1Snow White Cottages (Los Angeles, California)
Located in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, the “Snow White Cottages” were built in 1931 by architect Ben Sherwood and were the likely inspiration for Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The cottages feature cragged thatched roofs, black timber framing and random patches of rusticated masonry and are a prime example of “storybook” or “fairytale” architecture, which was popular in LA in the 1920-30s. The cottages housed animators and stand just a few blocks from the original site of Walt Disney’s studios, where the animation legend worked from 1926 until 1940.
The cute homes still come up for rent now and again and were heavily featured in David Lynch’s 2001 classic, Mulholland Drive.
2Graystone Manor (La Canada-Flintridge, California)
La Canada-Flintridge, California’s Graystone Manor was originally built in 1937, but in 1971, Disney theme park designer Robert F. McDonnell and his family started remodeling it and kept touching it up throughout the decades until it was sold in 2012 for $1.4 million.
McDonnell was the senior designer for Disney and wanted to “create the house “in the storybook style that has entertained millions of visitors at the Disney parks.”
Graystone sits on a quarter of an acre of land and has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, stained glass, wrought iron hardware, two-car garage, and “an English Pub style wet bar with custom carvings all around.”
3Disney Golden Oak (Orlando, Florida)
Can’t get enough of Walt Disney World in Orlando? You never need to leave the magic behind—the company has built a permanent neighborhood right within its borders, and residents can enjoy unlimited park tickets for the next three years.
The Golden Oak gated community in Florida has around 290 houses where lucky homeowners and their families can watch the popular Magic Kingdom fireworks from the comfort of their back garden. However, the cost of living a fantasy lifestyle all year long doesn’t come cheap—prices for pads in the gated community START at $2 million.
The luxury houses are huge, between 3,000-12,000 square feet, and are inspired by a mix of Mediterranean and Caribbean architecture. Of course, there are little Disney touches everywhere, from Cinderella chandeliers to Mickey Mouse kitchen tiles. All Golden Oak residents will be able to enjoy amenities such as golf services, Disney Parks tickets, and access to Summerhouse, a private 17,000 square-foot clubhouse that features a dining room, bar, gaming area, and pool.
4Lawrence and Martha Joseph Residence and Apartments (Culver City, CA)
This “Hobbit house” is part of the Lawrence and Martha Joseph Residence and Apartments in Culver City, California. Joseph, another Disney artist, was a skilled carpenter who married fanciful, fairytale decor with nautical themes in both the primary single-family residence and two adjacent two-story buildings/cottages with apartments inside.
The home’s original stone fireplace is intact, and stained glass windows give the place that extra whimsical boost. The bedrooms have views of the front yard’s fountain and a reportedly turtle-filled pond.
The entire compound was made an LA Historic-Cultural Monument in 1996.
5The Up House (Herriman, UT)
In 2011, two self-described Disney fanatics found the home of their dreams in an unexpected place—Utah.
The house, a replica of the colorful home featured in the animated movie Up, is located in the Salt Lake City suburb of Herriman. Clinton and Lynette Hamblin of Petaluma, California had been looking for a house with some of the same flourishes as the one in the movie, such as a multi-colored exterior or a blue kitchen with retro appliances. They looked all over California until they saw a news report about the house in Utah, which includes every possible detail from the movie and is even officially recognized as the Up house by Disney. Even more surprising was the $400,000 price tag, which was far less than the homes they were looking at.
6Storybook Cottage (Los Angeles, CA)
This home is down the street from the cottages that are first on our list and was also designed by and built by architect Ben Sherwood in 1936. The property, like the Snow White Cottages, is rumored to have also been used by Disney until the early 1940’s and is currently for sale for $749,000 with most of its original features intact.
7The Shipley-Lydecker House (Baltimore, MD)
The Shipley-Lydecker House was built by Charles Shipley in 1803 in Baltimore and was the inspiration for Disney’s Haunted Mansion.
Disney Imagineer Ken Anderson initially came up with drawings of an antebellum manor overgrown with weeds, dead trees, swarms of bats, and boarded doors and windows topped by a screeching cat as a weather vane. Walt Disney, however, did not like the idea of a run-down building in his pristine park and when Anderson ran across a photo of the Shipley-Lydecker House something just clicked.
The real life mansion once housed the West Baltimore Post 476 Veterans of Foreign Wars’ living memorial to the dead of World War II, but was torn down sometime after that.
8Walt Disney's First Home (Los Angeles, CA)
Walt Disney’s first Los Angeles home is “five bedrooms, five bathrooms, on a lovely piece of property, but built in a fairly modest style,” says Paula Sigman Lowery, Disney historian.
Walt Disney raised his family here from 1932 through 1950. Of course, the home is flush with trademark Disney touches (see the photos above). It’s now privately owned, and the once 5-acre compound has been considerably whittled down, but the people who’ve lived here have kept the place as Disney-original as possible, right down to the Walt Disney-commissioned murals.