Tuesday, 12 November 2013

A Visit to the Walt Disney Studios - Part 1

During our trip to Disneyland USA in May of 2012, Ashley and I decided to take up the offer of a day-trip through Hollywood with Adventures by Disney. Entitled Lights... Camera... Magic!, this tour brought us to Grauman's Chinese Theater, the then-Kodak Theater and Hollywood and Highland Center, a brief stop at the Disney Soda Fountain and Studio Store in the El Capitan Theater, and the Original Farmer's Market for lunch. The true highlight, however, was a tour of the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. 

For your enjoyment, here is a two-part photo-tour of our visit to the place where the magic is made. First is the Roy E. Disney Animation Building, which is the current home of feature animation and which was not on the itinerary of our tour. It does, however, very distinctively show off the stark contrast in architectural styles to be found at the studio. On the one hand are the original buildings from when the studios were built in 1940, and on the other are the products of Michael Eisner's love affair with architect Michael Graves in the Eighties and Nineties.     

Nevertheless, here we are, passing through those gates and the security station made famous in The Reluctant Dragon and the Disneyland/Wonderful World of Color series.

Adjacent to the parking lot is Stage 2, with a poster for our favourite current television show!

Also near the parking lot is the Hyperion Bungalow: the only building moved to the Burbank lot from Disney's original studios at 2719 Hyperion Avenue.

Looking down the avenue past the studio commissary... What is that I see? 

Inching closer... is it...?... is it...?

It IS! The famous studio signpost at the corner of Mickey Ave. and Dopey Drive!

Continuing on... Wait, what is this?

The original Animation building!

Taking a peek inside, we see that the original Animation building serves today as a collection of offices rented out to independent production companies.

Once Upon a Time again! Unfortunately there was no filming of the show going on here. Despite taking place in Maine (or the Enchanted Forest), the show is actually filmed in Vancouver, Canada. Occasionally the astute viewer who knows what they're looking at can even see a Canadian National Parks signboard in the background. 

Ashley investigates a display on animation. Though no more feature animation is done in this building, there is still a wonderful aura to being inside a place where so many amazing things were created.

Back outside, we pass by the theatre and the Ink and Paint Department. Let's have a peek in the windows...

More of the original buildings, many of which are no longer used for their original purposes... An echo of the studio's Golden Age.

Let us end our first installment with perhaps the "holy of holies": Walt Disney's own office. After Walt passed away, the studio debated whether or not they should preserve it as is, as a monument. It was decided that Walt would have wanted them to use it for a real purpose. As a consequence it is being rented out like other offices in the original Animation building. However, one can still see the top floor, corner office from outside.

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