29 Fascinating Facts And Tidbits About Walt Disney's Former Home
BuzzFeed got a rare tour inside Walt's Los Feliz home in celebration of the upcoming release of the Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition blu-ray. This is what we learned.
1. Located in the hills of Los Feliz, Walt Disney built this fairy tale-looking home in 1932 to start a family with his then-pregnant wife, Lillian (unfortunately, Lillian miscarried the expected child before they were able to move in).
2. 1932 was also the year Walt won his first Academy Award for the animated short Flowers And Trees.
3. The Disneys gave birth to their first child, Diane Disney, in December 1933 followed by the adoption of Sharon Disney in December 1936 — both of who called the Los Feliz house their home into their teenage years.
4. The home was built only four years after the creation of Mickey Mouse, and would house Walt during some of his biggest professional achievements, including the release of his first animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937).
5. The home is a combination of French Normandy and Tudor styles.
6. Walt designed the entire house with the help of architect Frank Crowhurst.
7. The French style of the house might have also been a nod to Walt's own French roots.
8. The home was constructed by a crew of laborers who had been previously out-of-work due to the Great Depression. During the construction, men would line up outside the homesite in an attempt to get work.
9. The house cost Walt around $50,000 to build — roughly $868,000 today with inflation.
10. A graduate of the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts painted the ceilings of both the entry way rotunda and the dining room.
11. Walt never decorated his home with Disney paraphernalia since he was surrounded by it all day at the studio.
12. Because Walt was a man of simple tastes (due to his Midwest upbringing), the house was modest compared to the homes of other studio moguls at the time.
13. The grand room was intentionally built with tall ceilings to accommodate the family's large Christmas tree every year.
14. Diane Disney would giggle to herself in her room while reading The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Mary Poppins. Her enjoyment of the books inspired Walt to acquire both properties and turn them into films.
15. There is a hidden screening room built into Walt's library.
16. Walt and his family used the screening room to watch dailies from the studio, as well as then-current day films like Gone With the Wind.
17. Over the course of the time the Disneys lived in the house, the family owned several pets, including a chow name Sunnee, a cat named Manxie, and a poodle named Duchess.
18. Walt presented his wife Lily with their dog Sunnee by wrapping the chow in a hat box. This move was later immortalized in Lady and the Tramp when Jim Dear presents Darling with her new puppy, Lady.
19. Walt bought 5 acres of land for the home because he was a big nature lover.
20. This large amount of land allowed him to build trails around the property — which he built by hand. The trails he built still exist today.
21. The backyard included what was called "The Snow White Playhouse," which was a Christmas gift for Walt's two daughters.
22. The playhouse was built overnight after the girls went to sleep on Christmas Eve.
23. The playhouse included running water and a working telephone. On Christmas morning the girls entered the playhouse and received a call from Walt, aka "Santa."
24. Walt would come home and read to his daughters in their rooms almost every night.
25. Walt also enjoyed chasing the girls around the house while cackling like the evil witch from Snow White.
26. While Walt would socialize with the Hollywood crowd for work, he largely avoided it in his private life and preferred to stay at home. He did have one Hollywood friend, however: Spencer Tracy, whose family he entertained at the house in the 1930s.
27. The last film Walt worked on while living at the house was Sleeping Beauty, which he began work on in 1950.
28. One of the reasons Walt decided to move away from this home was the desire to have a rideable backyard railroad.
29. Eventually, Walt did build his train, The Carolwood Pacific Railroad, at his new property in Holmby Hills. However, his attention on The Carolwood was short-lived, as he decided to focus on a bigger project, Disneyland.