Walt Disney's Carolwood Barn
Only twice have I been tempted to use the term "hidden gem". The first time was when I visited the Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks. The second time was when my friend Jason, a Disney lover like myself, took me to Wal Disney's Carolwood Barn in Burbank.
Walt's Barn was originally built in the backyard of his Holmby Hills home on Carolwood Drive and acted as a workshop for the Carolwood Pacific Railroad (the miniature railroad also built in his backyard). When the home was sold, Walt's daughter Diane saved the barn. In 1999 Walt's Barn opened in Griffith Park along with the 1/8 scale train tracks and Walt's Carolwood Pacific. According to the Carolwood Society website, "Walt spent many hours in the Barn not only working on his trains, but thinking about new projects and ideas. One could day that this Barn is the birthplace of Imagineering."
If you didn't know where Walt's Barn was, you wouldn't know it was there which is what earns it the legitimate title of "Hidden Gem". After you park in the dirt lot at the base of a hillside you walk up a little booth with a friendly docent that gives you a sticker and accepts donations. Immediately to the left is a miniature train track of very small scale that runs through a miniature western town. In case you hadn't figured it out, Walt was enamored with all things train.
The barn itself has been placed inside a ring of train tracks, surrounded by grass and resting comfortably under shade trees. Docents wander here and there to ask questions (including the original model for Tinker Bell!) Inside the barn you find a museum with all sorts of Disney artifacts, from posters to memorabilia to Walt's desk. Right next door you can even climb inside a real life-size train car direct from Disneyland.
If you want to spend a peaceful, Disney afternoon in Griffith Park, this is the best way to do it. Pack a nice picnic, ride Walt's 1/8 scale train, and really make a day of it.
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