One of the best parts about being a part of the Disney College Program at Disneyland is that we are a small enough group that we are able to participate in special events and opportunities specifically for college program students.
The first event I was able to attend was a tour of Walt Disney’s private apartment above the Firehouse on Main Street, right next to City Hall. This was something that had been on my bucket list for quite some time, so I was excited that I was finally going to see such a special place inside the park!
We met in front of the firehouse with a tour guide before we headed backstage to take a staircase up to the apartment. We were invited to hang our coats and bags on the coat rack as we entered, almost like we were coming home. Walking into this apartment felt like I was stepping back in time. Every inch of this place had been preserved to how it was when Walt stayed here (although some pieces of furniture or photos have been removed to be archived or displayed elsewhere, replicas have been added in their place). This studio apartment surprised most of the other students with how small it really was, but in case you wanted a reference, it’s the same size as the downstairs portion of the firehouse.
Our tour guides were gracious enough to provide us with plenty of stories and fun facts about the apartment, while showing us the main room which included a kitchenette, a bathroom, and the rooftop patio.
Although there were many great memories the tour guides shared with us, my favorite had to be one from the opening day of Disneyland. Walt had invited the members of the Mickey Mouse Club into the apartment when the gates first opened. One of the members recalled watching the kids run into the park and turning around to see a single tear roll down Walt’s face as his dream was finally being realized.
It was such an honor and privilege to be able to visit such a unique place that has so many wonderful memories. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed inside the apartment in order to preserve the magic, but I wish I could share it all with you!
Now every time I walk by the firehouse, I look up and see Walt’s lamp still on in his memory, I think of all the magical moments that have happened and will continue on in a place he loved so dearly.