“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world”, and so it has from 160 acres featuring five ‘lands’ to two complete parks with over 120 attractions.
It’s a man-made wonder unlike any other in the world with just the right amount of magic to turn dreams into reality, spark curiosity and joy among both adults and children, and turn the harshest of critics into believers.
Disneyland & California Adventure Park is fun, it’s colourful, it’s romantic, it’s spectacular and it’s magical, but just like any place as grand as Walt’s, it comes with a treasure chest of secrets.
On a recent visit to celebrate the launch of the inaugural Pixar Fest – a five-month celebration of all things Pixar -, we spoke to not one, not two, but THREE experts about the many mysteries of the enchanting theme park and found that the deeper you dig, the more irresistible Disneyland becomes.
Here are over a dozen rarely known facts about Disneyland in California:
1. It’s kind of like the world’s first reality show
Ever wondered why Disneyland staff are referred to as ‘cast members’? It’s because Walt Disney never considered the park to be an attraction, but rather a 3D show.
He (and everyone involved in Disneyland) referred to the park as a ‘studio’ and considered it to be a set of an ongoing movie or show featuring real reactions and real interactions – much like a reality TV series.
2. And the brick road is actually a red carpet
If you’re lucky enough to have visited the park, you may have noticed a red brick road running through the entrance and Main Street. This red brick road is actually designed to mimic a red carpet, which the stars of the 3D reality show walk day-to-day.
3. Indiana Jones was once a sound stage
The Indiana Jones Adventure ride is more than just a mysterious, soft water adventure, it was a game-changer for the park as it was the first to be built in a sound-stage. This gave designers the chance to maximise effects using unique audio.
4. While ‘Pirates’ was Walt’s last ride
Pirates of the Caribbean isn’t just a well-detailed journey with scoundrels, it’s actually the last attraction to be supervised by Walt Disney before he passed away. For this reason, park staff describe the ride as being dear to them as you can see the animator’s special touches fighting their way through.
5. And funeral flowers surround Haunted Mansion
From the outside, Haunted Mansion doesn’t appear to be all that… haunted, and there’s a reason for it. During early planning, designers had pitched house concepts with eerie exteriors, which were all rejected because they didn’t fit with the Disney theme. Instead, they opted for a more subtle approach to the afterlife by selecting faded and weeping fauna that’s also associated with funerals and death. This allowed them to save the scare for the inside.
6. Looking out for the Haunted Mansion pearls is a MUST
The attention to detail at Disneyland & California Adventure Park is absolutely astounding, such as the number of peals on the Black Widow Bride’s necklace. According to insiders, an extra strand of pearls is adding to her neck whenever one of her husbands passes. By the end, she has five strands laced around her neck.
7. As is looking out for the third yellow blink
First off, Cars Land is absolutely amazing! The recreation of ‘Radiator Springs’ is so incredibly accurate, but what’s more impressive is the detail taken from the movie. For example, remember when Filmore is convinced that “every third blink is slower” off Route 66? Well, they’ve added that to the set! Be sure to check out the set of lights alongside Fla’s Cafe and see if it blinks a little longer.
8. And Mickey’s ears
As an added Disney touch, designers have carefully incorporated Mickey Mouse’s ears in unsuspecting locations around the park, including this one we found in Star Tours The Adventure Continues.
9. Authenticity is everywhere
Further on that attention to detail, a large tree was placed within Disneyland & California Adventure Park’s New Orleans area to mask Cars Land Mountain in order to replicate the city’s flat landscape.
10. And everything has a touch of history
On almost every attraction you’ll find some randomly placed numbers, these represent the year the attraction opened and/or the year it was last re-modelled. An example of this is HyperSpace Mountain, which features the numbers ’05’ – this is the year it was re-modelled from Space Mountain to the Star Wars-themed HyperSpace Mountain.
11. If you’re feeling motion sick, Monsters is the place to go
GOOD TO KNOW! If you’ve been on one too many rides and feeling overwhelmed by nausea, head to Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue where ginger fragrance is pumped into the air.
12. Cast members can be more than just human
You know those gorgeous horses riding around the park? Well, they’re cast members also! Their names can be found on tags attached to their carriage.
13. While Adventure Park has a very humane origin
California’s Adventure Park was given the name because it represents Walt’s adventure when he arrived in Los Angeles.
14. And finally, the Taj Mahal isn’t real
Well, the one in India IS real but the one featured in Disneyland & California Adventure Park’s Soarin’ Over the World ride has been digitally included as Disney couldn’t get the rights from the Indian government to fly past the heritage site at low altitude.
Know any other juicy Disneyland secrets? Share them with us below.
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