Future Plans


Classroom/event space
for training & public programs


Recreation of
Walt’s Laugh-O-gram studio


Soda/coffee shop
& museum gift shop


Space for new media
start-up entrepreneurs

The building is divided by a floor and a central masonry wall, separating it into four roughly 2,500-square-foot spaces. Essential to the long-term success of the facility will be designing flexibility into the program. The space limitations can be overcome by collaborative use. Some would argue that digital media is already an outdated term, a clear reminder that technology is anything but static. With this in mind, the uses of each proposed space should grow and change over time to reflect and lead an ever- changing industry. It is anticipated that some spaces will have increasing demand over time and are likely to outgrow the Laugh-O- Gram building footprint. This natural expansion should contribute to the development of a Kansas City Campus of Innovation, with development and investment radiating from the successful programs founded within this facility. As with Walt Disney’s success, the legacy of this building should be in providing fertile ground for great ideas to become new realities.



• K-12 Classroom
• College Classroom
• Professional Training
• Educational Resource Center
• Computer Literacy Classes
• Animation Camp
• Technology Playground
• Digital Tech Lab
• Screening Theater
• Interactive Webcast Studio (SiteDeck)
• Event Space


• Outdoor Theater and GatheringSpace
• Informal Digital Media Collaboration Spaces
• Retail Space
• Community Meeting Space
• Center for Animators
• Soda / Coffee Shop
• Graphic and Video Art Gallery


• Interactive Museum
• Recreation of 1922 Laugh-O-Gram Studio
• Global Attraction / Destination
• Rotation of Disney and Other Animation-Focused Exhibits
• Small Classic Film Screening, Lecture and Meeting Area
• Disney KC Tour Headquarters


• Collaborative Leased Workspace
• Shared Resources and Spaces
• Active Workplace
• Digital Media Equipment Library Host
• Active Workplace

All graphics and Feasibility Study (below) courtesy of BNIM.


About the Laugh-O-Gram Film Studio

  • Walt Disney created Laugh-O-Grams, short animated cartoons, in this building from 1922 to 1923
  • The building is located at 1127 East 31st Street, Kansas City, MO 64109
  • The building is known among animation historians as “the Cradle of Hollywood Animation” because the people Walt trained in this building became the founders of America’s most well-known animation studios

About the Building

  • The two-story, 10,000 sq. ft. McConahy Building was designed by architect Nelle Peters and constructed in 1922 by the Bliss Building Co.
  • The building is owned by Thank You Walt Disney, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that saved the building from demolition and continues to stabilize and maintain the structure.
  • TYWD Leadership: Butch Rigby, Chair, and Dan Viets, President

About the Renovation Initiative

Courtesy of BNIM

Thank You Walt Disney, Inc. is dedicated to preserving and restoring the Laugh-O-gram Film Studio that Walt Disney created and operated in Kansas City, Missouri from 1922-1923.
The above animation walks you through one architect team’s award winning vision of how the Laugh-O-gram building could be designed.
This building will be home to an animation museum, training space for animation and digital media storytelling, and a co-working space for new media startups.

  • The goal is to complete an historic rehabilitation of the building
  • The building would feature four public areas:
    • Museum of Animation—recreation of Walt’s Laugh-O-Gram studio
    • Flex Studio—classroom/event space for training & public programs
    • Welcome Center—soda/coffee shop and museum gift shop
    • Co-working Space for new media start-up entrepreneurs
  • Core planning team: Butch Rigby & Dan Viets of TYWD, Gary Sage of EDC-KC, Marlene Nagel of MARC, Ron Green of KCdigiSTORY Center, Cydney Millstein of Architectural & Historical Research, LLC, Jeremy Knoll of BNIM, and Greg Foss, Economic Development Director with Affinity Enterprise Group

Program Plans for Laugh-O-Gram

  • Museum tours for public; rotating gallery programs on animation history
  • Educational programs on animation, digital storytelling & media
    • K-12 and after-school programs
    • Onsite and on-line post-secondary education programs
    • Workforce development & continuing education programs (media)
    • Degree programs through consortium of regional universities
  • Special events and programs
  • Entrepreneurial start-up support for new media companies

Kansas City Digital Media Workforce

  • A 2013 Mid-America Regional Council study identified these KC Metro workforce considerations:
    • 33,249 jobs in digital storytelling industry (9% above nat’l avg)
    • 484 firms (media, film, public relations, advertising, etc.)
    • KC Metro digital storytelling jobs to grow by 10.8% by 2022

Troost Area Development Considerations

  • Laugh-O-Gram building is one block east of 31st & Troost
  • Troost Corridor Initiative is one of KC Chamber’s Big Five initiatives
  • Qualifies for KC Planned Industrial Expansion Authority (PIEA) incentives
  • Opportunity to advance digital inclusion initiatives for neighborhood
    • 80% of households in this neighborhood do not own computers or have internet
    • 70% of Kansas City Public School students have no internet
  • Legacy Crossroads District is a new real estate development offering many properties along Troost between 31st & Linwood.  They seek boutique-sized businesses for urban pioneers, artists & media firms.

Funding & Incentive Programs

  • Pursuing EDA Public Works matching grant
  • Missouri Development Finance Board (MDFB) tax incentives
  • New Market Tax Credits
  • Missouri Capital Match Program for Facilities (Higher Education Capital Fund)
  • Historic Rehabilitation tax credits

Feasibility Study for Laugh-O-Gram Initiative