Thursday, October 20, 2011

Time Hopping

There's park hopping, resort hopping, and the ever-debatable pool hopping. Now there's time hopping! It's just a jump to the left and then a step to the right to the 1880's.

It is well known that Walt Disney had a great love of trains. This love may have just been in his blood since his father, Elias Disney, worked for the Union Pacific Railroad for a time. And Walt's uncle, Mike Martin, worked on the Santa Fe Railroad that ran through his childhood hometown of Marceline, Missouri. Did you know that the Disneyland Railroad used to be called the Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad?

Anyway, apparently Walt loved to put his ear to the railroad tracks to listen for the train coming. Then he later worked selling newspapers and snacks to travelers. I knew Walt loved trains for most of his life, but I never knew it went back this far!

Just like everything Walt was passionate about, he took his railroad enthusiasm to another level. He had a 1/8th scale railroad in his backyard in California called the Carolwood Pacific Railroad. There was even a miniature barn that resembled the one on his family farm in Marceline. Again, I knew that Walt gave a nod to his roots in a lot of things he did, but this is one detail I didn't know. Another great detail I found out during my research is that while Walt's wife, Lillian, was very supportive of Walt and all of his ideas, she said he could not build his railroad through her flower garden, so he built a tunnel under them. You can tell Walt must have loved and appreciated Lillian and her support since the engine on the Carolwood Pacific Railroad was called the Lilly Belle.

Then Walt took it all to the next level that we all know... the railroads in the Disney parks today.

"I just want it to look like nothing else in the world. And it should be surrounded by a train." ~Walt Disney

I was really nervous writing this first Time Hopping post so I know it isn't perfect, but hopefully I will get more comfortable. I hope you enjoyed it and if you have anything you'd like to hear the history of, please email me or let me know in the comments and I'll get to researching!

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