Disneyland Secrets Only Serious Insiders Know
Some Disney "secrets" aren’t quite so unknown anymore, like the fact that there are Mickeys hidden all throughout Disney parks. Luckily, there are still plenty of little-known tidbits that will surprise even the most devoted Disney fans. Let’s dive into the Disneyland secrets you’ve probably never heard before. Some are fun, others are interesting and then there’s a handful that are downright strange. All in all, you'll be more of a Disney trivia whiz than before.
Find the Lone Build-A-Bear
Build-A-Bear once had a huge store located at Downtown Disney, but when it closed, Ballast Point Brewery and Kitchen opened on the second floor of the building. Today, you can find one remaining Build-A-Bear in the building (and in all of Disneyland).
Tour a Rare VIP Train Car
The Lilly Belle is a special caboose car that’s sometimes seen throughout Disneyland attached to the train that runs through the park. It was named after Walt Disney’s wife, Lillian, and was even decorated by her.
One of the Refreshment Corner Light Bulbs Looks Funny
This one's super easy to miss. If you pop by the Coca-Cola-sponsored Refreshment Corner, you can't miss the red and white light bulbs that wrap around the overhang of the shop. Unfortunately, there's an odd number of bulbs, making the pattern impossible to perfectly adhere to.
Your Favorite Snack Was Invented Here
Believe it or not, Doritos got their start in Disneyland. One of Disneyland's first restaurants was Casa de Fritos (yes, those Fritos), and all of the meals came with complimentary Fritos. The restaurant had a waste problem, though.
Alcohol Is Only Served in One Place in the Magic Kingdom
Disneyland’s members-only club, Club 33, is the one place where you can drink alcohol in the Magic Kingdom — if you can gain entry, that is. Set in New Orleans Square, Club 33 can only be spotted if you’re purposely looking for it; to the naked eye, it remains hidden.
Those Delicious Scents Are Purposeful
It’s not hard to imagine Disneyland smelling delicious; you can’t go 10 feet without bumping into another stand selling yummy food. Main Street seems to smell the most appetizing, though, and that’s no accident. Disneyland is regularly pumping pleasant scents into the park, like those of baked goods and fresh popcorn along Main Street.
Employees Follow a Code of Conduct
If you stop a Disneyland employee and ask them a question or for directions, they’re expressly not allowed to do two things: point or answer "I don’t know." They can, however, point with two fingers, because one-finger pointing specifically is seen as rude in some cultures.
The Buildings Are Smaller Than You Think
Forced perspective is used throughout Disneyland to make objects appear larger than they really are. Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is an example of this. It’s not as tall as your perception thinks it is. Toward the top of the castle, the bricks are smaller to give the impression that they’re farther away.
There’s a "Weenie" in Every Park
Every Disney park, including Disneyland, has a "weenie," a term created by Walt Disney that refers to an eye-catching attraction. The weenie is what the park becomes best known for. The term comes from a game Walt played with his dogs — he'd tease them with a hot dog until finally letting them eat.
You Can Hear the Opening Day Address…Kind Of
If you head into the Telegraph Cable Office, you can listen to a portion of the speech that Walt Disney gave on Disneyland’s opening day. It’s in Morse code, though (it is the telegraph office, after all), so you may not understand it.
You’re Not Supposed to Notice Certain Parts of the Park
There’s a specific shade of green dubbed "no see ‘em green" that’s used on parts of the park that guests aren’t supposed to notice. The entrance to Club 33 used to be painted in this color, and it’s also used on areas for the cast or spots that are under construction.
Feral Cats Are Everywhere
You probably don’t see them as you wander around, but Disneyland is full of feral cats, and it’s on purpose. They handle the rodent problem and keep pests away in general (cats are better than rodents, you have to admit. Sorry, Mickey).
Get a Peek at the Past in the Future
Disneyland is home to two time capsules. One is buried in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle and was put there in 1995 when the park turned 40 years old. It holds photos, newspapers and Disney memorabilia. It will be opened in July 2035 on Disneyland’s 80th anniversary.
Try to Find a Pack of Chewing Gum
In an effort to keep the park as clean as possible, you can’t buy chewing gum anywhere in Disneyland (or at any Disney park). You can, of course, bring your own pack into the park, because they can't completely ban gum.
The Plants in Tomorrowland Have a Surprise
One of Walt Disney's greatest visions was that of a sustainable future where people could take full advantage of all of their resources. (That's the premise of Epcot in Disney World.) In Tomorrowland, that vision is most obvious in the plants — they're all edible.
Parents Can Ride Without Kids
Parents can go on rides that the little ones have to skip without leaving their children stranded and waiting. There’s something called a Rider Switch system in which one person can ride. Then, when they get off, the other adult can get on the ride immediately — no more waiting required.
Strategically Choose Your Teacup
A lot of people avoid Alice in Wonderland’s teacup ride because all that spinning can make you dizzy and nauseous. You can purposely choose a teacup that spins slower than the rest, though — or one that spins faster, if that’s your thing.
Order Something Special at Disney Restaurants
There are lots of places in Disneyland with secret menus, and because they’re secret, you may just have to ask at each place where you stop to eat. There are a few spots that are becoming better known, though, but those menu items still aren’t publicly listed yet.
Get the Royal Treatment at City Hall
Celebrating something extra-special, like a birthday, graduation, engagement or marriage? Make City Hall your first stop. It’s right by the main entrance. Tell a cast member what you’re celebrating, and you’ll get a commemorative pin to wear.
Bring Home a Souvenir From the Haunted Mansion
When you head into the Haunted Mansion, ask a cast member if you can have a death certificate. Make sure to do this before you climb into the Doom Buggie, or else you could miss your chance.
The Popcorn Turners Have Unexpected Help
Next time you stop by a stand to order a bag of popcorn, take a close look at the popcorn turner. Each one has a Disney character on it! You’ll find the same at Tokyo Disneyland, too, where the tradition was adopted.
A New Ride Pays Homage to an Old One
The Winnie the Pooh ride was created in place of the Country Bear Jamboree, but those goofy singing bears still have a presence. Three of the animatronics from the Jamboree are visible in the new Pooh ride, as long as you know where to look.
The Main Street Cinema Has a Unique Employee
There’s an "employee" at the Main Street Cinema in Disneyland named Tilly, and her name tag says that she’s from Marceline, Missouri. That just happens to be the same place where Walt Disney lived as a young boy.
One of the Carousel’s Horses Is a Bit Different
All of the horses on the King Arthur Carousel are lovely, but one is especially ornate and stands out from the crowd. The lead horse, as it’s called, is dedicated to Julie Andrews, who was in Mary Poppins. The dedication occurred during Disneyland’s 50-year anniversary.
Get Your Spooky Fortune Told
There are lots of arcade-style fortune tellers scattered around Disneyland, but one has a special, spooky surprise for you. Esmeralda is in the Penny Arcade on Main Street, and her playing cards are Haunted Mansion-themed.
The Castle's Drawbridge Is More Than Just for Show
You may know that Sleeping Beauty’s castle isn’t a real castle, but not all of it is just for show. The drawbridge may not go up and down daily, but it technically could. It’s an actual working drawbridge, but it’s almost never used!
Rides Are Safer Than You Think
Disneyland rides, and the rides in other Disney parks, are created using what’s called the Envelope of Protection. That means that even if you reach out of the ride, like if you throw your arms up while on a rollercoaster, you won’t get hurt because you can't actually reach anything that could hurt you.
The Jungle Cruise Used to Be Much More Threatening
Back when the Jungle Cruise originally opened, there were actual live alligators in pens to entertain people as they waited in line. The Jungle Cruise doesn’t feature live animals anymore, and not just because of the danger factor.
You Won’t Find Pepsi Here
Have you ever noticed all of the Coca-Cola branding around Disneyland and Disney parks? Just one example is the Main Street refreshment center with the logo at the entrance. Disney only carries Coca-Cola products — nothing Pepsi in sight. You can even shop in a Coca-Cola-themed store during your trip.
The Spotlight Is on You
Every detail in Disneyland was purposely planned. When you enter the park, the ground is red brick to give the impression of walking on a red carpet, something that Walt specifically wanted. You're the star of the show when you arrive.