Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Trip Report Tuesday: California Day 9 // A Day of Disney History in Los Angeles

Happy Trip Report Tuesday, friends!  Who's ready to move into the all the Disney goodness of this vacation?!  Alright then, let's do this! ...

Disneyland's longest park passes are 5 days, making this our "free day" in the L.A. area.  We did however spend it in a very Disney way!  I'm excited to be sharing those details with you all today!

Day 9 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

This was a long awaited, greatly anticipated day!  After nearly three years of getting to know my best blogging friend, Chrissy of Adventures in DIY, this was the day we'd meet in person!  Not only had we gotten to know each other, Jason and the girls felt they knew her as well through years of communication, snail mail gift exchanges, etc..  I was giddy with excitement and if I'm totally honest, dealing with some butterflies in my tummy that morning too!  As I got ready for the day Jason popped downstairs to the Grand Californian's quick service restaurant, White Water Snacks, and got us a super tasty breakfast of bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits and fruit.  

Chrissy pulled up to our hotel to pick us up and I instantly couldn't get over how sweet she truly is!  She jumped out of her vehicle and came around to greet each of us with a hug.  As soon as we all got situated in the car she passed out incredibly thoughtful gift bags she'd put together for all of us, each one personalized to our interests and favorite things.  (One of my biggest regrets of this trip was not getting pictures of these gift bags and their sweet contents before using them!  I guess I was in "vacation mode" and not thinking about the fact that I'd want to share all of that with you guys here on the blog!)  Our gifts included things like Parkbound Buttons featuring our favorite movies, Disney toys, Princess hand sanitizer, and some sweet homemade treats, which you'll see later in this post. ;)  Chrissy also makes the cutest mouse ear headbands (check out her etsy shop, AdventuresInDIYShop, here) and had handmade the perfect pair of ears for each of us girls!  You'll see those worn and enjoyed throughout the trip reports to come!  The gifts she'd prepared for all of us couldn't have been more thoughtful and we were so very grateful for her care in putting together every last welcoming Disney detail!

Walt's Barn is open to the public, free of admission, on the third Sunday of the month.  The third Sunday of the month of September just happened to be our one free day in L.A.!  We were ecstatic about how that worked out!  Nearly a year prior to our trip Chrissy mentioned this as a possible place to visit when we came out to California.  She'd never been there either and it ended up working out perfectly for us to enjoy that Disney first together!

Walt Disney built a 1/8 scale live-steam railroad and operated it at his residence of Holmby Hills, California for friends and family from 1950 -1953.  The barn Walt built served as a workshop where he worked on building miniatures (see more about his love of miniatures in my Walt Disney Family Museum post here) and model trains.  It was a replica of the Disney family barn in Marceline, MO.  We had the great pleasure of visiting Walt's hometown and a reconstruction of the Disney Family Barn in Marceline last summer.  Getting to see the barn Walt built in its likeness in the same year here in California was a dream come true!

Little One was already sporting her super cute Adventures In DIY Shop Minnie ears!

The card on top of this bench read:

This workbench, like all the others in this barn, was hand-built by Walt Disney.  Laid out on display here are machined parts for Walt's Lilly Belle and the other rolling stock of the Carolwood Pacific, as well as Walt's tools and machining manuals.  Walt borrowed several of these manuals from Roger Broggie when he learned the craft.

The sign atop the shelf read:

Hanger and Overalls

Walt always wore protective gear when he worked on his machining equipment in the barn, and he would hang his overalls on this rack.

Walt actually made the rack himself.  He cut an orange broomstick and placed it underneath this shelf.  One can still see where the broomstick was cut.

O-Scale Train Layout:  This train layout was donated to Walt Disney's Carolwood Barn by Disney Legend Irving Ludwig.



An early photo of the Marceline Barn

Ollie Johnston's Station.  The Carolwood Foundation got Ollie's Station from the Johnston property, restored it, and have displayed it next to Walt's Barn.

More on the history of Retlaw 1 Combine can be found here.

Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round

We had talked about wanting to see this spot, but honestly didn't even know it was still running!  In my opinion, this may be the most underrated and largely unknown Disney historical site in the country!  What you see here, friends, is the very spot where Walt Disney dreamt up Disneyland!

In an interview with The Huffington Post in 2012 Diane Disney Miller was asked, "What is the one thing about him (her dad) that you think people should know?"  She answered,"No one understands that he was really a dad.  He drove my sister and me to school every morning.  Every weekend, either Saturday or Sunday, he'd say it was Daddy's day, where he'd take us all day to the local park where they had a beautiful carousel or take us to the studio..."  This is that beautiful carousel in their local park!

“It (the idea for Disneyland) came about when my daughters were very young and Saturday was always daddy’s day with the two daughters,” Walt said. “I’d take them to the merry-go-round and I took them different places and as I’d sit while they rode the merry-go-round and did all these things—sit on a bench, you know, eating peanuts—I felt that there should be something built where the parents and the children could have fun together. So that’s how Disneyland started.” 

- Walt Disney

This gorgeous carousel was built in 1926.  It was incredible to enjoy this ride 90 years later!

Being a sentimental lover of Disney history, this was one of the highlights of our entire California trip for me.  I was overwhelmed by just how much I loved being there, taking in the beauty of this nearly one hundred year old carousel, and thinking about its history, was incredible!  

If you love Disney history and are planning a trip to the L.A. area, I highly recommend including this on your itinerary!  They are currently open Saturday and Sunday 11am-5pm.  The ride length is generous and only $2/ride!  You'll find the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round at 4730 Crystal Springs Dr, L.A..

Disney Animation Studios

While they don't offer tours to the general public, Chrissy knew this was a spot we'd love to see!  Being the sweetest tour guide ever, she said she'd circle the studio as many times as we'd like allowing us to get pictures.

Griffith Observatory

We'd planned to visit the Griffith Observatory as it was free of charge and offers a lookout of Hollywood.  However, when we arrived cars were parked as far as eye could see with people walking up a hill toward the observatory.  The heavy crowd swayed our plans and we decided to pass on this stop.  Here are a few shots Jason snapped of the observatory itself from down the road.


We aren't hugely into celebrities so we opted for a drive through tour of Hollywood, and although we could see those famed stars and handprints along the sidewalk, we didn't capture any in pics.  Here are a few snapshots we took along the way.

It was nice to see the actual Grauman's Chinese Theatre after countless trips inside its likeness when riding WDW Hollywood Studios' The Great Movie Ride. ;)

After driving through Hollywood we decided to get some Thai takeout to bring back to our hotel.  Sadly, I was enjoying Chrissy's company, our delicious food, and nice conversation around that big table in our Villa too much to think of taking any pics though!

Downtown Disney

Staying at Disney's Grand Californian Downtown Disney is literally right outside the hotel's door!  So, how could we resist our first bit of Disney shopping this trip?  The evening found us "ooo"ing and "ahh"ing over Disney finds and anticipating all the fun that'd begin in the Parks the next day!

After parting ways with Chrissy we headed back to the hotel, got into cozy pjs, and dug into those gift bags she'd prepared for us.  Check out how cute the homemade Mickey Rice Krispy treats she made us were!  

They were as delicious as they were adorable!  Thanks again, Chrissy!!

In next week's trip report we'll be hitting the Parks!  Hope you'll return for a peek at our fun at both Disney's California Adventure and Disneyland!  I am so looking forward to sharing with you!

Sometimes snapshots just don't do things justice!  Be sure to check out the video footage from this day and more on my family's YouTube channel, 
Eat, Sleep, Dis, Repeat!

In case you missed the earlier California trip reports and you're interested, here are some direct links for ya!:

Join me in the adventures to come!
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  1. As a total history nerd parts of this post were so fascinating to me. I think it is the home school mom inside me that loves to geek out sometimes, lol. Seeing all that Minnies stuff in the store I couldn't help but think of my Emily. That girl has a love for Minnie that would make Walt himself proud. I hope you have a great Tuesday friend!

  2. This whole post makes me SOOO happy!!!! I'm so glad you were finally able to meet your BBF! Not only that, you were able to immerse yourself in Disney history! What a spectacularly magical day! Thank you for sharing glimpses of the fun!

  3. I love to see all the pictures, you guys have so much fun!

  4. I've visited the merry go round several times via blogs =) I feel like I've been there myself. Such a cool little piece of history. I started reading your post but couldn't finish so it was open on my computer. Aria came over and was asking what the pictures were and I told her a little bit about Walt, the man that dreamed up her favorite Magic Kingdom. Not sure she was impressed though ha. Maybe in a few years.

  5. Awwwwww - this was such a great day and it's so great to re-live it through this post!! It was so fun and I loved that we were able to experience some Disney firsts together! We'll have to try the Griffith Observatory next time you come back! (I can't believe how crazy busy they were). I miss you guys!!

  6. How fun to meet a blogging friend in person. And how sweet is she! With the gift bags and driving you around! It's awesome that it worked out that you were at Walt's Barn on free admission day! It looks like a great time!


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