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Travel as Walt Disney did by taking a vintage railroad car excursion with the Private Car Service

Travel as Walt Disney did by taking a vintage railroad car excursion with the Private Car Service

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How would you like a chance to enjoy a classic travel experience? Not only that, but what if it was one that Walt & Lillian Disney enjoyed on a cross-country excursion?

Saturday, August 16th is the date that just such an opportunity awaits. Roger Colton of Private Car Service will be taking a select group of guests on a vintage railroad car excursion from Los Angeles to San Diego that day. The great news is that there are still some seats aboard that you can reserve.

Step back to the summer of 1938 as Walt Disney was being feted with honorary degrees, at two of the country's highest institutions of learning. Both Harvard and Yale had invited Walt to be part of the graduation ceremonies that year. He graciously accepted, being assured that receiving such an honor from one of these universities would not impact doing so at the other. (Check out this story on Jim Hill Media  by Wade Sampson from 2003 with a bit more about Walt's honorary degrees.)


Robert Taylor and Walt Disney shakes hands as they pose the cameras after
exiting the 20th Century Limited on June 20, 1938.

On the evening of Friday, June 17th, Walt and Lillian boarded the most deluxe train of the Atchison, Topeka Santa Fe Railway - the Super Chief - for the trip from Los Angeles to Chicago. The train was the latest word in streamline design and technology. Pulled by diesel-elecrtric locomotives, with a lightweight all-first class Pullman consist built by the Budd Company, the train departed from the new Los Angeles Union Passenger Station at 8:00 pm. With limited stops for servicing along the way, it arrived in Chicago at the Dearborn Street Station at 1:45 pm on Sunday, the 19th. That same afternoon, Walt & Lillian departed Chicago on the famed all-Pullman 20th Century Limited at 3:00 pm and arrived into New York's Grand Central Terminal at 8:00 am. 

(Walt wasn't the only Hollywood name to arrive that morning. The local newspapers caught MGM actor Robert Taylor, also aboard the 20th Century. Photographs from the day show him with Walt, exiting the train.)
Walt went on the visit friends and business associates - as well as receiving both honorary doctorates - while in New York. He and Lillian repeated their journey aboard the 20th Century and the Super Chief heading west. It was a very successful trip east.

Now back to the present! This trip to San Diego will be riding aboard one of the cars from the 1937 Super Chief - the lounge car "Acoma". Recently restored to operation, the interior is very much as it was in that summer of 1938. Oversized chairs offer comfortable seats for the excursion with great views of the Pacific shore along the way. The trip departs from Union Station in Los Angeles at 9:20 am and arrives into San Diego at 12:41 pm. The return from San Diego departs at 6:45 pm with arrival back into Los Angeles at 9:45 pm.


Walt Disney waves to the crowd as he returns to LA's Union Station.

Breakfast pastries and beverages will be served on the trip down to San Diego, with a variety of desserts and beverages served on the return to Los Angeles. The price per person is $225. Space is limited to 20 passengers

Something to do while in San Diego? The aircraft carrier Midway museum is a short walk from the train station. As well, the light rail trains depart and arrive at the station as well. Looking to take in some theme park history? Shelly Valladolid will be along and glad to share how the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition in Balboa Park played a role in influencing many theme parks and events that have taken place since. And a few special guests with a bit of Disney history to share are planning to join us as well. You won't want to miss some of the great tales they will have to share as well. It promises to be a great day's adventure!

To reserve your place, contact Roger Colton of Private Car Service at 925-321-0023925-321-0023 or by e-mail to rcolton@mac.com.

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