You can visit Walt Disney’s apartment at Disneyland – but is the $160 price tag worth it?

While some of the millions of guests who pass through Disneyland’s doors each year know little about the park beyond its rides, others are well aware of the extra touches hidden in plain sight. For example, some know that Walt Disney had an apartment located on Main Street USA. They may also know that a lamp remains lit at the window of this apartment, a symbol of the famous animator’s ever-present legacy in the parks.

What even dedicated visitors may not realize is that this historic space is now accessible via a new tour. As a guest on Walt’s Main Street Story Tour, you’ll enter Disney’s apartment and learn all about the entertainer and his life at Disneyland in the 1950s.

Unlike Disney’s VIP tours, you won’t need to shell out thousands of dollars to peek inside Disney’s apartment. All that is required is a $160 per person tour fee and proof of valid park reservation and admission for the same day. Advance reservations are not required, but are strongly recommended and can be made in advance (up to 60 days before your visit).

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Disney history buff that I am, I’ve always been curious to see what the Disney apartment looked like. So when I learned that a recent trip to Disneyland would be taking place shortly after Walt’s Main Street Story Tour kicked off, I couldn’t resist the chance to wander around the former home of Walt’s Main Street Story Tour. animator.

Here’s what Walt’s Main Street Story Tour was like — and whether the new experience is worth the price.

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A glimpse of Walt Disney’s apartment

As you’d expect, the main draw of the Walt’s Main Street Story Tour is seeing Walt Disney’s former home. Added in the 1950s while Disneyland was under construction, the apartment served as a convenient location from which Disney could monitor the park’s progress when not busy making some of Walt Disney Studios’ most iconic films. . By locating the apartment directly inside the park, Disney could cut down on travel time and take care of its many projects more efficiently.

Built above the Disneyland Fire Station on Main Street USA, Disney’s abode in the park was designed to be different from its primary residence. It featured a Victorian-inspired theme with upholstered furniture, ornate white columns, a mix of antiques, and bold red carpets and curtains.

Although it was originally created as a workplace for Disney, it was frequently used by his family during visits to Disneyland after the park opened in 1955, as seen in this 1962 image. This photo shows Disney and his wife, Lillian Disney, enjoying the space with three of their grandchildren.

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Walt Disney’s apartment in 1962. TOM NEBBIA/CORBIS/GETTY IMAGES

Despite the apartment’s small size — which I immediately noticed during my visit — the 500-square-foot abode served its purpose, offering only a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and walk-in closet. According to the story, due to the lack of a proper bed, Walt and Lillian slept on sofas on either side of the main room during their stays at the property.

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What to expect when visiting Walt’s Main Street Story at Disneyland

To begin the tour, head to the Main Street USA park entrance. This is where you will find a hidden area with a small gazebo office called “Tour Gardens”.

When I arrived to check in for the tour, I was asked about my snack preferences before being given both a neck tag and a listening device so I could better hear the ideas of the tour guide while walking down Main Street.

Our tour began with a 10 minute visit to the Disney Gallery, where a map of what Disneyland looked like on opening day was on display. This is where we learned more about what inspired the design of Main Street USA.

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We then strolled down Main Street for about 10 minutes, getting some info on the thoroughfare’s design.

After about 25 minutes of touring, we headed to the fire station. At this point, the anticipation grew, as the eight of us on the tour knew that this likely meant we were minutes away from walking backstage, up the stairs, and emerging into the iconic Disney apartment. With each step, our anticipation grew even more.

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Upon entering the apartment, we spent 30-40 minutes gazing at everything in awe as we discovered everything inside (under watchful eyes, of course).

Much to my disappointment, visitors are not allowed to take photos in the apartment and must keep all their belongings to one side of the wall near the entrance to ensure no photos are secretly taken . However, a Disney PhotoPass photographer will appear approximately 20 minutes after your stay begins at the apartment to take pictures. The cost of the tour covers all digital images you receive from this service through your Disneyland app.

DISNEY PHOTO PASS

To conclude the visit, we ventured on the patio of the apartment for 20 minutes. This is where you are given a special themed lemon cookie and a soda of your choice to enjoy while listening to the sounds of Main Street below.

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A parade happened while we were up there so the scene was particularly lively when we visited. For a brief moment, as my eyes were closed, I felt like I could fully imagine what Disney went through watching passers-by from that perch.

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Is the visit inside Walt Disney’s apartment worth it?

As a die-hard Disney fanatic who loves to learn all about Walt Disney and the history of the parks, I had no hesitation in spending $160 to get into this apartment. The snack break and extra history provided around Main Street were just added bonuses as far as I was concerned.

That said, not everyone will feel the same as me. If $160 sounds like a good trade for getting into an exclusive part of Disneyland, then chances are you’ll enjoy the visit as much as I do. Between the insider facts gleaned during the tour and the souvenir photos provided by the Disney PhotoPass photographer, there were many moments of the experience that I will cherish forever.

DISNEY PHOTO PASS

However, if you’re not raising a budding Disney historian, this tour probably won’t be appropriate or entertaining enough for those under 12. The same could even be said for tweens and older teens, depending on their fascination with Disney. the story. I didn’t take my kids on the tour as it wouldn’t have been a good use of money or their time in the park to do so, although I hope that will change once they are a little older.

If there’s anything about the tour that I wish I had been different, it was that it was a bit long. By cutting some of the snack time or skipping the Main Street USA part to reduce the tour time from 90 minutes to an hour, more time could be spent on other interesting aspects of the park’s history, like how part of the opening day rides came about. In a perfect world, I’d like the tour to be structured like Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour at Disney World, but now I’m nitpicking.

So is it really worth signing up for the Walt’s Main Street Story Tour? Ultimately, it will come down to your personal interests and budget.

If you or any of your park mates aren’t into Disney history or would rather spend your money elsewhere, you’ll probably want to skip this tour. It’s okay to walk right past the illuminated lamp above the Main Street Fire Station so you can enjoy more time at Galaxy’s Edge or an extra ride on your favorite modern Disneyland attraction. .

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Herman C. Harkins