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The Walt Disney Studios and Burbank and Toluca Lake

December 20, 2022

For 73 years, the Walt Disney Studios has been nestled in between the charming neighborhoods of Burbank and Toluca Lake. But few people know that the Walt Disney Studios wasn’t always in that location.

Their first location was actually closer to Downtown L.A. off of Hyperion Avenue near Los Felix Blvd. That actually remanded there for 14 years before moving. So with the profits coming from Snow White, they purchased 51 beautiful acres in Burbank in 1937 and have remained there ever since. Over the years the studio has expanded and really become a major landmark for the two cities.

There is the famous executive building with 160-foot columns in the shape of the seven dwarfs which can easily be seen when driving down Alameda. This was done obviously because the success of the Snow White film funded this new studio lot and this was their homage to the timeless film. Years later, another new building was built. This time across the street, Riverside Drive to be exact. This was the newly formed Animation building and shortly after the ABC building. The animation building is quite a building.

You can’t miss the 85-foot-tall Sorcerer’s Apprentice hat from the freeway. What was in that hat? It was actually Roy Disney‘s Office. He wanted something similar to the Oval Office. It must have been an intimidating office to enter when negotiations went on. One unique difference between the Walt Disney Studios and the Warner Bros Studios that I wrote about last week is the Walt Disney Studios doesn’t offer a VIP studio tour. Views from afar are all you get from this mouse house. But don’t despair. I have some great tips on how you actually might be able to get a tour of this incredible Burbank/Toluca Lake landmark. The first way is, like Warner Bros, you can get free audience tickets to one of their sitcom tapings. Just visit http://www.audiencesunlimited.com to see what's available. Your next option is not a free one, but an option nonetheless. If you purchase one of Disney’s 6-day vacation packages, they actually include guided tours of the Walt Disney Studios. But the tours don’t end there. You also get to visit the Jim Henson Studio as well as the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood. So it may be worth it to some. The last and final option is to be a member of the D23 Club. For $50 a year for an annual membership, there are chances monthly to purchase a guided tour of the studios. You get to walk the entire lot, see the Disney Archives, and eat in the commissary. It's a real treat for any Disney fan and much cheaper than buying a 6-day vacation package.

The Walt Disney Studios is a big place and has over 1,000 employees so it's been a huge boost for the city of Burbank and Toluca Lake. Another interesting fact is many of the Disney stars live in Toluca Lake. So the Walt Disney Studios has had a big impact on the celebrity residents in Toluca Lake. Stars like the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cirus have lived in Toluca Lake. No wonder prices for homes for sale have risen.

So try one of the many ways to tour the studios and you might even see a star or two near Toluca Lake.

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