Have You Ever Wanted to Ride a Miniature Train? Here is Your Chance.

Photo of small gabled barn, people mingling around the open entrance

Photo of a miniature train running on a track embedded in the ground. One person is sitting in front and waving at the camera.

Photos courtesy of Gabi Twombly

On the 3rd Sunday of every month, the Walt Disney Carolwood Barn opens in Griffith Park. Their website states, “The Carolwood Foundation’s mission is to preserve Walt Disney’s railroad legacy. We accomplish this through: sharing our volunteers’ and supporters’ love of railroading; teaching our children to understand the role that railroads served in building America, and encouraging the continual appreciation of railroading.” Being a Disney fan, I went to check it out last month on the 21st. The site sits less than a mile past the entrance of the LA zoo tucked away on the side of the hill. Parking wasn’t difficult to find right across the street, although the line to enter can get a bit long. There were tons of train tracks criss-crossing each other on the grass and dirt as I entered the gates. The setup is split into two parts: the left side has the barn, food, and some historical material, and the right side has the miniature trains. I entered from the right since I wanted to get on the trains before they closed (opening hours are 11am-3pm). $4 will get you a ticket for a 15 minute ride on one of the small engines. In this economy, I’ll take that as a win. We took off from the station after a 10-minute wait and chugged through small towns and by waterfalls, through tunnels and over bridges. The left side of the park has a separate entrance a walk away. No entry fee was required and I stepped right in to see the barn. Inside, we could see all the Disney posters, sketches, and replicas of old trains Walt Disney used to work on as a hobby. Walt Disney was a very big train enthusiast with some of the earliest versions of the Disney parks being centered on trains. The barn displayed was relocated from his backyard where he used the mini-trains to entertain his family and friends. Outside the barn, you can look inside an old railcar once used in the theme parks or waive to the passing engines. All in all, a fun experience if you want to get out and see something new.

You can still enjoy the trains today in Griffith or on the Disneyland Railroad in the theme parks! I highly recommend stopping by. They’re planning to celebrate their 25th anniversary this coming July the 19-21st.