Recently I was able to make one of my dreams come true when I was invited to visit the Dream Suite (located above the Pirates of the Caribbean in New Orleans Square) while attending a private event in honor of Marc Davis and his 100th birthday at Disneyland. While this space had once been used as the former site of the Disney Gallery, it had long ago been chosen by Walt and Roy Disney to be a private space for both their families and for entertaining guests in a more private setting while remaining in the park.
This 2,200-square-foot suite includes a living room area, two large bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a private courtyard area and a balcony overlooking the Rivers of America. It was completed in January 2008 based on Walt Disney's own vision and detailed design illustrations created in the 1960's by the very talented Disney Legend Dorothea Redmond. Redmond collaborated heavily with Disney Legend Emile Kuri, the set decorator who worked on many Disney classics including Mary Poppins and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, in order to bring Walt's vision to fruition. In true Disney style, each and every room in the Dream Suite is beautifully unique and was designed to inspire all its visitors with countless references to Disneyland and the many magical stories it celebrates, such as Peter Pan and Cinderella.
The main living room area is reminiscent of a New Orleans parlor and is my favorite part of the Dream Suite. The entire room is very welcoming and is beautifully decorated with Disney history from the hand painted mural of the castles which inspired the design of Disneyland's castle (Chateau Chenonceau in France and Neuschwanstein in Bavaria) to the various pieces of Disney artwork showcasing Disneyland attractions such as the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. My favorite room elements are the custom chandelier made in Turkey, the marble fireplace mantle, the grandfather clock and the area by the fireplace which includes a very enchanting golden bird cage and a cabinet full of treasures. There is even a faux fire in the fireplace that creates sparks to mimic fireworks exploding over the Sleeping Beauty Castle fire screen. Next to a beautifully hand painted mirror you will also see a carousel horse to represent what inspired Walt Disney to create Disneyland so many years ago. There's even a hidden flat-panel television just over the fireplace for those lucky enough to stay here. The entire room is very charming and you can tell that no detail was overlooked.
As I said before, I really love this grandfather clock. In fact, all the "magical moments" of this room are centered around this very unique timepiece. As the clock strikes a designated hour, you will hear music. As "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" is played, you will see Cinderella and Prince Charming dancing on the face of the clock as the cabinet across the room becomes enchanted and figurines dance and a crystal glass slipper glows. If "When You Wish Upon A Star" from Pinocchio is played, you will see Geppetto on the face of the clock and Sleeping Beauty Castle will appear in the mirror above the fireplace. In honor of Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room the grandfather clock also plays "Let's All Sing Like The Birdies Sing" as the mechanical birds in the gold cage on the fireplace mantle sing along and as other birds appear on the face of the clock.
The master bedroom has a definite feminine touch and was designed to conjure up thoughts of romance, exotic adventures and far off places. Like Adventureland itself, the romantic Victorian decor is inspired by the natural world and features heavy and ornate draperies, stained glass butterflies and several floral designs and patterns throughout the room. After the "good night kiss" button is hit, the lights dim, countless twinkling "stars" appear overhead and bathing mermaids appear in the once-uninhabited electroluminescent painting of Neverland showcased above the bed. You will also hear jungle noises, children laughing and music as the shadow of Peter Pan's captured pirate ship flies in front of the moon and through the shadowy clouds on the wall next to the bed.
The other bedroom is brightly-colored with a strong masculine Americana feel and is themed with Frontierland in mind. It features two twin beds and a very special model train. After the "good night kiss" button is hit in this room, the lights dim and you hear Ferde Grofé's "The Grand Canyon Suite" along with train sounds and whistles. As the miniature train chugs along around the room overhead on a hidden track, it awakens the many things it passes such as toys, model animals, a familiar-looking riverboat, a pirate ship and references to Main Street USA, the Matterhorn and the Rivers of America, before returning to its display case on the display ledge above. Another memorable feature of this room is a reproduction of Disneyland which showcases its beauty both in sunlight and under the stars. In this room you will also find two chairs from the Disney film, the Happiest Millionaire.
Like each and every other room in the Dream Suite, each of the bathroom areas is decorated beautifully. Each of these ornate bathrooms are worthy of a princess with such features as swan faucets and figurines, ornate mirrors, golden sconces that looks like miniature tiaras, several custom chandeliers, a walk-in closet equipped with a vanity and a very special whirlpool bathtub fit for royalty.
I can only imagine how amazing it must be to actually bathe in this whirlpool tub set into a tiled alcove and under those 1,800+ "stars" and the gorgeous stained glass replica of Louis Comfort Tiffany's "Young Woman at a Fountain" as the lights are dimmed and the music plays. A girl can dream, right?
Now most of us have seen the Dream Suite's balcony and dreamt of watching Fantasmic! from there. Well, here is a picture of that balcony taken from within the suite. My favorite part of this area, other than the view, is the letter "D" featured in the woodworking. This same "D" can also be found throughout the entire Dream Suite and on such items as glassware, on glass doors and on the tile work in the bathrooms. There is also a button labeled "Fantasmic" which I was told dimmed all the lights on the balcony and turned on speakers so guests can hear the show. I am quite sure that Walt and his guests would have really enjoyed spending time here overlooking New Orleans Square and the Rivers of America.
I loved the balcony but what I loved the most about the outdoor areas of the Dream Suite was the courtyard area. This very private courtyard features outdoor seating and would be perfect for entertaining guests or hosting family get-togethers. It features "fireflies", several colorful paper lanterns reminiscent of New Orleans as well as a fountain chosen by Lillian Disney herself. On each side of this beautiful fountain you will also see the familiar Disney family crest.
Neither Walt nor Roy Disney lived to see the Dream Suite but I honestly think they would be happy with what was done there. This suite is much larger than Walt's Apartmentand even features a walk-in closet equipped with robes for those lucky enough to stay there. If you ever have an opportunity to visit the Dream Suite at Disneyland, I highly recommend it. Be sure to keep your eye out for all those Hidden Mickeys.