Friday, December 26, 2014

The Mouse Castle Lounge 12-26-2014 - A Walt's Barn Holiday With Margaret Kerry, Sam Gennawey and Bill Barbe

Walt's Barn in Griffith Park
Walt's Barn in Griffith Park.
Last month, I was at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco for A Celebration of Walt’s Trains, an exhibition containing over 200 artifacts related to Walt Disney’s passion for railroading. Today, we continue exploring that passion--and enjoy the holiday season--by visiting Walt’s Barn in Griffith Park. The barn is the very same building that once stood on Walt Disney’s estate on Carolwood Avenue in nearby Holmby Hills. It was on the sprawling backyard of the estate where, in the 1950s, Walt operated his beloved Carolwood Pacific Railroad, a 1/8 scale model train. The barn was his workshop, itself a replica of the barn his father built on the family farm in Marceline, Missouri in the early 1900s.

When the Disney family sold the Carolwood Estate in the 1990s, the barn was dismantled and eventually rebuilt on land adjacent to the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum. Today, the Carolwood Foundation operates Walt’s Barn in cooperation with the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society and the Walt Disney Family Foundation. Walt’s Barn is open to the public on the third Sunday of each month from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Inside the barn, you’ll find plenty of train memorabilia, not to mention some personal items that belonged to Walt Disney. There are tables built by Walt himself as well as an original gondola car from the Carolwood Pacific Railroad. There are also a number of train-related items that belonged to Disney animators—and fellow train enthusiasts—Ward Kimball and Ollie Johnston.

Carolwood Foundation president Bill Barbe
Carolwood Foundation president Bill Barbe
aboard the restored Disneyland combine car.
Besides maintaining the barn, the Carolwood Foundation is also involved in the restoration of some of the original miniature 1956 structures from the Storybook Land Canal Boats at Disneyland. These buildings have long since been replaced by sturdier duplicates in Fantasyland. Only a few of the originals survive and one of them is currently on display at Walt's Barn. To find out more about the Storybook Land project, visit

The Carolwood Foundation has also restored one of the original cars from the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad. The combine, so named because it doubled as a passenger car and a baggage car, once regularly circled Disneyland, but over time it was replaced by passenger cars that gave guests a more clear, unobstructed view of the park. It was my pleasure to climb aboard the combine and speak with Bill Barbe, president of the Carolwood Foundation and my first guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge. Also joining me is author Sam Gennawey and Margaret Kerry, the live-action model for Tinker Bell in Disney's Peter Pan.

Happy Holidays!


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