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  1. #1

    • Joe Flowers
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    Joe's Epic Overnight Disneyland Dream Suite Trip Report - with lots of pictures

    Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler
    This trip report gives an extremely detailed report of our experience at the Disneyland Dream Suite. Be warned, if you read this posting, and then stay in the Dream Suite, many of your magical moments will not be as magical. But if it doesn't bother you to learn who Luke's father is, or find out about Bruce Willis and the creepy kid who sees dead people, then read on.

    If you happened upon this page and you're actually going to be staying in the Disneyland Dream Suite,
    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
    DO NOT READ THIS!!!
    It will be so much more magical if you experience it all for yourself first.


    Quick! What's the most amazing incredible experience you could ever do at Disneyland? Club 33? While that would be nice, hundreds of people dine there regularly. Seeing Walt's apartment above Main Street? Getting closer, but there are a few Disney sponsored tours that can get you up there.

    You've read the title, so you already know my answer. An overnight stay in the Disneyland Dream Suite! This ultra rare and exclusive prize was given out during the Year of a Million Dreams in 2008.

    I was fully aware the entire time we were there, how lucky we all were to be experiencing this place. Before staying there, I saw a few pictures of the Suite, but no detailed trip reports. I went into this day knowing that I'd want to have a memory of everything we did while we were there, and I wanted to chronicle it for the many people who might never get a chance to experience the Dream Suite. As such, this trip report is going to have a lot of pictures and video, plus lots of detailed shots of each room, including some awesome 360 panorama shots that you can navigate through yourself. On top of that, I've asked all the friends that were invited to share some of their favorite memories of the night.

    Just so you know who I'm talking about when I call people out by name later, starting from the left is Ruston, Jacob, Theresa and me, Joe. You might have seen us previously on a few of my other trip reports. We've teamed up for Minnie's Moonlit Madness, toured the Disney Studios together, gone to see Ruston sing in Candlelight every year since 2008, and just last year, all 4 of us flew out to Japan together to go to Tokyo Disneyland. This experience rivaled them all!


    Theresa and I have been annual pass holders ever since we moved out here, and the Year of a Million Dreams promotion by Disney was one of our favorites. Just to be inside Disneyland thinking that maybe, just possibly, your Disney dream could come true and you might be the lucky person that day to win a big prize. Every time we went to Disneyland that year, we had a little excitement in our hearts that we could possibly be the winners of something incredible.

    My how we've changed over the years...

    Alas, though, it was not to be. Even after visiting 15-20 times that year, we didn't win a single thing. Not an Ear hat, no pin lanyard, not even a certificate for some random experience. The Year of a Million Dreams ended and Disneyland moved on to the next promotion. But still, every other trip to Disneyland, and definitely every time we were in the Pirates of the Caribbean queue, our minds would always ponder "What if...."


    Flash forward to April 2012. Theresa and I wake up to an email from Ruston.
    Subject: Conference Call
    Can we all get on a conference call at some point today? I have some news I’d like to be the first to share with you, before you read it or hear it elsewhere. (It’s good news)

    Interesting... Jacob was training people all day so we'd have to wait until 5pm to figure out what's going on. During that time, Theresa and I tried to guess what the good news was. Maybe Ruston will be on a CD cover due to his singing in the Disney Choir and MeloD23. Perhaps he met someone really cool, like Richard Sherman again. Our minds were all over the place, but I don't think we could have ever guessed what was coming. At 5pm, we joined a conference call with Ruston and Jacob. In Ruston's own words.

    Ruston - I was at the Administrative Assistants Day celebration for Disney employees and they give out door prizes. I've been going for 9 years and I've never won anything. All through the night, they give out hundreds of prizes and I've never won a thing. My co-workers every year usually win something. A beach towel, Disney cooking lessons, tickets to a new movie, etc. That night, there was an early screening going on for Avengers. They were still calling out names for prizes, but I figured, I never won anything before, so I'm going to go early and get a good seat for the movie. I'm watching the movie and I see off to the side, one of my co-workers come in and just start looking all around the theater. I figured he was only trying to find a seat, so I just continued watching the movie. After the Avengers, I didn't even check my phone; I just drove home for the night.

    I'm at home and just happened to check my phone and I see I have 10 missed messages from my co-workers saying "You Won! You Won! You won a night in the Dream Suite!" I called them back and asked "Is this a joke? Is this for real?" I didn't believe them. Both Bruce and Paula (you'll meet them later) had still been there while prizes were being announced. They got to the Grand Prize for the entire evening and said "Ruston Harker". "What was that? Did they just say Ruston Harker? Where's Ruston?!?" On the main stage, Minnie Mouse was waiting for me to come up and join her with the prize and to get a photo op. I totally missed out on that, but thankfully I didn't have to be present to win.

    So, I get to stay overnight in the Dream Suite, and I get to invite friends to join me. Would you like to stay with me inside Disneyland overnight inside the Dream Suite?

    Let's just say, we were floored. Yes! Yes! Yes! A million times yes! Our faces after hearing the news!



    In the couple months that followed, we met in person to discuss it and traded emails a few times. Here's one of my favorites from Ruston.
    Subject: Ready to start Dreaming...?
    I just got off the phone with our Disney Dream Suite concierge… WE ARE GOING TO HAVE AN AMAZING TIME!!!
    I am so excited. I was pretty excited before, but after talking with this guy… now I can’t wait.
    Some highlights from our conversation:
    I am allowed to host an open-house, and invite friends to come lounge around our dream suite, but they have to leave when the park closes.
    Something that almost made me pee my pants: once the park closes our concierge will take us on a TWO HOUR tour of the park. He said we can walk around in our pajamas and take crazy pictures ALONE IN THE PARK!!! Can you believe it?!!
    The first thing we need to do is choose a date.

    We decided we'd make July 14th our amazing night. As it got closer, Ruston sent this to all his friends who would be coming.


    Subject: Dream with me...
    Hi there,

    This is an official invite for you and a guest to my open house at The Dream Suite (above Pirates of the Caribbean) in Disneyland on Saturday, July 14 at 7pm until just before Midnight.

    If you’d like to join my friends and I in the premiere suite within the Disneyland Resort to kick back, relax, and watch Fantasmic (show times 9 & 10:30) from the best location in the park… well, then come!
    Let me know if you can make it, and I’ll send you more detailed instructions closer to the date (like the top-secret entrance, and special password).

    Excitement levels kept building and building. Each trip to Disneyland we'd look up towards the Dream Suite and just imagine, we'll be there soon!

    Two days before the event, we get one more email from Ruston.
    Greetings friend!

    I am looking forward to seeing you (and your guest) this Saturday, July 14, 2012 in the premier, most super-exclusive suite in the entire Disney empire… The Dream Suite at Disneyland Park.

    Here are the TOP SECRET details you’ll need for Saturday evening.

    o I have your mobile phone number. On Saturday morning I will text you the number and combination of a locker located just outside of the Disneyland main entrance.

    o Inside the locker you will find a small stack of envelopes.

    o Locate the envelope with your name on it. You are welcome to pick up your envelope at anytime during the day.

    o Inside the envelope you will find a clue which will lead you to a top secret password for the Disney Dream Suite.

    o Once you have the password and the clock has struck 7pm, climb the stairs you see in the picture below (the rounded stairs above the queue for Pirates of the Caribbean).

    o There is be a doorbell/buzzer beside the door, push that and wait for the password prompt. For example:

    o Voice from box: “What color is the Raven in the Haunted Mansion?”

    o Your reply: “Black”

    o The door will buzz open, and your evening of Disney Dreaming will begin.

    You and your guest can arrive at the suite anytime after 7pm, but you will have to arrange your entrance into Disneyland. Stay for 20 minutes, lounge for a few hours… it’s up to you. Light snacks will be served. Be aware you’ll need to be on your way out of the Park before midnight or there might be pumpkin repercussions. Also, while I wish I could invite everyone I’ve ever known to join me, I’ve had to adhere to a strict guest count so if Mickey and Minnie beg you to bring them along… sorry, they’re not on the guest list.
    Fantasmic is at 9 and 10:30.
    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Oh Ruston. You're so clever. Pumpkin repercussions and Mickey and Minnie aren't on the guest list...

    And then, July 14th was finally here.....

  2. #2

    • Minion
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    Re: Joe's Epic Overnight Disneyland Dream Suite Trip Report - with lots of pictures

    Can't wait for more! Sounds incredible
    BGood! It's not just my motto its my name!

  3. #3

    • Joe Flowers
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    Re: Joe's Epic Overnight Disneyland Dream Suite Trip Report - with lots of pictures

    July 14th - The day our biggest Disney Dream comes true!

    The day started bright and early at 6:45am. I woke up and was too excited to go back to sleep. Theresa and I finished packing and we headed to Jacob's house at 8am. At 8:30, we left his house to meet Ruston for breakfast. Since we'd be in the parks for so long, we decided to meet at The Original Pancake House. We got there right at 9am and Ruston wasn't far behind. At 9:20 we were seated and we all got a big breakfast.




    Jacob ordered Bacon pancakes which said it had bits of bacon in it. Surprisingly when they came, there were six huge pancakes with ~half a strip of bacon in each of them! That's a lot of bacon!



    Bacon omelet for myself, hash browns and a pancake for Theresa, bacon pancakes for Jacob, and a veggie omelet for Ruston. All of it was tasty. It's not that far from Disneyland and it's really a great place to enjoy breakfast! We'll probably come here to eat again before we go to the park one day.
    I joined Ruston in his car and we stopped by Walgreens to grab a few last minute supplies for the night.

    Theresa and Jacob made it to Disney's Grand Californian before us and got through the security gate easily. When Ruston and I got there though, it took minutes and cars were backing up behind us before the security guy let us go.




    There was supposed to be some sort of welcoming/greeting for Ruston as the Dream Suite winner and that's what was taking so long at the gate, but it turned out, we were early and wouldn't meet our hosts until 2:30.
    We unloaded the cars, gave our bags to the bellhop, then went to pick up tickets. We're inside the Disneyland Resort!

    Each of the overnight guests got a complimentary 2 day park hopper ticket.

    The trees out front were blooming and were absolutely beautiful. Theresa and I grabbed a couple pictures.

    If you read the first post, you'll know that Ruston was making special invitations for all his guests. Ruston, with help from Monica, Theresa and I, made some cool invitations for the people joining us later tonight. Each group got their own envelope with a Mickey Ears invitation and a clue for what the password was to get into the suite. We rented a locker outside the entrance and sent a text with the unlock code to all our friends.

    An invitation.

    Personalized with each person's name on the back.


    There were two possible clues people could get.

    We continued into Disneyland to look around a bit and to make sure nothing had changed that would affect the answers to the clues.







    Everything checked out, so it was time to start exploring. The cast member blackout dates had just been lifted, so Ruston hadn't had a chance to go to Disneyland at all yet this summer.
    He hadn't seen the new Voices of Liberty yet, so we went to one of their shows (our fourth time I think). We sat in the front row, because you can hear them much much better when you're close. You can really pick out individual voices when you are right in front of them.



    After, we walked through some stores, then went over to California Adventure. This was another place Ruston hadn't been to this summer, so we had to go explore.





    We got drinks, plus I got a Red's Apple Freeze. It's my second, and I'm not sure if I like them or not. It's really really sweet.

    We then got into the singles line for Radiator Springs Racers. We waited 30 minutes and got just past where the line meets up with all the Fastpass people. And then the ride went down. After 5 minutes, they said they were going to start back up again, but immediately went down again. After 3 tries of saying they were starting up and immediately going down, we heard the general background hum of machinery go silent. Yeah, this time is seems like it was going down for a really long time.



    We waited another 15 minutes, but overheard it would be at least an hour before the ride started back up. We had to meet our Hostesses at 2:30 at the Grand Californian, so we couldn't stick around. Later we learned that with the heat in the area, the power grid was having problems and wasn't able to provide enough power for the ride. And then when they were resetting the ride after having gone offline, a power dip hit during the reset.

    Time to head over and meet our hostesses!

  4. #4

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    Re: Joe's Epic Overnight Disneyland Dream Suite Trip Report - with lots of pictures

    OMG - can't wait to read more!!!!
    One and Only WDW Visit: March 2013

    DL Visits: Aug 2005, Dec 2007/Jan 2008, Oct 2010, Aug 2011, May 2012, Aug 2012, Nov 2012


  5. #5

    • Joe Flowers
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    Re: Joe's Epic Overnight Disneyland Dream Suite Trip Report - with lots of pictures

    Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler
    This trip report gives an extremely detailed report of our experience at the Disneyland Dream Suite. Be warned, if you read this posting, and then stay in the Dream Suite, many of your magical moments will not be as magical.

    If you happened upon this page and you're actually going to be staying in the Disneyland Dream Suite,
    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
    DO NOT READ THIS!!!
    It will be so much more magical if you experience it all for yourself first.



    We made it to the lobby of the Grand Californian and sat in front of the fire until 2:30.


    Right at 2:30, sure enough, Chelle and Karen were there to meet us. Karen took our luggage from the bellhop and drove it over to the suite. They also told us that they had a digital camera and would be taking photos of us the whole time. At the end of our stay, we'd be given a CD with all the photos!

    And because they're taking photos, that means I'll get to be in a few of them instead of behind the camera!

    Chelle walked us through Downtown Disney, into Disneyland through the exit, then over to the Main Street Railroad. We boarded the train and got off at New Orleans Square station.









    We got off at the very first stop in New Orleans Square. From here, Chelle told us a little bit of history of the area, plus some trivia, like the insignias on some of the buildings that meant a house paid their fire insurance so the fire department would come if your house caught on fire.


    We walked past the outside of Club 33, so named for being 33 Royal Street. We would be staying at 21 Royal Street, home of the Disney Dream Suite. We saw the original entrance of 21 Royal Street behind one of the gift shops. That would have been Walt's entrance, but when this was turned into the Disney Gallery, this staircase was roped off and the area is considered back stage.

    Instead we walked to the front of the Dream Suite to go up the stairs that were built for the Disney Gallery.


    Walking up the steps.


    This Private Entrance was for us tonight!


    It's finally here! We're excited!










    Chelle came up to join us on the landing, asked if we were ready, swiped her badge, opened the door, and said "Welcome to the Disneyland Dream Suite!"

    One of Ruston's favorite memories - First opening the door to the dream suite and seeing that there was a step up into the living room area. It was like stepping into a magical movie. Everything was beautiful and pristine and there was even a fire lit in the fireplace.

    Now I knew this was something that I'd never be able to experience again. Not only that, but it's something that very few people have ever been able to experience. I wanted a record of it so I started recording video. Forgive the shakiness, strange angles, lens being blocked at certain points, etc. Despite all the faults, I hope you enjoy it!


    Thankfully Karen was busy snapping photos of us with Disney's digital camera, so you can see the looks on our faces as we're exploring.


    Just amazing. So opulent and incredible looking.


    First we explored the parlor. Here we're looking at the little bird that inspired audio animatronics. Don't worry about looking for details around the room here. In later posts, I'll have plenty of shots with details galore.




    Next was the Frontierland bedroom. It looked super rich with beautiful colors, beds, and everything about it just looked amazing.

    Ruston - The first time I walked into the Frontierland room, I knew this was my favorite place. I loved the dark red color of the walls and all the toys that lined a shelf along the ceiling. It also led to the balcony that overlooked the Rivers of America, probably the best place in the park to not just watch Fantasmic, but to people watch as well.


    The way they've redone the patio is beautiful! This is going to be a great place to watch Fantasmic and hang out with friends tonight.




    Next we explored the Adventureland bedroom. Not quite as rich as the other bedroom, but still beautiful. I don't think I've ever slept in a four poster canopy bed before. We'll still have to see if we get any sleep tonight...




    The most amazing part of this bedroom is the Master Bathroom that is attached to it. First off, it was huge! The best part about it though was the tub! It's beautiful by itself, but when you push the button on the wall labeled "Stars", the lights dim, music starts playing, and small lights embedded in the tiles start twinkling. Again, I'll have a full photo tour of each room in a later post.




    A small powder room just off the bathroom.



    Before they left us to explore, Chelle took a couple more photos of us. Here, we're all peeking through the glass of the main entrance.


    And another looking out the window just to the left of the door.


    And with that, we were on our own inside the Disneyland Dream Suite.

    Theresa is enjoying the powder room just off the main bathroom.


    And we just sat on the deck, watching people walk by.




    Our time here was already passing too quickly. Before we knew it, it was 4:15pm and we had dinner reservations to run off to. I'll start again there on my next post.

  6. #6

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    Re: Joe's Epic Overnight Disneyland Dream Suite Trip Report - with lots of pictures

    Thanks for posting! Great pics! I know I'm jealous!

  7. #7

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    Re: Joe's Epic Overnight Disneyland Dream Suite Trip Report - with lots of pictures

    Wow, you are all so lucky! I can't wait to keep reading, this may just be the most exciting trip report yet

  8. #8

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    Re: Joe's Epic Overnight Disneyland Dream Suite Trip Report - with lots of pictures

    Wonderful report! I can't wait to see more!

  9. #9

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    Re: Joe's Epic Overnight Disneyland Dream Suite Trip Report - with lots of pictures

    In!

    Awesome!

  10. #10

    • Parking Lot > DCA
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    Re: Joe's Epic Overnight Disneyland Dream Suite Trip Report - with lots of pictures

    Wow! So awesome!

  11. #11

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    Re: Joe's Epic Overnight Disneyland Dream Suite Trip Report - with lots of pictures

    This is really AWESOME!! I love the video!

  12. #12

    • I'm from Canada eh!
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    Re: Joe's Epic Overnight Disneyland Dream Suite Trip Report - with lots of pictures

    Simply amazing! Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

    I have to ask... did Disney mention about refraining from certain...er.. activities while staying at the Dream Suit?

  13. #13

    • Shifting cargo
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    Re: Joe's Epic Overnight Disneyland Dream Suite Trip Report - with lots of pictures

    I am beyond jealous. I one day dream of experiencing the absolute thrill of staying in the Dream Suite. I might have a nerd-gasm and die on the floor once walking in, but no matter!






    "Well I don't know about you folks, but it's way past my bedtime."

  14. #14

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    Re: Joe's Epic Overnight Disneyland Dream Suite Trip Report - with lots of pictures

    Wow. Beyond wow.
    Not so patiently waiting for Disneyland Australia.

  15. #15

    • Avid MC reader since 2005
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    Re: Joe's Epic Overnight Disneyland Dream Suite Trip Report - with lots of pictures

    Awesome! Such a rare and special experience - thank you for sharing it with us.

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