It is well known that Walt Disney had a private apartment above the Fire Department on Main Street. What is much less known is that he didn’t.
Disney knew that both guests and cast members took a great interest in him and what he was doing, but at the same time he sometimes needed privacy to work out a problem or just take a well-earned nap. With this in mind, he had a highly visible apartment built on Main Street where he could pretend to go when he needed some privacy, and which would act as a decoy, drawing those who wanted to see him away from his real in-park residence (which we will discuss later in the tour). Very often, when asked to make a difficult decision, Disney would indicate that he had to go to his apartment to take a nap and think about it (which is where the popular phrase “I’ll sleep on it” comes from).
To maintain the illusion that this was Disney’s apartment, the rooms were fully furnished and were granted a separate “999 year lease” by the Disneyland park holding company. One side effect of this lease is that the apartment is technically a private residence and not zoned for business or tourist trade, which is why guests are not allowed to visit or photograph it. The apartment is decorated in Main Street’s turn-of-the-century style, and a gas lamp is always kept burning in the window to remind guests that it has no electricity.
Coming up next: Vehicle entrance