clock menu more-arrow no yes

Map: The Walt Disney Guide to Los Angeles

In this edition of Maps to the Stars, a guide to where Walt worked, ate, played, slept, and otherwise made his mark in the LA area

View as Map

Missouri native Walt Disney moved to Los Angeles for a fresh start in the early 1920s and ended up one of the biggest names in Hollywood, and one that endures long after his death in 1966. Disney famously got his start in the Los Feliz neighborhood, tinkering on his animations in the garage of his uncle's Craftsman bungalow, and today has a legacy that includes film of all kinds, television, an arts school, and several Disney theme parks. Not that we need to tell you that.

We recently learned that the first proper studio and office for what would become a huge, mouse-based empire is now a skateboard store and copy shop, so it seems like a good time to go back and check in on some of Walt's other former haunts. Some are surviving, some are thriving, and some have been demolished, but because of their connections to Walt Disney, none of them will likely be forgotten.

Read More

1. Walt's Uncle's House

Copy Link
4406 Kingswell Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Every transplant to LA remembers their first house/apartment/couch, and for Walt, it was his uncle's place in Los Feliz; he came here in 1923, on the tail of a business failure back home in Missouri. Walt practiced animation techniques in the detached garage (which still exists elsewhere—more on that in a second) and within a few years he was living the dream, getting paid to animate and outgrowing his office space. The house was until the last few years a rental that neighbors knew as "that house that hosts the barbecue party every year," but in 2009 it went on the market.

2. Walt's Uncle's Garage/Early Animation Workshop

Copy Link
12174 Euclid St
Garden Grove, CA 92840

Disney rented the garage at his uncle's Los Feliz house for $1 a month and used it to hone his craft. In 1984, the garage was saved from demolition and moved to Garden Grove, as a donation to the local historical society's Stanley Ranch Museum from the Disney fans who rallied to save the structure.

3. Kingswell Studios

Copy Link
4651 Kingswell Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027

This Los Feliz building once housed what's considered the first "real" location of the Walt Disney Studios (though it was called Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio at the time). Beginning in 1923, Walt and his brother Roy worked together with another animator here on a series of shorts called Alice Comedies. They became successful enough that by 1926 they were able to move to a larger location.

4. Walt Disney Studios Hyperion location

Copy Link
2719 Hyperion Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Disney's success meant a move from the Kingswell storefronts in Los Feliz to a bigger space on Hyperion in Silver Lake. "It is at this studio that the early Mickey cartoons, Silly Symphonies, and the first animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs were all created," says Dear Old Hollywood. The studios here have since been demolished; today there's a Gelson's on the site.

5. Tam O'Shanter

Copy Link
2980 Los Feliz Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(323) 664-0228
Visit Website

Old Walt loved him some Tam O'Shanter. Conveniently located near his Hyperion studio, Walt was a regular customer with a favorite table (#31). "Even after Disney Studios moved into the Valley, Walt remained a regular," says KCET.

6. Walt's Los Feliz estate

Copy Link
4053 Woking Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Walt had been living in a smaller, also lovely Los Feliz house on Lyric Avenue, but with the combination of his rising success and his wife's pregnancy, he moved to this house at the edge of Griffith Park, which he had built in 1932. The house sold most recently in 2011, to a mystery buyer who was reportedly planning on restoring it.

7. Walt's Holmby Hills mansion

Copy Link
355 N Carolwood Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90077

The site of Disney's storied Holmby Hills estate, built in the late 1940s, and its Carolwood Pacific Railroad (a one-eighth scale steam railroad that ran on one-eighth scale coal) is long gone now, replaced by a 2001 megamansion built for the owner of the Houston Dynamo soccer team. The property sold in 2014 for $74 million.

8. Carolwood Barn (aka Walt's Barn)

Copy Link
5202 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027

At his Holmby Hills estate, Walt—a serious train lover—built a small steam railroad. He also built a replica of a barn at his childhood home and used it as a workshop to build model trains, according to the Carolwood Foundation. In 1999, the barn moved permanently to Griffith Park; it lives at the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum.

9. Carthay Circle Theatre

Copy Link
6316 San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048

A couple of Walt's big, early successes premiered here—those included the Silly Symphonies and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was Disney's first full-length feature. The Carthay Circle Theatre was sadly demolished in 1969 ("presumably because it was no longer profitable," says the LA Conservancy), but a replica lives on at Disney's California Adventure theme park in Anaheim.

10. Walt Disney Studios

Copy Link
500 N Buena Vista St
Burbank, CA 91505

In 1938, Walt put money down on 51 acres in Burbank, and in 1940 his new studios were up and running. The Burbank campus includes a couple of buildings that were previously at the Hyperion location (the others were demolished)—one, a small bungalow that once held offices for Disney's Publicity and Comic Strip departments, is now used as meeting room space.

11. California Institute of the Arts

Copy Link
24700 McBean Pkwy
Valencia, CA 91355
(661) 255-1050
Visit Website

Walt was a key figure in the founding of this Valencia arts college. The idea began "partly as a clever way to funnel an army of skilled animators into the Disney studios," the LA Times wrote in 1994; a film about the school's "founding vision" was even played before the premiere of Mary Poppins. The full plan for CalArts wasn't realized until a few years after Walt's death, but the Disney family continues to be involved in the school's direction.

12. Disneyland

Copy Link
1313 S Disneyland Dr
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 781-4565
Visit Website

Can't leave this one off the list. The park's 1955 opening day was a disaster, but the bumpy start certainly didn't hold Disneyland back. Fun fact: Walt's original plans for theme park were very different from what it is today—they called for a working farm and a lot of open space.

Loading comments...

1. Walt's Uncle's House

4406 Kingswell Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Every transplant to LA remembers their first house/apartment/couch, and for Walt, it was his uncle's place in Los Feliz; he came here in 1923, on the tail of a business failure back home in Missouri. Walt practiced animation techniques in the detached garage (which still exists elsewhere—more on that in a second) and within a few years he was living the dream, getting paid to animate and outgrowing his office space. The house was until the last few years a rental that neighbors knew as "that house that hosts the barbecue party every year," but in 2009 it went on the market.

4406 Kingswell Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027

2. Walt's Uncle's Garage/Early Animation Workshop

12174 Euclid St, Garden Grove, CA 92840

Disney rented the garage at his uncle's Los Feliz house for $1 a month and used it to hone his craft. In 1984, the garage was saved from demolition and moved to Garden Grove, as a donation to the local historical society's Stanley Ranch Museum from the Disney fans who rallied to save the structure.

12174 Euclid St
Garden Grove, CA 92840

3. Kingswell Studios

4651 Kingswell Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

This Los Feliz building once housed what's considered the first "real" location of the Walt Disney Studios (though it was called Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio at the time). Beginning in 1923, Walt and his brother Roy worked together with another animator here on a series of shorts called Alice Comedies. They became successful enough that by 1926 they were able to move to a larger location.

4651 Kingswell Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027

4. Walt Disney Studios Hyperion location

2719 Hyperion Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Disney's success meant a move from the Kingswell storefronts in Los Feliz to a bigger space on Hyperion in Silver Lake. "It is at this studio that the early Mickey cartoons, Silly Symphonies, and the first animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs were all created," says Dear Old Hollywood. The studios here have since been demolished; today there's a Gelson's on the site.

2719 Hyperion Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027

5. Tam O'Shanter

2980 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039

Old Walt loved him some Tam O'Shanter. Conveniently located near his Hyperion studio, Walt was a regular customer with a favorite table (#31). "Even after Disney Studios moved into the Valley, Walt remained a regular," says KCET.

2980 Los Feliz Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039

6. Walt's Los Feliz estate

4053 Woking Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Walt had been living in a smaller, also lovely Los Feliz house on Lyric Avenue, but with the combination of his rising success and his wife's pregnancy, he moved to this house at the edge of Griffith Park, which he had built in 1932. The house sold most recently in 2011, to a mystery buyer who was reportedly planning on restoring it.

4053 Woking Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027

7. Walt's Holmby Hills mansion

355 N Carolwood Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90077

The site of Disney's storied Holmby Hills estate, built in the late 1940s, and its Carolwood Pacific Railroad (a one-eighth scale steam railroad that ran on one-eighth scale coal) is long gone now, replaced by a 2001 megamansion built for the owner of the Houston Dynamo soccer team. The property sold in 2014 for $74 million.

355 N Carolwood Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90077

8. Carolwood Barn (aka Walt's Barn)

5202 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027

At his Holmby Hills estate, Walt—a serious train lover—built a small steam railroad. He also built a replica of a barn at his childhood home and used it as a workshop to build model trains, according to the Carolwood Foundation. In 1999, the barn moved permanently to Griffith Park; it lives at the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum.

5202 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027

9. Carthay Circle Theatre

6316 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

A couple of Walt's big, early successes premiered here—those included the Silly Symphonies and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was Disney's first full-length feature. The Carthay Circle Theatre was sadly demolished in 1969 ("presumably because it was no longer profitable," says the LA Conservancy), but a replica lives on at Disney's California Adventure theme park in Anaheim.

6316 San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048

10. Walt Disney Studios

500 N Buena Vista St, Burbank, CA 91505

In 1938, Walt put money down on 51 acres in Burbank, and in 1940 his new studios were up and running. The Burbank campus includes a couple of buildings that were previously at the Hyperion location (the others were demolished)—one, a small bungalow that once held offices for Disney's Publicity and Comic Strip departments, is now used as meeting room space.

500 N Buena Vista St
Burbank, CA 91505

11. California Institute of the Arts

24700 McBean Pkwy, Valencia, CA 91355

Walt was a key figure in the founding of this Valencia arts college. The idea began "partly as a clever way to funnel an army of skilled animators into the Disney studios," the LA Times wrote in 1994; a film about the school's "founding vision" was even played before the premiere of Mary Poppins. The full plan for CalArts wasn't realized until a few years after Walt's death, but the Disney family continues to be involved in the school's direction.

24700 McBean Pkwy
Valencia, CA 91355

12. Disneyland

1313 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802

Can't leave this one off the list. The park's 1955 opening day was a disaster, but the bumpy start certainly didn't hold Disneyland back. Fun fact: Walt's original plans for theme park were very different from what it is today—they called for a working farm and a lot of open space.

1313 S Disneyland Dr
Anaheim, CA 92802