Disney Studios Burbank
I can’t believe it has been almost a year since my husband and I went to Los Angeles for our 10th anniversary. I shared some parts of the trip in this post about Venice Beach and Canals, and in this post about 3 sights worth seeing in LA. But those were just parts of our fabulous trip! We had a rare opportunity to have a private tour of Walt Disney’s Office | Disney Studios Burbank while we were there, and that is what I will be sharing today. And if you are a Walt Disney fan, you are in for a treat! This post is photo heavy, but I wanted to share this whole tour in one post.
These first few pictures were taken in Legends Plaza. Above is a statue of Walt with Mickey Mouse, and the plaques you see on the walls are handprints of all of the Disney Stars. And look at the Seven Dwarves holding up the building in the foreground!
The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank serves as the corporate headquarters for the Walt Disney Company media conglomerate, and is not open for public tours on a daily basis. It sits on 51 acres of land that Walt Disney purchased in 1937 with the profits from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The purpose of these studios was to make animated films. Walt was involved with every aspect of the design, and his goal was to design a state of the art production factory that provided all necessary facilities for the entire production process. Many of the buildings were linked together through an underground tunnel, so that even in bad weather, the process of making animated films was not disrupted. There are 7 different sound stages where everything from Cinderella and Bambi to the Ellen Show and Home Improvement have been filmed on these stages.
There are three ways to get a tour of the Disney Studios. One is to know an employee who invites you, which is how we got in. My husband has a friend he used to work with in the television industry who was working there and offered to take us on a tour, and I have to give him props, because he was absolutely amazing as a tour guide and he was so knowledgeable about every aspect of the Disney Studios. The second way to get a tour is as part of a 5 night Southern California tour package. Thirdly, you can join the Disney D23 Fan Club, which offers tours to members every few months.
The picture below is a statue of Walt’s brother Roy with Minnie Mouse.
Here are just a few of the hand prints we came across during our walk through Legends Plaza.
I was enthralled by these early animation drawings from Snow White. This is one of my favorite childhood fairy tales.
And these original backgrounds from Bambi were exciting to see.
What little girl doesn’t love Cinderella? It was so thrilling to see all of this original work from the archives! We could have browsed for hours! I am only showing a few of my favorites, but there was much more to see that I haven’t included here.
My husband enjoyed seeing this display from the Civil War Film.
This is a display from the Cinderella movie that was made in 2015.
Just look at the glass slipper! I wanted to try it on so bad! I wonder if it would have fit? Hmmm…
I was a huge fan of Lost, so it was fun to see this display from the show. I watched every single episode. My 17 year old son has recently binge watched it on Netflix, and he loves it too.
This is jewelry that was worn by Madonna in the film Dick Tracey in 1990. Madonna people! Wow!
This photo is of a typical animators desk set up from the time Pinnochio was in production. It showcases the custom animation desk designed for the animators by Kem Weber. Kem also designed the entire studio lot as well.
The absolute highlight of this entire tour for me was that I had the privilege of holding an Oscar that was won by the legendary Walt Disney. What a thrill it was! I once held an Emmy in my hands several years ago, but this Oscar was even more exciting! It is heavy too, just in case you are wondering. I’m getting giddy just looking at the picture. It is burned into my memory forever, I can tell you that!
This photo below was taken at the location of the main offices of the Walt Disney Archives. The Mickey portraits were done by legendary Disney imagineer John Hench. They were done for Mickey’s birthdays.
This next photo contains a smattering of things that belonged to Walt himself. A camera, a pair of reading glasses, a grease pencil he used to scrawl notes on scripts with, his passport, and his autograph.
Walt Disney’s Office Suite Tour
Here comes the truly exciting part that we were oh so privileged to experience. We were given a private tour of Walt Disney’s office suite! I have to say, this was an opportunity that I never imagined I would ever have, and the thought had never even occurred to me to even want to do it. But Oh my word, the excitement! We are forever indebted to our friend Josh for taking us.
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, the Walt Disney Archives restored Walt Disney’s original office suite back in 2015. Before you take this tour there is a fabulous video you get to watch, and it was produced by our friend Josh. We were just so proud to know him and call him friend in that moment! This office suite has been lovingly recreated and preserved, and is like stepping back to 1966. Everything is exactly as it was at the time of his death, down to every last paper on every shelf and desk.
These first three photos is the outer office where his receptionist was located. In the display cabinet are some of Disney’s many awards.
These next several photos are of Walt’s formal office, which is the first room you walk into beyond the secretary’s office. Walt used this space to entertain luminaries, dignitaries and he would sign all of his fan cards from this desk. It was more for show than function. It was also where every Friday afternoon he would have the Sherman Brothers come to the office, sit at the piano and play “feed the Birds”, while Walt would look out the window sipping on his favorite drink, a scotch mist.
I wanted to include this photo below because our friend Josh in pictured here giving us the tour. This guy is so talented, and I was so impressed by his wealth of knowledge. I have known him for years. He used to live and work here where we live, and he and my husband worked together in television. But I didn’t have a full appreciation for him in this capacity until this day. Moving to LA was a very smart move for him for sure!
The formal office features items from his miniatures collection, as well as photos of his daughters, their bronzed baby shoes and Norma Rockwell drawings of them.
Next, you enter Walt’s working office. Walt spent most of his time here. He did everything from story meetings, to designing Disneyland in this office. It has a built-in kitchen behind two electric pocket doors.
The planning of Disneyland.
GE installed this kitchen for Walt.
This last photo is the last room in Walt’s office. It is a rotating exhibit space. On our visit, it was set up to showcase designs of Kem Weber who designed the studio lot, animators desk, and all of Walt’s offices.
We are so grateful that we were able to have this experience, and thanks to Josh for offering to take us, and taking the time out of his busy day to spend with us there. It was an experience we will never forget. And we are so glad we did it when we had the chance, because Josh no longer works for Disney.
That concludes our Disney Studios experience. A big chunk of the photos I took while in LA were lost forever, and I am so thankful that I didn’t lose these. I would have been devastated! I hope you enjoyed this peek into Walt Disney’s world today!
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