By Brian~WDWithMe, Mar 19 2017 05:32PM
Many people are aware of Walt’s fondness…no love…no, make that obsession…with trains. This fascination can probably be traced all the way back to when a young 14-year-old Walt Disney worked as a “news butcher” on the Missouri Pacific Railroad. (A news butcher, or news butch, was someone who sold newspapers, snacks, and other small dollar items on a train…a job from a bygone era that doesn’t really exist anymore…)
There are many articles and websites dedicated to Walt’s love of trains, and much information available about the Carolwood-Pacific-the miniature railroad he built in the backyard of his home located within the exclusive and celebrity-laden development known as Holmby Hills-an affluent neighborhood in the district of Westwood in western Los Angeles and bordered by the more famous city of Beverly Hills.
What many people may not realize, however, is that if you visit Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL, there is a hidden gem for anyone who shares Walt’s love of trains—or at least is enamored with Walt’s own fascination. It’s a mini-museum, if you will, dedicated to the Carolwood-Pacific, and it’s located in the Carolwood-Pacific Room found just outside the lobby of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. If you ask at the front desk, they can easily direct you to the precise location.
Inside the Carolwood-Pacific Room, you will find photos, letters, and other unique artifacts and memorabilia that tell the story of how Walt, along with his friend and fellow Disney Legend, Roger Broggie, built the miniature train that wound its way through Walt’s backyard, much to the joy of his two young daughters and, for certain may of their friends and other neighborhood kids. (Walt actually got the idea for his backyard railroad after learning that two of his animators, Ward Kimball and Ollie Johnston were not only fellow train enthusiasts, but each had trains of their own that were big enough to ride in their backyards!)
Perhaps some of the coolest things you can see inside the Carolwood-Pacific Room are two of the actual cars and sections of train track that were donated to this unique and amazing collection, as well as the original smaller mock-ups that were built in the Studio’s machine shop.
Trust me-this display at the Wilderness Lodge is worth seeking out on your next visit—even if you don’t think trains are “your thing”, the Carolwood-Pacific Room offers a charming insight into what was such an important part of Walt’s life. And…if trains ARE your thing…then be prepared to be blown away!
For those who want to learn more about the Carolwood-Pacific Railroad, here are a few links: