10 September 2009

The Walt Disney Family Foundation Provides Grant...

Here is a great news item that just found its way across my desk...

The Walt Disney Family Foundation Provides Grant for the Preservation and Display of Disneyland Railroad Car
Historic “combine” coach originally built and owned by Walt Disney

San Francisco, CA
The Walt Disney Family Foundation announced today that it will provide a grant to help the Carolwood Foundation acquire, restore and display one of the original Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad cars. This 36’ foot long car was part of the six-car yellow passenger train that was built from scratch in 1955 by Walt Disney’s personal company, WED Enterprises, to transport guests around Disneyland. This particular car is called a “combine” coach because it carries a combination of passengers and freight. Walt Disney specifically instructed his staff of Imagineers to construct this combine because of his fond memories of working on similar cars on the Missouri Pacific Railroad as a 15-year-old “news-butch” selling goods to passengers.

Disneyland traded most of the passenger train cars to a private collector in 1992; one coach remains in service at the Disneyland Resort as the Presidential Coach Lilly Belle. The non-profit Carolwood Foundation was recently given the opportunity to acquire this unique piece of Disney history. The Foundation is now raising funds to purchase the artifact, finish the restoration and put the combine on display for the public to experience.

“Railroads were an important influence throughout my grandpa’s life,” said WDFF President Walter E. D. Miller. He continued, “This interest is reflected in several exhibits in The Walt Disney Family Museum that opens October 1 at the historic Presidio in San Francisco. We are pleased to support the Carolwood Foundation’s efforts to preserve an artifact that meant so much to him.”

“Restoring and displaying this car will bring back wonderful family memories to our visitors and serve as a reminder of Walt Disney’s love of trains and America’s heritage,” said Carolwood Foundation Board President Bill Barbe. “Since 1999, our guests have been able to learn more about Walt’s passion for railroading by visiting Walt Disney’s Carolwood Barn at the Los Angeles Live Steamer’s facility in Griffith Park, Los Angeles. The combine presents an exciting new tool to help us educate the public and encourage future generations to take an active interest in both Walt Disney and railroading.”

Founded in 1995, the non-profit Walt Disney Family Foundation strives to promote education, writing, and scholarship about Walt Disney. The Walt Disney Family Museum, a project of the Walt Disney Family Foundation, is dedicated to telling the story of the “man behind the myth,” illustrating how his creativity and vision has shaped childhood in America and his impact on urban planning and the technical development of the film industry. The Disney family maintains a website, www.waltdisney.org for information about museum exhibits, planning visits and memberships.

The Carolwood Foundation’s mission is to preserve and promote Walt Disney’s railroad legacy. Working under the authority of the Walt Disney Family Foundation, the all-volunteer Carolwood Foundation operates Walt Disney’s Carolwood Barn. The Foundation’s website is www.carolwood.org - for information on supporting the combine coach restoration and visiting Walt Disney’s Barn.

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