During my world wind Disney Press Trip last week we got to experience something few ever have. We got a grand tour of Walt Disney’s home on Woking Way in the Los Angeles’ Los Feliz neighborhood. From the moment we walked up to this house it felt magical. I can’t explain how but it did. It almost felt like stepping back in time. And now I get to share some of it with you.
Walt Disney’s Home
One of the first things I noticed about the house was the small rustic front door. Instantly I thought of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs cabin. Throughout the house you will see architectural elements from Medieval France, the Mediterranean and Tudor England re-imagined by Walt with a hint of delightful fairytale elements. The home, built by Walt Disney, was what he dreamed of to raise his family.
When you first step into the home you are greeted with the most breath taking foyer I have ever seen. Instantly I was drawn to the decorative circles in the wrought iron banister. They reminded me of the mirror in Sleeping Beauty. This oval shape has become an iconic shape for mirrors and windows throughout Disney movies and theme parks. To think that this shape was created in the 1932 when the house was built just goes to show how much life imitated art with Walt.
During the Depression many people would line up in the driveway of this home to work. He hired many people through out the building of the house including a graduate of the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts to paint the GORGEOUS ceiling in the foyer. The picture above really does not do it justice. It will have you in awe the minute you see it.
Another whimsical feature you will see through out the house are the brilliant stained glass windows. They are original to the house and show fairy tale scenes that make you feel like a kid again.
In the Dining room that is right off the foyer, you again see the beautiful fairy tale, hand painted ceilings. These details honestly give me goose bumps. The paint, even though it is 82 years old, still looks so vibrant.
We next toured the 2 story living room. When you enter the room you instantly can see Walt and his family enjoying Christmas morning in this room. Every detail reminded me of Sleeping Beauty.
As we went up to the second floor of the house we were greeted by one of my favorite spots in the house. At the top of the stairs on the right is what Walt called the Juliet Balcony. It overlooks the living room. Diane Disney called it “Christmas Tree Point” because it was where her and her sister Sharon would first get a glimpse of the Christmas Tree and presents on Christmas morning.
We next headed to where some of the most cherished moments happened in the house. It is in these rooms, the girls’ rooms, that Walt spent many nights ready books to his girls. It was also in these rooms that the girls love of reading Mary Poppins and Winnie the Pooh spurred Walt Disney to pursue the rights to make them into the now iconic movies. It almost brought tears to my eyes to think of how much he loved his girls.
The last room we got to see upstairs was Walt’s exercise room. It was later turned into the girls play room. It had gorgeous wood floors and a screened in porch off to the right. Once we entered the room we were in for an amazing treat.
These are the EXACT costumes from Maleficent that Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning wore. They are spectacular. All I could do is stare in awe. The detail and design of these costumes is so exquisite! The fan girl in me wanted so badly to try on the Maleficent costume but of course that wasn’t to be. It was however, very fitting that they were here because of the connection between Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent. Even though the Disney family moved out in 1950 both of these movies have roots in this house. Sleeping Beauty made it to the big screen in 1959 but yet you can see many of the elements from the film around every corner in this home.
To finish out this amazing tour we went out back for a cocktail reception. The first thing that jumps out at you when you step onto the back lawn is the beautiful playhouse. This playhouse was built by Walt for his girls for Christmas. It was a very special playhouse because it had electricity, plumbing, and a phone. The story goes that on Christmas morning Santa himself called the girls as they were playing and asked how they liked their Christmas present. I think it is safe to say that they LOVED it.
I have to say a very special Thank you not only to the family that opened this historic home to us but to Disney for setting this event up and to Paula Sigman Lowery (Pictured above) for giving the most amazing tour. Her genuine love of the Walt Disney family and continuing to share his legacy made the entire experience magical.
Stay tuned as I share more from my #VeryBadDayEvent & #DisneyInHomeEvent Press Trip.
Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition is out on Blu-ray and Digital HD on October 7th
Maleficent on Blu-ray and Digital HD November 4th!
Extra House Info: The 12 room house was built for $50,000. It is now owned by Russian filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov. Although it does not contain the original furnishings of Walt Disney the current owners have furnished it with period pieces. They have also limited remodeling work and filled it with assorted memorabilia celebrating Disney’s life and work. This was the first time since Walt Disney moved out that the house has been shown to the public.