Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Walk in Walts Footsteps Tour

      My family and I have been on the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour at Disneyland in Anaheim California two times. The first time we took the tour was in 2008. We surprised my mother with the tour as a gift on her birthday. The tour that we took began at 9:30 AM. Guests meet just to the left of the entrance of Disneyland directly after going under the train station, at the Guided Tour Meeting Area.

     Our fun did not begin with the tour though. It began when we first walked up to the Guided Tour Meeting Area. We were the first guests to arrive and were greeted by Alice In Wonderland, The Mad Hatter and Queen of Hearts. They ran around the area giving the cast members who work there a hard time by joking around and being silly. Alice did not stay long but said farewell as she left the area. The Mad Hatter and Queen of Hearts stayed a while to joke with and completely entertain us. We got out picture taken with each of them individually, which was a magical experience in itself.  

     Lunch is included with the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour. We had to order our food before the tour began. The meals consist of a sandwich of your choosing, chips, fruit and a drink. The Queen of Hearts teased us when we did not order what she liked. My son ordered an orange drink instead of sprite and she shook her head while blowing a raspberry. So, he ordered a sprite and she patted his head. The whole experience was entertaining and amusing. After we finished ordering our meals The Mad Hatter and Queen of Hearts said their good-byes and left to go to the Character Meeting Area, which is near the Guided Tour Meeting Area.

     The rest of the guests who were going on the tour arrived and so did our guide who gave us all headphones so that we could hear her talk when she took us on the tour. Once everyone had signed in and ordered their food we were off to see Disneyland through Walt’s eyes. I am not going to give the details of our tour because I believe that it is something that everyone must experience on their own. I’m just going to give highlights and an overview of the tour.

     First we went down Main Street USA and were told all about how the buildings were built, why the names are on the windows, and many other interesting secrets about Main Street USA. We were taken down Main Street USA to the Partner Statue at the Hub of Disneyland, Central Plaza. There we learned many more interesting facts about the park and what Walt had in mind when he built it.

     From there we went to Adventureland where we rode on one of our favorite rides, The Jungle Cruise. Since it was my mother’s birthday the cast member who was captain of the boat sang her a birthday song.

    We left there and were off to Club 33. I had never heard of Club 33 until the tour. It is the only place in Disneyland where alcohol is served. Walt built it so that celebrity and public figures would have a place to duck out of the crowds when they visited his park. We got to go into the lobby of the club. It is exclusive and has very few members so we were not allowed into the club itself. The lobby was beautiful. We got our pictures taken in the elevator and our tour guide told us interesting trivia about Club 33.

     After we left Club 33 our guide took us to ride the Disneyland Railroad. However, we did not ride in a regular car. We got the privilege of riding on the Lilly Belle. The cast member who was our escort on the Lilly Belle told us a lot of interesting information about how she was built and when she was put on line, retired and put online again. The Lilly Belle is a special enclosed car that is decorated Victorian style with velvet chairs and carpet. The Lilly Belle is a very plush train car. Sadly though Walt was never able to ride in her. She was however named after his wife Lilly Belle because she designed the interior decor for the car. We felt very special to have rode in her.

     We then went to Tomorrowland and back over to Adventureland by way of Fantasyland where we learned many more interesting facts about Walt Disney and Disneyland. One fact that we learned was that Walt liked to create illusions. The buildings on Main Street USA look very tall but they are not, it is the way they are built that makes them look so tall. The most interesting thing we learned about Main Street USA is when you first enter the park and are headed for the hub area it looks like the street is very long but when you leave at night it is a short walk. Walt created this illusion because he wanted people to enjoy their walk into the park but at night as they leave and are tired the walk is shorter so they don't feel so overwhelmed. We tried it when we entered and then turned to look back and it is true, it is not that long of a walk.

     Other interesting facts we learned are how Disneyland's address became 1313 Harbor Boulevard. When Walt built the park he was able to pick the address, he chose 1313 because of Mickey Mouse, M is the 13th letter of the alphabet.

     We learned that the amazing smells as you walk down Main Street are sent through the vents. These smells are to make people feel happy and hungry. 

        Our last attraction was The Tiki Room. We watched the show with other guests, but after the show was over our group remained in the building and got to see how some of the audiotronics work. We got to see how the flowers work and actually operate one of the retired flowers. We were allowed to take a few pictures of the room, which is not something that can usually be done.

     The last stop for our tour was the Guided Tour Meeting Area where our lunch was served. We got to eat our delicious sandwiches and visit with the other guests as well as ask our tour guide anymore questions that we still had about Walt Disney and Disneyland. The meal was simple, but honestly very delicious.

     We loved the tour so much that the next year we decided to take the tour again. The second time we took the tour we had a different guide and learned new things about Walt and his park. The tour was not exactly the same even though we did similar things. The experience and excitement were the same though. 

      We did not get to ride the Lilly Belle the second time we went on the tour. Riding the Lilly Belle is not a privilege that every group is allowed, so we felt very special that we got to ride her the first time we took the tour. The second tour consisted of Club 33 Lobby visit and the same attractions. We were not allowed to stay inside of the Tiki Room after the show this time, which was fine since we got to do that the first time. Other than that it was very similar. The guide shared some new and very interesting and informative facts about Walt and his park with us.

      The second year we took the tour our guide told us that originally every land had what was called a "weiner", he said that each land has an attraction that can be seen in the other lands to entice them into the other lands. A "weiner" is what he called it. For example, when you are in Frontierland you can see the Matterhorn, when you are in Fantasyland you can see Space Mountain. Things have changed over the years because of the growth of plants and trees but that was the original idea. I am not sure all of it came into play while Walt was alive. 

     We loved the Walk In Walt’s Footsteps tour both times that we took it. The experience was magical both times and different enough that it was not at all boring. I think it is a tour that everyone who loves Disneyland should go on at least once. It is a magical journey that we plan to go on again.

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  1. They really packed in a lot for a tour, sounds very fun!

  2. I haven't been to Disneyland in over thirty years, and I probably wouldn't recognize it now. My dad helped build it. He also had to entertain clients related to the work he did for Disneyland, so he was able to take the family to the 33 club when my husband's aunt was visiting from Serbia. The food is delicious. There are so many secret parts of Disneyland you can walk right by and never know they exist. I marched in a parade with my junior high band shortly after Disneyland opened in 1955.

    1. Wow that is amazing! Thank-you for sharing. did you get to meet Walt?
      I want to go to Club 33 but it is expensive as ever.
      For sure you would not know the area. I had been in 1988 and then went in 2003 and it was very different even then. It has under went many changes even since we started going in 2003. Some good, some not for me...the magic is still there though!! You would love it.