For Sale: Walt Disney's Dramatically Located Desert Getaway

The former Walt Disney home's whimsical features include an elaborate ceiling fan from the film "Casablanca."
By Emily Heffter

First there was Disneyland. And then there was the zipline that Walt Disney installed at this Palm Desert weekend retreat for his A-list friends. Among the famous stars who partied at this small hillside house while Walt Disney owned it in the 1950s and 60s: Humphrey Bogart, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

The one-bedroom, 1.5-bath, 1,440-square-foot home sits high above California's Coachella Valley at 56160 Las Rocas in Mountain Center. Its rear wall is all windows overlooking the view. Its whimsical features include red kitchen cabinets and a feature not present when Disney owned it: the elaborate ceiling fan system featured in the classic film "Casablanca."

Disney and his movie-star friends used to drive to the house -- then even smaller before a 1970 remodel -- and sleep out under the stars in sleeping bags, said Jason Evans, the listing agent for the home with Coldwell Banker's Steve and Geri Downs Team.


Frank Sinatra owned a house in the neighborhood, and Disney's retreat was a Rat Pack party pad. At some point, Disney installed a concrete pad and a zipline, so he and his friends could zoom through the desert.

The home is listed for $535,000, but its big selling point is not the home with its Disney history, but the 2.79-acre property which sits at 3,000-feet with grand views of the Coachella Valley. The neighborhood is full of much larger homes, and Evans expects that the new owner might tear down the Disney retreat to make way for a home with more square footage.

"It's not really the size" of the house, Evans said. "It's the view and the history. It just takes your breath away when you walk into the house."

[CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misspelled the first name of Geri Downs.]

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