A Visit to Walt’s Barn

Written by George Taylor. Posted in Adventures By Disney, Disney, Disney History, Features, Imaginerding, Other Destinations

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Published on July 21, 2014 at 2:00 am with 11 Comments

During the CommuniTOUR, we had the opportunity to visit some fantastic and historical locations related to Walt Disney and the Disney Company. We did a drive-by (of sorts) of Uncle Robert’s house and the Kingswell Studio and we ate a wonderful lunch at the Tam O’ Shanter. One of the most spectacular parts of the tour was the visit to Walt’s Barn at the Los Angeles Live Steamers Museum at Griffith Park.

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The Carolwood Foundation opens Walt’s Barn every third Sunday (from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM) . The volunteers of the Carolwood Foundation opened up Walt’s Barn for us as part of the tour. No one on the tour had visited Walt’s Barn before and none of us were expecting it to be as amazing as it was.

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The tour guides were former Imagineers and Disneyland castmembers. It was obvious that they loved preserving and promoting Walt’s legacy and his love of trains.

The general consensus of visiting the barn was a rather hushed sense of awe. The centerpiece is the C.K. Holliday Live Steam Engine, which is 1/8th scale and is painted to resemble the Disneyland Engine No. 1, C.K. Holliday.

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The walls of the barn are full of ephemera and paraphernalia relating to Walt’s love of trains, Disneyland and the animators that shared Walt’s passion for live steam. A few of us questioned why many of the items were so accessible. Weren’t they worried about theft? The guides responded that most visitors to Walt’s Barn are so reverential that there was no need to keep the items behind glass..

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There really was so much to look at that even a two-hour visit isn’t enough.

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Yes, that is a Firehouse Five Plus Two helmet.

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Of course, the owner of these iconic spectacles should be quite obvious.

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This was a rather chilling moment for each person on the CommuniTOUR once they read the sign.

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This wonderful pin is available to help support the foundation. You can also purchase Michael Broggie’s incredible book, Walt Disney’s Railroad Story at Walt’s Barn.

If you ever find yourself in the Disneyland area on the third Sunday of the month, I highly recommend visiting Walt’s Barn. Honestly, it’s worth missing a day at Disneyland to experience the history of Walt’s Barn. In addition, there’s a Retlaw1 Combine Car and Ollie Johnston’s station from his Grizzly Flats Railway.

Have you ever visited Walt’s Barn at the Los Angeles Live Steamers Museum?


If you’d like to take part in your own tour of historic Disney-related sites in Hollywood and Southern California, contact Fairy Godmother Travel today! (Fairy Godmother Travel is the official travel partner of Communicore Weekly.)


ImagiNERDing is written and edited by George Taylor

About George Taylor

George has been obsessed with Disney theme parks since the first time he saw a photo of the Haunted Mansion in the early 70s. He started writing about Disney in 2007 and has amassed one of the world's largest Disney-related libraries.

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11 Comments

Comments for A Visit to Walt’s Barn are now closed.

  1. This looks like such a great side trip when heading to Disneyland in California and is definitely on my list. It sounds like it’s definitely worth the time.

    • It was a spectacular place to visit. Even just looking at everything on any of the walls could take an hour or two. The guides/volunteers were so fascinating and open, as well. I will definitely arrange my next trip so it includes a third sunday!

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. What a great article – thank you for documenting your visit. Walt’s Barn has been on my must visit list for a while but I can’t work out the timing to be there when they are open. I’ll get there eventually – and your photos make me even more motivated than I was already.

  3. Got Michael’s book, have been to the Barn several times and always find it interesting. I do hope others will get the chance to visit.

  4. Thanks for the photo tour of the barn. When people are visiting the barn, it is worth noting that the Disney Studio is adjacent to Griffith Park. You cannot tour the studio, but you can drive around it and see the animation building, the headquarters building with the Seven Dwarves holding up the building as its pillars, and a water tower with giant mouse ears on it.

    Also in Griffith Park is the Los Angeles Zoo where Disney animators (at least in the past) could sometimes be seen sketching the animals. In the children’s zoo is a cave exhibit that Walt Disney Imagineering helped design back in the 1980s.

    • To clarify, you can drive around the perimeter of the studio on the public streets that surround it.

  5. Visited this a couple of years ago but they were closed (wrong Sunday) so I could only peek through the fence. Is it really open only 4 hours per month?
    Do you know if they provide train rides here still? Is that done during the entire 4 hours or only at certain times?

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  6. Great job on the report, George. I love the sign that reads: “All of the work benches in the barn were hand-built by Walt Dinsey” – This always cracks me up. Walt must never have slept! :)

    • Visit the Walt Disney Museum in San Francisco for more proof that Walt was a workaholic.

      • It was a form of therapy for him — Walt was so wrapped up in his studio projects, he suffered from anxiety and other nervous conditions. Building models was a way for him to get his mind off things.

  7. Fantastic article I definitely want to get there one day, looks absolutely wonderful !!!