Saturday, May 3, 2014

Touring Walt Disney's Apartment at Disneyland

Theresa, Ruston, Jacob and I have had the opportunity to see so many cool parts of Disneyland, including the Dream Suite, Club 33, the 1901 Lounge, an after-hours tour of Disneyland, and so much more. What's left? The four of us have actually had that conversation before.

On Saturday, the four of us were able to tour Walt Disney's private apartment inside Disneyland.

In order to keep tabs on the building of Disneyland and also as a retreat during the day, Walt Disney had an apartment built above the Disneyland Fire Department on Main Street.

Every fire department needs a fireman's pole! This particular pole happens to lead to Walt's apartment!

Climbing up the pole, we emerged into the apartment. I climbed up first, then helped Theresa. Ruston and Jacob followed.

We're here! Inside Walt's old apartment!
... well no, that's not quite how it happened.

One of our Disney friends was invited to take a tour of Walt's apartment and invited us to join them! We first met up at the 1901 Lounge in DCA to recount everything that's been going on in our lives for the past few months.

We all enjoyed the drinks and the company until it was time for our tour.

The lounge was pretty crowded so I didn't want to get up and take a bunch of photos. You can find a few of my past photos here and here.

This seems to be a rotating display inside the lounge. I remember previously seeing Snow White and I think Pinocchio. Today we see Dumbo so I wonder if Bambi will be showing up next.

We walked from DCA over to DL and waited for our tour guide to arrive. We're all excited to get to explore something that's been our list for a while!

At 1pm, our tour guide Emily came and invited us and a couple other groups to see Walt's apartment.

We entered the backstage area through this Cast Members Only doorway and at this point we were told we were officially "backstage" and all cameras had to be put away. Aww...

Just behind this doorway, was a green staircase that led to the 2nd floor of the firehouse. A doormat with a large D was in front of a white door with an old fashioned doorbell. We were allowed to ring the doorbell then invited inside. There were three different cast members inside the apartment and we were asked to put down all our bags and cameras while inside. They said it was to preserve the magic of where we were.

They told us the history of the room, showed us where Walt and Lillian slept (in separate beds on either side of the room). We saw the kitchenette with a mini-fridge and a small sandwich press that Walt used to make himself grilled cheese sandwiches and also to heat up chili where he'd eat it directly out of the can.

Lastly, we were shown the bathroom with a full shower with four separate shower heads. Walt really liked to "plus" things up.

At the end of the tour they asked everyone to place their cameras on the kitchenette counter where a cast member would take a photo for you to commemorate your visit.

Time to make our exit! Down the firepole we slid into the Fire Station below.


Ok, no, not really. The space above the pole was patched up a long time ago when a precocious young boy shimmied up the pole and found a napping Walt Disney up top (so the story goes).

I would have loved to see the patio area where Lillian entertained guests, but that'll be a bit of magic to save for another time. 

When Walt lived here, he'd leave the light by the window on. Many times it would be on late into the night and early in the morning. As a tribute to Walt, that light is now kept 24/7, 365 to symbolize Walt's spirit always being here in the parks (with the exception of when members of the Disney family are in the park out of respect).

A great big Thank You goes out to our friends who invited us to join them on this amazing tour! It's something we've always wanted to do and it was great to finally experience it!

If you'd like to see a little bit more of Disneyland close up, including a visit to Walt's Apartment, you can book the Walk in Walt's Footsteps tour. It's $109 per person for a 3 hour tour ($84.20 with if you're an annual passholder), with a stop at Walt's apartment, a ride on the Disneyland Railroad, Peter Pan, and it's a small world. When it wasn't under construction, this tour also included a stop at the Club 33 lobby, though now I'm not sure what has replaced it.

For those who would like to see a little bit more of the apartment right now, Inside The Magic was given the amazing opportunity to record the tour. Much of what we heard was nearly verbatim with what was said in the video below. 

Also, not everyone is prohibited from taking photographs inside. You can see a few more views including the patio and the bathroom from Davelandweb and this other site.

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