barn in Griffith Park (Los Angeles) California a few months ago. The Disney Barn is just what it sounds like, a barn that used to belong to Walt Disney. It may look like just a barn from the outside, but it is in this place that Walt Disney dreamed of Disneyland. It is the birthplace of Imagineering. 

Let’s step back into history for a moment. After moving to California, Walt Disney finally settled in a home in the hills of Los Angeles. An avid train buff, he had a 1/8 scale railroad train in his backyard. This is a miniature steam train. He loved to share his train with his friends and family, but needed a more controlled environment for it, so he built a barn and workshop where he could monitor and control his railroad. Walt called his railroad the Carolwood Pacific Railroad, named after the street in which he lived (Carolwood Drive). He viewed this barn as a place to relax and think.

It was this place, this miniature railroad, that inspired Walt’s vision of a family themed amusement park. He envisioned a park surrounded by train. This was around the year 1950. It would be six years later that Disneyland opened.

After Walt’s passing, his house was sold and the barn was scheduled to be torn down. His daughter Diane saved the barn. It was taken to Griffith Park in Los Angeles and is housed in the Los Angeles Live Steamers.  This is a group of train enthusiasts who are dedicated to preserving railroad history and educating the public about trains and railroads.

Inside the barn is Walt’s Carolwood Pacific Railroad and so much more. You will find pictures, newspaper articles, and various artifacts concerning Walt and the Disneyland Railroad. There is also some Disneyland history in there! The Walt Disney Family Foundations owns the barn, but it is run by the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society and Carolwood Foundation. This group has also dedicated itself to preserving Disneyland History in the way of restoring some of the first trains that were run at Disneyland, and has even began to preserve some other ride cars from Disneyland. It will be exciting to see what things this group will have on display in the coming years!

The Disney Barn is located near picnic areas, and is full of fun Disney facts. It is open the third Sunday of each month from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Parking and admission are free, but donations to the Los Angeles Live Steamers are greatly appreciated. Griffith Park is roughly an hour away from Disneyland, and also has horseback riding, golf, hiking, and train rides to experience. It is also extremely close to the Griffith Observatory, which is a free museum that kids of all ages can enjoy! For more information on the Disney Barn, you can check out this website.

As a Disneyland Annual Passholder for over fifteen years, it is clear that I love to be in the parks! I am a huge fan of all things Disney, but mostly the Muppets and Flynn Rider. On many weekends you can find me sipping a Mint Julep in New Orleans Square at Disneyland with my Disney loving husband and my two Disney loving children plotting which ride to go on next. I am Editor and Co-Director of the Tips from the Disney Diva site.

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