While in Disneyland in August, I booked myself and my friend John onto the Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps tour (or the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour).
There are usually two time slots a day for the tour – 9:30am and 11:30am. We opted for the 11:30am slot and it lasts until around 3pm.
We met our guide Natalie at Tour Gardens (located on the left as you enter Disneyland and head under the railroad) where we were given a name badge and a headset and audio pack. Disneyland is loud with lots of people and sounds. So that the guide doesn’t have to strain their voice, they speak into a microphone and you can hear them through your headset. They also play audio clips of Walt during various parts of the tour – such as his opening day speech from Disneyland in 1955.
The Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps Tour
Our Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps tour started outside the fire station on Main Street before we headed up towards the castle and into Fantasyland. We learnt that the name on the windows above the shops all belong to Imagineers – and the fact that Walt never gave himself a window because he thought the owner of the park shouldn’t have one. Our guide later told us that Walt was later given a window in Toon Town to honour him after his death.
You get to ride at least one of the Disneyland original rides on your tour and our’s was the Alice in Wonderland dark ride. Being on the tour means you go straight to the front of the queue so were soon enjoying one of the original Disneyland rides. You don’t always get the Alice ride, I’ve head people having Mr Toads or Peter Pan.
While in Fantasyland we also learnt that the Carosaul has 78 horses and that Jiminy Cricket was the first character to break the fourth wall.
After Fantasyland, we headed over to Frontierland to see Mrs Disney’s tree that she dedicated to the park just after Walt’s death. We learnt about the Royal Apartments and why Walt had Club 33 built (even though he never saw it completed). We headed over to New Orleans Square to learn about Disney rides such as Pirates of the Carribean and Haunted Mansion before taking the Railroad over to Tomorrowland.
There we were told about how Tomorrowland wasn’t finished for opening day so Walt ordered hundreds of balloons to be hung there to make it look inviting. Over by It’s a Small World, we learnt about World Fair and about how Pepsi basically paid for it and how that money helped to shape Disneyland.
One of the most incredible things we heard was that Roy Disney who was responsible for the money (which Walt had spent nearly all of) had to raise an extra $17 million to get Disneyland finished. Let’s all take a second to give Roy the recognition he deserves.
Finally, we headed over to ‘Presenting Great Moments with Mr Lincoln’. Throughout the tour, we’d been told of Walt’s heavy interest in Abraham Lincoln and this experience was Walt’s passion project. One of the last stops on the tour is a photo of Walt and Mickey. The whole tour is quite emotional but this is where we kinda lost it. Our guide told us the story of Walt’s final days – how his brother Roy rubbed his feet as he passed away from lung cancer and how his legacy is one that will most like be around forever.
If that wasn’t emotional enough, we then got to go inside Walt’s private apartment which has been made to look like it is frozen in time. Fun fact – it hasn’t been – it was used as storage after his death before it was restored to look almost like it had when Walt was there. Some of Walt and Lilian’s personal possessions are still in the apartment. It is an incredibly special moment to stand there, where Walt did and hear stories of him crying whilst looking out the window as his dream came true. The light in the window is left on as a tribute to Walt ti remember his legacy and his creation of Disneyland.
You’re allowed one photo in Walt’s apartment and you must have it in a certain place at a certain angle (one that the Disney family has approved!) and only the cast member with you is allowed to take it. There are no videos allowed either. Far from upset, I actually love this idea as let’s be honest to any Disney fan, this isn’t just an attraction but an incredibly special place.
But if you really want to see inside, there are a few videos available on YouTube.
After seeing the apartment, we headed back to Tour Gardens to have our lunch which had been sent down from Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe. I had the turkey sandwich and a Matterhorn Macaroon. It was lovely to speak with other people from the tour. The furthest had come from Austalia and it was so fun to exchange stories about Disney.
I can hand on heart say that the Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps tour was one of the best afternoon’s of my trip and I can 100% recommend it to any Disney fan visiting Disneyland. The tour is available for $105 (discount available for annual pass holders and Cast Members) which includes lunch and a collectable pin and it worth every penny. You need to call the reservation line any book in advance as tours can get pretty full even when the park is quiet.
Have you done the Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps tour? Let me know below!
You can also catch up on my Disneyland adventure on my YouTube channel!