Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hidden Gems: Walt's Ghost

Right next door to the Main Street Town Hall at Disneyland is the Disneyland Fire Department. Guests can wander around the old-fashioned firehouse and marvel at vintage fire engines the likes of which had preceded the invention of motor cars. It may not be a functioning fire department that rushes to the scene if there's a fire on the park premises, but it's a nice addition to the old-timey feel of the Main Street facade. But in the upstairs room of the DFD lies a secret to many.

Walt Disney, the visionary behind Disneyland, liked to oversee construction and make personal changes to his beloved park. It was only fitting that he should have his own living space right on park property. And so he made his temporary home right above Main Street, in the Fire Department building. If you're a common guest, chances are you haven't been inside Walt Disney's apartment, though tours are held every morning. But next time you're walking by the Disneyland Fire Department, pay close attention to the window. See the lamp?

Guests would rely on that lamp to know when Walt was visiting the park. In a Revere-esque fashion, Walt would light the lamp when staying in his apartment, as a way of signaling to guests that the man himself was on park grounds. Ever since Walt passed away in 1966, the lamp has been lit permanently, symbolizing that Walt Disney will forever remain in Disneyland, in spirit. Hopefully in spirit. Maybe it means that his body has been cryogenically frozen in the bowels of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

All kidding aside, this is a cute little homage to Uncle Walt, who's spent 58 years watching over Disneyland. Here's to 58 more.

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