In 1949, Walt and his family moved to a home at 355 N. Carolwood Drive in Holmby Hills, California. At that time, two of Walt’s animators – Ward Kimble and Ollie Johnson – had their own backyard railroads. Walt decided to build his own – a one-eighth scale model steam train. He built more than 2,500 feet of track that circled the house and routed around his wife’s flower beds. Wisely, he named the train the Lilly Belle in honor of his wife Lillian.

Walt controlled the train from a special barn that both housed the trains and held a central control console.

The Train Started Running in 1950

According to Wikipedia, the train first ran in 1950. Walt used it to entertain his daughters and their friends. Her reportedly spent thousands of hours on the project.

Legend has it that one time the working steam train tipped over, slightly hurting the girl who was riding at the time – and that was the end of free rides on the train. However, it was probably the start of an idea that lead to the development of Disneyland.

The Current Home Of Walt’s Barn

When Walt’s home in Holmby Hills was sold in 1998, the new owner planned to tear down the barn. The barn was moved to a railroad museum in Los Angeles. There, volunteers from the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society open the barn for tours, where visitors can see displays of Walt Disney’s trains.

Photos From Disney World

Fortunately, you don’t have to go all the way to California to see pieces of Disney railroad history. If you plan to visit Disney World, you can see many great photos and artifacts there. Let’s take a look at some pictures of the Carolwood Pacific Room in the Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

If you’ve never wandered around Disney’s Wilderness Lodge or the Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (which is a Disney Vacation Club location), take the time to do so. It is a beautiful place.

The main lobby of the Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge is impressive and generally a quiet and peaceful place.

The main lobby of the Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is impressive and generally a quiet and peaceful place.

 

There are great details in the architecture too.

There are great details in the architecture too.

 

Off to the side you can see plenty of great photos and artifacts from Walt's Carolwood Pacific Trains.

Off to the side you can see plenty of great photos and artifacts from Walt’s Carolwood Pacific Trains.

 

This photo shows Walt Disney running his Carolwood Pacific Train, as filmed by Roger E Broggie in 1950 at the Disney Carolwood Drive home.

This photo shows Walt Disney running his Carolwood Pacific Train, as filmed by Roger E Broggie in 1950 at the Disney Carolwood Drive home.

 

This photo shows Walt Disney on his Lilly Belle steam engine, and shows how it ran through the yard around Disney's home.

This photo shows Walt Disney on his Lilly Belle steam engine, and shows how it ran through the yard around Disney’s home.

 

A photo of Walt was superimposed on a picture of the Lilly Belle steam engine to create this composite image. The Lilly Belle was one-eight-scale, so this trick photo demonstrates the great detail in the train.

A photo of Walt was superimposed on a picture of the Lilly Belle steam engine to create this composite image. The Lilly Belle was one-eight-scale, so this trick photo demonstrates the great detail in the train.

 

In this photo, Walt Disney is seen with machinist Roger Broggie who built the steam train.

In this photo, Walt Disney is seen with machinist Roger Broggie who built the steam train.

 

magineer Roger Broggie took this photograph of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse at Disneyland in 1955. The headlamp was not yet installed on the new steam engine.

magineer Roger Broggie took this photograph of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse at Disneyland in 1955. The headlamp was not yet installed on the new steam engine.

Two of the original freight cars from the Carolwood Pacific are on display. Seeing this piece of Disney history is a great reason to visit the Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge.

Two of the original freight cars from the Carolwood Pacific are on display. Seeing this piece of Disney history is a great reason to visit the Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

 

In the Carolwood Pacific room you can also see other great train memorabilia on exhibit.

In the Carolwood Pacific room you can also see other great train memorabilia on exhibit.

 

While you wouldn't think you might enjoy sitting in front of a fire in Florida in the middle of summer, taking a few minutes to relax in these rocking chairs near the Inglenook (a nook by a large open fireplace) is very restful - and not at all too hot. It's a great way to end your Carolwood Pacific tour.

While you wouldn’t think you might enjoy sitting in front of a fire in Florida in the middle of summer, taking a few minutes to relax in these rocking chairs near the Inglenook (a nook by a large open fireplace) is very restful – and not at all too hot. It’s a great way to end your Carolwood Pacific tour.