Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Events: Our Visit to the Real Up House (2015 Road Trip Part 5)

Today I'm wrapping up writing about our 2015 Disney road trip with part five of five (if you missed the others, be sure to check out part one, part two, part three and part four).

After an amazing whirlwind of a time at Disneyland, California Adventure, Star Wars Celebration and a couple of nights in Las Vegas, our California Disney trip was coming to end. However, there was still one last thing on our agenda to look forward to...our scheduled visit to the famous Utah "Real Up House"!

Since we were driving through Utah on the way back to Idaho, and also since my wife's family would all be out there as well for her sister's wedding that was happening that weekend, I thought it would be the perfect time to finally schedule a full-on photo shoot visit to the Up house. We had been meaning to for quite some time, but since we were moving back east to Connecticut after this trip, this would be our last chance. Needless to say, everything went according to plan and I look forward to sharing all the magical details of our visit with you!


In 2011, this full sized, fully functional replica of the iconic house from Pixar's Up was built by Bangerter Homes as part of the "Utah Parade of Homes." During that summer, the house was opened to the public for touring. In November of 2011, the house was sold to Disney·Pixar mega fans Clinton and Lynette Hamblin who are the current occupants today with their family.

While the neighborhood's homeowners association did initially make quite a fuss regarding the house's bright, whimsical colors, the Hamblins were ultimately allowed to keep the color scheme (rather than have to comply to the standard earth tones) in order "to preserve the charm of the house."

The Hamblins also decided to keep the inside of the home decorated in the style of Up (with all the custom made replicas, props and furniture that came with purchasing the home) and have brilliantly and seamlessly incorporated their own family's photos and personal items as part of the decor as well.

The house is located in Herriman Utah (about 27 miles outside of Salt Lake City). It's 2,800 square feet with four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a finished basement, a beautiful kitchen, two marvelous living rooms and even some "secret" spaces (more on that later in the post). Details from the film's house are everywhere, from the outside weathervane to the inside mantel pieces. As a massive Pixar fan, this was a sight to behold.


What's really cool to me is that Clinton and Lynette have made it possible for people to still come and visit the house, despite being years after the Parade of Homes. As magical as it is on the inside and out, it's still their private residence; so I find that very generous of them that they give people the opportunity to come and enjoy some time there on their property.

To schedule a time to visit for a 45 minute outdoor photo shoot, all you need to do is visit and contact the owners with a specific day and time you're looking to come. They'll work out a final time with you and that's it! It was seamless. Note: Scheduling a photo shoot  doesn't include a photographer, so if you would like a professional there, I'm sure the Hamblins could give you some local options.   

The outside photo shoot is $50, while going inside for pictures is an additional charge (you can check out their pricing on the website). You can also rent Up themed props from them to use in your photos such as the iconic hand print mailbox, Carl's cane, Ellie's painter palette with brush, "adventure hats and goggles", a bow tie, the grape soda pin, Carl's balloon cart and more. It's really neat!

Lynette is also kind enough to let guests know where the closest Walmart is in their town prior to coming...picking up balloons for a photo shoot there is an absolute must!


As planned, we got 10 balloons at the nearest Walmart (it's about six-eight minutes away) and headed right over to the house for our 11:30 a.m. shoot...and of course Brita and I came in some Up attire! We both wore our Up Hot Topic Tees (read the post on my shirt HERE; find Brita's at Hot Topic's website HERE) and Brita even got an Up grape soda bow for her hair (also found at Hot Topic HERE). Balloons- check. Themed clothes- check. We were good to go!

We met the rest of Brita's family there at the house including her mom, dad, brother Johnny, sister Kersti and her sister's [now] husband Michael. We met the very kind Lynette and Clinton, and after signing some papers, the place was ours to do the photos for the next hour or so!

Though we were worried since it was very windy when we got there, we feel that the pictures still came out just about perfect. They told us it was pretty consistently windy in that area, so don't be alarmed! Your photos will still be great. In fact, having the balloons flow in the wind as they did probably even made the pictures better! 

Speaking of the pictures...let's get to them! A big thanks to Brita's mom for being our photographer.

The whole crew!

Here we are all together before the engaged couple had to run off to finish some wedding stuff. And yes, of course we had to fork out to rent the mailbox prop! How could we not? Such a crucial element.

Brita, me, Michael and  Kersti
The two love birds- now happily married!
Me, Johnny and Michael. Brita's dad in the background is of course trying to pull off a grumpy old man :)
Brita and her mom
Dan the jumping Pixar fan strikes again!

After our amazingly fun photo shoot, we were getting ready to head out...however we were actually given the opportunity to go inside which was so unexpected and extremely appreciated! I can't even tell you how exciting it was.

So many awesome movie details were all throughout the house. The pictures don't even do the place justice! Which ones can you spot?

Fun fact: Lynette actually makes that wonderful Disney glass art seen on the shelves above! She even sells it right on the Up house website (visit the page HERE to purchase).

They also had a couple cool custom "My Adventure Books", which was fantastic since I've always wanted one. Not only was the one seen below an extremely movie accurate one, but it filled with the names of hundreds of people who have visited the home!

I was also thrilled and felt very honored that Clinton wanted to show me something that he doesn't always pull out and show guests...but because he knew I was such an avid Pixar collector, he knew how much I would appreciate it!

It was a surprise gift from Pixar as a house warming gift to Up teaser poster signed by director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera (with little doodles of a balloon, Carl, Ellie, Dug and Kevin)! It also says "Enjoy your new house!" SO COOL.

I loved the retro style kitchen. It was really nice! Even though the kitchen isn't seen in the actual film, you can imagine it may have looked something like this.

The kitchen table, however, is seen in the they tried to find a similar style.

Before we left, Brita actually asked if we could see the stork themed nursery they have upstairs (which looks exactly like the one in the movie, wall painting and all)...and I'm glad she did! The Hamblins were kind enough to let us take a peak up there. Clinton even gave us a cool insight that we had never noticed before. In the stork room painting (both in the film and in the house there), there is a little blue cloud and a little pink cloud near the bottom middle; meaning of course that they didn't know the gender of the baby yet. It's nothing crucial, but we thought it was cool since we hadn't noticed it before!

Just when I thought we saw it all, Clinton shows us one last little detail. See those shelves at the top of the stair? Well, to our surprise, they actually opened up to reveal a secret play room for the kids! Just when you thought it couldn't get any! 

When it came time to leave, we definitely didn't want to. We just had so much fun! I could have spent hours longer there exploring all the details and work that was put into this house. I'm so glad we were able to have this experience and so grateful to the Hamblins for the magical memories we now look back on and cherish! They were so kind, warm and welcoming to us and we appreciated everything they did to make our time there that much better. A HUGE thanks to them!

If you ever have the opportunity to visit the Up house for yourself, don't miss it! I can't recommend it enough. We will be looking back at these fond times for years and years to come.

Be sure to follow the Up house on Instagram @UpHouse, on Twitter @PixarUPhouse and on Facebook HERE!

UPDATE 6/04/15: I'm honored to have been a part of's most recent podcast where I talk more about my experience. Visit their site HERE to have a listen!

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