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Disneyland Article
Here Is How You Can Visit Walt Disneys 1950s Apartment
Larry Heath
Whether you’ve seen the movie Saving Mr. Banks, heard the folklore or have noticed the lamp yourself, chances are you know that Walt Disney had small apartment near the entry to Disneyland in California. Situated above the Fire Station that sits on the left hand side of the park’s entry, Walt would be able to look out the window and see guests as they entered his park’s first themed land, Main Street U.S.A.

To this day, the lamp in the apartment’s window has been kept on in his memory, and the contents of the room kept virtually intact, not just giving modern visitors a glimpse into the life of the ‘Man behind the Mouse’, but also a time capsule of life in 1950s.

Up until 2012, visitors to this room were only a select chosen few, but since then, anyone with a ticket to Disneyland can register to step foot inside the apartment by way of a paid tour. Up until 2022, this was as part of a three hour tour called “Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps”. Since then, it has been reduced to a more focused hour and a half , and renamed Walt’s Main Street Story.

During the tour, a limited number of daily guests are given the chance to walk in Walt Disney’s footsteps along Main Street, before visiting his apartment. The tour is typically available early in the morning.

I had the chance to take the tour a month or so ago, and as a long time attendee of the park, I found it a thrill to experience.

Walt’s room itself is surprisingly quaint, with roses everywhere (a favourite of Walt’s wife Lillian), and a Victorian style design. There are two couches that became twin beds, a very small 1950s kitchen, and a very small bathroom. In all, it’s only 500 square feet in size.

You’ll also see lots of music items look out for a Regina music box that dates back to 1890s, and an Edison phonograph from the same period.

While the apartment is easily the main appeal of the tour, it’s a fascinating experience from start to finish. As you walk through Main Street, your tour guide shows off some of the hidden secrets in the section of park designed after Walt’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri, at the turn of the century.

Without spoiling too much here you’ll learn about the gas lamps, get to know about the names written in the windows, meet Tilly the “attendant” who has been here since Disneyland opened hear the dentist, and you’ll get to know what an Orchestrion is. And you’ll learn about an odd light at the Coke Refreshment Corner.

The experience comes with a themed lemon cookie and a drink at the end, as well as complimentary digital downloads of the photos taken in the room by one of the PhotoPass photographers. You also get a special name pin you get to take home.

Our tour guide also showed off the first published photo of Walt in the apartment, taken in 1963 by way of an original copy of the National Geographic in which it featured. Indeed, the space was kept much more of a secret then that it is now.

So is the tour worth it? For fans of Disneyland, it feels like something you’ve all got to experience at least once. And with a price tag of US$160 per person, on top of the price of park admission, you wouldn’t be able to justify doing it more than that. But that’s also how they ensure availability amongst limited supply. So save this one for a very special occasion because it is a very welcome treat.

To book your spot on the Walt’s Main Street Story tour, head to the official Disneyland website.

And if you’re in California and want to experience more Walt Disney history, on the third Sunday of every month, from 11am to 3pm, guests are invited into Walt Disney’s Carolwood Barn in Griffith Park, 30 miles from Disneyland. The Barn was Walt’s train workshop, and is essentially a train museum, also showcasing Disney memorabilia. And better still, admission is free.

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