A Train for Lilly

Most men give flowers and candy to their favorite lady. Walt Disney named a train after his. Back in 1948, Walt set out to build a miniature steam power train that he could operate in his backyard. Once finished he named it the “Lilly Belle,” in honor of his wife Lilly. Eventually Walt’s gesture to Lilly made its way to Disneyland where the original Grand Canyon observation car was renamed the “Lilly Belle.” It’s not in commission all of the time, but on special occasions you can see this special car pull up the rear of the train. Take a look at this video and enjoy a ride on the “Lilly Belle.”


  • My husband and I are APs from Orange County, I thought I knew everything there was to know about Disneyland – but this is something new entirely!

    I’m going to be on the lookout for this!

  • This will mark the 40th year my wife Wendy and I have been enjoying the park. Through the kindness of others we have been fortunate to enjoy some of the “special’ treats the park has and one of those treats was the Lilly Belle. As we read the posts from others it brings a smile when we once again realize that “dreams really do come true at Disneyland”!!!! Brain and Wendy’s story is proof positive!!

  • Can guests actually ride in the car that looks like a living room?!? I really like the video…just enough to start me drooling! I also enjoyed BRIAN and WENDY’s post about their proposal. That is so special and what a great story you will be able to share with your children.

  • I’ve had the great pleasure of riding in the Lilly Belle car a few years back and the ticket I received for it is posted right next to my picture of me and Lucky the Dinosaur. It was a trip that I will never forget.

  • I am a huge fan of both dinosaurs and the writings of Jules Verne, so you can imagine the inexpressible thrill of rolling past Primeval World while surrounded by the Victorian splendor of the Lilly Belle. That round-trip is one of my fondest memories of Disneyland!

  • My husband and I were lucky enough to ride on the Lille Belle after he said good morning to the conductor, Darrell. It was truly a magical moment and Darrell was extremely gracious answering our questions and taking pictures. We still have fond memories and it was truly a beautiful tribute to Walt and his wife! Thank you, Darrell for making our first trip to Disneyland magical, special and truly a Walt moment!

  • Mary from Santa Barbara, CA….
    I have never had the privilege to ride the Lilly Belle…But that is one of those dreams that I hope come true one day! To know that Walt’s love of his life Lilly is represented on the train which is another one of his loves… Thanks for bring out this story before Valentines Day

  • The miniature railroad in Walt Disney’s yard was called the Carolwood Railroad, because the home was located on Carolwood Drive in west Los Angeles. By the way, the rented mansion where Michael Jackson died was located on Carolwood Drive.

  • I think that was nice of youre husband to so this train for his wife and I think theyre will be more added to it hopefully throught the years its a beauty and with a name like that who cant resist not to ride this new addition to Walt Disney Hope there will be more riders and more to add on for cars after all every train has a cabboose right?thank you for sharing the true story to youre train.

  • We were waiting in line to go on the train when one of the cast members approached us and asked if we would like to take a special ride on the Lilly Belle, it was a very special experience for me!! I love Disneyland and everything it stands for I return at least once a year, it never gets old. Thank you Walt for dreaming your dream!!

  • If you enjoy learning and experiencing Walt Disney’s love for trains and the Lilly Belle at Disneyland, then you need to check out the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society. It is an awesome travel back in time in Walt’s life. Also, if you’re up for some travel, head out to Marceline, MO and experience where Walt spent some of his childhood. There is a great museum, trains and his dreaming tree. There are great stories of how his Uncle would stop the train in the country right out side of town and let Walt ride the rest of the way in to town. And of course you can see Walt’s inspiration for Main Street USA.

  • This car holds a very special place in our hearts – it is where my husband proposed to me back in 1997! He planned it months in advance. He called guest services to see if they had any special ideas for a proposal and we got to have the car all to ourselves for a round-trip. He almost chickened out, thinking that he could still do it later by the castle, but then as we entered the dioramas of the Grand Canyon and the prehistoric land, I was holding his hand and it felt unusually cold… Needless to say, he popped the question and I said yes! And now, every time we visit the park, we look for the Lilly Belle.

  • there were 9 of us that got to ride on the Lilly Belle (formerly the Grand Caynon) We rode on it on November 26, 2009. We just asked and they let us. Normally you have to pre-arange for that to happen. But because we were the last group in line and there were no seats left on the train we got to ride in it. Billy the castmember that rode with us told us so much information about the car andthe park and about Disney and his wife that we never knew before. He is our new favorite Disney charecter now.

  • It is a BEAUTIFUL railroad car, and I continue to be SO happy that it’s been restored! That is just a cool little video, too! Wish the video was just a little longer, but it’s just enough to make sure that I’ll watch out for it the next time I’m entering the park, or see that train pull into one of the stations.

  • When my husband and I were at the park in September, we saw the Lilly Belle running and simply asked the conductor if we could ride it. He told us to come back at 6pm and when we did, we were able to board with two other small groups. We enjoyed it so much! A very special experience. If you see the Lilly Belle running, ask if you can take a ride. If you’re able to be patient, you can usually get on!

  • The blog post is not precise. The 1/8 scale locomotive was named Lilly Belle for Lillian Disney by Walt. The Presidential car was also named for Mrs Disney by the Park executives when it was rebuilt from the Grand Canyon in 1975. Lillian has another Locomotive name sake at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, as do Walt and Roy. The person for whom the fourth locomotive at Disney world was named has a Window on Disneyland’s main Street.

  • I got to ride in the Lilly Belle with my wife and my parents as a special surprise for my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary about 2 weeks ago. It was such a wonderful, special experience for all of us.

    I don’t know how many people get to do this, but being part of the (relatively) small number that do was amazing. Thank you again to Rebecca for making this Magical Moment (and others) happen for my family!

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