The Merry-Go-Round that Inspired Disneyland

Over the weekend Patrick and I went to the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round. Now, normally I’m not one to go to a place just to ride a carousel, but the particular one has a very special meaning. Built in 1926, the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round is often described as the place where Walt Disney first thought up the idea for Disneyland.

In an interview (later shown as part of Disneyland’s Steve Martin hosed special, The First Fifty Magical Years, viewable here), Walt described spending Saturdays with his two daughters where he would “sit on a bench, you know, eating peanuts” watching his two girls ride the merry-go-round and it is here that Walt thought to himself “there should be something built, some kind of amusement enterprise where the parents and the children could have fun together.” So, in a way, our visit was a pilgrimage of sorts to the place where Walt first dreamed up Disneyland.

The merry-go-round also houses one of the original benches that was at the merry-go-round during the time period Walt took his daughters. Although only visible when riding the carousel. Two other benches are on display, one at Disneyland, just inside the Opera House, and another at the Walt Disney Family Museum, which you can sit on.

When we arrived, I was personally shocked at the state of the carousel. Horses were lacking in color, and worn from the years, and even a portion of the carousel’s ceiling was missing. However the the carousel appears to be in mid-restoration, with some of the scenes around the top looking freshly painted, while others have completely faded, although I can find no articles mentioning restoration. There was one sled that had been fully restored, although with funds from the Walt Disney Family Foundation.

Take a spin on the merry-go-round that inspired Disneyland at 4730 Crystal Springs Drive. At the time of our visit, the carousel is only open weekends.

What’s Near By?

Other Griffith Park Attractions

Hollywood Boulevard Attractions

Blouse: Jet Rag, Los Angeles, California
Pink Jeans: Old Glory Antique Mall, Vancouver, Washington
Mocassins: Minnetonka
Purse: Found by my dad
Scarf: ???
Bangles: Here and there
Robin Hood Pin: Disneyland

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