As Disneyland was constructed, Walt Disney wanted a place to stay and watch the activity. So, he had a special apartment constructed on the second floor of the Main Street Firehouse. Private, and hidden from the rest of Disneyland, it was the perfect place for Walt to do quiet work, or enjoy with his family.
The apartment is was very small, but was fully operational. It had a small bathroom, with a shower, along with a small kitchen unit. The furniture design was in a “Firehouse” look, with reds, and whites, decorating the room. The original decorator of the apartment was Emil Kuri, a set designer for many Disney films, and also the decorator of Main Street, itself.
Walt didn’t allow any pictures of him or his family inside the apartment. Except one photograph, for National Geographic Magazine (right)
The apartment also featured a quiet patio. Lillian Disney often used this patio for her afternoon tea, or to entertain guests. The patio was also decorated accordingly. White wicker furniture covered deck. The patio was very private, vines surrounded the wood patio, blocking any observers from the street.
When Walt Disney worked in the apartment, he would often work at a small wooden desk, near the far right window, facing Main Street below. (See a map of the entire building, or see a different map)
The day Disneyland opened, Walt watched from his apartments window how the crowds poured through the gates. Mousketeer, Sharon Baird was there:
“On the opening day of Disneyland, we (Mouseketters) were in Walt Disney’s private apartment above the Main Street Fire Station when the gates of the park opened for the first time. 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 lump in his throat and a tear streaming down his cheek. He had realized his dream. I was only twelve years old at the time, so it didn’t mean as much to me then. But as the years go by, that image of him becomes more and more endearing.”
Much of the original furniture has been removed. Although, Disney designers have tried to remain faithful to it’s original look. Now, a light is kept on near the window, as a tribute to his creation of Disneyland