CONFIRMED: Disneyland’s Lilly Belle Car Now Open Once More
Update 11/17/2014: The Disneyland Lilly Belle car is now operational once again and is currently open to all guests if they ask at the correct time. To get a ride on the Lilly Belle inquire at the Disneyland train station. If you ask in the morning, the conductor manning the station will be able to tell you whether the Disneyland Lilly Belle will be available or not.
The car will not run on days with heavy rain or incredibly high crowds. Also, a Cast Member must accompany all park guests who take a ride in the Lilly Belle, so if the railroad is understaffed the day you ask, the answer will probably be no.
Your takeaway from this should be: Ask in the morning at the Disneyland Main Street Station if you want to ride the Disneyland Lilly Belle.
Below is the article that previously confirmed the car was not available to regular park guests.
For quite some time there has been a rumor that the exclusive Disneyland Lilly Belle car will now only be available to tour groups and Club 33 members. This rumor has been confirmed and the car is now closed to the public.
Lilly Belle Car Official Closed
A Disneyland Cast Member confirmed that the Lilly Belle will no longer be open for regular park guests and that no requests for rides would be fielded at the main Disneyland Main Street station any longer.
While the Cast Member wouldn’t confirm that it was specifically for Club 33 use, they did confirm that it would be used for special groups and events.
My hunch and the most likely situation is that the public had become very aware of the car, and the demand has dramatically increased. MAYBE (That’s a big maybe) Disney decided to change the availability of the car because they believed that they could allow for a better experience on the car by adding it to one of their guided tours.
The Lilly Belle is one of the listed benefits of being a Club 33 member. In the past I have heard of Club 33 members not being able to use the car because it was full for the day with regular park visitors.
The only problem with riding the car in the past is that there wasn’t always an explanation of what was inside of the car or the history. My thought is that Disney will add the Lilly Belle to the already popular Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour. This move will increase the popularity of the tour and allow for an even better experience in the car.
Bob Iger briefly mentioned the car and the Court of Angels in the 2014 Disney Stockholder’s Meeting saying that, “In some cases the only way to bring something back is to do it for an exclusive number,” and that there is so much to do in the parks that the exclusive stuff makes up a very small amount.
Lilly Belle Car Disneyland History
The Lilly Belle car is the last remaining train car from the opening day of Disneyland. Previously the Grand Canyon viewing car, the Lilly Belle was converted when the Disneyland Transportation Superintendent decided that Disneyland needed a special VIP car. Lilian Disney was influential in designing the car, adding family photos and early memorabilia. Because of her invovlement, the car was named the ‘Lilly Belle’.
While this was one of the most highly coveted experiences available to the general public at Disneyland, there are still two great experiences.
Disneyland Steam Engine. Photo by Disney.
In each of the Disneyland Railroad engines there are tender seats that fit two people. These seats are available to guests if they check in at the Disneyland train station in the morning right when the park opens. The schedule for these tender rides varies, so your best bet is to check right when you go into the park.
The Mark Twain Riverboat lets a lucky group of guests “drive” during each trip around the river. To enjoy this amazing experience, find a Cast Member right before you board and ask to visit the wheelhouse and if you could be captain this time around. If you are lucky, they will escort you up to the wheelhouse where the captain will teach you how to steer. You can sign the guest book that dates back to 1955 when Walt Disney and his wife christened the boat on their wedding anniversary.
Update May 7, 2014: According to a Club 33 member, the guest book containing the signatures of all of the passengers who have ever experienced the Lily Belle was stolen. Numerous celebrity signatures were inside of this book, and I guess that someone decided to steal it. What a shame. I can easily see this as the straw that broke the camels back and Disney just shut it down.