The Truth About Walt Disney's Disneyland Apartment

Disneyland is a haven of happiness for many of those who visit. It's a place where kids — and children at heart — can relax and enjoy all the theme park has to offer. Disneyland first opened its doors on July 17, 1955, in Anaheim, California. Walt Disney wanted a place that would make both adults and children happy, and the idea to build Disneyland was born. The amusement park was a dream come true for Disney, and he wanted to appreciate the smiles and laughter of the visitors without having to be in the crowd. Therefore, he had an apartment built within Disneyland where he had a nice view of the amusement park.

Disney's apartment is located at Main Street USA, just above the firehouse. It isn't a large space and measures 500 square feet, but it was where Disney spent most of his time while visiting the amusement park, per Cheat Sheet. Although small, it had complete amenities that Disney and his family needed, including a small kitchen, a bathroom, and furniture. Sharon Baird, who was a Mouseketeer, was there with Disney on the park's opening day. "I was standing next to him at the window, watching the guests come pouring through the gates. When I looked up at him, he had his hands behind his back, a grin from ear to ear, I could see a limp in his throat and a tear streaming down his cheek. He had realized his dream," she said (via Just Disney).

Living at the Disneyland apartment

Walt Disney's Disneyland apartment was concealed from the public, but his family often stayed with him there. In an interview the Huffington Post conducted with Diane Disney Miller, one of Disney's daughters, she recalled what it was like to stay there. Miller said that the apartment was a private refuge for her parents, and it was filled with trinkets and decorations from their travels. The design coordinated with the firehouse, and it was set decorator Emile Kuri — who designed sets for "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" — who did the interior decorating. The Disneys were fans of the Victorian aesthetic, and it was used as an inspiration for decorating the apartment.

Disney and his family spent a lot of time at the apartment, as he was a busy man. According to Miller, her father would spend the daytime at the studio and then head to Disneyland to spend time at the amusement park. With the apartment there, Disney didn't have to go back and forth to work. However, it wasn't just about the convenience; Disney genuinely wanted to stay at the park (via Walt

Walt Disney's apartment today

Walt Disney was known to keep long hours and would work through the night at his Disneyland apartment. One of the clues that he was present was the glow of the lamp he used that illuminated the top window of the firehouse. If the lamp was turned on, there was a chance of visitors bumping into Disney at the theme park. Visitors would get excited knowing that the Disney was there.

On December 15, 1966, 11 years after the park opened, Disney died from lung cancer-related complications, as reported by Biography. The lamp that he often used was turned off the day he died, but it was lit again the following day. Since Disney's death, the Victorian lamp has been kept turned on for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, save for a few occasions. It's a reminder to visitors that Disney's spirit is kept alive long after his passing.

Today, Walt Disney's Disneyland apartment is still restricted to the public, but those who are interested to see it have a chance to do so via the "Walk in Walt's Disneyland Footsteps" guided tour that is offered to visitors (via Disneyland). The tour explains the history of the theme park and Disney's inspiration behind building it. Guests will be able to catch a glimpse of the apartment where some of the original furniture and decorations are displayed.