Walt Disney’s First L.A. Home Saved From Demolition For 75 Days

Walt Disney’s first home in Los Angeles has been saved from the wrecking ball. The two-bedroom, 100-year-old bungalow once owned by the Disney family has been put on the chopping block by its current owners, but a last-minute petition could save the place, according to ABC News.

The Los Angeles Office of Historical Resources has put a 75-day hold on any type of demolition of the two-bedroom home, despite the fact that it’s current owners, Sang Ho Yoo and Krystal Soonbae Kim Yoo, want to tear it down to build a large multi-story residence on the property. The Yoos purchased the Walt Disney home in May for $750,000 and recently applied for the demolition permit.

Office of Historical Resources’ manager/city planner Ken Bernstein, told ABC News there were several reasons his department put a hold on the process.

“We initiated the hold for three reasons. The demolition appeared imminent, we had already identified the property as significant in our city-wide survey, and because of the iconic status of Walt Disney to Los Angeles and Southern California and internationally.”

Bernstein added that the property’s history will be “fully evaluated before any demolition could be considered.” The final decision on the fate of the former Disney house will be made by the Los Angeles City Council.

While the properly has no official historical significance as of yet, Bernstein is looking into a “more comprehensive nomination” for it to be considered as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.

Hyun Bae Kim, the brother-in-law of the current owner, told Curbed the couple didn’t know about the house’s connection to Walt Disney until after they purchased the property in a private sale. Even then, they didn’t think it would be a big deal to tear it down, especially since the home is in need of extensive repairs. The plan is to replace the bungalow with a two-story, 3,000 square-foot home. But for now, this Disney dwelling won’t be going anywhere.

The house, located at 4406 Kingswell Ave. in Los Feliz, was Walt’s first L.A. residence in 1923. Disney rented the tiny home from his uncle and he set up a studio in the garage. Walt and his brother Roy later moved to an apartment building across the street. The famous Disney brothers went on to create their famous movie studio and theme park empire, and it all started in that tiny bungalow.

According to Curbed, Walt Disney first stayed with his uncle Robert and aunt Charlotte in the 1,458-square-foot Kingswell Ave. home after moving to California from Kansas City. Walt constructed an animator’s table in the detached garage, and he created his first animated shorts there. The Disney garage was later auctioned off in 1982 for just $8,500 to a group called the Friends of Walt Disney, who later donated it to the Stanley Ranch Museum.

Of course, once Walt Disney made his fortune, he went on to buy a much more lavish home. Glamour posted photos of Walt Disney’s famous Hollywood Hills estate, a five-acre property in the Los Feliz area, that he had built in 1932. The house, located on Working Way, cost $50,000 to build—a fortune at the time—and was completed in two months. Walt and his family lived in the home from 1932 to 1950, during a time when the movie icon released some of his greatest classics, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Bambi, and Cinderella. Walt and his family later moved to a mansion in Holmby Hills, which has since been demolished.


Walt Disney and his family also had a secret apartment at Disneyland. In an interview with Huffington Post, Walt’s daughter Diane Disney Miller described the hidden Main Street pad as her parents’ “refuge” and that it was filled with trinkets from their travels.

Diane Disney also revealed the secret apartment was decorated by Emile Kuri, who had decorated many of Disney’s films, including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Diane revealed that while the apartment was “very private,” her father would sometimes look out the window and see someone famous and invite them up.

“He told them how to get around, back behind, and get up to the apartment and there was a fire pole in it, it’s not there now, but there was a door into the closet area that had a fire pole, like the firemen would have, and he showed it to them and said, ‘Why don’t you guys slide down that? And they did!”

Take a look at the video to see a tour of the house Walt Disney built in 1932.

[Photo by Edward G. Malindine/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images]