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  1. #61

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    Re: The Lilly Belle returns! but not for everyone

    Quote Originally Posted by TFN5459 View Post
    The Lilly Belle was NOT made from a bus chassis, it was converted from the Grand Canyon observation car on the Disneyland Retlaw 1 Passenger train, which was built in 1954 from SCRATCH, so its possible that Walt could have physically been inside in the car.
    It's a shame I was given this misinformation, but thanks for setting me straight.

    Actually, for some reason, I prefer the thought of it always being part of a train, and not a bus. It seems to make it more "trainy" to me.

  2. #62

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    Re: The Lilly Belle returns! but not for everyone

    Quote Originally Posted by explodingboy View Post
    I did a quick Google search, and nothing of any substance comes up. However, and old MiceChat post from 2012 did and a former member who knows quite a bit about the Disneyland trains had this to say on the matter:





    With that information, and the fact that nothing on Google comes up other than two blogs I am going to have to agree that the furniture was not brought in from the Queen Mary.
    Good to know! I won't perpetuate the story (I should go back and see if my TR references it). I feel like I've been told a tall tale. Not that Walt wouldn't have done the same, but kinda irks me that the "official" story from a DLR representative is so wrong on so many facets.

  3. #63

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    Re: The Lilly Belle returns! but not for everyone

    I was lucky enough to ride the Belle on my 10th wedding anniversary past November. I felt somewhat guilty about being there, escorted, while not being part of the Club 33 or anything. I just told my story to Guest relations (I come from Mexico every year, wedding anniversary, help me with this special request). I see the reasons why they had to make it a members only experience, and support them... the Lilly Belle is truly something special, and should have been off limits to me. I. just happy it wasn't!

  4. #64

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    Re: The Lilly Belle returns! but not for everyone

    Anyone discussing the Lilly Belle origins, history, etc, needs to go back and read Steve DeGaetano's very thoroughly researched article on it: Belle Of The Ball
    It's a spectacular source.

    Honestly, it's clear where this sudden demand is coming from. I don't know how many MiceChatters are active Facebook users, but those BuzzFeed lists keep going viral and have clogged up my feed with factless, terribly researched "articles" about nothing terribly important. It stands to reason that this font of misinformation would eventually cross over into the rumor and "secret" laden Disneyland fandom, and about 6 months ago, there was a "Little known Disneyland treasures you must experience" list (or something of that nature, you may remember it). I won't find a link and post it here because the last thing they need is MORE traffic! The list featured several "secrets" about attractions, most of them long-known experiences to MiceChatters that could be occasionally requested for a special day. The Lilly Belle was one of them, and of course the article didn't explain jack about it except that it was a secret VIP train car you could ride in if you just asked. Longtime MCers and those who researched and planned out how to ask for a Lilly Belle trip (such as I did in 2010 to celebrate my college graduation and my Grandmother's first trip to the park since '59) know that there's a little more too it than that, that it is a Disneyland history experience hopefully with a well-read conductor and that it required asking early in the day, AT Main Street Station, to HOPEFULLY get on a list of a few pre-set times, IF it was even running. But as the general park going public has no real interest in the minutiae and "boring stuff" of Disneyland history, and their appetite is mostly for hidden mickeys and Disney deaths and feeling just a little bit more special than the person in the standby line, of course no one who read Buzzfeed thought, hmm, maybe there is more too this! It just became one more free thing that you are entitled to get because you read it online and asked a CM about. There are a lot of fun things like that that CMs can do for us on the spot, but sadly the LB is not one of them (happily to me, it is so much more than that!) It is really easy to see how constant inquires not just in the morning, but throughout the day from the thousands who ride the railroad (and who only consider riding to experience a secret and not because they like the railroad to begin with), far outpaces the 15 available seats inside the car. And why take people in when they have no interest in the learning about the railroad history either because they don't care OR know it all already?

    Maybe reservations will return once Facebook forgets about them, maybe not. At least we can be happy the car is being cared for by the CMs and the execs still and it is still running the way it was when it was brought back on the line and rededicated! I'm happy I got to ride it in 2010 with my family and see it at Fullerton Railroad days in 2012 and I'm sure I'll see it again at some point.

    Reposting both of these replies to the thread, because I think they are great and worth rereading:

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob F View Post
    And now for the correct history of the Lilly Belle:
    This is the Grand Canyon car, before it was converted to the Lilly Belle.

    You can read about this accident over at Davelandblog. (Many may not realize that the track where the handcar sits, and the mainline track were once connected by a switch.)
    The information that is passed on by the conductors about the history of the car is not always correct. On our last trip we were told that there were no pictures in existence of the interior of the Grand Canyon Car before it was converted to the Lilly Belle.

    I present to you the interior of the Grand Canyon car, the only way Walt ever saw the inside of the "Lilly Belle" since he had passed away before Lillian decided to convert it.


    The rumor of the bus chassis construction probably has its roots in the fact that the cars used school bus windows and school bus seats. The Grand Canyon car, however did not use the same school bus seats as the rest of the yellow Retlaw cars. As you can see from this picture, the windows opened exactly like the school bus windows - the young girl probably was well aware of how the mechanism worked!
    Quote Originally Posted by SloppyJoe1492 View Post
    So Club 33 is getting the blame on this when the change has nothing to do with club 33. There are several groups that have access to the Belle and the Club is just one of them. Guest relations and attraction operations also have access. The change is in how attractions is providing their access and it doesn't have anything to do with the other two. Attractions railroad cast, if they were an extra for a trip were encouraged to make some magic and grab a family or group and take them for a trip in the Belle.

    And there were a few requests from the very small 'in the know' Guests and operations would try to accommodate if possible. Then the Internet made these requests more and more common. The number of requests far exceeded the available 'spots'. The 'reservation' thing was never exactly planned out and was just attractions trying to handle the exploding number of requests that would come in, considering that there were few options through the day of providing an attraction escort scheduling them out at the start of the day made sense. It also meant no one had to do the math for escort availability later in the day, they'd just say the scheduled spots were full.

    However the reservation thing pushed the magic out the door as the extra trips were filled instead with 'reservations' from people who would line up at the station before park open and even at times bust into the front door demanding a trip. The experience was that conductors found Guests were taking their second, third or more trip on the belle and weren't often getting the enjoyment and magic from the trip as the unexpected magic making of the past. An experience that had been some extra happiness for unsuspecting Guests had instead become something people would demand.

    The removal of the reservations is NOT a removal of regular park Guests riding the Belle, it is simply a return to how the car was intended to be used when restored for the 50th.

    A ride on the Belle is not something that can be demanded, it is something that is offered.

    I know this may not be the answer everyone here wants. This means that 'being in the know' via the Internet is no longer an advantage over the tens of thousands who visit the park on any one day.

    Most will never ride the belle, but a few still will. But they will be magical moments and I can't stress again how a magical moment is not something demanded, not something requested nor hinted at; it is something offered unexpectedly out of the blue.
    "And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by" (John Masefield)



  5. #65

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    Re: The Lilly Belle returns! but not for everyone

    I really didn't know ANYONE could ride it. I always rode it on days I went to club 33.

    Has it always been for everyone?
    Little and broken, but still good.

  6. #66

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    Re: The Lilly Belle returns! but not for everyone

    Quote Originally Posted by PetiteMortKvsh View Post
    I really didn't know ANYONE could ride it. I always rode it on days I went to club 33.

    Has it always been for everyone?
    I think since right after The Year of A Million Dreams? So maybe around 2008. Could be wrong on that though. I know that I wasn't much aware of it before then even though I was in the park just about every weekend of 07.
    "And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by" (John Masefield)



  7. #67

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    Re: The Lilly Belle returns! but not for everyone

    Quote Originally Posted by StrikeYerColors View Post
    I think since right after The Year of A Million Dreams? So maybe around 2008. Could be wrong on that though. I know that I wasn't much aware of it before then even though I was in the park just about every weekend of 07.
    Hmm, alright very interesting. Thank you!
    Little and broken, but still good.

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