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Walt’s Beloved Apartment At Disneyland Just Got An Update For The Major Fans

Walt Disney's Disneyland apartment
(Image credit: Dirk Libbey)

Three are now a dozen Disney theme parks around the world, but there was only one that Walt Disney himself ever stood inside. Walt Disney spent so much time at Disneyland both before and after it opened that he had an apartment built for himself on the grounds. Few get to actually visit the apartment, but anybody can see where it was, day or night, because a lamp is always left burning in the window, but as of this week, it's now a different lamp.

Most of the people that walk past the Disneyland Firehouse certainly won't notice, but the serious fans, that know the significance of the lamp, and why it is always burning, noticed that the lamp was recently replaced. The image above is one I took at the beginning of September. Below you can see the lamp that's there now.

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While the lamp has been replaced a few times in the last 67 years, the lamp being in that window in the first place is a significant piece of Disneyland history. When Walt was alive, the lamp being lit signified to the Cast Members that the boss was on site. There's even an old Disneyland ghost story associated with the lamp, that after Walt's death somebody was cleaning the apartment and turned the lamp off, only to see it back on after getting down to street level. The story goes that the lamp kept turning itself back on no matter what happened. Today, the lamp is left burning continuously, as a way of recognizing Walt's presence in the park at all times, in a symbolic way. 

There were plans to build a new apartment for Walt in New Orleans Square, because he decided the firehouse space was too small. Unfortunately, Walt passed away before he could ever use it. The space was eventually converted into what is now the 21 Royal restaurant. an exclusive dining establishment. There were also plans to build Walt an apartment inside Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom, but he died before that construction even began. 

While the previous lamp was not anything directly tied to Walt Disney, the new lamp is a significant change in design from the old one. However, it looks like part of  the reason for the change might actually be historical accuracy. At least one old picture of the apartment when Walt was in it, posted by Walt Disney Animation Studios' Bruce Wright, shows a lamp somewhat similar to the one that is there now, in a window.

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Having said that, the lamp will probably be something that requires getting used to for some fans. What the lamp in the window looks like is less important than the fact that there is a lamp in the window at all, but certainly the fans who pay that much attention are going to be quite used to the old lamp. In the end, however, new fans will learn about what the lamp means, and they'll fall in love with this one. And eventually they can get made when it gets replaced again. 

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.