November 19, 2018

A Trip Down Memory Lane with Walt Disney

“A Step in Time with Walt Disney” or what does a mouse, a table, a barn and a tree have in common? They are all part of Retirement Practice #62 with DayTripper Tours Tour Manager Keri and driver David. With a full bus and some Mickey Mouse ears we headed north for what was to become an awesome look into the iconic Walt Disney, the early years.

First stop was the Stanley Ranch Museum & Historical Village in Garden Grove, home of Walt Disney’s Garage Studio. Here we all gathered in a one room schoolhouse to learn about how they acquired the small 1923 structure. Inside the garage was a silent film camera, and glass displays of memorabilia. This tiny building is where Walt started his animation and film industry. It was fun to check out all the pictures and stuff. It brought back memories of cartoons I watched as a kid and my trips to Disneyland. We also had time to walk around the old, some back to the 19th century, buildings on the property.

Next stop was lunch at Tam O’Shanter established in 1922. They even have a plaque on a non-descript table off in a corner that says, “This was a favorite spot of Walt Disney and his imagineers”. Of course I just had to sit there. Can you imagine what they all talked about? I wonder how many napkins they doodled on? While I was waiting for my meal to arrive I walked around the checked out all the pictures. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall back then. Well, not exactly a fly, it is a restaurant after all, but you get the idea.

After a yummy meal it was off to Walt’s Carolwood Barn in Griffith Park. Walt enjoyed his miniature 2,615 feet railroad and used the barn to monitor and remotely control the switches on the track, a workshop and a place to hang out with friends. The barn was saved and moved to where it is now. Inside we saw trains of all scales. Walking the grounds I saw one of the 1992 coaches from the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad. I also saw a large elevated train track. I was mesmerized watching it come towards me, the steam rising from the engine.

Just a short walk down the street is the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum. It didn’t have anything to do with Disney, but it was a train and Walt loved trains and therefore I deduced that I had to check it out. It was a tiny 7 ½” gauge model train that went all around the Carolwood Barn property. It went fast and was so much fun!

Next we were off to Founders Park in Anaheim. There near the beautiful Woelke-Stoffel house built in 1894 was a very big tree. And not just any ol’ tree. This one has a Disney connection. The Moreton Bay Fig tree was imported from Australia and planted prior to 1876. Legend has it that someone from the Disney organization visited the huge tree. The tree had recently been trimmed and he was able to take some of the large branches making molds of the knots to use on the now almost finished Swiss Family Robinson tree in Disneyland. How cool is that?

I had no idea how this day was going to play out but anything to do with Disney had to be awesome and it all was. It was fun taking a step back in time to when a young Walt was just starting his career. The only way this day could have been better is if we had actually gone to Disneyland. Alas, the closest we got was passing the exit on the freeway and if you looked really quick, you could see the Matterhorn. I know this trip had a wait list, but they are going again next June. Do yourself a favor and sign up now before that one sells out.

Thanks DayTripper Tours for another awesome Retirement Practice. Till next time…

~ DayTripper Traveler Donna Grover
Tour: A Step In Time with Walt Disney
Date: November 18, 2018


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