A Dream (Suite) Come True in Disneyland Park

It’s still an experience money can’t buy, but (if it doesn’t sound too much like bragging) let me tell you how my family and I got to stay overnight in the Disneyland Dream Suite.

You know how sometimes at a party you’ll be given a half of a ticket with a number on it while the other half goes into a bucket for prize drawing? I had one of those ticket stubs at a big gathering of Disneyland Resort cast members. And my number was picked from hundreds of others for the overnight Dream Suite stay.

I was especially thrilled by this because in 2008, when Dream Suite stays were being awarded to random guests as part of The Year of a Million Dreams, I spent a lot of time in the Suite, showing it off to news media as part of my job in Public Relations. More than once I thought, “How can I arrange to let my wife, son, daughter and granddaughter at least have a look at this incredible place?” And then…I got the opportunity to actually stay there with them overnight!

The Disneyland Dream Suite, as you may know, is located upstairs from Pirates of the Caribbean. The space was originally planned as a private apartment for Walt Disney to entertain special guests, but he passed away before it could be completed. For two decades, beginning in 1987, it was the Disney Gallery. (And yeah, I did PR for that, too, when it first opened.) Preparing it for The Year of a Million Dreams, a team of Imagineers did an incredible job recreating Walt’s original vision for a luxury suite.

A Bedroom in the Disneyland Dream Suite

Every part of the Suite is beautifully designed and full of surprises. The two bedrooms are themed, respectively, to Adventureland and Frontierland, based on their proximity to those lands. The Suite is spiced up with special effects – a “goodnight kiss” in each of the main rooms that can be switched on as bedtime nears.

Bathtub in the Master Bath of the Disneyland Dream Suite

Back in 2008, I thought the most over-the-top aspect of the Suite was the bathtub in the Master Bath, decorated with a stained-glass window and lit by Imagineered starlight. My granddaughter certainly agreed.

John and His Family on the Balcony of the Disneyland Dream Suite

And for those of you who remember the Disney Gallery, I have to report that I think the Suite balcony is still THE best place to watch “Fantasmic!” I stayed out on that balcony past park closing to watch the last guests depart, and went out again before park opening to watch the first guests coming in. When you’re a cast member, there’s something special about being able to witness the reluctance of guests to leave Disneyland park at night and the eagerness with which they enter in the morning. I had a special vantage point to watch that.

John and His Family in Their PJs on a Walking Tour of Disneyland-after-closing

And when the last guests had departed that night and some of us had put on our PJs, we took a walking tour of Disneyland-after-closing.

John’s Daughter, Emily, in Front of the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland Park

The 999 Happy Haunts of Haunted Mansion Holiday were our neighbors, so of course we stopped by for a visit. My daughter even posed for a photo in their…um… driveway.

Needless to say, it was a very, very special experience for all of us. I’m happy to be able, in a small way, to share it with you.


  • Can i stay there?? sometimes i dream about it:) maybe a suite in the disneyland hotel?

  • Very cool! I was just discussing the suite with my dad the other day. I remember when they were giving out stays to random guests the Year of a Million Dreams, but how are the making use of it nowadays? Sounds like you got the cast member perk of the year 🙂

  • You can walk around ?

  • John, it sounds like they couldn’t have picked a more deserving person if they had tried. How wonderful that after giving tours of the suite, you were able to stay there. Thank you for sharing your story — and wonderful photos — with us.

  • How very magical! When we go to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, I always imagine that we’ll be chosen to spend the night at either Cinderella’s Castle or the Dream Suite. It would be an absolute dream come true to be able to spend one night in a magical and fantasy place. You are truly blessed and fortunate to have this incredible experience!

  • I want that bath tub :). How lucky you guys were to get to stay there!

  • That is fantastic! Congratulations! I’ve often wondered if you were allowed to leave the suite and wander the park after closing, and now I know! An evening stroll in my pj’s could be done if I’m ever lucky enough to stay in the dream suite! Very cool. Thanks for sharing.

  • this is SO COOL!!! thank you for sharing! it’s ALMOST as good as actually staying there!….well, ALMOST 😉

  • Thank-you for sharing. Now the rest of us can imagine being on that balcony too. What an awesome experience! I’m happy for you and your family 🙂

  • Yes, I am jealous. You one the lottery. I always climbed the stairs, when they were open, for the view. I knew it had been Disney’s dream to build a suite there and I always imagined myself walking in his footsteps. You truly were able to live the dream. Congratulations!

  • I would love to stay there for my honeymoon in a couple of years. How does someone make reservations or arrange to stay in the dream suite? And how would I know how much it cost?

  • Amazing post. Thank you for sharing the behind the scenes at Disneyland. So cool.

  • What an amazing experience! Especially getting to walk around the park in pjs! Thanks for sharing!

  • SO freaking jealous!! What an amazing opportunity!!

  • Awe 🙂

    This is incredible! Very very cool 🙂
    What a wonderful opportunity!

  • Thank you so much for sharing. It’s a great story and the pictures of your family are wonderful. Congratulations!

  • i cant believe you posted this today because yesterday i was wondering if they were still giving away nights to people to stay at the dream suite..and this answers my question so thanks(: im glad you got to enjoy it with your family. i desperately want to stay at the disneyland dream suite once in my life or even the one at florida in cinderellas castle. i really hope that i am given the same opportunity as you. i would like to stay at one of them on my honeymoon but i may want to stay there after my wedding once/if i have kids so they could stay also. anyway fingers crossed! and thanks for sharing!

  • What a cool opportunity!

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