WALT'S APARTMENT, DISNEYLAND
Did you know that Walt Disney had a secret apartment in Disneyland? I'm sure there were rumors about its existence and location through the decades, but now with a quick Google search you can get all of the info you will ever need. It's not so secret anymore. Actually, I think a tour can be booked by anyone visiting the parks. It was one of two private behind the scenes tours that I experienced while in Disneyland, California. Check it out if you are heading to Magic Kingdom. It is also the last installment in my Disney Trifecta series, which included a tour of the Disneyland Dream Suite and a night’s stay in Cinderella’s Castle. Disney lovers be jealous…be very jealous.
The apartment is a tiny couple of rooms set atop the Main Street Firehouse. Most people would overlook it when entering the park, and it's easy to forgot that perched above the fire engine is where Walt used to spy on his guests. In the photo below, you can see me standing under the apartment window in some god awful outfit. Really, what cartoon character dressed me? The second image is the view from the shaded balcony overlooking the Square, where Walt could sneak a peek at all of his guests and admire his handy work. If you are ever visiting Magic Kingdom be sure to look up. You never know who could be watching!
The interior of the apartment is staged in all of its 1950's glory, as it was when occupied by Walt. Complete with appliances, gramophone, and period furnishings. Designed by one of Disney’s set designers the décor is red and white with lots of frills, fluff, and florals. I don't remember the exact square footage, but it is small. A modest entry opens to the sitting area, a tiny kitchenette, and bathroom. To make it more comfortable, the designer added custom furnishings like a built-in sofa bed with storage. So clever and efficient. The lamp shown in the photo above is kept lit in the window facing the Square as a lovely tribute to the owner.
It felt very much like a museum. We kept quiet and didn’t touch anything, until one of us summoned the courage and asked if we could take photographs. It was allowed, but the guide asked that we not share them online. In keeping with this request, I’ll offer up these old images of Walt enjoying the space with his family and guests. The room still looks exactly like these photos. If you want to see more, then you will just have to take a trip and check it out for yourself. Or visit me and I can show you my secret stash of photos. There is even one of me sitting on his sofa. My butt sat where Walt’s butt sat!
It was interesting to see the personal side of this very public and famous man. His parks are what he wanted the world to experience, but this small space was made just for him.