Regardless of where you believe to be the true “Happiest Place On Earth” is, you have to admit, Disneyland is at least pretty magical. It's so magical, in fact, that even after 50 years and over 500 million of visitors, there are still tons of secrets hidden in and about the Magical Kingdom.
1. Disneyland was expected to fail.
Opening day was such a disaster that pretty much every press organization that attended the celebration had predicted the park's failure within one year.
It opened on a day that was 101 degrees and the street asphalt still wasn't dry, leading to it sticking to shoes. By the end of the first day, all but 2 of the 48 Autopia cars were crashed and about half the rides were broken.
Despite all that, park visitors loved it and attendance continued to grow day by day.
Source (Photo: ThomasFredrick [Flickr])
2. Need a real drink?
While many Disney fanatics may already know this one, others may find it surprising to know there is exactly one place in the entire park that serves alcoholic beverages.
The place is called Club 33 and it is a very exclusive club to get in. To gain entry, there is a ten year waiting list and admission is at least a thousand dollars. Supposedly, the food is good though.
Source (Photo: emmyboop [Flickr])
3. Tomorrow Land is so outdated.
Or at least, the first version is by now. The only Tomorrow Land ride that still exists in its original state from the opening is Autopia, and even it was changed to fit with Cars the movie. Actually though, there is one major change in Autopia from how it was on opening day -there were originally no guide rail to keep people on track. Sometimes Disney was a little too trusting of the good of humans.
Source (Photo: Frikitiki [Flickr])
4. There's a Disney Underground.
Photo: lwr [Flickr]
It's not quite as exciting as it sounds though. Despite rumors, the area under the park isn't a massive underground city. There are many underground basements though, where cast can relax, change in and out of costumes and eat lunch in peace. Think of it like a few really big break rooms.
Disney World on the other hand, was built late enough that they have a full city underground.
5. Olympic sports anyone?
Photo: Frikitiki [Flickr]
Just walking around the park over and over again is exercise enough for most people, but employees have the option of working out in the Matterhorn. Surely you didn't think that huge mountain was only used for one little ride did you? No, the Matterhorn is officially classified as a gym and has a full basketball court inside. In 1984, it was even certified as an official Olympic Stadium.
6. It's safe, but not 100% safe.
Photo: videocrab [Flickr]
Despite persisting urban legends that claim no one ever died in the park, people have. At least 12 people have died there, reports vary as to whether some additional death tales are true or not. All things considered though, 12 deaths in over 50 years isn't that bad. Keep in mind, aside from dangerous rides, there is also a notable amount of gang violence at other Southern California amusement parks that doesn't occur as frequently at Disneyland.
7. Ever feel like you're being watched?
You might be. There are cameras everywhere. Aside from average security brigades, they even have special tasks forces with only a handful of things to focus on.
There are at least two special forces at the park, one dedicated to catching people using drugs at the park, and another dedicated to catching people who flash or flip off the cameras during the photo parts of the rides. If you've ever gotten a message saying your photo isn't available when you got off the ride, there's a good chance someone either flashed some breast or flipped the bird to the camera.
8. A ghostly Hazmat problem.
Photo: major_clanger [Flickr]
There are many reports of people trying to spill the ashes of loved ones in the Haunted Mansion. As nice of a thought as it is, there are plenty of ghosts in the Mansion already and if everyone dumped their ashes here, then the whole thing would be covered in dust. So, every time it happens, the Mansion needs to be closed and a hazmat team cleans it.
9. A pirate's life for Jack.
We all know that Johnny Depp is dang sexy, but just the character of Jack Sparrow? Apparently, a lot of women still think he's just as good as Depp. In Pirate's Booty, an ex-actor at Disneyland confessed how many women would try to hump him just for playing the character. The stories range from flirting to receiving napkins with naughty offers.
(Photo: Locket479 [Flickr])
10. Words from beyond.
Ever notice the telegraph clicking at the New Orleans' train station? It's ticking out the speech Disney gave out on the park's opening day. Traces of Disney are all over the park, my favorite one though is his old apartment over the fire house on Main Street. They always leave the light on in his memory. Not only is it cute, but it's also rad that he got to live in the park.
Source (Photo: Mysteryofmaps [Flickr])
A few other fun tidbits:
- Steve Martin used to work in the magic shop here.
- There used to be live girls dressed like mermaids in the 2000 Leagues Under the Sea pool.
- Did your balloon pop? Just show any balloon seller your popped balloon and they'll give you a new one.
- The Imagineers put special touches everywhere. The Haunted Mansion features faces of a few of the early Imagineers and has tombstones written with inside joke references.
- Coke gives the park free soda to eliminate competition in the park and for the advertising.
- Hidden Mickeys are spread all over the park and there's at least one in every ride.
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