Disney Tunnel at Griffith Park

We were last at Walt’s Barn in Griffith Park on our Easter trip. We went back to take a look at the paving stone we donated to the landscaping project around Ollie Johnston’s train station there. We not only found that but also found the Walt Disney Tunnel there at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California.

Want to see it? I’ll have more about it, including a picture down below in this blog entry. I had a feeling that title and opening sentence would get your attention!

The Carolwood Pacific Historical Society offers regular tours of Walt Disney’s barn on the third Sunday of each month — in Griffith Park in Los Angeles. See the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society for more details.

That’s Walt’s Barn and Walt adjusting his Lilly Belle locomotive in the backyard of his house, in this photo on display inside Walt’s Barn. Take a look at our earlier trip report about our other visit to Walt’s Barn during Easter week. After clicking here, go to each of the following pages of that trip report where it says “Walt’s barn >>” in the upper right of the blog entry’s column.

During this visit, Carol helped the Carolwood society out by folding t-shirts in Walt’s barn. Michael and I voluntEARed but there wasn’t much for us to do, other than sweep the walkway near Ollie Johnston’s train station and remove pine straw from its roof. We were glad to help in any way we could!

Ollie Johnston’s train station has had landscaping and paving stones added around it since our last visit.

And a windowbox has been added inside the front window as well, including an electric lamp in the window.

In the picture above and below you can see the paving stones and concrete which have been added since the last time we were last there. Starting closest to the station’s door, the paver is inscribed “Ollie & Marie Johnston” and below that one is an engraved marker showing “Frank & Jeanette Thomas.”

The one on the lower left as you’re facing the train station is ours!

It is engraved with the words




We never got ourselves a paving stone at Walt Disney World or Disneyland when there was an opportunity to do that, but I like the setting of this one even better.

Ours is placed alongside Disney notables and fellow members of the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society who donated to this project. From left to right, below the two markers for Ollie & Marie Johnston and Frank & Jeanette Thomas, are these:

Tom Shafer, Jr. // Oscar Urrutia // Les & Judy Smout Foundation // Rich & Teya Johnston // Ken & Carolyn Johnston // Ward & Betty Kimball // John Lasseter // Michael & Sharon Broggie // Roger Broggie // Herbert A. & Kathryn Dymond

Jim & Nancy Cotterman // Ella M. Witter, Marc George Witter, Matthew R. Witter // Bob Gurr // Walt Disney Family // Tony Baxter // Bob Lemberger // Michael Campbell & Family // Fred S. Lack, III // Peter & Patti Finie //

Rich Koster, Carol Koster, Michael Koster // James P. Klitch & Family // Gary Oakland // Austin Meyers // William D. Barbe // David Krebs // Blake & Sherolyn Thomas // Carl & Lois Lehman // Robert & Rita, Robert A. & Daniel Cisneros // Steve Waller

Over in a little-seen portion of the track system in Griffith Park is a hidden-away tunnel…

…marked with a plaque above it.

The Disney Tunnel is near the “Disney Loop” at Griffith Park and is curved like Walt’s own backyard tunnel was — but not as much. Walt’s Carolwood Pacific railroad at his Holmby Hills estate was designed with a curve that made it impossible to see light at the opposite end of the tunnel.

Update to add more information that Bill Barbe sent to me today: “The Disney loop was the original inner loop that is just inside the main part of the facility.  When the club expanded west they put in the three tunnels. The Disney Loop is the most inner loop in the club.  It goes around the infield area around the barn and inside between the storage building and the passenger cars.”

And additional information from Fred S. Lack III: “Walt Disney donated his track in 1964 and it was put in place in 1966. Walt was invited to the ceremony in September of 1966 but declined because he was too busy. (Walt died 3 months later) The Disney Loop starts at New Sherwood Station and goes around behind the car barns and down around the Disney Barn. The track was made out of aluminum and wore out and was replaced with the current steel track.”

Bill believes “they named it Disney Tunnel because it came off the Disney loop and Disney was a Charter Member of the club.”

Fred adds: “The city donated more land to Los Angeles Live Steamers in the early 1980’s. To reach this land, Los Angeles Live Steamers had to tunnel under the horse trail that still exists today. The tunnels, named for early members of the Los Angeles Live Steamers, were built out of old culvert pipes. They were not meant to be the shape of Walt’s tunnel. Since the west end is connected with the Disney Loop, I presume it was named for Walt. The tunnels were built about 1984.” 

I big tip of the mouse-eared hat to both Bill and Fred! 8=o)

Michael Broggie wrote to add: “Yes, when Walt was a member of the LA Live Steamers he donated the funds to create the tunnel and donated the track from his Carolwood Pacific RR.”

A tip of the mouse-eared hat to you, too, Michael! 8=o)

Something used by Walt on his original home layout remains in the Griffith Park layout to this day… but I’ve been sworn to secrecy not to tell what that is, for security reasons (so it won’t be stolen and sold on eBay). Join the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society and you might find out what it is!

We enjoyed our second visit to see Walt’s Barn and Ollie Johnston’s train station — and were glad to see how well the paving stones around it turned out (including the great honor of having ours among Disney luminaries as well).

A last look at Griffith Park before we headed back to the Disneyland Hotel.

You’ll find out about that and our last visit to the parks in the next entry to this travel blog.


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