The Walt Disney Studios Lot is a huge part of Disney history. Built in 1940 in Burbank, California, this was not the first location where Walt and Roy Disney built their studio. Prior to buying the 51 acres in Burbank, the brothers had locations in both Los Angeles and Hollywood. The Walt Disney Studios Lot is home to many of the offices of Disney employees, and it also has sound stages, theaters, a backlot, and more!
While in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to receive an exclusive tour of the Walt Disney Studios Lot, which is so rich in Disney history. Many of our favorite Disney films have been created in the animation studio, and favorite films such as Mary Poppins and Disney’s newest motion picture, Saving Mr. Banks, were filmed right on the lot. All of this makes it a really is a magical place to walk around — you can soak in the culture and history.
Jeffrey Epstein, spokesperson for D23, the official Disney Fan Club, showed us around the lot, giving us the history and fun facts that you might not have known! Take a look at some of the highlights of the tour!
Hyperion Bungalow 1 of 12
Built in 1935, the Hyperion Bungalow was a building on the original Walt Disney Studios Lot known as the Hyperion Studio. It was the original home of the Comic Strip Department and Disney Publicity. Once Roy and Walt Disney bought the new land in Burbank, they moved the entire building to the new lot because it was cheaper than the construction of a new building. It's a great piece of history sitting on the lot that holds so many Disney memories.
Stage 1 2 of 12
Stage 1 is the original soundstage on the Walt Disney Studios Lot. It has been home to many well known Disney productions. In the Mary Poppins film, Stage 1 held part of the Bank's home as well as Uncle Albert's house. It was also the stage used for the film Fantasia.
Annette Funicello Stage 3 of 12
In the 1950s, Stage 1 was home to The Mickey Mouse Club. In June 2013, Stage 1 was renamed the Annette Funicello Stage to honor the Mouseketeer that passed away earlier this year.
Stage 2 4 of 12
The second stage built on the Walt Disney Studios Lot was Stage 2. Stage 2 is one of the largest stages in Los Angeles. Many of the scenes with Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins were filmed on this stage. It was also home to the rest of the Bank's house. Armageddon was filmed on this stage and the set crew had to remove the floor and dig into the ground in order to hold the asteroid scene for the film. Once done filming, rather than filling the hole, they just covered it up and it was later used for some of the water scenes in Pirates of the Caribbean.
Julie Andrews Stage 5 of 12
Stage 2 was renamed the Julie Andrews Stage in 2001 because many of Andrew's scenes from Mary Poppins were filmed here as well as her movie the Princess Diaries was filmed on this stage.
Stage 3 6 of 12
Stage 3 is used for a lot of special effects scenes in Disney films. It was used for the flying and rooftop sequences and scenes of London in Mary Poppins. The stage was originally built for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea which is why it is home to a 3,600 square foot water tank.
Walt Disney Studios Water Tower 7 of 12
The famed Walt Disney Studios water tower was originally built with the new lot. The tower was built with six legs rather than five for aesthetic reasons because Roy Disney thought it would look better. When in use, the tower was pumping 150,000 gallons of water a day.
The Theatre 8 of 12
The theatre on the lot is used to screen Disney films for the press and also used with the general public to get their reactions to new Disney films on camera.
Animation Building 9 of 12
Because Disney films were focused on animation when Walt and Roy first started, Walt Disney Studios was originally built with the Animation Building as the center of the campus. It is home to the creation of many of the beloved Disney animations. It has also been used in a lot of Disney motion pictures as a school, hospital, and many other places.
Walt Disney’s Office 10 of 12
Walt had two different offices in the Animation Building on the lot. Walt Disney's original office is now used by a Disney producer. A lot of his original fixtures still remain present in the room and are identical to what they looked like when Walt used the office. It's kept the same as a respect to the heritage and history at the studio. The Saving Mr. Banks art department studied detailed photographs of Walt Disney's formal and working offices as they appeared in the late 1960s so that they could accurately recreate this in the film.
Saving Mr. Banks Scene 11 of 12
Many scenes in Saving Mr. Banks were filmed on the actual Walt Disney Studios Lot. There is a very important scene in the film in which P.L. Travers (played by Emma Thompson) goes outside to reflect and build a little village out of sticks. This is where that scene was filmed.
Navigation 12 of 12
The Walt Disney Studios Lot is over 50 acres, which makes it very easy to get lost if you are unfamiliar with your surroundings. Thankfully Disney has thought of it all and named the streets so that you can easily find your way.
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