The happiest day on earth, full of fantasy, dreams and nostalgia opened on July 17, 1955. It cost $17 million to create and was originally built on 160 acres that were previously orange groves. The park has had many pivotal moments in history that essentially changed how the world operated. From being the first in the western hemisphere to incorporate a daily operating monorail in 1959 to building the Matterhorn Bobsleds coaster in 1959 which was the first ever tubular steel roller coaster in the world. It is said that this coaster revolutionized the way roller coasters are now designed and constructed.
The Anaheim, Ca, park has entertained more than 515 million guests over the many decades that it has been operating and touched the lives of millions of children all over the world. According to the LA Times, “A crew of 600 custodians, painters, gardeners and decorators work 365 nights a year to ensure that the 85-acre park meets Walt Disney’s squeaky-clean ideals.” Walt Disney established these expectations before the park was even opened in 1955. Workers scrape gum off the sidewalks, pull weeds, sand and re-coat chipped handrails in the dark of the night. Each job has a specific worker to continue the detailed cleanliness of the park, “Three workers are responsible solely for repairing and replacing the 800 umbrellas, 25,000 chairs and about 7,000 tables in the restaurants and snack bars in Disneyland and neighboring California Adventure Park…Four certified divers collect submerged trash and make repairs on water attractions like Finding Nemo and the Jungle Cruise.” Now, that is dedication guests can’t find anywhere else.
Going to the park is an experience that children don’t ever forget. The parks have become such a unique culture that they have a secret club (Club 33) for exclusive members who dish out thousands of dollars just to be a part of it, there are secret scavenger hunts throughout the entire park, hundreds of “secret” aspects of the park that guests obsess over and try to find and special loopholes to certain rides that many are unaware of. Trying to figure out all these secrets would take a lifetime, luckily there are plenty of lists all over the internet that depict the many secrets of Disneyland. We may never truly know all of the secrets; the mind of Walt Disney was a unique one that may never exist again.
20. Feral Cats of Disneyland
Disneyland is world famous for their impeccable detail and cleanliness. Something that most guests don’t know is that once the park gates close for the night, an entirely new world opens up at the happiest place on earth. The park is known to allow feral cats to roam the park after closing. These cats are meant to control the rat and mouse population in the park. During the day, the cats are kept in one of the many feeding stations in the park and are spayed, neutered and vaccinated as well.
19. No Chewing Gum
If guests are thinking of chewing some gum while waiting in line for Space Mountain, they may want to think again, or bring their own. The park does not sell chewing gum anywhere in the park to prevent people from spitting it out and having others have gum stuck to their shoes. Walt wanted to make sure his guests enjoyed their time at the park, and not worry about having gum stuck to their shoes. Make sure you don’t run into any employees while smacking some gum from home, they might ask you to spit it out, politely.
18. Mark Twain Riverboat
On the Mark Twain riverboat, if you ask a cast member if you can pilot the boat, you will be guided to the wheelhouse where you will be able to “steer” the boat, even though it is on a track. The you ring the bell, and blow the whistle and then sign the exclusive guestbook. The guestbook has only been signed by lucky ones who have been able to drive the boat since the mid-1950’s. You will also get a “Pilot’s Certificate” for steering the S.S. Mark Twain. Be sure to be discrete when asking, you don’t want the rest of the boat to know about your secret!
17. No beards
Employees at the park are forbidden from growing beards. Walt Disney had set an initial rule for his park employees that they were not allowed to have any facial hair whatsoever. A few years ago, the ban was lifted a bit and employees are now instructed that if they choose to grow facial hair, they can do so just as long as it is not a beard. Walt didn’t want his guests feeling as though they were buying a turkey leg from a hippie who doesn’t take showers. Talk about taking care of his guests!
16. Main Street Firehouse
There is a light in the Main Street Firehouse that never goes out. Look for it and you will find it. Walt Disney supposedly used the apartment above the firehouse with his family on a regular basis. After he died, the park kept the light in the window on at all times to continue his presence in the park. The apartment was never changed since he and his family used it.
15. Disneyland Railroad
If you are a sucker for everything railroads, you may want to ask for the special tender seat on the Disneyland railroad. First, ask the conductor at the Main Street Station to ride in the tender seat. When the train comes, you will be guided past security to the front of the Tender where you will find a special and very small seat for two people. Who doesn’t enjoy special treatment?
14. Reserve your spot in the Lilly Belle train car
Very few people know of this special train car in the park. If you wish to take a look yourself, arrive right at the opening of the park, go to the Main Street Station and ask for a reservation to ride in the Lilly Belle train car. The car was supposedly named after Walt Disney’s wife, who also helped designed the lavishly decorated car with antiques and stained glass windows. Take a ride to the past.
13. The Purple Teacup
Every kid knows that the teacups are the most important ride when going to Disneyland. If you want to go faster than everyone else (which everyone does) make sure you find the purple teacup, it is the only one there, and go nuts! It is the fastest teacup in the ride and there will most likely be a few dozen people running toward it once the gate opens. Just, don’t get sick!
12. Break the rule at Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones is one of the most noteworthy rides at the park. If you aren’t attempting to make it across the park in a matter of minutes just to ride the one-of-a-kind jeep before the park closes, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Once you get to the sign that says “Do Not Touch Pole!” instead, you should do the very opposite and pull the bamboo pole. A loud booming noise will sound and it will make it look as though the ceiling is caving in.
If you pull the rope on the well where it says to not pull the rope, it prompts an unseen worker to “fall” and voices will cry out from the well.
11. Death Certificate
If you are sort of weirdly obsessed with the Haunted Mansion (as most people are), you might as well ask for your own death certificate. If you ask the host or hostess when you first enter the house (if they even listen to what you say) they will tell you to come back after the ride to the front of the mansion and they will have yours waiting for you. You and the many other actual ghosts that inhabit the mansion, will have something in common…your death certificate! That is just a tad too freaky.
10. Real Skull in Pirates of the Caribbean
In the beginning years of the park being opened, there many real human skeletons throughout the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The designers were displeased with how fake the fake bones looked, so they called in for reinforcements! Slowly over the years, the real bones have been taken out but there is one real human skull and crossbones located over the bed in the Captain’s Quarters just above a fake skeleton dressed in pirate attire.
9. The Haunted Mansion Could Truly be Haunted
On multiple occasions, there have been families who have spread the ashes of their deceased loved ones along the tracks inside the Haunted Mansion without permission. When this does happen, the park custodians have to clean up the ashes. There are most likely cases where nobody is caught spreading ashes, so nobody cleans them up. A rumored story is that a woman who scattered her son’s ashes while on the ride, people have said that the son is at times seen crying at the end of the ride. Creeepy.
8. Air Scent Control
If you are an avid Disneyland goer, you may have noticed that the scent of the air is different at different times of the year. Main Street and other places’ smells are strategically choreographed to the way the park wants it to smell. Typically, Main Street has a vanilla scent that is put into the air and near the holidays it is changed to peppermint. Well done Disneyland.
7. Matterhorn Basketball Court
The top third section of the Matterhorn is said to have a basketball court in it, a small one. For a long time the top section was empty because the ride only took up space in the first two sections. Employees voted on what to do with the top section and it was turned into a basketball half-court where employees can go and relax on their breaks. It also has a gym for workers to workout in instead of walking around the entire park for their exercise. In 1984, the half-court was certified as an official Olympic Stadium.
6. Brass Apple
We all know the line for Snow White is usually as long as can be and very boring. The park did something special to make this line experience a bit more entertaining, but they don’t tell you about it! If you rub the brass apple above the brass book in the line for Snow White’s Scary Adventure, a loud clap of thunder will sound off as well as a chilling cackle from the evil witch. *Bonus*- If you watch closely at the window above the Snow White ride, you will briefly see the Evil Queen in the window looking out at you. But be patient, she only makes herself noticeable every so often.
5. Roger Rabbit Secrets
If you want to have a little secret fun, go to the Roger Rabbit Cartoon Spin. You will find a building called “Ink and Paint Club.” Knock on the door and say “Walt sent me” and you will hear Jessica Rabbit’s voice begin singing for you. Also, half way through the line, there is a special big metal door. A gorilla will come to the door and say a smart remark to you if you knock on it!
4. Fortune Teller Esmeralda
It seems as though everything is connected at Disneyland in some way or another. If you go to the Penny Arcade on Main Street, you will find Esmeralda, the fortune teller. If you take a closer look at the cards she has laid out in front of her, you will see the drawings on them are of the portraits from the stretching room inside the Haunted Mansion! Does that mean the Esmeralda fortune teller box is haunted?
3. Hidden Pirate Ship
If you want to see another hidden gem inside the park, go stand by the Rivers of America and look towards New Orleans Square right above the buildings. There, you will see the mast of a pirate ship adorned with white sails! A little known fact about this “ship” is that it is not actually a ship, but rather just the mast of a ship attached to the top of the buildings. Disneyland wanted to give its guests a real feel of what it would be like being by the water where pirate ships would into dock.
2. Hidden Character in Tarzan’s Tree house
There are many things at Disneyland that look as though they are misplaced, but are they? Disneyland doesn’t do anything on accident. After exploring Tarzan’s elaborate tree house, guests are able to run wild in the camp area and play with the interactive set. But what you may have not noticed was that Mrs. Pots from Beauty and the Beast is sitting amidst cooking pans in the camp area! Have you seen it?
1. Need to charge your phone?
Thousands of people attend the park everyday. Thousands of those people have cell phones that die from taking too many pictures! If you are one of those people, there is an outlet inside of Sleeping Beauty’s castle, if you can find it. It will be on the bottom of the right wall in the last doorway nook, right as you walk into the castle from Main Street. Sometimes there are people sitting on the floor next to it, so it can be hard to spot. Be sure to ask a cast member if you can use it though, just in case. You don’t want to get in trouble at the happiest place on earth!