The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California is a reflection of the love the Disney family has for the arts. Did you know you can tour the Walt Disney Concert Hall without attending a concert? A beautiful self guided walking audio tour that any Disney fan would enjoy.
If you are as much of a Disney fan as I am you are going to want to read what it is like to tour the Pixar campus, or see what there is to do at the Walt Disney Family Museum, and don’t forget to find all the Disney Walls in California Adventure.
Where is the Walt Disney Concert Hall?
Is there a free tour of the Walt Disney Concert Hall?
Yes! One of the free things to do in Los Angeles is to take the free audio walking tour of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Tours are available most days from 10 am -2 pm. Allow yourself at least 60 minutes to take the self guided tour. The tour begins in the Grand Lobby of the Walt Disney Concert Hall and is recommended for ages 10 and up. The tour is narrated by Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor John Lithgow, the tour provides insight from architect Frank Gehry, and other key contributors through a small hand held device. Hold the device to your ear and press the corresponding numbers to hear the audio. If you have earbuds that are NOT blutooth enabled bring them if you want to plug into the device.
Group tours at the Walt Disney Concert Hall
Groups of 15 or more:
- $10 per guest
- Offered most days 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Approximately 60 minutes
- Reservation required. Call (213) 972-7483 for more details and to reservations.
Can you go INTO the concert hall on the tours?
Most of the time there is constant rehearsal happening in the concert hall itself so the hall is closed. When we visited there happened to be no one using the hall for practice so we got a rare glimpse in the magnificent space.
Street closures are in effect around Walt Disney Concert hall through 2020
- Flower Street will be closed between 3rd Street and 1st Street.
- Kosciusko Way will be closed from 3rd Street/Flower to Hope Street.
- 2nd Place bridge will be closed from Hope Street to Kosciusko Way.
- On the weekends from mid-January through mid-March, Hope Street between 3rd and 2nd Streets will be closed (no access to Lower Grand from Hope Street via Kosciusko Way).
- Northbound Hope Street will remain open between 2nd and 1st Streets.
Where do you park for the Walt Disney Concert Hall?
When we visited it was on a Saturday and we arrived by 10 am. We did not have a problem finding street metered parking. I am sure that during the week when businesses are open and school groups are touring, parking is harder to come by. Most defiantly when there is a concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall parking is harder to come by. They did have an underground parking garage with a reasonable parking fee.
Underground Parking at the Walt Disney Concert Hall
- Parking is available directly beneath Walt Disney Concert Hall. Enter on Second Street or Lower Grand Avenue.
- Regular parking costs $9 beginning at 4:30 p.m. for evening concerts; two hours before weekday matinees; and all day on weekends.
- Both the Second Street and Lower Grand entrances will be open 6:00am to midnight, Monday through Friday, and 7:00am to midnight on Saturday and Sunday.
Valet parking at the Walt Disney Concert Hall
- Valet parking is available for $23 at the Hope Street entrance, beginning at 5:00 p.m. for evening concerts, two hours before weekday matinees and all day on weekends.
- The Hope Street valet and Founders parking entrance will open three hours before each concert.
Accessible parking at the Walt Disney Concert Hall
- Accessible parking spaces for vehicles displaying valid, state-issued disability parking placards or license plates are reserved near the elevators on each level.
What is Walt Disney Concert Hall made of?
The exterior of the Walt Disney Concert hall was originally meant to be stone. But Frank Gehry was frustrated with the look of the stone and had it removed. In its place is a more cost effective stainless steel skin. The exterior of the concert hall has a 17 degree slope and a cement ceiling to stabilize the structure. Lasers were brought in to make sure the X Y and Z coordinates were met to ensure the stainless steel would fit the skeleton of the structure.
The billowing sails of the outside steel slopes is reflective of sails on a boat. There are also lines on the exterior of the building to be reminiscent of music lines. When Lilian Disney saw Walt’s name on the outside of the building she referred to the inclusion, placement and simplicity of his name as ‘spiritual’.
What are the Tree Columns in the lobby made of?
The large tree trunk looking columns in the lobby the of the Walt Disney Concert Hall are made from straight grained Douglas fir. Douglas fir was chosen as the wood because it is similar to the wood used in many of the instruments played in the orchestra. The tree columns also serve as support for the building and serve as ducts for the air conditioning and places for lighting.
How much did the Walt Disney Concert Hall cost?
The Walt Disney Concert hall was started in 1987 with a $50 million grant from Lillian Disney, widow of Walt Disney. The concert hall was meant to be a gift to the city of Los Angeles. It took Frank Gehry until 1991 to delivered completed designs that fit the vision Mrs. Disney had for the concert hall. The underground garage cost $110 million, and was paid for by Los Angeles County. The construction of the concert hall itself was delayed from 1994 to 1996 due to lack of fundraising. As with many projects of this scale, additional funds were required because the construction cost of the final project exceeded the budget originally set. Plans were revised, and in a cost-saving move the originally designed stone exterior was replaced with a less costly stainless steel skin.
Upon completion in 2003, the project cost an estimated $274 million; the parking garage alone cost $110 million. The remainder of the total cost was paid by private donations, of which the Disney family’s contribution was estimated to $84.5 million with another $25 million from The Walt Disney Company. By comparison, the three existing halls of the Music Center cost $35 million in the 1960s (about $190 million in today’s dollars).
The Lillian Disney Memorial Fountain
This beautiful sculpture is located 34 feet above Hope street in the public park adjacent to the concert hall. The memorial fountain is a tribute to the late Lillian Disney and pays tribute to her love of Delft porcelain and roses. The petals of the rose are bent reinforced iron bars with stainless steel mesh, concrete and waterproofing. Hundreds of Royal Delft porcelain vases and tiles were broken on the property and an eight-person team led by Tomas Oshinski hand applied each broken piece.
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Walt Disney Concert Hall fun facts
- Atrium hall lobby is open to the public and is meant to encourage a sense of community.
- Atrium hall is exactly as the model Frank Gehry presented to Lillian Disney.
- The grand staircase was designed to be seen and to be seen on. It was meant to showcase the concert guests as they entered the space.
- The Mancini staircase is also knows as the Cinderella staircase.
- There are no plaques or signs in the building as not to interrupt the architecture.
- The donor wall is made of felt and steel.
- The floral carpet is a design called ‘Lillian’.
Is there a gift shop at the Walt Disney Concert Hall?
Yes! There is a beautiful gift shop at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Beautiful keepsakes, music, books, umbrellas, jewelry, art pieces and so many more items. None of which I could fit in my suitcase for the flight back!