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  1. #1

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    When the Desert Was Walt Disney's Land

    Here in Palm Springs is one of the most exclusive neighborhoods you can find.

    Smoke Tree Ranch was Walt's beloved retreat and he was a very active member of this small gated community of 85 homes. Many of you already know that he had the the Ranch's brand embroidered on all his neckties and it is visible on the bronzes of Walt and Mickey located in the Hub.

    "The Disneys bought their first Palm Springs home in 1948 at Smoke Tree Ranch, which is faithful to desert authenticity with natural landscaping. Mesquite and ocotillo grow in undisturbed harmony, and small animals scurry among the rocks and cactus.""

    In 1954 he sold his first Smoke Tree Ranch home. When he began raising funds to build Disneyland, he hocked everything he had, including his house.

    The Disneys were able to purchase their second Smoke Tree Ranch home in 1957 following the phenomenal success of Disneyland .

    The following link takes you to an article on Walt's time here in Palm Springs:

    http://www.palmspringslife.com/media...Land/index.php

    The Ranch also has 37 cottages that operate as a retreat for outsiders. It is consistently listed on the top 10 exclusive resort destinations and was listed as one of The World's Top 10 Hideaways in 2004.

    It's a unique experience and price wise is on par with any 4 star resort.

    Here's a link to information on booking a vacation at The Ranch:

    http://www.smoketreeranch.com/greatescapes.pdf

  2. #2

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    Re: When the Desert Was Walt Disney's Land

    I'll have to check this out! When did walt live there?

  3. #3

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    Re: When the Desert Was Walt Disney's Land

    According to Smoke Tree Ranch records, Walt and Lillian bought the first house in '48 and hocked it in '54 to help finance the construction of Disneyland.

    The second home, purchased in '57 following the success of Disneyland and "Old Yeller," still remians in the Disney family's name.
    Last edited by desertdweller; 09-21-2006 at 09:16 AM. Reason: date change

  4. #4

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    Re: When the Desert Was Walt Disney's Land

    And they are both in Palm Springs?

  5. #5

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    Re: When the Desert Was Walt Disney's Land

    Quote Originally Posted by barfownz View Post
    (Post 2) I'll have to check this out! When did walt live there? -- (Post 4) And they are both in Palm Springs?
    I don't know whether you are making fun of my thread or have poor reading comprehension skills but I clearly stated in the OP the dates of their home ownership and that they are both in Smoke Tree Ranch IN Palm Springs.

  6. #6

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    Re: When the Desert Was Walt Disney's Land

    Makes for some very interesting, and delightful reading. I thank you.
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  7. #7

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    Re: When the Desert Was Walt Disney's Land

    Wow DesertDweller.... thats an interesting bit of history!!! I had heard that at one time Disney had considered building Disneyland in the Desert, (wouldn't WE be close now!), but I didn't realize he had real estate dealings in Palm Springs back then. Thanks for sharing these articles with us!




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  8. #8

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    Re: When the Desert Was Walt Disney's Land

    Quote Originally Posted by penguinsoda View Post
    Wow DesertDweller.... thats an interesting bit of history!!! I had heard that at one time Disney had considered building Disneyland in the Desert, (wouldn't WE be close now!), but I didn't realize he had real estate dealings in Palm Springs back then. Thanks for sharing these articles with us!
    Thanks, Penquin Soda and BarbaraAnn for the nice comments.

    I never heard about a plan to build Disneyland in the desert. Do you have a written source with that information?

    The earliest idea was to use the vacant land at the studio along the wash and next to the horse stables. I believe it ended up being too small for the dream he had and the new Animation building now sits there.

    Then the study on weather patterns and year round temperatures was done and sleepy, orange grove infested Anaheim became the target.

  9. #9

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    Re: When the Desert Was Walt Disney's Land

    Quote Originally Posted by desertdweller View Post
    I never heard about a plan to build Disneyland in the desert. Do you have a written source with that information?
    Unfortunatly no. Its just one of those many random bits of floatsam that bounces around in my brain and ever so often floats to the front and makes its presence known. Somewhere I either heard, or read that he had considered Palm Springs, then the Banning/Beaumont area then somewhere else then ended up in Anahiem. I don't know if I heard it on tv, or read it somewhere (since I read a lot of misc. random stuff, and remember reading things, but never remember where or when).




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    Quote Originally Posted by AGhostFromThePast
    all you need to know about the mommy stick is.. out of all the bad things that could happen to you... it's right between wetting yourself and death.

  10. #10

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    Re: When the Desert Was Walt Disney's Land

    Pity! It would be interesting to see the complete results of that study to see what the runner ups to Anaheim were.

    Perhaps that's where the Banning/Beaumont talk came from. That certainly would have been toastier than Anaheim.
    Last edited by desertdweller; 09-23-2006 at 07:28 PM. Reason: grammar

  11. #11

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    Re: When the Desert Was Walt Disney's Land

    I don't know much about the specifics of why Anaheim was finally chosen, but I know that on my visit to Disneyland this year, and last, the weather was absolutely wonderful.
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  12. #12

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    Re: When the Desert Was Walt Disney's Land

    Quote Originally Posted by Barbaraann View Post
    I don't know much about the specifics of why Anaheim was finally chosen, but I know that on my visit to Disneyland this year, and last, the weather was absolutely wonderful.
    Exactly! And for some reason had it ended up in the desert.... when you were there it would of been a totally different story. I believe thats one of the reasons that it was considered only in passing, because Walt knew that when school was out would be the most busy time for the park, and with temps pushing 120...... not good for business!




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    Quote Originally Posted by AGhostFromThePast
    all you need to know about the mommy stick is.. out of all the bad things that could happen to you... it's right between wetting yourself and death.

  13. #13

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    Re: When the Desert Was Walt Disney's Land

    Many Hollywood people of the time had homes out in the Desert. And oddly enough the architecture and landscaping of Tomorrowland has some similarities to many buildings and homes in the Palm Springs area. The style know as Mid-Century Modern.

  14. #14

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    Re: When the Desert Was Walt Disney's Land

    There were hundreds of celebrities and "behind the scenes people" in the entertainment business who had homes here in Palm Springs -- from modest tract style weekend getaways to estates. There's even a company that run daily "Celebrity Home Tours."

    But it is also one of the most significant cities in the country for mid-century modern architecture. Except for The Movie Colony section which was established during the '20s and '30s and hidden behind stucco walls along with large privacy hedges, many of the more recent homes are easily visible from the streets.

  15. #15

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    Re: When the Desert Was Walt Disney's Land

    Awesome article. I love that it goes into detail about what Walt was like as a boss and as a man as well.

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