I have just returned from a 5 day trip to Disneyland in California. During my stay, I booked two tours. I always like to look around on the Disneyland website to see what may be available for extra experiences. I was not aware of the Celebrating 100 tour so I was glad to find that one. I had done a similar tour to "Walt's Main Street Story" in the past, but my sisters had not been up to Walt's apartment so we added that one as well.
Celebrating Disney's 100th Tour
This tour started in Disneyland where we met our guide and got our name tags. We had headsets so we could hear him throughout the tour. They worked well for hearing him as well as for musical transitions throughout the tour.
The concept was the tour was to tell the story of the history of the Disney company. We left from Disneyland to walk across the plaza to California Adventure. There was no need for us to scan our tickets again as we were met by a member from the VIP guide department and let in through a side gate.
We stopped several times along the main street area of California Adventure to hear about Walt's beginnings and his journey to start the company. We then took a little stop at the Animation Academy. We were led into the area about 10 minutes before the general drawing session was to begin. The Disney animator gave an overview of the history and eras of Disney animation from the start until present day. We then had a few minutes to ask questions before other guests were let in for the drawing portion of the experience. We were drawing Pua from Moana. Mine was not great but it was fun. Our guide gathered all our drawings so we didn't have to carry them for the remainder of the tour.
We stopped outside of Carthay Circle to talk about the opening of Snow White and then had a little break to use the restrooms and grab a drink. From there we went back over to Disneyland, again entering from a side gate and continued with the story. One of my favorite little touches was the playing of Walt saying "Welcome to Disneyland" in our headsets timed to exactly when we walked under the train station onto Main Street.
We had a few more stops along Main Street to hear the rest of the story of the Disney company and we ended in front of the castle. As we turned in our headsets, we were given a pin for doing the tour.
There was a Photopass photographer waiting for us as well to take pictures of our parties in front of the castle. All of the photos were included so no additional purchase was needed to access the pictures in your Disney account.
It was then time to say "see you later" as the tour also included a private viewing area of the 3:30 pm Magic Happens parade. Our viewing location was right by the train station. We could arrive as early as 3 pm. Our guide was waiting there for us with our drawings and a special treat - a chocolate shortbread cookie.
The viewing area was great! It was a really hot day so I stayed in the shaded area which didn't make for the best photos but you could definitely get right up to the curb without any problems, if you wanted to.
The tour was fun and well done. Our biggest motivation for doing the tour was the viewing area for the parade. The crowd levels ended up being pretty low so we could have seen the parade fairly easily on our own, but it was one less then to have to plan for and the spot we had was great.
Walt's Main Street Story Tour
We started this tour like the last one by checking in and receiving our headsets and our name tags.
This tour started with several stops up and back down Main Street with information about Walt's vision for the area and details you may not notice. As much as I have been on tours before, there were even a few things that were new to me.
We ended up back at the fire station looking up at the lamp in Walt's apartment. We were prepped for our visit with the rules of being backstage - no photos, no cellphones out. When we entered the apartment, we were not allowed to touch anything or sit on most of furniture. There were two chairs available if someone did need to sit.
I have been lucky enough to have been in the apartment twice before - once on the "Walk in Walt's Footsteps" tour and once on our Adventure by Disney trip. I was pleasantly surprised at how much time we got to spend in the apartment on this tour. A lot of information was given about what we were seeing around the apartment and we had some time to look around as well, without touching anything of course.
Then a Photopass photographer came in and took photos of each party together. She then gave each person an opportunity to take an individual photo next to the lamp. She encouraged each of us to also look out the window as Walt was known to do. Again, all the photos were included in the tour.
We moved out from the apartment to the patio next to the apartment. There we got our special treat - a lemon cookie - and a bottled beverage. We had about 30 minutes to sit and enjoy the patio. Information was given about how the Disney family would host guests on the patio. I did not realize how the apartment area is backed by the Jungle Cruise attraction and that you can hear the some of the Jungle Cruise sounds while you are on the patio.
Our motivation for doing this tour was for my sisters to see the apartment. Though I enjoyed it more than I expected as it was nice to have more time there and really be able to look around and take it all in.
I have been a huge Disney and travel fan since childhood. I love going to new places and, of course, heading to Disney as often as I can.