Being a guest in the original house where Walt Disney, a world-renowned creator of Mickey Mouse, lived and raised his family was an inspiring moment of its own for me. We got a chance to visit and meet with some of the remarkable filmmakers Don Hahn and David Jessen who were part of the crew for Maleficent movie.
As Disney Studios releases Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition (October 7) and new version of the story Maleficent (November 4) on Blu-Ray, we were introduced to the History, Character development, and People behind the story.
This is where our one-evening adventure began: 4053 Woking Way, Los Angeles, CA.
As we arrived late in the evening when the Los Angeles skyline was welcoming and luring its night crowds into the night, the solemn, quiet atmosphere was a perfect moment to dive into the history, meet the Don Hahn, the Executive Producer of Maleficent, and experience a solemn moment of my own history in the making as I was internalizing all the details of the Disney Estates and its connection to the story of Maleficent.
We had a chance to sit down with Don Hahn and talk about Maleficent and how similar and different it was from the Sleeping Beauty original version.
What truly is memorable about Don Hahn is that he is passionate about the STORY. Every single element of any movie is driven and derives from the Story. If you don’t have a story behind characters, their habits, their motivations, you don’t have a compelling story. Once you have it, the acting talent would mould it into something very unique that would be a hallmark of the movie.
Angelina Jolie was the one to inspire and encourage to go with a makeup for Maleficent that was totally unexpected: angular cheekbones and raised features of the face made the heroin something very different and compelling in her own way.
It was so real sitting at one table with one of the most talented people in the movie making industry and freely talk, discuss and ask questions about his understanding of the Sleeping Beauty story and how it resonates with a new twist in Maleficent. We had a chance to see REAL costumes Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning (Aurora) were wearing during the filming of Maleficent.
To give you a taste of the flavor of the atmosphere that was present during our nightly visit to the original Walt Disney house and having a free exchange with the makers of the film Maleficent, here are some highlights and memorable facts for your enjoyment and enrichment.
We were the first to be allowed to visit this Walt Disney Estates house. As the house is being currently occupied by a Russian filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov who purchased it and took a great care of giving it a feel and flavor of the 20s and 30s of the past 20th century, we were honored to take a tour to see what it is like to live being surrounded by history of a great man who created the magic of storytelling on TV screen.
The $50,000 twelve-room home combines elements of Tudor and French Normandy styles and include the following rooms:
• 4 bedrooms
• 4-1/2 baths
• a circular rotunda with painted ceilings
• a formal double-story living room with vaulted beamed ceilings
• rod iron spandrels
• original stained leaded glass and Juliet balcony
• a dining room
• a screening room
• a gym room with sleeping porch
• a pool and pool house, and
•a badminton court
The magic steals the breath away the very moment you step into the house. The journey into the history and personal life and preferences of an individual who is known throughout the world is a humble experience.
Look at these stairs that lead to the 2nd floor of the house culminating with a unique hand-painted Rotanda! Breathtaking!
Here’s Walt Disney himself enjoying the view from the eloquently spiral staircase.
This Disney Estates House at Woking Way is considered very modest compared to Hollywood standards. None the less, it is one of the most fun-filled homes that encountered the most prolific creative process ever!
During the life in this house (1932-1950), Walt Disney has created Three Little Pigs (1933), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940), Dumbo (1941), Bambi (1942), Seal Island (1948), Cinderella (1950), 1st live-action release of Treasure Island.
And how would you like to discover a totally overnight erected Doll House on a Christmas Day? Walt Disney made this magic possible by inviting the crew from Disney Studios to assemble a totally livable house for his daughters Diane and Sharon.
The magic of Walt Disney Estates lives inside this Disney Estates where every room, every painting has a story to be shared. The experience is truly humbling and educational to the max. In a way, my love for everything Disney has deepened as my understanding of the reasoning and motivation of Walt Disney himself has taken me to a new level of reflecting upon life.
The bedroom decor is not original in its entirety, however, every color palette and every furniture piece are authentic with the historical moment in time we are viewing it in. The current occupants of the Disney Estates made sure that the atmosphere has been preserved and shared in the most sincere and accurate way.
Here’s a private peak into the bedrooms and billiard room with the workout section carved out in it. The magic has been living here for decades.
The culminating point of the Disney Estates is a beautifully designed balcony, lovingly called Juliet Balcony. The fun fact from the Disney Family history is that “Diane Disney [daughter] named the Juliet balcony “Christmas Tree Point.” On Christmas morning, she and sister Sharon would peer out from here to get their first glimpse of the decorated tree and presents below.”
Here’s a picture of Walt Disney standing by the window with his beloved Disney characters.
At the end of the day, some exquisite mini cakes and sangria were served. And as I was leaving and saying ‘good-bye’ to this sacred place where magic keeps on living, I made a promise to myself to continue to DREAM Big. As we leave our minds and hearts open, we are inadvertently inviting creativity to visit us and soar us to a new level of existence and making a difference in the lives of other people.
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— Celebrate Woman (@DiscoverSelf) October 2, 2014