Getting Inspired Visiting the Office of Walt Disney

Since I don’t have any training runs to talk about this past week, I thought I’d share a really fun thing I got to do earlier in June. As a matter of fact, it was the Friday after the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon that I got to take a tour, put on by the Disney Archives and D23, of Walt Disney’s Office. This wasn’t some sort of simulation. I got to visit the actual office that Walt Disney inhabited at the Walt Disney Studios. His office is located on the third floor of the old Animation Building on the Lot. When I arrived, I had to wait in the lobby to get in.

We were lead by a cast member from the Disney Archives into the halls outside of Walt’s Office.

Here is Walt with the three secretaries you had to get by in order to see Walt. Yes, there were three you had to get by. The one that is not standing directly next to Walt was initially on the janitorial staff. I don’t remember exactly what she did, but it got the attention of Walt and she was promoted almost instantly.

One of the cool artifacts in the hallways outside of Walt’s Office was this Olympic torch from the 1960 Winter Olympics. Apparently, one of the Disney animators was the guy who did the artwork.

I really liked this Goofy statue.

According to our guide, this was one of Walt’s favorite paintings of Disneyland.

This image was hung because it was one of Walt’s favorite images of himself.

So, this is the first secretary’s office you’d have had to go through to get to Walt. As you can see, it was fully restored to it’s 1960’s glory.

Author, Dave Smith, was brought in after Walt’s death to detail how the office was left. So, all the details you will see in the offices were done from the photos and descriptions of Dave Smith.

Even the phone on the secretary’s desk….

and typewriter. I mean, this is in the days before computers, smart phones, and tablets.

Also, in the secretary’s office was this display of some of the awards Walt has won over the years.

I had to grab a pic of the special Academy Award that was presented when Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs won. It’s such a fun award!

There were Emmy Awards..

Other Academy Awards…

Walt’s 10 Years of Service to Disneyland Award. Yep. Even Walt got an award for his years of service to the company he owned.

Here are a few other awards I honestly can’t remember what they were.

In the second secretary’s office, we got a quick history of Walt. As you might imagine, the flat screen television isn’t 1960’s appropriate. So, there were some touches that were not authentic. However, if you notice, in between the chairs below the flat screen is a cigarette ash tray…1960’s style.

On the desk for secretary number 2 was this. Did you know that Walt Disney threw out the first pitch for the very first Angels game at Anaheim Stadium? He got this as a memento from that day.

Of course, the big highlight was getting to head into Walt’s Office Suite itself. Walt Disney actually had two offices he used. The first one is the most photographed one. It’s also the one that is most often used for recreations.

Here’s the famous desk in all its glory. Honestly, to think of all the people who talked with Walt around this desk and all the deals that were signed by Walt on this desk, you can’t help but be inspired.

Walt was a big fan of miniatures. Here are some of his.

Walt even had a piano in his office!

Imagine the music that was played here of the years. So many classic tunes!

Being the musician myself, you know I had to get an up close pic of some of the music on the piano.

I really liked the Mickey award that the Animators had made for Walt that was on the piano!

Next up was Walt’s second office. Yes, he had TWO!

This office was a little less formal. From what our tour guide told us, this is where the more social interactions happened. Celebrities and heads of state would commonly hang out in this office with Walt back in the day.

Here’s what Walt’s desk might have looked like on a typical day. Lots to look at and approve.

Next to the desk were things like scripts awaiting approvals and other items Walt would have needed to approve.

On the other side were these guys.

I really liked this board in the office!

A map of Disneyland under construction!

Do you see the Red and Yellow blurbs? They highlight some of the projects at Disneyland that were under construction at the time of Walt’s death.

See? New Orleans Square and Haunted Mansion in their planning…

Here you can see the groundwork for the Haunted Mansion (yellow line)

Work was being done on It’s A Small World in this picture of Disneyland.

See? More plans. I wish I could have highlighted more. But, I needed to save some room for more pics.

Below the map, were pics on Walt’s private jet.

1960’s luxury!

To the side of the Disneyland map was these early plans for Walt Disney World.

Kind of fun to see what Walt envisioned for Walt Disney World. He had an air strip on the property in his original plans.

Here are some of the memo’s for the estimated domestic grosses for the films Disney had out at the time.

In the back, Walt even had a private kitchen.

Imagine having your own kitchen at the office!

The cupboards were full of some of Walt’s favorites.

Here’s Walt’s “Ozcar”

Walt’s brief case or day bag, or whatever they called it back in the day.

Ah, the Disney Brothers..Walt and Roy!

There is a hallway that connects Walt’s second office to his personal quarters. In the hallway, the folks at the Walt Disney Archives have displayed some of Walt’s personal belongings that were left behind.

They were fascinating to see.

Walt’s personal quarters was the only room that was not brought back to it’s former glory. Instead, they decided to use the room to display some of the many caricatures of Walt Disney. It should be noted that this room is one where Walt would have spent the night if his work didn’t finish until late into the evening. The quarters had a sofa bed for him to sleep on if he needed to. It also had a shower in it. So, Walt could spend the night and get all cleaned up in the morning and ready for work while at work. If you remember his second office had its own kitchen, he could even prepare breakfast. So, this office suite had everything you needed to literally “live at the office.”

Here is how the personal quarters would have looked back when Walt was alive.

The caricature marked “8” is one that Walt drew of himself. Here are some of the other ones I liked.

Honestly, the room had some amazing caricatures in it.

Before we knew it, our tour had come to an end. Through these doors so many amazing people have come through for their meetings with Walt. It’s kind of crazy to think about all the people who have stood where I was standing.

Was we walked back down the hall, there were some great pics of Walt from back in the day.

Remember the piano from earlier? Here’s Walt on that piano.

Remember that map of Disneyland? Here’s Walt with that map.

It was sad to be leaving.

The man, the legend…Walt Disney.

Right around the corner from the lobby where I waited to come in, there was this shot of Walt telling the world he intended to open a new theme park in Florida.

On the walls of the third floor of the old Animation Building, are so many iconic images of Walt. Like this one from the opening of It’s A Small World at Disneyland.

Walt as the Grand Marshal of the Rose Parade.

Having Tea with Mary Poppins (or Julie Andrews…however you want to look at this).

The Original Mickey Mouse Club…

Opening day of Disneyland in 1955…

Working on Casey at the Bat…

Steamboat Willie…

The Disney Bro.’s Walt and Roy with Mickey Mouse…

I love this pic of Walt on the Walt Disney Studio Lot!

Lastly, one of the most iconic  pics of Walt from the early years. The Walt Disney Company is the company that was all started by a mouse.

Thank you to the Walt Disney Archives for inspiring others to follow in the footsteps of the legendary Walt Disney!







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