The Golden Girls was a show that defied odds, a sitcom about 4 senior citizen women sharing a house. It wasn’t a premise that was a sure-fire hit. But with 4 legendary stars, great writing, and relatable storylines, it became one of the biggest hits of the 80s. It introduced a whole new audience to Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Betty White, and Estelle Getty. They also brought new popularity to the term “lanai”.
Like most sitcoms, the show was shot on a soundstage. The house used for establishing shots, however, was real… at first!
When the show debuted in 1985, a house in Brentwood, California was used for the establishing shots. This house can be found at 245 North Saltair Avenue. The house still exists and is on a quiet residential street.
In later seasons, a recreation of the house was constructed at MGM Studios Theme Park at Walt Disney World in Florida. This house was located on the residential street, and could be seen on the original backlot tour. The tour guides said the house started being used for establishing shots in season 2. However this is hard to believe as Season 2 started in 1986 and MGM Studios didn’t open until 1989. In fact, there are discussions on various forums that argue that the Disney version of the house was never featured on the show at all. Unfortunately the entire residential street was bulldozed in 2002 to make room for some new attractions.
Despite that, you can still visit the house in Brentwood if you want to see the original Golden Girls house.