Walt brought in set designer Dorothea Redmond, famous for the sets in Gone with the Wind, to help him with the apartment layout. To furnish and decorate the area, Walt left his wife Lilly and Walt Disney Studio set decorator Emile Kuri to collaborate, as they had on other projects (Club 33, the Firehouse Apartment, etc.). The project was christened The Royal Suite, after the street in New Orleans Square (Royal Street) the apartment's entrance is on.
Unfortunately, Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966. As a consequence, many projects at Walt Disney Productions were either put on hold or abandoned. The Royal Suite was abandoned at the request of the surviving brother, Roy. He felt that the family could not really enjoy The Royal Suite with Walt gone. The Suite was fairly close to completion at the time of Walt's death, including infrastructure and plumbing.
From July 11, 1987 to August 7, 2007, the space housed the Disney Gallery.
On October 1, 2007 the Walt Disney Company announced that the recently closed Disney Gallery would be remodeled and turned into the Disneyland Dream Suite. The remodeled suite would be the realization of Walt's dream to have a larger private apartment built at Disneyland, and would be made available to randomly selected guest of the park. The space underwent a whirlwind remodeling, with Disney Imagineers closely following the original design drawings from Dorothea Redmond. Located above the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, the Disneyland Dream Suite includes a living room, open-air patio, two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
“Our plan has been to use the renderings that Walt worked on with Dorothea Redmond and to replicate those as exactly as we can,” said Walt Disney Imagineering Art Director Kim Irvine. “Her illustrations were very specific, with a color and style for each room.
“But to make it special for the guests, we want it to be more than just a beautiful suite. We want it to be filled with things that might have inspired Walt as he dreamed of Disneyland."
Irvine helped remodel a suite of rooms above New Orleans Square in the Park, conceived by Walt Disney as a private apartment for his family and closest friends. The rooms, which most recently housed The Disney Gallery, have been restored to Disney's original vision of deluxe living quarters.
A January 2008 company press release described the Suite as follows:
One of the most distinctive characteristics of the Dream Suite is the private balcony, which overlooks the Rivers of America. From here guests have an unobstructed view of the nighttime spectacular Fantasmic! In addition to that night’s lodging in the Disneyland Dream Suite, each selected 2008 Disney Dreams Giveaway winner of the Disneyland Dream Suite will also be celebrated as the Honorary Grand Marshal in that day’s Disneyland parade."Guests may enter the Dream Suite by climbing the grand staircase outside the entrance to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. An elevator will be available to accommodate guests with disabilities. Through the doorway at the top of the stairs is the Living Room, designed in a French Provincial style reflecting the New Orleans Square setting. Unusual decorative items like a full-size carousel horse, a mechanical songbird and original wall paintings of European castles will conjure up memories of Walt Disney and the inspirations that went into creating the magical world of Disneyland.
The Suite features not one, but two Master Bedrooms. In one, the spirit of early 20th century innovation and the American frontier are summoned with an earthy color scheme, leather furniture, a cast-iron stove, an electric train and vintage mechanical toys. The other Master Bedroom is on the side of the residence nearest Adventureland, and its lush décor and atmosphere evoke the exotic flavor of jungle adventure stories as told in the Victorian era.
The Bayou-themed Patio, central to the Disneyland Dream Suite and open to the sky above, is filled with tropical vegetation, furnished with comfortable chaises and illuminated by Chinese lanterns. Using a type of Disney magic familiar to guests on Pirates of the Caribbean, the Patio is also visited by fireflies.
As guests settle in for a stay in the Disneyland Dream Suite, they'll discover special effects surprises in each room. It could be a special tune in a striking clock, a sunset or a starscape that appears when the lights go down, subtle audio enhancements, or something totally unexpected."