Lyndsay is a huge fan of all things Disney, and she enjoys finding ways to incorporate its magic in everything from crafts to recipes.
Secrets of Disneyland
There are many secrets about Disneyland that most people do not know. I have chosen 30 to share with you for your next trip to Disney's magical theme park.
Secret Places and Facts About Disneyland
|Read on for details and more secrets.|
1. Walt Disney's apartment above the fire station.
6. Main Street was modeled after a real town: Marceline, Missouri.
11. The golden stake in the ground outside of Fantasyland is a survey marker, not the center of the park.
2. Special window dedications in Main Street storefronts.
7. Main Street was built in a "forced perspective," so the castle doesn't seem far away as you walk toward it.
12. The Disney family crest is above the gates of Sleeping Beauty's castle.
3. Steve Martin used to work at the Magic Shop.
8. The park's address, 1313 Disneyland Drive, is code for "Mickey Mouse." M is the 13th letter of the alphabet.
13. The castle's drawbridge works but has only been lifted twice.
4. Lilly Belle Pullman car used to give VIPs a private tour of the park. Every once in a while, visitors can still ride it.
9. You can see the wheelhouse of the Mark Twain Riverboat and meet the Captain if you know a special phrase.
14. If you rub the brass apple outside Snow White's Scary Adventure you'll get a surprise.
5. "Test bricks" on Main Street were used to figure out the size and shape Walt wanted for the park.
10. The park releases feral cats at night to catch mice.
15. There is a luxury apartment located directly above the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
1. Walt Disney Had an Apartment Above the Fire Station on Main Street
When the park was being built, Walt was so busy traveling between Burbank and Disneyland's construction site he had an apartment built so he could keep an eye on the progress. He would always turn a light on in front of his window so that workers would know when he was in the park. You can see the window of the apartment from the street.
You will notice the light in the window of Walt's apartment is still on today in remembrance of Walt Disney. The only time the light is turned off is when his daughters are in the park; this is out of respect.
2. There Are Special Window Dedications in the Storefronts on Main Street
The names in the windows are given as credits to the people who contributed to the parks. Some are characters or stories. They typically appear as a fictional business name and/or refer to a hobby/device made by that person. For example, Walt Disney's window is located at the Main Street Cinema, and it is labeled Disneyland Casting Agency.
There are three requirements for receiving a window dedication:
1. It can only be dedicated after the employee reaches retirement.
2. It can only be awarded to recognize the highest level of service, respect, and achievement.
3. The decision to dedicate the window must be agreed upon between both top individual park management and Walt Disney Imagineering.
3. Steve Martin Used to Work at the Magic Shop
Steve Martin started out selling guidebooks at Disneyland on the weekend. During his free time there, he would visit the Magic Shop. By August 1960, he was working in the Magic Shop showing off all of the tricks he had learned over the years.
4. The Disneyland Railroad Has a Very Special Car
The Lilly Belle Pullman Car is used to give VIP guests a private tour of the park. It is furnished with antiques and has stained glass windows. Every once in a while, tickets to ride this special car are given to park visitors.
5. Test Bricks on Main Street
There is a brick wall on Main Street that has bricks on it that do not match in size or shape. These are actually the bricks Walt used to figure out what size and shape he wanted the bricks to be in the park. This wall is located behind a water fountain next to the lockers.
6. Main Street Was Modeled After a Real Town
Main Street USA was designed after Marceline, Missouri, where Walt Disney grew up. He wanted to share his fond childhood memories with his guests.
Main Street also utilizes Air Smellitizers! These patented machines give off wonderful smells of food and candy through vents out into the crowd of people walking along Main Street! During most of the year, Main Street uses the scent of vanilla and the delicious smell of candy, but during Christmas, it is changed to peppermint! These machines are also located in other parts of the park, creating a salty sea breeze near Pirates of the Caribbean and a honeyed aroma near Pooh's Adventure.
7. Main Street Is Built in a Forced Perspective
Main Street is built in a forced perspective, so if you are walking toward the castle, it doesn't seem very far away. However, when you are exiting the park, Main Street will look longer. Also, the buildings are designed to look bigger than they actually are!
8. Disneyland's Address Is Code for "Mickey Mouse"
Disneyland's address is 1313 Disneyland Dr., Anaheim. The 13th letter of the alphabet is the letter "M." The address spells "MM" for Mickey Mouse.
9. You Can See the Wheelhouse of the Mark Twain Riverboat and Meet the Captain
You can, in fact, view the wheelhouse at the top of the ship! You need to know a specific phrase to ask in order to do this, but half the fun is figuring out the passphrase, so I won't write it here.
Politely ask various cast members, and one of them may give you instructions on what to do. If you are deemed worthy, you may even be shown how the ship is driven and allowed to steer! You also get to see some pictures of Walt Disney on the Mark Twain and the place where he liked to nap the most!
10. The Park Releases Feral Cats at Night to Catch the Mice
At night, 200 feral cats are released to catch the mice in the park. During the day, they rest in well-hidden "cat houses," but don't be surprised if you see some cats walking around during the day.
11. There Is a Very Special Gold Spike in Fantasyland
Right outside the gates of Fantasyland, you will notice a gold stake in the ground. Most people believe that this represents the original center of Disneyland, but it actually is a survey marker. It was used to ensure that Main Street was centered with the castle.
12. The Disney Family Crest Is Above the Gates of Sleeping Beauty's Castle
The crest, which features three lions in a shield framed by plumage with another lion standing above, was added in 1960. It is located directly above the entrance to the drawbridge of Sleeping Beauty's Castle.
13. The Castle Drawbridge Is Real
It has only ever been lifted twice in its existence. The first time was on the park's opening day, and the second time was in the 1980s, when Fantasyland was being refurbished.
14. There Is Something Special About the Brass Apple Outside Snow White's Scary Adventure
If you rub the brass apple located in line for the ride, you will hear a clap of thunder, and the witch will start to cackle loudly.
If you watch the window above the ride, you can see the Evil Queen looking out every so often.
15. The Dream Suite Is Located Directly Above Pirates of the Caribbean
This luxury apartment was meant to entertain VIP guests during special events. Dorothe Redmund (famous for Gone With the Wind) helped design the layout, and Walt's wife helped decorate it. It includes a living room, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an open-air patio. Park guests are randomly selected to stay inside the suite.
From 1987 to 2007, the suite was turned into the Disney Gallery. At the end of 2007, it was turned back into the Dream Suite for guests to stay in.
16. Disneyland Created Its Own Shade of Green
Noseeum green is a very specific color that Disney Imagineers created. All of the buildings and unattractive things such as trash cans are painted in this color so that they're less noticeable. Noseeum is supposed to be the most unobtrusive shade of the spectrum and is meant to disappear into the background.
Many people bring paint swatches to Disneyland and try to match the green for their homes.
17. Club 33 Is Located Right Next to the Blue Bayou
The inconspicuous door is painted noseeum green to keep the location more secretive. As you leave the Blue Bayou, you can see the entrance to Club 33, an exclusive members-only club with a five-star restaurant and bar, to your left. There is a passcode box located near the door.
Club 33 is the only place in Disneyland where alcohol is served, and it is also famous for its décor. The club is filled with memorabilia from the Disney Archives, and the elevator is an exact replica of one that Disney saw in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
Club 33 members also receive complimentary valet parking and can ride the Lilly Belle.
18. The Tiki Room Was Originally Going to Be a Restaurant
Since it was supposed to be a restaurant, there are bathrooms attached to this attraction (the only one in the park).
19. There Is a Bullethole in the Glass of the Haunted Mansion
In the Grand Ballroom, you will see a gigantic spider web. If you look closely, you can see a bullet hole in the glass paneling. It is said that either a child with a BB gun or slingshot made the hole or a man with a shotgun created it when he thought he saw something strange. Either way, the hole could not be repaired, and the glass was too expensive to replace, so it was covered with a spider web.
20. The Organ in the Haunted Mansion Is from a Movie
The organ inside the Haunted Mansion is the same one seen inside the submarine Nautilus in the movie 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea! In the video above, you can see it being played.
21. The Tombstones Located in the Haunted Mansion Are for Real People
The graveyard features the faces of a few of the early Imagineers of Disneyland. Inside jokes also riddle the inscriptions of the tombstones.
22. There Are Hidden Characters inside the Winnie the Pooh Ride
This Winnie the Pooh ride was built on the location where the Country Bear Jamboree was once. However, three of the characters from the old ride still remain! Toward the exit of the ride, if you look behind you, Max, Buff, and Melvin are visible hiding in the ride! You must be in the first row to see them—they will appear as you're leaving the room with the Heffalumps.
23. Splash Mountain Used to Be Called "Flash" Mountain
Many people have been known to flash their cameras inside Splash Mountain. This is why people's pictures are sometimes unavailable for viewing—if anything naughty is done for the camera, it is automatically pulled so that no one can see it. There used to be cast members who would manually do this, but now there is a computer system that does all the hard work for them!
The top of Splash Mountain is called Chikapin Hill.
24. Indiana Jones Used to Be a Parking Lot
So this may not be a huge secret because obviously, the park had to use space to expand. But what most people don't know is that there's a tribute to that parking lot inside the line of the ride. Inside the screening room, if you look back at the projector, you will notice an Eyeore sign. This is here because where Indiana Jones sits used to be the Eeyore parking lot.
25. The Indiana Jones Line Has a Few Fun, Interactive Features
Once you are inside the temple and have made it through the caves, there is a part of the line that looks like a bridge. Overhead there will be spikes in the ceiling, and certain bricks on the ground will have a diamond insignia carved into them.
As you walk through, you will notice that on your left there is a peculiar-looking, slightly curved bamboo post. If you pull on this post, something will happen! You will hear a loud noise, and the ceiling will drop just a little bit! As the line moves on, you will come to an open room that has a big obelisk in the middle. As you walk around it, you will notice a sign that says "Do not pull rope." Pull on it! You will hear the "person" inside say something to you!
Throughout the entire line there are messages written on the walls in Mara. You can get a decoder card and translate all the messages while you stand in line!
26. The Matterhorn Has a Basketball Court Inside
Inside the Matterhorn, there is a quarter of a basketball court. Walt Disney did not like to waste any space, so he asked the Matterhorn climbers what they would like inside, and they voted for a basketball court! Later on, a ping pong table was added as well. Employees are allowed to take their breaks there and have some fun!
The bobsleds use the bottom 80 feet inside the mountain. The top 67 feet are not part of the attraction. The mountain is a total of 147 feet tall!
27. Main Street and Tomorrowland Are Set In Two Very Special Years
Main Street is set in 1910 and Tomorrowland is set in 1986. These years were both years when Haley's Comet could be seen from Earth.
28. Disneyland Has an Underground System
There are several tunnels underneath Disneyland for the purpose of taking out the trash and deliveries. The tunnels are not extensive and do not connect.
29. George Lucas Makes a Special Appearance In Star Tours
At the end of the Star Tours ride, right when you are about to crash into a fuel truck, there is a man who ducks and picks up a phone. That man is George Lucas!
George Lucas filmed this specially for the ride.
30. No Facial Hair Allowed
When Walt Disney opened the park, he would not allow cast members to have facial hair to distinguish Disneyland from the sleazy carnivals of the time. After 60 years, this rule has been removed, but there are still no cast members with dwarf-length beards!
Want to go further into the many secrets of Disneyland? I learned these secrets just from talking to cast members over the years and friends who have gone a lot—which is exactly what David Koenig did in Mouse Tales and More Mouse Tales. When he became friends with a bunch of Disney workers, he learned a lot of secrets he would never have suspected and thought that readers would be interested in learning about them too. He can explain what it's like to wear a costume and why Disneyland thought it was such a great idea to bring in feral cats!
Since the overwhelming response to the poll asking whether people wanted to read more secrets was "yes," I have also written a second article about the many secrets of Disneyland called 20 More Disneyland Secrets You Don't Know. Check it out!
© 2013 Lyndsay Gamber