I work in the travel industry. My position allows me the opportunity to travel quite often. I happen to oversee most of the Disney product that my company sells. This has allowed me some really special opportunities. For example, I attended the grand opening of Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure Park last summer and most recently the grand opening of the New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.
Two of the most exciting things I’ve done though, is visit Walt Disney’s apartment and the Dream Suite at Disneyland.
First, please allow me apologize for the poor quality of these pictures. I never remember to take a camera with me when I travel for business, so they were taken with my less than desirable BlackBerry camera.
Walt’s original apartment was built over the Fire Station at the entrance of Main Street U.S.A. It is on your left side as you enter the park, just after City Hall.
To enter the apartment, you must go “backstage” (to the right of the building in the above image). Here is a picture of entrance door, which actually enters from the back (when you walk in, you’re facing the window on the right in the above image).
It is a studio apartment, with a wet bar, bathroom and large veranda.
Here are a few photos of Walt and his family enjoying these private quarters.
When you walk into the door of this apartment, it opens up to the right of you. In the above image, the entrance is at the end of the hallway near the woman wearing the white dress.
The window and two chairs in the below photo are in the center of the room, in the front of the building. On each side of these chairs is two daybeds. One for Walt and one for his wife, Lillian.
In the center window, that you can see from outside the Fire Station, there is a gas lamp (shown in the below photo) that was always lit when Walt was in the apartment. It now is lit eternally in his memory. I guess that means that he is there in spirit.
I thought for sure this was going to be a “no-touch” experience, but they actually let us sit in the chairs and on the bed. Yep, I’ve sat on Walt’s bed. Crazy!
There is a music box cabinet and phonograph in the apartment. I believe one, if not both, were gifts to his wife. The tour guide took out some of the wax cylinders from their box. These were basically cylinder shaped records made of wax (I didn’t get a photo of them, but I found a photo online that I’ve posted below so that you can see what they look like). This was like looking at Walt’s “play-list” of his day. Since they’re made of wax, they can actually melt, so it’s amazing to think that they’ve survived this long.
While Walt had the main living area of the apartment decorated in Victorian style (matching Main Street U.S.A.), the wet bar and bathroom had more of a mid-century look to them. I felt really fortunate, because our tour guide was very thorough and showed us a lot of behind the scene areas, like opening the cabinets in the kitchen, for example. The baby bottles from his grandchildren were even still in place on the top shelf of the cupboard. On top of the counter was a beverage set that says, “Tom and Jerry” on the front. I was thinking in my mind, “hmmm…Tom and Jerry weren’t Disney characters…I wonder why he had this?” That’s when the guide shared that a “Tom and Jerry” was a popular hot mixed drink, usually enjoyed around the holidays. It usually includes egg nog, rum and brandy.
Before you enter the bathroom, there is a small dressing area with a closet and chest of drawers that you must pass through. I bet you can guess my favorite part of this area. If you guessed the mother-of-pearl vanity set, you got it! The bathroom sink is pink (in all its mid-century glory).
As you approach the door to the veranda, you pass over the area of the floor that was once open with a fire pole to the fire station below. Walt would actually slide down the pole. They eventually closed the opening through when a crazy park guest tried to shimmy her way up the pole into Walt’s apartment.
This experience was SOOO amazing. I feel very priveliged to have had the opportunity. If you, too, would like to visit the apartment, it is included on the Adventures by Disney itinerary for their “Southern California” escorted vacation.