Sunday, January 15, 2012
Tour of the Lilly Bell Parlor Car at Disneyland
A Ride in the Lilly Bell
We were at Disneyland to celebrate our 32nd anniversary and I decided to treat my husband to something special. I wanted to get him on a ride in the VIP parlor car of the Disneyland Railroad, I wanted to treat him to a ride in the Lilly Bell.
On our previous visit to the park I stopped at City Hall and asked how we could ride the Lilly Bell. I was told just walk up to any of the train conductors at the Main Street Train Station and ask if they have room in a tour. They do tours on the Lilly Bell if they have enough staff to do them. This is a free tour.
We got to the park about an hour after the park opened. After getting a locker and stopping in City Hall for our Anniversary buttons we went to the Main Street Train Station to see about setting up a Lilly Bell tour for later in the day. When we asked Conductor Bill he told us that the tours for that day were all booked and we would not be able to ride. They do 3 or 4 tours in a day with 14 people per tour. We were already too late. We were disappointed but took a moment to tell him how special the ride would be.
We told Conductor Bill how we denied being in love for a year and then came to Disneyland to celebrate my "best friend", now my husband graduating college. He laughed as we told him about the Jazz Band at the French Market Café telling us we were in love after dedicating love songs to us. We all laughed as we said it was just 6 months later we were married. After hearing our love story and the part Disneyland played in making it happen Conductor Bill asked if we could come back after 1pm to see if he could work something out or if someone did not show up for a tour.
We went off to take pictures we wanted and wait for our friends. We enjoyed lunch at the new Jolly Holiday Bakery (food is good and the line moves quickly) with our friends. After lunch we returned to the Main Street Train Station to see if we could ride the Lilly Bell. It was with much anticipation and not a little trepidation we walked up to Conductor Bill and asked about a tour. Our friends stood by our side as we asked.
Our friends Mark & Wendy
At first Conductor Bill said the situation had not changed. He said the tours were full but then asked us to step to the side and wait a moment while he checked on something. A few moments later Conductor Bill walked over to us with another Conductor by his side. We heard the two men talking as they walked up. Bill was asking the other man if he minded doing an extra tour for a special celebration! We were totally blown away!! They added an extra tour just for US!! Our friends were excited to be part of this as well! The CK Holiday had just pulled into the station with the Lilly Bell in line. We were told to follow Conductor Robert to the car when Conductor Bill asked if we would mind if 2 more people joined our group. A man and his wife wanted a tour as well; it was the man's birthday so of course we said yes. The more people the more fun!!
The six of us hurried and followed Conductor Robert to the Lilly Bell. The train was waiting for us to board to leave. The interior of the Lilly Bell is beautiful!! It is filled with old classic Victorian era charm. There are dark wood chairs with red velvet cushions and a gorgeous love seat to match. Beautiful tables are placed around the car with turn of last century glass ashtrays and candy dishes along with vases filled with artificial flowers. There is even a picture of Walt and Lillian Disney on one of the tables.
As we rode Conductor Robert told us about the history of Disneyland, the Disneyland Railroad and the Lilly Bell. Conductor Robert was enthusiastic and knowledgeable and kept us entertained the entire time. It was easy to tell he loves his job, Disney and sharing that information and enthusiasm with the guests.
The tour lasted exactly 20 minutes and that was about an hour too short in my opinion. I could have sat in that car and road around the park all day enjoying the beauty and history. I recommend this tour for any Disney fan or fan of trains.
For more facts and history on the Lilly Bell and some history of the Disneyland Railroad click on the link below to go to more of the story in Walt's Basement.