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.