We got to take the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour at Disneyland last week.
Tickets are hard to get. Only two tours are offered a day, limited to 24 people per tour.
You can book tickets 30 days out, $124/ticket.
Walt, now one of the 999 spirits at the Haunted Mansion.
We were on the 9:30am tour. There’s usually 2 morning tours a day, rain or shine.
Starting the Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps Tour
We arrived, as instructed, about half an hour before our tour start time and checked in at 9am. We selected our lunch meal for the end of the tour and were handed a pair of customized buttons to wear and our earpieces.
Starting our 3-hour tour at the Firehouse.
Walking in Walt’s Footsteps Tour
The heart of the Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps Tour is an approximately three-hour walk around the only Disney theme park in the world that Walt was able to set foot in during his lifetime.
The tour guide uses the park as a “living storybook” to tell the history of Walt’s life and his creations.
January 17, 2020. Very light post-holiday crowds.
Our tour began on Main Street U.S.A., where we heard about Walt’s boyhood in Marceline and Kansas City, which influenced Disneyland’s idealized Main Street USA.
Listening to Walt’s dedication speech.
The Disneyland Opening Day dedication speech that Walt gave July 17, 1955. It’s January and the tulips were blooming!
We stood at the Town Square flagpole while Walt’s opening day dedication speech from July 17, 1955 was played through our earpieces. This was the first of many archival audio clips that are incorporated into the tour.
Yes, that’s announcer Ronald Reagan doing the opening day ceremony broadcast. Many years later, he would be added to the Hall of Presidents at Disney World.
“To all who come to this happy place, welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here, age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.” – Walt Disney
The window for Elias Disney.
As we walked up Main Street U.S.A., our guide pointed out the windows memorializing legendary Disneyland designers, imagineers, and cast members.
The Sleeping Beauty Castle got a new paint job and gold trim last year. Very pretty.
Standing in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, we heard the introduction to the original Disneyland television show. About half of America’s population (60 million people!) watched Disneyland’s opening day TV special.
We walked right on, walking up the exit ramp. We like this ride!
Inside Fantasyland, we heard the familiar tale of Walt being inspired to build Disneyland after taking his daughters to the Griffith Park carousel. Next, we were “back-doored” onto the Alice in Wonderland ride, bypassing the 15-minute queue out front.
It’s from Colorado too!
Over in Frontierland, we heard about Walt’s love for his wife, Lillian, which led to the petrified tree trunk purchased for her as an anniversary gift.
Our next destination was New Orleans Square, where our guide shared the secrets of Club 33 and the 21 Royal suite, neither of which we were allowed to enter. We also heard clips of Walt describing future plans for Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion, both of which debuted after his death.
When we first arrived two days ago, the holiday holly and decor was still up on the train station! But, it was gone today.
Next, it was all aboard the Disneyland Railroad, as we boarded at New Orleans Station and steamed around to Tomorrowland. After a long restroom break – we were way ahead of schedule because there were no crowds anywhere – we heard stories about long-gone attractions like the Midget Autopia and Carousel of Progress.
Up until the submarine voyage ride opened, the Disneyland ride ticket booklets only went A – D. With this attraction, they added an E Ticket.
When this attraction opened on June 14, 1959, it was called Submarine Voyage. A major portion of the ride simulated the voyage under the Arctic Ocean’s polar ice cap undertaken by the nuclear submarine USS Nautilus on August 3, 1958. Now, it’s Finding Nemo.
We stood beneath the snowy peak of the Matterhorn and learned about Disneyland’s first-ever E-ticket attraction, Submarine Voyage, which opened in June 1959. It was quickly followed by two other new E ticket attractions…can you guess what they were???
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
Our tour concluded in the exit hallway of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, which we had never seen before. Our guide shared stories about Walt’s final dream of EPCOT, and his untimely death from lung cancer in 1966.
Walt himself wrote and directed this. He greatly admired President Lincoln.
Walking back to the firehouse with the background audio of “Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins playing in our ears was wonderful.
Back at the Firehouse.
Walt’s Firehouse Apartment Tour
At this point, our tour group got to spend about 15 minutes visiting Walt’s private apartment above the Main Street Firehouse.
For serious Disney fans simply seeing up-close the lamp that’s left eternally lit in Walt’s honor – not to mention his personal grilled cheese griddle – almost justifies the cost of the entire tour.
Me and mom in front of Walt’s sofa bed. The apartment is very tiny, only 500 sq. feet.
You’re not allowed to take any personal photos or videos inside the apartment, but your guide will take one posed shot of you with your own camera. The framing is less than ideal because, by agreement with the Disney family, they are only allowed to photograph one specific corner of the room.
We did manage to sneak in a few photos while waiting our turn for a posed shot:
The apartment’s docent.
Walt’s sofa bed. It still has the 60 year old mattress inside!
Lillian’s matching sofa bed across from Walt’s.
A close-up of the Victorian carpeting. The designer of the apartment’s look also worked on Mary Poppins. Not surprised. Not a fan of the decor.
Walt’s 1960s TV that he could watch his Disneyland TV show on ABC on.
Walt’s lamp that is never turned off.
Me and mom.
Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps Meal
The meals, dessert, and drinks we selected at the beginning of the tour were boxed up by Jolly Holiday Bakery and delivered to the Tour Gardens, where we were able to sit down and relax in the chilly shade after walking around Disneyland for 3 hours.
All lunches come with a bottled drink, water or soda.
My turkey sandwich with house-made potato chips was delicious, and the best part of the meal was the massive Matterhorn Macaroon. Yum!
Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps Parting Gift and Final Thoughts
As we finished our lunch, our tour guide gave us one final gift: an exclusive pin with Walt’s dedication speech engraved inside. Perfect.
Walk in Walt’s Footsteps pin.
It’s a miniature of the dedication plaque at the town square.
Some Disneyland photos from Then and Now:
Photo of Walt taken the year he died, 1966.
Walt walking outside his firehouse. 1960s
The petrified tree anniversary gift Walt gave Lillian.
Everyone hates these trolley rails at Disneyland!!!
Pinocchio’s Whale in Storybook Land.
Walt overseeing the original planting of Storybook.
Walt and Mickey.
Have you seen this spike??? We have!
Two Disney Sisters at Disneyland
We’ve written two books about our time working – and playing – as Disney Cast Members at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Both are available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale and Adventures in the Animal Kingdom.
Adventures in the Animal Kingdom
Two Girls and a Mouse Tale
If you’d like to follow our daily Disney blog, here’s the link: https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/
Have a magical day!
Two Disney Sisters
Two Disney Sisters
Meeting the Boss at Disneyland!
The lamp is always lit.