Staying at the Disneyland Dream Suite has long been one of my top Disney bucket list items, high up there with the other exclusive Disneyland places like Club 33 and Walt Disney's apartment. While I personally haven't had the opportunity to visit the Disneyland Dream Suite, my friend Richard had the opportunity to stay the night in the suite.
Here's his story of the Disneyland Dream Suite:
Ugh, I needed coffee. Hours of prize hunting takes its toll and per our routine we were at Disneyland's gates at least 15 minutes before park opening. Many, many times we were first in line at one of the turnstiles watching and waiting for another chance at winning prizes in the Year of Million Dreams prize giveaway. But now at about 10:00 am, our prize hunting group was taking a break in the Hub. Janie, of course, was still at it in Fantasyland with her daughter Cocoa.
[yellowbox]Bonus Article: Get our list of the top five secret places in Disneyland. Read the list. These are the places that I make sure to visit each time we are in the parks. [/yellowbox]
While I was at the coffee stand, Myrna and Stephen were sitting on a Hub bench talking over today's hunt. We had spent the morning circling Disneyland over and over again in the search of the Dream Makers. We hadn't intended to discover the pattern of prize drops, or to understand how the Dream Squad worked.
It was just by chance that we began noticing Dream Squad members, without their white prize vests, walking through Disneyland carrying huge bags. We did of course wonder what they were doing going backstage. We were then surprised to see that ten or fifteen minutes later those same Dream Squad members emerged now wearing their prize awarding white vests and carrying those same bags giving away their contents to Disneyland guests who happened to pass by them. Sometimes they handed out ears. Sometimes they gave out Fast Pass lanyards and occasionally they handed out lanyards and two Year of Million Dreams pins. We didn't intend to discover this, but we did. You hang around the park long enough and you see things, you notice patterns and routines.
How to Stay in the Disneyland Dream Suite Above Pirates
The Year(s) of a Million Dreams became our scavenger hunt. We learned about the other prizes, but our hope was to win a night in the Disneyland a Dream Suite. Craig and I had been hunting for a few months when we met up with Myrna and her granddaughter Cocoa, also prize hunters. A few weeks later Janie joined out team and we were complete, friends for life!
So for almost a year, the five us met almost every weekend morning to begin our hunt. We were good and we shared our haul with family, friends and other Disneyland guests. But today right now Janie and Cocoa were following our holy grail prize search, “a night in the Dream Suite. Remember, we knew the routines! When only one Dream Squad member walked with one Disneyland “suit” (supervisor) through the park without bags, the prize was a big one!
This was still a very challenging difficult win. One winner given at a specific time and at an unknown location. We were five, brought together by this crazy fun, exhilarating game of hide and seek! By chance we began seeing each other at the prize drops, then helping each other. Now we were determined to win that big prize; we had been at it for over a year. The Dream Suite was an amazing prize for us; we were and still are huge Disneyland fans! But it had been a year and we were tired, except Janie who followed this trail on her own dragging Cocoa along with her. As practice, our phones were ready and in hand while we rested and waited for coffee.
Hot on the Trail of The Disney Dream Suite
We had been very close twice before. We knew what our mistakes had been and a big prize had escaped us twice. We knew that following this Dream Squad team was very difficult; it was a game of chance. The prizes were timed, and strictly so! You had to be in the right place at the right time. Our first failed attempt was being in the wrong place, one row away! The prize that day went undelivered. Our second failed attempt was wrong timing and bad peer pressure. Stephen was in the right spot! The rest of us forced him to wait and allow another group onto the attraction ahead of us. They won the big prize that day and we congratulated them, as Stephen fumed at us under his breath! See kids what peer pressure will do to you!
But today only Janie made this search attempt. While uncertain of the prize drop location, she rode Pinocchio with Cocoa. The rest of us were in the Hub, coffee and bench! Then Janie called Myrna saying that she had won something at the exit of Pinocchio! And no, she did not know what she had won so stop asking her and yes it is more important than waiting for your coffee. The three of us waited for Janie and Cocoa in the Hub.
They were now accompanied by a white vested Dream Squad member and we started yelling and asking all sorts of questions. Even the Dream Squad member could not tell us what Janie had won; we would have to wait. We all headed down Main Street with people all around staring at us, some knowingly asking what we had won. We were all so excited! We were talking all at once, all the way to the old Disneyland Police Station. Inside the small square room was a table and chairs with a tv at one end. They told us that we would now find out about Jainie's prize by watching a video.
The TV started playing all sorts of prizes until finally announcing Janie's prize a night in the Dream Suite! And we all started screaming, very loudly! Several concerned Dream Squad members came in from another room asking if we needed medical attention. We were near passing out from excitement! Janie insisted that we would all share in her prize! But first we listened to many instructions!
It was 10:30 am and we would have to return to a specified pick-up spot on backstage property at 2:30 pm. The next hours were crazy and frightening! Our two groups headed to our respective homes to pack for an overnight stay at Disneyland! We kept imagining some possible accident coming up that would prevent us from returning to Disneyland and our spectacular prize!
And then we were reunited in front of the Dream Suite van. We were practically hysterical from being back stage to then arriving onto Disneyland Town Square with our Dream Suite entourage. Again people stared at our group! And we were wowed by the excitement of staying in the Dream Suite and there would be so much more!
Somehow we were making our way to New Orleans Square, from Main Street and through Frontierland. Luckily and crazily, we happened to pass another Year of a Million Dreams prize drop by the petrified tree, ears! We all looked at each other, and then we looked at our handlers. They shrugged and laughed. So when we finally arrived at the stairs leading up to the Dream Suite, we did so in our newly won Year of a Million Dreams Ears!
Welcome to the Disney Dream Suite!
At the stairs, we were introduced to the Disneyland crowd by Queenie and her Mardi Gras band. With tambourines playing and Queenie signing, we ascended the right side of sweeping staircase leading up to the Dream Suite door! Janie did the honors of entering first. Magical!
After looking around the incredible living room and hearing about our other prizes, we made our ways to the windows and looked out onto Disneyland. We were spending the night in the Dream Suite, in Disneyland! We could not stop smiling and our cheeks were beginning to hurt! So many charms to relay, so many beautifully crafted details! The fireplace whose sparks became fireworks above the flames! The caged, mechanical singing bird that inspired Walt's conceptions of audio animatronics. The murals of the castles that were the models for Sleeping Beauty Castle. For lovers of Walt Disney and Disneyland, the Dream Suite was a tribute to both and we could not be happier!
With a very generous credit and a reserved table for five at the Blue Bayou downstairs, we left our Dream Suite valet and exited through the front doors and down those incredible stairs. A fantastic day was topped by an incredible dinner in the Blue Bayou. A pirate, cookie boat topped by ice cream finished our dinner.
We were ecstatic and now we had to hurry because Janie would be the grand marshal for the parade and we were all riding in the Disneyland 1912 touring car. My video of that car ride was full of us laughing the entire trip down the parade route. In front of the touring car was an escort of Disney characters which lead us past cheering crowds through Disneyland. When we finished the parade and ended up backstage, were we met our parade escort, Mary Poppins.
Mary gave Cocoa a bunch of balloons to hand out along the parade route as we walked back to our reserved parade viewing spot by the tea cups. We had seen the parade many times before, so we skipped out early to head back to the Dream Suite! That was where we wanted to be; that was what we wanted to experience. We could see the parade anytime! We went back to the Dream Suite climbing those incredible stairs. We explored every room, every trinket and every gift that the Disney Imagineers had created in that unique apartment.
Stars twinkled over the master bathtub! Shadows of Peter Pan, Tinkerbelle and Captain Hook's pirate ship floated across the master bedroom ceiling. The interior open air patio, let in a slight drizzle that night as we continued to smile at each other and marvel at our great fortune! Another goodnight kiss started the train around the track just below the ceiling and circled the Frontierland bedroom triggering special effects along its route around the room.
But now we would be featured during the first showing of Fantasmic which we saw from our balcony. One of our more favorite photos of the evening was one of our silhouettes framed by the Fantasmic spotlights! It was a great day and the evening was getting better! We cheered on Mickey! We hissed at Maleficent and we recoiled at the flames on the Rivers of America! And now we were forever spoiled with respect to Fantasmic viewing! Come on!
What could ever compare to seeing Fantasmic from the balcony of the Dream Suite? We watched the crowds leave the area and every so often someone would look up, and we would wave! Incredible!
And now we had more time to explore and to play in the three rooms that made up the Disneyland Dream Suite! Jingles the carrousel horse and the screen that came down from the ceiling to show Disney movies in the living room! The living room goodnight kiss that started Cinderella's song and began the grandfather clock images!
The mechanical bird chirped and Cinderella's glass slipper lit up. The chocolate Tinkerbelle sculpture and candies sat next to Janie's engraved crystal vase commemorating her incredible win! All so fantastic and continuing to envelop us in the Disney magic! We were all happy beyond belief still smiling in spite go our sore cheeks!
Prowling Disneyland Park At Night
We saw the final showing of Fantasmic! from our balcony this time without the fanfare, and now we could hear Disneyland closing down around us. The overhead announcements that ended park guest's day, but we waited for more! Dressed in our pajamas and slippers, we sat at the Dream Suite windows watching the guests leave. Our Dream Team member arrived for our after hours tour of the park!
We saw the night magic! The backside graveyard of the Haunted Mansion, the old Skyway building in Fantasyland, and we had our pictures taken everywhere!
Nothing diminished our perception of Disneyland as the happiest place on earth! Two hours later exhausted, but still energized with excitement we returned to the Dream Suite!
Disneyland Dream Suite Bedrooms
It was 2:30 am and we were still playing with the magic! But at about 3:30 am, exhaustion overtook our elation and we went off to bed. Myrna crashed out in the master bedroom with Peter Pan and Captain Hook flying overhead. Stephen and I in Walt's Frontierland room, complete with a replica of the original Disneyland map that glowed in the dark when the lights were finally off!
The prize winner, Janie slept on the living room sofa with her daughter Cocoa in her arms, as the Disney movies played on above their heads.
We woke at 6:00 am with the first, stage preparation announcement sounding loudly outside. Fantastic! We woke up smiling because we had spent the night in Disneyland, in the Dream Suite! We showered and dressed for our Plaza Inn breakfast and pictures with the Disney characters! Surrounded by Walt Disney's dream, Disneyland, we ended our most wonderful Disneyland experience!
We spent the night in the Disneyland Dream Suite! Incredible! We all remain Disneyland fans and great friends!
Editors Note: Thanks very much to for sharing this incredible story about how he stayed at the Disneyland Dream Suite. Boy, do I wish that I could have this experience. Perhaps some day!
Be sure to follow Richard (the author of this fantastic article) on Twitter.