Disneyland Secrets: Little Known Facts About the Disney Theme Parks
Disney has long been a staple of American culture since the introduction of Mickey Mouse. Even more so since the opening of his theme park in 1955. It's hard to believe that the park was expected by critics to fail in the first year. Apparently park-goers felt different. Families have, and still do today, traveled far and wide to visit Disneyland. The memories made there undoubtedly last a lifetime. Still many people are unaware of the less obvious ways that Walt Disney's creative and vibrant spirit lives on. Here's a few little-known facts about the Happiest Place on Earth...
- Hidden Mickey's. There is at least one Mickey Mouse silhouette on every ride and all over the rest of the park. Hidden Mickeys started out as a joke by "Imagineers" and have now become a tradition when creating new Disney attractions and rides. For example, in the Haunted Mansion, when you stand below a candle sconce and look up, the three candles form a Mickey silhouette. Try it next time you're in line and enter the building for the ride.
- Club 33. The spot was originally a hangout for bigshots and celebrities. Walt Disney took so much pride in this lounge area that he traveled to New Orleans to personally pick out décor for the club. This adult friendly and extremely exclusive club serves supposedly great food and even alcohol. Club 33 is the only place in the park where you'll be able to leave the kid fun for the adult kind. At no other spot in the park can you purchase alcohol. However, good luck getting in! There's a ten year waiting list and an annual membership that will cost you a pretty penny. Being a part of this VIP Disney spot is said to cost $3,500/year once you're a member.
- Basketball Mountain. Inside the 147 ft high Matterhorn lies a basketball court. The bobsledding coaster itself doesn't take up the entire mountain, so with a small upper portion vacant, employees created a makeshift court. It's been used as a way to pass the time when they aren't entertaining "bobsledders".
- Visual Effects. Walt and his Imagineers leave few details untouched, even the ones we're meant to pay no mind to. Garbage cans, administrative areas, gates and even Club 33 are all painted with a color referred to as "Go Away Green". It's meant to not draw any attention to the less magical or limited (i.e. Club 33) parts of the park.
- A truly Haunted Mansion. There is speculation over an incident in which a family wanted to memorialize the passing of a seven year old boy. They asked for a little extra time on the Haunted Mansion ride, but when Disney staff realized they were spreading ashes, the event came to a halt. So did the ride until the remains could be cleaned up. Supposedly, this is not an uncommon event and it's said that ashes have been spread throughout the park, inconspicuously of course. Others are more forthright and ask for permission to spread their loved ones, but they're politely denied.
- Beard Ban. Up until quite recently, "Cast Members" or employees of the park, were not allowed to bear a beard. Nor were male visitors permitted on the grounds if they had long hair, which was stereotypically seen as an impure trait. Even though Walt himself wore a beard, he wanted to maintain the wholesome feel of the park and thought facial or long hair could damage that.
- Morse Code. The New Orleans Train Station ticks Walt's speech that was given the opening day of the park in Morse Code. The continuous tapping is deciphered as "TO ALL WHO COME TO DISNEYLAND, WELCOME. HERE AGE RELIVES FOND MEMORIES OF THE PAST, AND HERE YOUTH MAY SAVOR THE CHALLENGE AND PROMISE OF THE FUTURE."
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