Imagineers Pay Subtle, Heartwarming Tribute to Walt With Toontown Remodel

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Walt on the Ernest S. Marsh, Train, on the Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad

Credit: Disney

Not everyone picked up on this little tribute to Walt Disney…

Walt and Mickey at Disneyland
Credit: Disney

The Disneyland Resort is full of Easter Eggs and always has been. From very early on, fans have noticed small things like the names of Imagineers and other Disney Legends on the windows on Main Street, U.S.A., the house belonging to the Little Man of Disneyland, and the golden spike that, at one time, marked the dead center of the Park. Imagineers are continuing this tradition with each new development, and the new Mickey’s Toontown proves it!

Elias Disney Window - Main Street, U.S.A. - Disneyland
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Related: Disney Removes Toontown Landmark, Fans Question Why

After World War II, Walt Disney became somewhat disillusioned with the Walt Disney studio. With the company selling stock just before the war and the studio doing so much work for the allies in developing training films, division insignia, and more, Walt felt that he had lost creative control. He needed a hobby, and he found one!

Credit: Disney

Walt had always loved steam trains, he had a job on a train that his uncle engineered when he was younger, and that passion never fully left him. After discovering a like-minded soul in animator Ward Kimball, Walt decided to pour his passion and creativity not into the studio but into a 1/8th scale model train for his backyard.

Walt Disney on the Carolwood Pacific Railroad 1/8th Scale Train.
Credit: Disney

To that end, Walt built a barn based on the old family barn back in Marceline, Missouri, where he could work on his train and began laying track. Lillian Disney famously wouldn’t allow Walt to pass his track through her flower beds, so he made a tunnel to go underneath them! For years, friends of the Disney family knew they were in good with Walt if they were invited to ride the Carolwood Pacific Railroad. The center of this activity, however, was that little red barn.

Walt Disney's Carolwood Barn
Credit: Carolwood Foundation

It wasn’t long before Walt’s passion was turned away from this model train to the real deal and the world-changing idea that became Disneyland. Fans of the Park are no strangers to seeing many pictures of Walt and Lillian aboard the Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad, which extended his passion from the backyard to the world at large!

Walter Elias Disney with a Pre-Opening Map of Disneyland
Credit: Disney

Related: Disneyland Changing Its Tune In Major Area of the Property

Imagineers have now found a way to pay tribute to the train behind the train and what was, arguably, the start of Walt Disney Imagineering. In the cartoony hills that surround the land, fans have noticed that a small painting of the Carolwood Barn has been included as part of the new décor. The museum which operates the barn today even pointed it out!

@waltsbarn  said:

A tribute to Walt’s Carolwood barn has been spotted in the new backdrop on the Runaway Railway attraction in the new Mickey’s Toontown at #Disneyland.


This touching tribute is just one of the many ways that Imagineers are endeavoring to keep Walt in Disneyland and pay homage to the man behind the Mouse that started it all! Guests can catch a glimpse of the Carolwood Barn painting at Mickey’s Toontown in Disneyland, or they can visit the real deal in Griffith Park, Los Angeles.

What do you think about this touching tribute? Let us know in the comments below!

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