Thursday, February 19, 2009

VIP/Off-Limits Area 1: Walt’s Apartment

The readers have spoken again! Overwhelmingly, Daveland readers wish they could visit Walt’s Apartment. When Disneyland was being constructed, Walt used to stay in the little apartment above the Fire Department in Town Square. Shot #1 is from December 1960. Could Walt be looking out the window? In shot #2, the shades are down all the way:

I love this genuine FauxD© June 1966 night shot of the apartment; it appears that the apartment is empty, as there are no lights on and the shades are partially up. This would have been about 6 months before Walt passed away.

These current views of the apartment window show what most guests have been trained to look for today: the lit lamp in the window, which is meant to be a tribute to the spirit of Walt. Disney legend has it that whenever the lamp was lit, that meant that Walt was "home" in the apartment.

Ever wonder what the other side of that window looks like? Wonder no more, as Daveland takes you on a rare inside-tour of Walt’s apartment, courtesy of one of this blog's biggest fans who was gracious enough to share these images.

Although some may not be fond of the decor, it is definitely in keeping with the tastes of the person who chose it, Walt’s wife Lillian. Her tastes tended towards over-stuffed Victorian, with plenty of knick-knacks and ornate furnishings. One can see this echoed in Club 33 as well as the VIP Parlour Car the Lilly Belle. One of my favorite areas is the bathroom, which still has the vintage tile that I love; whenever I check out old homes, I usually race to the kitchen or bathroom to see if they still contain the old tile or whether they've been replaced with cookie-cutter Home Depot crap.

I hope you've enjoyed this tour of one of Disneyland’s least-seen areas.

See more Disneyland Town Square Fire Department and Walt’s Apartment photos on my website.


Jason Schultz said...

I'd like to see a photo of the fire pole extending up into the apartment--maybe with Walt mid-flight. Can you work on that? :)

Unknown said...

A bathroom shot?


Katella Gate said...

Does anybody know what the tower at the back of the building does?

Ditto on the "Home Depot" Crap. Palm Springs used to be full of older "Sinatra" style bathrooms and kitchen, but the "decorators" have trashed a lot of it for Home Depot decor, or worse, Toscano.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

WOW - WOW - WOW ! What a post! hey, where do those short set of stairs go in the interior photo #4? Ultra-rare bathroom photo (I guess I'm not the only one to photograph DL bathrooms!)I Love that June '66 pic also!

outsidetheberm said...

If memory serves... the little stairway leads to the outside veranda where the family could watch the passing parades. The photos don't really convey just how small (and charming) this apartment feels. As an aside - you can get a pretty good idea where that toilet plumbing is by going into the street level garage below and making a note of the sewer pipe in the ceiling at the back of the room (at least, last time I looked over there).

Merlinsguy said...

Wow, what a scoop!

Heidi Ann said...

Love it - I really treasure my old National Geographic magazine that has pictures inside - when I was a little girl, it was the only "book" we had at home where I could look at it and see pictures from Disneyland. Now, of course, I have great blogs like yours , the Internet, my own book collection -practically the whole world! My, how times have changed!

Thufer said... had never seen before....did i say amazing?
thank you and your source. i had seen the national geo. issue, but this was i go again.

Daveland said...

Jason - i'll be sure to put that request on my list of miracles for this year!

Sharon said...

Thank you for posting these photos, and satisfying my long-standing curiousity as to what the apartment looked like.

Oh, and call me a traditionalist, but I happen to love the decor. Now THIS apartment would be my ultimate "Dream Suite!"

A Musician by Grace

walterworld said...

I also treasured my August 63 Geographic (looking at it right now). The third current picture compares nicely with the shot in the issue.

Seems like a lot of the lamps have been changed out. The chairs also appear to have changed somewhat. The phone Walt was using is different than the one sitting there now (visible in the first current shot) but the little stoop where he was sitting remains just so. The table and lamp in the window looks to be different as well.

I wonder if the place was cleaned out at some point and then they decided to do a bit of restoration?

Thanks for the fun!

Anonymous said...

Certainly the toilet has been replaced, and some of the maroon tiles seem mismatched (unless that was intentional).

Is there a bedroom, or was it a place just to rest and take a break?


Katella Gate said...


I worked in construction in Palm Springs for many years, specializing in mid-century houses. The bathroom undoubtedly dates back to the mid 50's.

My old house was built in 1960 and my shower had EXACTLY the same glass and chrome shower divider seen here.

The low profile toilet is also period correct and was used in "upper end" bathrooms (it has a specific brand name that escapes me)

Major Pepperidge said...

This bathroom looks SO much like the one at my grandma's Encino ranch house (built in the 1930's, but redecorated in the 1950's). Crazy!

Anonymous said...

Are there any pictures of what it looked like before 1979 when it was emptied by his family? Would love to see how it might have changed.

Daveland said...

Anonymous - There's an old National Geographic issue with a picture or two of Walt inside the apartment. You can probably do a search online and find it fairly easily.