Fans of Walt Disney may know that Walt adored trains. So much so that in 1950 he built a 1/8th scale steam train railroad, which he and his guests were able to ride, at his home in Holmby Hills. Today portions of that train and the barn he built as a workshop live on at the Carolwood Foundation, a portion of the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad in LA’s glorious Griffith Park.
Walt’s miniature railroad was called the Carolwood Pacific Railroad after the street his home was on. The barn he built to serve as his workshop was a replica of the one on his family’s farm during his childhood in Marceline, Missouri. The railroad was Walt’s hobby, a way for him to relax after days at the Studio, and a way of entertaining guests. Walt ceased operating the Carolwood in 1953 when his focus shifted to working on Disneyland. In 1965, Walt donated 1,500 feet of his track and the trestle to the Los Angeles Live Steamers, which Walt helped found. The route using that track became known as the Disney Loop. After Walt’s death, his wife, Lillian, donated the remaining amount of track to the LA Live Steamers, however since then the track has been replaced. In 1999 the Disney family moved the barn to the LA Live Steamers, and it now serves as a museum, showcasing Walt’s passion for trains, including how trains were a large part of Disneyland. There are various artifacts and displays, including a miniature of the Mine Train Thru Nature’s Wonderland attraction (today the same area, and elements of it make up Big Thunder Mountain Railroad).
The area is also home to to the Retlaw 1 Combine, one of the opening day cars from the Disneyland Railroad. Also on display is Olli Johnston’s station from his personal miniature railroad. Johnston was a Disney animator, working on such classics as Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp, and Alice in Wonderland, along with shorts, including one of my favorites, Susie the Little Blue Coupe, and many more.
While Walt’s Barn is part of the LA Live Steamers, it has some slightly different hours and separate entrances. Take a peek at this map for a better understanding. At the time of our visit, the LA Live Steamers operate every Sunday, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, (weather permitting, and with the exception of the Sunday before Memorial Day and the first Sunday in October), Walt’s Barn is only open every third Sunday each month. Walt’s Barn is technically free to enter, but a $5.00 donation is suggested. They also offer darling pins and postcards for purchase. The train rides at the LA Live Steamers, which I highly suggest taking a spin on, are also technically free, but with a $3.00 suggested donation. For up-to-date information, please visit the websites for both Walt’s Barn and LA Live Steamers.
Enjoy Walt’s love of trains at Walt’s Barn at 5202 Zoo Drive within Griffith Park in Los Angeles.
Sweater: Ozzie Dots, Los Angeles, California
Disneyland Main Street Station Pin: Company D
Train Border Print Skirt (I actually own two of these now!): Sun Moon Wolf Vintage
Penny Loafers: Thrifted
Tooled Leather Purse: ???