How many of you have ever dreamt about sleeping inside Disneyland? It has been a fantasy of mine since I was a kid. This fantasy has become reality to dozens of lucky families through the years who have had the opportunity to sleep in the uber exclusive Disneyland Dream Suite. While I have not (yet) slept in the Dream Suite, I do feel quite privileged to have recently met with the new president of Disneyland Resort, Michael Colglazier, inside this exclusive Disneyland locale, and I have pictures of the Dream Suite to prove it!
I have to say, since having children and writing for Trekaroo, I have become a bit of Disney fanatic. I used to tease my Disney-obsessed friends and now, they come to me for information and advice! I actually own the Disneyland Encyclopedia (and recommend it to those interested in Disneyland history) and have come to really appreciate all the detail that has gone into the parks over the years. The Disney Dream Suite is filled with all that history, detail, and Disney Magic that us Disney folks have come to appreciate.
The Dream Suite is located above Pirates of the Caribbean in New Orleans Square. It was originally built to house Walt and his family while visiting the resort. Walt already had his private 500 square foot apartment above Main Street USA but this 2200 square foot suite was meant to be more of a family affair. Set designer Dorothea Redmond, of Gone with the Wind fame, helped Walt with the apartment layout and his wife Lilly, along with famed Walt Disney set decorator Emile Kuri, were set to do the decorating. Sadly, Walt passed away shortly before the Dream Suite was ready and his family could never bring themselves to actually stay there and the plans were abandoned.
The suite took on many identities over the years. The Insurance Company of North America (INA) used the space as a hospitality suite for many years, dubbing it 21 Royal Street due to the apartment’s address. After INA left in 1974, it became office space for Disneyland International. The apartment was once the very office space where Tokyo Disneyland was planned. Then, in 1987, it became the Disney Art Gallery (now found on Main Street USA) and remained until 2007. Finally, in 2008, the Disney Dream Suite opened, heavily influenced by the original designs Walt and Dorothea worked on decades ago.
Dorothea Redmond’s original concept art lines the entryway of the 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom penthouse which features a parlor, open-air courtyard, and covered balconies with extensive views of New Orleans Square, Rivers of America, and Frontierland. Simply stated, it is oh so dreamy. Disney has granted me permission to share no more than six pictures from inside the Dream Suite. These pictures don’t even begin to do the Dream Suite’s ornate detail any justice but they will hopefully give you an idea of what it does look like inside.
The master bedroom (aka: Adventureland room) is opulent and richly detailed with Victorian charm, including a Tiffany chandelier and a painting above the headboard which comes to life with the press of the “Goodnight Kiss” button above the light switch (hint, it is a classic Neverland scene).
The second bedroom (aka: the Frontier room aka: the kids’ room) is just as ornate as the first. The “Goodnight Kiss” button in this room operates a train which follows the tracks which line the perimeter of the room from above. The first drawing of Disneyland that the public ever saw (on the Wonderful World of Disney in 1954) hangs on the wall.
The parlor is filled with great Disney history and plenty of whimsy. A guest book invites guests to write down the name they come up with for the full size carousel horse (our guide’s favorite name was Sloppy Steve). A beautiful china vase on an end table which would normally cause any mom to panic is actually glued down for safety! The grandfather clock, along with some other items in the curio cabinet, come to life with charming Cinderella-inspired effects.
My favorite item in the parlor was the little birdcage which was Disney’s inspiration for the Enchanted Tiki Room and Disney animatronics.
Standing out on the balcony and waving to the folks lined up in the Pirates of the Caribbean queue, I felt like the queen of Disneyland. I can only imagine what it must be like to stay for the night. Besides getting to enjoy the suite itself, guests have the option of taking a two-hour guided tour (in bathrobes!) of Disneyland after the park closes and enjoy breakfast at the Plaza Inn as part of the experience.
Don’t expect to book a stay in the Dream Suite. It isn’t going to happen. The suite reserved for special events, charity, and the occasional giveaway winner. Instead, dream about winning the contest which will one day land your family in the Dream Suite and the once-in-a-lifetime memories your family will create.
Disclosure: I visited the Disney Dream Suite as a guest of Disneyland Resorts. My park admission and a meal were complimentary. All opinions are my own.