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Original Disney Gallery Photo Tour

This year is the 25th anniversary of the Disney Gallery at Disneyland. Although it now sits inside the Bank of Main Street, I still miss the original gallery space above Pirates of the Caribbean in New Orleans Square.

Originally, the rooms were to be an apartment for Walt Disney and his family, but he died before they were completed. The gallery wasn’t installed until many years later, but the coolest part were the traces of the original idea that remained, like the fireplace, the electrical outlets positioned to accommodate nightstand lamps on either side of a bed, and Walt and Roy’s initials in the railings on the balcony.

No visit to Disneyland was complete without a rest on that balcony, a haven of tranquility high above the bustling Rivers of America. If you didn’t feel like people-watching, you could sit in the shade of the quiet interior courtyard and nurse a Dole whip float till you felt ready to venture back out into the fray. And there was art, too! My favorite exhibits were of concept art, which, after Print on Demand was introduced, launched my first and only Disney collection.

I was devastated when I found out the Disney Gallery was being closed to make way for the (Two) Year(s) of a Million Dreams promotion’s Dream Suite—not just because the future of the gallery and its exhibits was then unknown, but also because the public was losing access to one of the most charming spots in the park. Now, five years later, Disneyland has even fewer peaceful, out-of-the-way spots to take a breather, what with Carnation Plaza Gardens being turned into a princess meet ‘n’ greet and New Orleans’ Square’s Court of Angels constantly being farmed out as a temporary merchandise spot, character photo opp, or test site for another Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

One of the many things you can’t do in Court of Angels anymore…

Before it closed for good, Patrick was able to get down to Disneyland to document the final days of the Disney Gallery in one of our patented exhaustive photo tours (why take just one photo when you can take 200?). I wasn’t sure then what I was even going to do with the photos—I just wanted to be able to remember every nook and cranny of one of my favorite spots.

Maybe this tour will help you remember too!

(Did I mention this photo tour would be exhaustive…?)


Here you can get a glimpse of the fabulous Dorothea Redmond concept art for the apartment’s planned interior.

We were told the office and storage room behind these doors were originally to be a kids’ room and a bathroom. Dunno if that’s true…

Lookit Main Street, U.S.A. in its glass coffin!

Back exit to the Court of Angels

We were told this would have been the dining room in the original apartment…

This was where they used to feed you lunch on the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour…

Supposedly this was to be the master bedroom

Electrical outlets spaced to accommodate lamps on either nightstand—one of my favorite details!

The curtains in here were always closed, but I liked to peek out and see what would have been Walt & Lillian’s view!

This was where you used to get to sit for the Fantasmic! dessert parties. They had a full-on dessert buffet set up, not ice-cold boxed desserts from the cooler like they have now…

I’d love to see inside the Dream Suite someday, especially since it’s supposedly closer to Dorothea Redmond’s fabulous concept art than the Disney Gallery ever was. But I’d still rather have it be a space that everyone can enjoy.

{ 22 comments… add one }

  • Hope at Disneyland August 22, 2012, 7:43 PM

    I miss the Gallery too. It was such a nice space and I also hate how all of the hidden gems around DL are being turned into more places to sell merchandise. We never got to do Fantasmic seating up there (as our luck would have it, they switched it to Riverside Only after we had already booked our one and only Fantasmic Viewing package).

    Thanks for taking a million pictures and sharing it with the rest of us. Maybe if you ever make it to the Dream suite, you can take tons of pictures for the rest of us riff-raff. 😉

    P.S. welcome back! I was beginning to think you had abandoned this blog. 🙂

    • Carrie August 22, 2012, 11:05 PM

      Gulp! Sorry it was so long – whittling down 150 images to a mere 100+ took forEVER! I’m so glad you enjoyed the tour, though. 🙂

      • Hope at Disneyland August 23, 2012, 1:37 PM

        I LOVED that it was a long post with LOTS of images! I’m just sorry it had been a while between this recent post and the last one in June. Please keep taking a lot of pictures, because it’s the only way most of us will get to experience all of the cool things you guys get to see first hand.

        • Carrie August 23, 2012, 1:38 PM

          Can do, chief! 🙂

          • Hope at Disneyland August 23, 2012, 2:28 PM

            Yay! Thanks! 🙂

            P.S. I re-read my original post and can see how it could’ve been taken as a negative comment. I promise it wasn’t. All love and pixie dust from this poster. <3

            • Carrie August 23, 2012, 2:35 PM

              No worries—I wasn’t offended!

  • Elizabeth August 23, 2012, 9:00 AM

    So if you kiss that model of Main Street does it wake up and marry you?

    • Carrie August 23, 2012, 9:05 AM

      Oooh, I hope so! I want it in my house!

      • Elizabeth August 23, 2012, 9:08 AM

        I think I’d rather just move into a residence ON Main Street… one with a porch, please.

        • Carrie August 23, 2012, 9:17 AM

          You’ll need a shotgun to deal with all those parade-time trespassers!

          • Elizabeth August 23, 2012, 9:22 AM

            I’m going to install an electrified railing. Ha!

  • Allie August 23, 2012, 2:18 PM

    YAY… a new post!!! I’ve missed them. Living on the East Coast, I have only ever been to Disneyland once, and by far the best part was getting to visit the gallery. I’m so sad I won’t be able to see it next month when I FINALLY get to go back to Disneyland.

    I can also confirm for you though that the storage room you showed was originally the bathroom. I took the Walt’s Footsteps tour and the guide explained the origin of the gallery and Walt’s plan. The he opened the door to show us that the storage room was tiled and had a shower head in it. I may have a picture of it somewhere… I’ll have to look.

    • Carrie August 23, 2012, 2:34 PM

      Oooh! I’d love to see it!

  • Kimberly (NeverlandClub23) August 24, 2012, 8:54 AM

    How amazing and depressing all at the same time! 🙂 Thanks for sharing with us! I always love your blog posts. As the wonderful, secluded spots at the Disney parks disappear, it makes me treasure the few that are left even more. I can’t wait to make it out to Disneyland one day (hopefully before ALL the secluded spots disappear)!

    • Carrie August 24, 2012, 8:56 AM

      I hope you do! Maybe I should launch an unofficial tour called The Endangered Secluded Spots of Disneyland…

      • Jake August 24, 2012, 9:51 AM

        Holy Cow ! Take a few days off and all you get is grief when you come back. Just like real work… Only shows how much everyone loves your stuff. And the hiatus moved me to look at the older posts– I really must insist on accompanying you to the Van Dyke Halloween decorating party someday. That was an unexpected gem of a post. Thanks.

        • Carrie August 24, 2012, 10:03 AM

          You’re welcome to join us! For some reason, we can never get any of our pals in town to help out when the actual day rolls around…

          • Jake August 24, 2012, 10:50 AM

            Thanks, I’ll bring the cake…someday…

  • Allison September 3, 2012, 4:46 PM

    Thanks for a great post! As an animation art gallery director on the east coast, I was unable to make it out to Disneyland until long after the original location closed. I took a picture next to the staircase for posterity while there fore the first D23 Convention. I thought it was something only us art folk would have done, but I’m happy to hear that more people appreciated the rich history that was shared and the talented salespeople that were within. It’s sad to see that Disney no longer trains their gallery staff to be able to answer questions about the art, other than to tell them the price. (I think I’ve answered more questions for guests while touring through the galleries than the cast members have!) Thanks again!

    • Carrie September 3, 2012, 7:14 PM

      I wondered about that… there were several dedicated staff members I got to know over the years at the old gallery who seemed to disappear after it closed. I agree that the new gallery cast members seem to be trained exclusively as cashiers. 🙁

  • Dennis Pozzi September 7, 2012, 10:41 AM

    I believe that the new Walk in Walt’s footsteps turn includes a tour of the Dream suite.

    • Carrie September 7, 2012, 10:46 AM

      Unfortunately, they haven’t added the Dream Suite to the new tour, but it does get you into Walt’s apartment above the firehouse on Main Street, U.S.A.—which I think is even cooler!

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