Admit it. You’ve stood at the base of the stairs leading up to Disneyland’s Dream Suite and wished you could see inside. I know I have countless times. There’s such a mystique about the entire concept: a special suite, inside Disneyland, used on special occasions for guests to stay overnight that is filled with magical Disney touches in every room.
The Disneyland Dream Suite was originally intended to be a luxurious apartment for the Disney family to use while at Disneyland and would have replaced Walt Disney’s apartment home away from home about the Main Street fire station. Unfortunately, the luxury apartment in New Orleans Square was not finished before Walt’s passing and was consequently used as both office space and as the Disney Gallery, an art gallery that can now be found on Main Street.
The Disney Dream Suite has been decorated using artist renderings for Walt’s original vision for the apartment as inspiration and is divided into three main living spaces: an Adventureland bedroom, Frontierland bedroom and parlor (sitting room). During the Year of A Million Dreams (2006-2008), the Dream Suite was a prize that was given away to guests but today is seldom used and is not something that can even be purchased. It is used on the most special of occasion.
For years, seeing inside the Dream Suite has been on my Disney “bucket list” and recently, I, along with about eight other hand-selected parenting bloggers, was invited to tour the Dream Suite and meet with the new president of the Disneyland Resort, Michael Colglazier. As a Disney fan, I was elated for the opportunity to see inside the suite. As a writer always looking for more information to bring my readers about Disneyland, I was thrilled to know that I could bring all of you a bit about Colglazier and his outlook and vision for the Disneyland Resort.
After a brief tour, we met with Colglazier in the main sitting room. Colglazier recently replaced George Kalogridis as president of the Disneyland Resort. He has been with Disney Parks and Resort for many years in a variety of roles and most recently served as president of Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Colglazier began his career at Disneyland and is well aware of the affinity and ownership Southern Californians feel toward the Disneyland Resort.
“When you get into any conversation about Disneyland or the Disneyland Resort, this place is not a tourist destination,” says Colglazier of the people he has met upon moving back to Southern California. “This place is woven into the fabric of people’s lives for generations and everyone has their own version of bringing that back out… And people really view Disneyland and the Disneyland resort as being theirs and part of their lives and that is really special.”
Colglazier wants to continue his efforts to understand how Disneyland is woven into the Southern California culture and identity is quick to point out that he feels that he is a Stuart who must maintain Disneyland’s integrity and history for those generations of guests and those to come.
During my time blogging, I have had the opportunity to meet or interview a lot of Disney’s top brass, including Bob Iger and Tom Staggs, and I can honestly say that Colglazier follows in their footsteps as an approachable leader passionate about family, tradition and Disney heritage. As a father of two, he appreciates the historical heritage of the park and ingenuity, creativity and respected memory of Walt Disney and his original theme park creation. He also has a deep appreciation for the role that parenting bloggers, such as myself, play in communicating information about Disneyland and discussing personal experiences, which in spite of traditional marketing, can be the most powerful influencer of all.
Now, on to our tour..
Our sit down meeting with Colglazier took place in the parlor area of the Dream Suite (below). Designed to look as the apartment would have looked for Walt and his family, it is decorated with antiques and reproductions that seamlessly blend with special Disney touches.
Usually, it can be tough to replicate Disney magic at home, but I have a secret for you. My family and I collect Royal Doulton figurines and to the right is a close-up of the photo above. The figurine is named Nina. She was introduced by Royal Doulton in 1969 and she was retired in 1976. From time to time, you can find her on Ebay. My grandma has her and I’m going to trade one of my figurines for Nina so I can hava reminder of the Dream Suite in my china closet.
The carousel horse is a dedication to the carousel horses at the Griffith Park carousel where Walt Disney originally became inspired to create Disneyland. Every guest who stays in the Dream Suite signs a book with name suggestions.
The bird cage on the left below is in honor of the bird cage Walt Disney once found in a French antique store. (It is on the mantle behind Michael Colglazier above.) The bird moved and sang and Walt figured if they could make something like this in 1850, he and his team could certainly make something truly magical using the latest technology and imagination. This simple inspiration eventually became Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. The bird cage on the right is the actual bird cage Walt purchased, which is on display at the Disney Archives at the Disney Studios in Burbank, California.
|The beautiful Adventureland bedroom is adorned in tranquil light blues, tans and creams and has an absolutely enchanting good night kiss in the video. Hint: Notice that the picture of the Mermaid Lagoon above the bed is missing mermaids!|
The Frontierland Room is absolutely full of fascinating artifacts that would keep even the most curious child
busy for hours. (Ok maybe minutes, but somethings that all Mom and Dad really need, right?) The light in the room is “on loan” from Disneyland Paris. This room’s Good Night Kiss is very, very special. Hint: It has to do with the Disneyland Railroad!
And here’s what you’ve been waiting for: all three Good Night Kisses in 30 seconds!