Something we had been wanting to do for a long time was the Walk In Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps Guided tour. This is a tour that is unique to all the Disney parks as this is the only park that was complete before his passing in 1966. The tour takes guests around the park and over the areas where Walt walked and envisioned this magnificent place that would become the gold standard in theme parks.
At the beginning of our tour, each guest was issued a headset that provides clear communication from our guide and the sound clips of Walt explaining areas of the park. We then met our guide Sam who would take us back to the early days of Disneyland.
We began outside the Firehouse. This is significant because the top floor houses “Walt’s Apartment.” This was an area where he could work, rest and observe the workings of Disneyland. There is a light left on in the window in tribute to Walt. A tour inside the apartment used to be part of the walk, but it has been replaced with a visit to the Dream Suite. Disneyland changes the tour from time-to-time, so they may bring this back into the program.
From there, we went to the start of Main Street, where we heard an audio clip of Walt’s opening day speech and it’s significance to the beginning and history of Disneyland. A march up Main Street to the center hub where the Partners statue resides. We had two advantages not normally afforded – we got an unobstructed view of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, and we were able to watch the rope drop from the other side of the rope!
Taking a paid tour gives certain advantages. We were ushered to the front of the line at Alice in Wonderland and It’s A Small World attractions. We had not ridden Alice in a very long time simply because the lines are usually very long and we didn’t want to wait.
A visit to the Dream Suite was next. This was planned to be living quarters for Walt and his family when they wanted to stay in the park. It included bedrooms and living rooms. We weren’t allowed to photograph this area, however we have photos from our Dream Suite tour in 2013. This area was abandoned by the Disney family, but Disneyland management decided to complete the living quarters for the Year of a Million Dreams in 2008, and design it using original concept drawings by Dorothea Redmond, who worked closely with Walt in the 1960’s.
Our next stop was in New Orleans Square where the significance of this area was explained in that it was still under construction when Walt passed away in 1966. Walt had many new and exciting things that were going on, including the creation of Pirates of the Caribbean and Club 33, his exclusive dining room.
No tour from Walt’s perspective would be complete without a stop along the Main Street Railroad – New Orleans Square station. While Disneyland was built on an idea for family enjoyment, it would not be complete without respect to his love of trains. Disneyland was to be encircled by a train, and there is a whole other story to be told on that subject.
The conclusion of our tour was a stop at the Jolly Holiday restaurant where lunch was provided and each tour guest was presented with a special collectible pin, depicting Walt and Disneyland.
Current pricing for this tour is $109 per person. If you are an annual passholder, a 15% discount is given (as with all things Disney – price is subject to change any minute now). This was a fun tour that lasted about 3 1/2 hours covering many aspects of Disneyland and how Walt envisioned it. Other tours are held in other parks, and there are seasonal ones as well. Check the website or call Guest Services for tours, availability and options. Our next stop is Walt Disney World where we hope to take some of their tours.