I have to admit that the first time I heard about the Dream Suite at Disneyland was only a few months ago. Here I am thinking I know so much about the park because I’m lucky enough to visit it frequently, yet I’m constantly in awe by the amount of details and special places there’s still left to discover.
Of course, as soon as I learned that the beautiful space above the Pirates of the Caribbean in Frontierland is actually an apartment I was completely intrigued by it and needed to figure out a way to get myself (and my camera!) in there to check out what was so special about it. I found out it wouldn’t be an easy task since this is a place not even money (not that I could just dish out Disney dollars right now!) can buy you a reservation for. The only way to get to spend the night here with your family is if you win it through a corporate sweepstakes or such.
So how did I get so lucky? Well, although my visit lasted only 30 minutes, we did get to tour the 2,200 square feet apartment with the new President of Disneyland Resorts, Michael Colglazier. He graciously took a few minutes off before hosting the inauguration of “Mickey and the Magical Map,” Disneyland’s new stage show, to chat with a group of bloggers and answer our questions.
It was great to see that even someone like the President of Disneyland Resorts is still captivated by the details that make places like the Dream Suite feel magical. He got the chance to spend one night there with his family and what he most cherishes about the experiences are “the smaller moments, the historical and heritage accuracy that was really given thought in this place.” He adds that, “When you actually get the chance to be overnight it brings you back to when Walt, Lily and the grandkids were probably around in the apartment, playing up here; it’s very personal. It gets to be very intimate and that’s priceless.”
The Dream Suite was actually Walt’s idea to build as an intimate space for him and his family to use. Unfortunately, he died soon after it was completed. The family just couldn’t bear using it without him, so shortly then after it became a hospitality suite for an insurance company, and then the offices for Disneyland International — Tokyo Disneyland was actually designed there.
From 1987-2007 it became the Disney Gallery. In 2008 it went through a historical transformation to make it go back to its origins and redesign it to match what Walt had envisioned.
Now, families with a special kind of luck get the chance to spend the night here and get to truly experience the small magical details, like the Goodnight Kisses found throughout the 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment.
Since it’s truly such a special and private space, I’m only allowed to share six pictures with you from the many I took. Here are my favorites to give you a feel for what a guest at the Dream Suite might experience.
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Living room area 2 of 7The main entrance takes you straight to the the French Provincial/New Orleans style living room. This majestic area is also full of trinkets and design objects that are full of Disney touches, like the fireplace and caged birds in the next pictures.
The fireplace 3 of 7When in the Dream Suite's living room, your eyes will immediately focus on the beautiful faux fireplace.
The fireplace features a brass fire guard with the outline of Cinderella's Castle with fake flames burning in the background to resemble fireworks. Mesmerizing.
Singing birds 4 of 7These two cute little mechanical singing birds were actually what triggered Walt's inspiration for the Tiki Tiki room. And we know the Tiki Tiki Room birds were the first animatronics in Disneyland and the rest is Disney history!
Fronteirland bedroom 5 of 7So much to look at in this room! This room also has a Goodnight Kiss that, when pressed, activates the train on the shelf that surrounds the whole room. The train leaves its station and blowing horns and whistles, travels around the room.
Main hallway 6 of 7If you're coming from the living room, this hallway takes you to the main bedroom on the left and to the open courtyard terrace on the right. The door in the end leads you to an entrance area where there's an elevator that goes down to the Pirates of the Caribbean area.
Adventureland main bedroom 7 of 7The Victorian decor in the main bedroom is stunning and welcoming.
Guests lucky enough to spend the night here, will be able to experience a "Goodnight Kiss." When they press the button next to the door, the room will dim and the walls behind the bed will light up with twinkling stars and you'll hear soothing sounds of water falling. Then the painting on top of the bed will reveal sirens and even Peter Pan will fly through the night sky. You'll for sure have kids going: "More! More!"