Video Vault: Walt Disney's 1961 visit to the Cleveland Zoo

CLEVELAND - One of the joys of digging through the Video Vault is the occasional gem I find that makes me go “Wow!”

This is one of those “Wows!”

It’s August 14, 1961 and Walt Disney is in Cleveland – yes, Walt Disney.

Disney was at the Cleveland Zoo riding the train and feeding animals, two of his passions.

Disney was so into trains, he had the one-eighth scale train layout,  the Carolwood Pacific, built on his Holmby Hills property on Carolwood Drive in Los Angeles.

He was in town advising Vernon Stouffer, then the president of the Cleveland Zoological Society, on new nature and animal exhibits.

A WEWS reporter asks Disney about expansion at the zoo.

"I think it's important we know as much about nature as we can possibly learn, " Disney says.

Walt talks about nature and his films on the topics plus the need for people in cities to learn about nature.

"I think the success of the nature films is an indication of the desire in the public to learn more and more about the animals of nature and the ways of life and things - it's vital."

Disneyland in California had been open six years at the time of his Cleveland stop.

Walt Disney World would open ten years after Disney's visit here, October 1, 1971. Disney would not live to see that happen as he died in 1966.

Enjoy a look back as a worldwide legend and icon visits our Cleveland Zoo.

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