BACKSTORY (January 31, 2008 —Present): Originally this area above the Pirates of the Caribbean was earmarked to be a private suite for Walt Disney and his family to entertain in a way that his small Main Street Firehouse apartment could not afford. The original door was located in a New Orleans Square courtyard; guests would climb the stairs and announce themselves via a buzzer/intercom. This door was located at the rear of the Disney Gallery back hallway, connected to the ground floor by a flight of stairs in the Royal Courtyard designated by a “21 Rue Royal” marker. Walt worked with Dorothea Redmond ("Gone with the Wind") on the interior designs. Redmond's 1966 concepts showed an elegant yet warm design. Each room was connected to a view of an outdoor patio so that Walt and Lillian could enjoy the outdoors away from park guests. Lillian picked the fountain patio. The Royal Suite would not have had a kitchen, so Club 33 would have supplied meals for Walt’s guests. With Walt's death in 1966, his older brother Roy felt that staying in The Royal Suite would be too difficult for the family. Within the wrought iron of the balcony, one can still see the initials “WD” (Walt Disney) and “RD”(Roy Disney).
In 2007, Disney announced that the Gallery would be restored to Walt’s/Dorothea’s original vision, and used as a 2,600 sq. ft. suite for lucky guests to spend an unforgettable night during the Year of a Million Dreams promotion. The $3 million renovation yielded a two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite, with each room corresponding to one of the lands at Disneyland. Front parlor (New Orleans Square), Master bedroom (Adventureland), Master bathroom (Fantasyland), Children’s bedroom (Frontierland), Children’s bathroom (Main Street U.S.A.), a courtyard, and a balcony overlooking the Rivers of America. Each room also has a number of special magical effects to enhance the overnight stay. Winners of the Dream Suite prize check in at 3 p.m., receive a complimentary dinner at the Blue Bayou, serve as grand marshals of the day’s parade, and take a two-hour after-hours tour of the park. 24-hour concierge service will be available.
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