KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been a passion project for many hardcore Disney fanatics over the decades, but now there’s some real momentum in the plans to renovate Walt Disney’s original animation studio near 31st and Troost.
“It’s going to be a great educational resource for people who want to learn more about Walt’s years in Kansas City,” said Dan Viets, with the nonprofit Thank You Walt Disney.
Viets is thrilled to announce two new grants, totaling just over $300,000, will be used to spruce up the old Laugh-O-Gram building where Disney conceived of the idea for Mickey Mouse.
“While he lived and worked in the Laugh-O-Gram building, he kept a pet mouse who, just a few years later, was the inspiration for the creation of Mickey Mouse,” Viets said.
Walt Disney left KC for Hollywood in 1923 and the rest, of course, is history. But the old Laugh-O-Gram building still stands and Viets is hoping to line up investors to complete the dream of converting it into a museum and educational space.
Viets says the entire project will likely cost about $5 million but adds the first round of renovations to the exterior of the building will begin this spring.
Third District Councilwoman Melissa Robinson believes there’s reason for optimism around the project.
“We applaud them for being able to attract revenue to start to make this development work,” Robinson told FOX4. “This is a time to pause and celebrate.”