On a recent trip to Disneyland, my family and I did the “Walking in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps Guided Tour”. The tour is about the life and legacy of Walt Disney and the classic attractions of Disneyland.
As you enter the Disneyland park, walk under the railroad tracks and head to the Tour Gardens, which is to the left of City Hall. Upon check in you are handed a personalized name tag for each person in your party. Next, you will be given a menu from Jolly Holiday Bakery to make your lunch selections. Lunch is served in the Tour Garden area and includes a beverage, sandwich or salad and a cookie. Once checked in you are given a headset so you can hear your tour guide and historical soundbites throughout the day. The tour group we were with contained about 15 people with age range from teens to seniors. Our tour guide, Jaimeanne, was a college student who has a passion for Disney history and it showed throughout the tour. She began by asking the group questions about their Disney knowledge and interests so she could personalize our experience. Jaimeanne found out my daughter is a big fan of the Haunted Mansion, so throughout the day she would chat with her about the history and her shared passion for the attraction.
Our tour began with a walk down Main Street USA, while hearing about Walt’s childhood and his hometown of Marceline, Missouri, which is the inspiration for this famous street.
As we continued down Main Street we headed to the partner statue in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. We then transitioned to Fantasyland and learned about the history of various attractions in this area. We then had the opportunity to experience one of the Fantasyland attractions, Alice in Wonderland. Next, we moved to New Orleans Square where we hopped onto the Disneyland Railroad, my husband’s favorite attraction, and took a ride around the park and disembarked in Tomorrowland, where we took a short break. All along the tour our guide was us park history as it related to the time and Walt Disney himself. At pivotal points in the tour we would hear music relevant to the attraction we were hearing about or Walt himself talking. We then headed back down Main Street and the conclusion of our tour which ended with watching “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln”, which houses the first human audio-animatronic ever created.
For lunch we headed back to the Tour Garden where our lunch was waiting for us in a nicely shaded, private picnic area. As we ate we had the chance to chat more with Jaimeanne about Walt Disney. My family enjoyed the famous Matterhorn Macaroon, which is a coconut macaroon topped with white chocolate and resembles the attraction it is named after. In the end we were presented with a beautiful keepsake pin.
Finally, it was time for the most magical part of the tour, a look inside of Walt Disney’s apartment. The apartment is located above the firehouse on Main Street. We were escorted backstage and up a set of stairs that Walt himself used to enter the modest accommodations. The apartment is one room with a small kitchenette and bathroom, but was elegantly decorated at the hand of Lillian Disney. We were unable to take photos of the apartment ourselves, but at the conclusion of the tour our guide took a photo of each family and were careful to get the lamp in the window that is always lit to show that Walt’s spirit is in the park.
Overall the tour lasted about 3 ½ hours from start to finish. This event tends to fills up quickly, to secure a spot I called Disneyland Resort Tours exactly 30 days in advance. The cost is $115 per person which includes lunch and a collectable Walking in Walt’s Footsteps pin. DVC and Annual Pass discounts are available, it is worth mentioning that we also received a discount coupon with our resort package. The tour was interesting, at times emotional, and very informative. I would recommend it for anyone who is a Disney enthusiast and anyone who wants to know more about Walt Disney, the man.
Alisa Mela is a travel professional with Coasters and Castles Travel. She has traveled to Walt Disney World over 30 times in her life. This was her 3 trip to Disneyland. Alisa became a Disney travel professional because she enjoys the planning process and loves using her knowledge to make magical trips for her clients.