Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Wanderlust Librarian | I Choo Choo Choose...the Lilly Belle!

All aboard!! 

 The Disneyland Railroad is made up of 5 steam locomotives that take guests on a grand circle tour of Disneyland. There are four stops around the park: Main Street Station, New Orleans Square, Toontown and Tomorrowland. The entire trip around the Park takes about 20 minutes and travels 1.5 miles. 

Fun Fact!! I once took a nap on the train for over an hour! 

When Disneyland celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2005, the park presented many special perks for their guests over the course of the year. One of them was a ride on the Lilly Belle. In all of the books and internet sites I had devoured, all of them said the same thing: The Lilly Belle was brought out for VIP members of Club 33 (a private club in Disneyland) and celebrities. 

This made me want to ride the Lilly Belle even more. 

When I was standing at the New Orleans station, I looked towards the end of the train and saw.... the Lilly Belle! I recognized it from the pictures. I excitedly asked the conductor if a ride on it was possible. He told me "I'll see what I can do" and to approach him again at the Main Street Station. 

The answer turned out to be yes! My inaugural trip was awesome. Conductor Curtis was one of the nicest people and gave us all sorts of trivia about the Lilly Belle and new things being built at the (now) re-imagined Disney California Adventure. 

On my last trip to Disneyland, a few weeks ago, the Lilly Belle was in service again! I tried my courage and asked Conductor Billy if a ride was possible. He told me that they were booked up for the day, but if I were to show up the next day he could see if he could fit us in. 

Good readers, Conductor Billy worked another bit of magic for us that next day. He asked that we come back at 1:00pm and meet him in front of Main Street Station. 

Once again, my daughter, two friends and I got a special tour with an amazing conductor. Could it be possible that Conductor Billy was even BETTER than Conductor Curtis?!?! As a child, I was always felt well informed about the happenings in the park by reading annual guidebooks from the library and a "behind the ears" book called Mouse Tales. The trivia that Conductor Billy shared with us put those books to shame. In fact, I was delighted by the new information! 

During stops, we could walk around. 
The train is lovingly restored from an old observation car with the input of Lillian Disney. Ornate gas lamps shed a warm and comforting glow around the rail car. The other observation cars are no longer in service due to the limited views they offered when the train went through the Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World.

Before I leave you to look at the lovely pictures, here are some facts that were shared by Conductor Billy on our tour: 

  • The Grand Canyon Diorama is the largest single strip diorama in the world. It was painted by one man, Delmer Yoakum (Disney artist), with 300 gallons of paint, 12 colors in only one year! 
  • The ticking you hear at the New Orleans Station is Morse code of the first two lines of Walt Disney's opening day speech in 1955. Why Morse code? Because it is a recording of Lillian Disney (who was learning Morse at the time)! 
  • Toontown station is a cartoon replica of the New Orleans station. 

While we wait at Main Street Station,
the light was gorgeous!
These lights are on the ceiling of the Lilly Belle! 
The rail car and its finery
I love the sidelights
Walt and Lillian
Thank you, Conductor Billy!!! 

1 comment:

  1. So elegant! It reminds me of stories older relatives used to tell me about traveling by train. Thank you for sharing these photos, Rena. I never heard of the Lilly Belle before.