Disneyland Finishing Project Conceived by Walt Disney

Tue October 30, 2007 - West Edition

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Designers and construction crews at Disneyland are completing a project that Walt Disney himself started more than 40 years ago — a private living suite tucked into the theme park itself.

The Walt Disney Co. announced the project Oct. 1, saying theme park guests will be able to win an overnight stay in the suite beginning next year.

Disney dreamed up the spacious suite in the 1960s and designed it with the help of illustrator Dorothea Redmond and Oscar-winning set decorator Emile Kuri.

The two bedroom, two- bath, 2,600-sq.-ft. apartment will be hidden away in the New Orleans Square area and include an open-air patio.

Disney wanted to use the living quarters for himself and his family, as well as for visiting dignitaries and other important guests. He died before the work could be completed, however, and the space became offices before being converted into The Disney Gallery in 1987.

Now, crews are redoing the rooms according to Disney’s original plans.

“We want it to be more than just a beautiful suite. We want it to be filled with things that might have inspired Walt as he dreamed of Disneyland,” said Kim Irvine, art director for Walt Disney Imagineering.

Decorations will include a full-size carousel horse, mechanical songbird and original wall paintings of European castles.

Disney also kept a private apartment above the Fire House on Main Street, U.S.A., which is still standing.