I’m a huge fan of Disneyland, the original theme park and as such am as much interested in its history and secrets as visiting it in person. I have visited the park a total of eight times as of the writing of this post and yet there are still places I have not been and secrets that have not been revealed to me.
One of these places is Walt Disney’s apartment. I bet most people that love and visit the park don’t even realize that Walt Disney had an apartment there and it remains to this day. In fact, everyone who comes to Disneyland probably walks right past it without even realizing it. So where is this special place in Disneyland? Right above the Fire Station which is to the left of City Hall.
This was one of the original structures built when Disneyland was under construction in 1955 and Walt used to spend a lot of time there seeing it was quite a drive from his home to where the park is located. After Disneyland was opened and even up to his death, the apartment served as a retreat for Walt who spent alot of time at the park.
It is a small studio apartment comprising about 500 square feet. It is decorated in period style, the period being turn of the century which is what Main Street represents. If you look at the window just above the firehouse, you will notice a lamp that is constantly lit symbolizing that Walt is there in spirit watching over the happiest place on Earth. There is also a back porch that is adjacent to The Jungle Cruise, which lies directly behind the left side of Main Street as you are walking into the park. It of course is heavily camouflaged by trees but you can still hear the sounds of the jungle clearly from the porch.
If you want to get a glimpse into this very special place, I found a virtual tour of the apartment at The Orange County Register that includes audio commentary by Tim O’Day. I also came across an account of a someone who had won the experience of actually having dinner in the apartment. If you love Disneyland and the trivia that surrounds the park, you’ll definitely enjoy these two archives depicting it.
During my last visit to the park, a cast member (that is what Disneyland calls their employees) told me that there was a rumor circulating that Disneyland was considering offer tours of the apartment as part of a special package but I have yet to see any evidence of that.
Another piece of trivia is that there used to be access to the apartment up the fire pole that runs from the apartment down to the firehouse. During Disneyland’s early years a small boy climbed up the pole and stuck his head up into the opening and there was Walt relaxing on the couch. I’m sure Walt was friendly to the youngster but the access was sealed up after that.