Hey all! Sorry it has been so long since I have made a post on here! Things have been pretty crazy recently. I hope to be back on track from here on out and give you more regular posts. However, a few weeks ago my wife and I took a great trip to Disneyland and CA Adventure. We were there for the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend and we ran the 10k. While we were there we got to experience all the great rides, food, and even a couple of tours. The first one we took was the free tour of the Carthay Circle Restaurant. The restaurant is in the California Adventure park and once each day, at 10:30am, they offer a tour of the dining areas.

Our tour guide was named Ryan and over about twenty minutes he took us through several rooms showing photographs related to Disney’s and Carthay Circle’s past. Disney’s history with Carthay Circle began with the premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. The importance of this movie is shown in the way it influences the décor and theming of the spaces. Everything from the pictures to the wall painting, and even the tables reflect elements from the movie.

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Article about the success of the premiere at Carthay Circle Theater

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Playbill for the premiere of Snow White

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Flier thanking the staff who worked on Snow White

We all gathered outside of the restaurant and when it was time our guide came out and invited us all into the front entrance. With some words of introduction we were taken into the first room which was decorated with rich woods, wallpapers, and paint colors. Here we were directed to the far corner of the room which had many photographs of the premiere of Snow White. Definitely interesting to be able to see these.

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Photo niche with premiere photos

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The dwarfs from the Snow White Premiere

Across on the other side of the room is an additional photo niche. Most of these were of Disney in his later years going to movie premieres and showing guests around Disneyland. He directed our attention to a particular picture of Walt leaving a movie theater and he asked what was unique about it. He looked around the room and saw the consensus that no one knew. He said in fact it is one of the few known pictures of Walt smoking a cigarette. The reason for this was Walt didn’t want the general public knowing he smoked so the cigarettes were often removed from picture.

 

As you may know all Disney employees (called Cast Members) must use two fingers when pointing to something, especially when guiding park goers. The general idea behind this is that some cultures find pointing with one finger offensive. However, according to our tour guide this tradition has a different origin. It comes from the many pictures of Walt pointing with two fingers. In reality these are the pictures where he was pointing with a cigarette and later it was removed leaving the two-finger point.

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Staircase to second floor

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Picture of Walt, Roy, and one of the actresses who played Alice from the Alice Comedies

From here we headed back across the room and up the stairs into the dining area of the restaurant. In the main room Ryan pointed out that the painting on the walls of that room was inspired by scenes from Snow White.

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Painted details from the Snow White film on the ceiling.

We move into another room off of the main dining area which is a private dining room you can reserve. Again there are pictures of Walt through the years including a combination of photos which are the first and the last known photos of Walt with Mickey Mouse.

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If you dine in this room or take the tour there is a special surprise related to Snow White in the details of that table. The final interesting piece from this room was actually out the window. From this room you could see straight down Buena Vista Street in the park to across the esplanade to Disneyland and Main Street station. In fact Carthay Circle, Main Street station, and Sleeping Beauty’s castle are, by design, in a straight line.

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Sight from window out to Main Street station at Disneyland

We made our way through a few other rooms seeing the sights, and from there we had concluded our tour. Overall, this was a great tour. Ryan was a fantastic guide and was clearly knowledgeable. It was so interesting to see and hear about Carthay Circle’s history along with Walt’s life. The restaurant was beautiful and lavish in its décor. We weren’t able to work eating there into the plan this time, but when we go back we definitely will give it a try. Even if you can’t eat there, I highly recommend taking the tour at Carthay Circle Restaurant. (Below are some of the details from the various rooms we were lucky enough to see.)

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Cheers!

Brian

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