Destinations

Chicago Gets a Piece of the Disney Magic with Restoration of Walt’s Home

Dec 06, 2013 11:00 am

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The Disney name attracts visitors to destinations worldwide and this new, comparably humble site is still sure to be added to Chicago’s list of to-see sites.

— Samantha Shankman

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California has Disneyland and Florida has Disney World. But Chicago has Disney Home.

Now a California couple who bought the house where Walt Disney was born 112 years ago plans to turn it into a historical site and museum. According to a news release, they hope it will serve as a “community resource with a mission of enhancing and exploring childhood creativity.”

A spokesman for new owners Dina Benadon and Brent Young said restoration is scheduled to start next month, with the hope that the project can be completed by what would have been Disney’s 113th birthday, on Dec. 5, 2014.

The couple announced on their website that they hope to raise $500,000 for the renovations, with donors receiving prizes, ranging from having their names listed in a book in the house to a one-night stay there.

The two-flat home is located in the Hermosa neighborhood on Chicago’s northwest side. It’s said to have been designed by Disney’s mother, Flora, and built by his carpenter father, Elias. Walt and his brother, Roy, were born there and lived there until Walt was 4 years old.

On Benadon and Young’s website, Roy Patrick Disney, Roy Disney’s grandson, said the family was pleased that the house was “being restored to its humble origins.”

Copyright (2013) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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