Here at The Cinderella Company, we are all hardcore Disney followers. Many of you out there probably already know about Walt Disney’s private apartment above the fire station on Main Street USA where he and his family used to hide out, but for those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, this will be some new, fun information for you. As Disneyland was constructed, Walt Disney wanted a place to stay and watch the activity in the park. So, he had a special apartment constructed on the second floor of the Main Street Firehouse. This apartment was private and hidden from the rest of Disneyland, and it was the perfect place for Walt to do quiet work, or enjoy time with his family.
The apartment was built very small and 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. Mr. Disney did not allow any pictures of him or his family while inside the apartment, except for one photograph featured in National Geographic Magazine in 1963.
The apartment also had a quiet patio attached to it. Lillian Disney often used the patio for her afternoon tea, or to entertain guests. The patio was also decorated accordingly with white wicker furniture. 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. The day Disneyland opened, he watched from his apartments window how the crowds poured through the gates.
Several years before her death, Walt’s eldest daughter Diane Disney Miller, revealed some of the secrets about the apartment in an interview for the Huffington Post. “It was their refuge, it was their little place. The décor, it was all little things that they picked up when they were travelling around the country various times… It was really a very cozy, family place,” she told the website The apartment which is still there today is not open to the public, but acts as a quiet little time capsule discovered 60 years later. Although much of the original furniture has been removed, Disney designers have tried to remain faithful to its original look by being decorated with antiques, cranberry red glass lampshades, vintage instruments and a grandfather clock. It still looks today as it did when Walt Disney kept it as his personal home inside Disneyland.”
Miller provides some fun anecdotes of the good old days when the family used the apartment:
— “The decor, it was all little things that they picked up when they were traveling around the country various times, and it was decorated by Emile Kuri, who had decorated many of the films, including ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,’ and it was lovingly done. It was really a very cozy, family place.”
— “…if there were special people in the park, mother and dad would go out and they would invite them up. Early, it was during ‘Davy Crockett,’ I remember there was some event there that day and Fess Parker and Buddy Ebsen were both out there for it, and dad was looking out that window and saw them and he said, ‘Hey, come on up!'”
— “…there was a fire pole in it, it’s not there now, but there was a door into the closet area that had a fire pole, like the firemen would have, and he showed it to them and said, ‘Why don’t you guys slide down that?’ And they did! People would say, did your father ever do that? I’m sure he didn’t.”
And one last fun fact: according to FindingMickey, “The lamp in the window is always on to show his spirit is still there.”