40 Of Disneyland’s Best Kept Secrets - Parents Dome

40 Of Disneyland’s Best Kept Secrets


Through its spectacular theme parks across the world, music, movies, and other multimedia, Disney brings fantasy and imagination into our lives. Having started out as a humble animator and cartoonist, Walt Disney, with his perseverance and passion, is now regarded as one of the most renowned and successful people in the world.

Being that Walt Disney was the creative mind behind the happiest place on Earth, it is no wonder that Disneyland is filled with special details that usually go unnoticed by most visitors. From hidden suites inside Cinderella’s Castle to secret doors that open up to a club where you can find drinks and a place to party, here are 40 fun facts you might have missed about the Disney theme parks.

The Magic Scents Of Disney

Have you ever walked into Disneyland and felt your mood immediately improve? Just by walking around, you instantly get that nostalgic and familiar feeling that makes you think this is your happy place. Ever wondered why that is?

Although you might not have noticed it, Disney parks use “smellitizers” to improve visitors’ overall experience. That’s why every attraction you visit has that distinct smell that makes it more magical and immersive—they weren’t just thinking about sights and sounds. 

Finding Mickey

As a child, looking for the “hidden Mickeys” in Disney shows and movies was such a fun thing to do. But you’d best believe that going into Disney World will get you up and running for a mouse hunt, as lots of Mickey silhouettes can be found hidden somewhere in plain sight.

It’s essentially an added treasure hunt experience for visitors of all ages—young and old alike. Mickey is a pro at hide-and-seek. So on your next visit, keep a close watch out for these hidden Mickeys and try not to lose count.

Secret Suite In The Cinderella Castle

Living in a castle overlooking the river sounds like a dream, right? You might be excited to learn that you can live the life of a Disney princess inside the iconic Cinderella’s Castle, which houses a private suite. It is possible, but unfortunately, it only caters to VIPs and lucky winners.

Surprisingly, it was initially constructed for Walt Disney and his family. Unfortunately, he passed away even before they were able to make use of it. Despite the rooms being decorated with interiors of royal luxury and furniture from the 17th century, the real Disney royal family never stayed there. 

Walt Disney’s Apartment

You might also find Walt Disney’s personal apartment beside the hidden suites. It is said that the apartment was built to allow Walt to monitor the park’s construction closely. He thought staying near the site was wiser than constantly going back and forth to his home.

Fast forward to today, the apartment is situated on Main Street, just above the firehouse. However, the employees observed some odd happenings in the apartment: the light allegedly turned on and off when a staff member was in the apartment shortly after Disney passed away.

Disney’s Go Away Green

Walking into any Disney park will make anyone instantly feel like they’re in a world of magic and fairytale. It’s as if you’re jumping into a different dimension. We can see a great amount of effort and preparation went in to ensure that everything looks balanced and well-blended.

The artistic geniuses at the Disney parks employ visual tricks to disguise unsightly but valuable elements. For example, they use a particular type of color, which they call “No See ‘Em Green” or “Go Away Green,” as a kind of camouflage paint for rails and electrical poles.

A Small World After All

“It’s A Small World” is one of the signature rides at Disney. ​​More than 300 animatronics dressed in various national costumes from around the globe sing the same tune as guests move through the attraction. Some might find these dolls cute, while others see them as creepy.

During closing time, many personnel alleged that the animatronics continued to move despite being unplugged. While some of the staff insist that they have seen the dolls wink on occasion, others are convinced they have seen the dolls move autonomously in the dark. Talk about real-life Toy Story

Secret Portal To The VIP Club

With hidden mickeys and suites, it seems that the famous theme park has more than meets the eye. Apart from his detailed planning, Walt Disney also included several secret doors that would make you look over them as if they were plainly for decoration. But contrary to what many think, all these doors are there for a reason.

It’s simple to overlook the door with the number 33 in New Orleans Square because of how well it blends in. But this door actually leads to a secret hangout place, where sponsors and VIP guests can go together to have fun and enjoy drinks. 

What Is It Like Working At Disneyland?

Working at Disney sounds like a dream; prominently, it is never boring. But on the contrary, dealing with guests and visitors is a lot of work. Working at Disney may involve being more attentive to details than most other jobs.

One of the rules every Disney employee must follow is never to tell the visitors, “I don’t know.” It’s a part of Disney’s customer service standards—every employee is expected to assist guests even if such issues have nothing to do with their area of responsibility.

Cats Are There For A Reason

Like the popular Disney movie, The Aristocats, it seems stray cats can be seen roaming around the Disney parks. But no need to worry about them—they are there for a reason. Cats wander Disneyland long after the park’s doors are closed to guests to take care of any rodent problems without the need for human involvement.

When Walt Disney first opened the Sleeping Beauty Castle to visitors, he discovered that, along with the regular Disney Imagineers, the area was inhabited by feral, flea-ridden cats. Subsequently, Walt adopted and de-fleed them. As a way to acknowledge the cats as members of the Disney family, several branches of the parks now feature signage honoring them.

Walt Disney’s Death

The world of cartoons and animation grieved when Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966, at age 65. It is said that after the private funeral, his remains were cremated and buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

But then rumors about his body being cryogenically frozen began to circulate. According to some, Disney allegedly had himself frozen so that he may come back to life in the future. His body was reportedly frozen and buried deep underneath the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland, but this is likely hearsay.

Most People Scatter Their Family’s Ashes

What better way to honor your loved ones is to scatter their remains in the most magical place on Earth? Some people regard it as a therapeutic and heartfelt commitment. Rumor has it that the ashes of many family members have been dispersed throughout the attractions and across the parks.

While people might find it therapeutic, the employees at Disney won’t be that pleased if you try it. Besides being against the rules and local laws, employees would also have difficulty getting it all cleaned up. They even have “HEPA cleanup” as their code every time this happens. 

Sneaking In Little Children On Rides

Many of us like to rekindle our inner children by visiting Disney parks. However, there are still certain rides that aren’t very kid-friendly. Unfortunately for those who don’t meet the height and age restrictions, their ride options might be more limited.

Thus if you’re the type of parent who prefers being adventurous, it’s best to leave your little children at home. However, there are still some instances where a couple tried to sneak in their six-month-old baby in a giant baby bag while trying to ride Space Mountain. 

The Many Angles of the Cinderella Statue

All Disney parks provide a variety of iconic attractions. One of the most prominent of them is this beautiful statue of Cinderella. At first glance, it looks like a typical statue in which Cinderella is wearing her house clothes while talking to her animal friends.

However, a child who once looked at it from another perspective discovered a secret about the statue. But as you lean down on the fountain as if looking from the view of a small child, you’ll see that the crown on the artwork behind Cinderella appears to line up with her head.

Luxury Train

Walt Disney appears to have mastered the art of hiding mystery secrets. Just look at the Disneyland Railroad, and you’ll see a car designed by Walt Disney himself. It is said that the vehicle was intended for his wife, Lillian Disney hence the name “the Lilly Belle car.”

The train’s most prominent wagon is filled with luxurious and pricey furnishings. With walls filled with Disney’s family portraits, Walt envisioned it as Lillian’s very own Victorian parlor. However, you have to ask the employees’ permission first if you want to look inside this part of the train.

Mary Poppins’ Horse

Disney films continue to capture our hearts with each passing year. However, some movies seem to really stick with us over the generations. One of those is probably the movie Mary Poppins, which fans have adored for years.

To commemorate her role, English actress Julie Andrews, best known for her role as Mary Poppins, was presented with a particular horse, which they named Jingles in 2008. The lead horse in King Arthur’s carousel was painted with gold bells and trim and was decorated with a flying umbrella. 

They Are More Than Just Actors

Just as they are required to hold high standards when it comes to customer service, Disney actors and actresses are also required to give outstanding performances. Disney also has high regard for them. They aren’t simply called “employees” but “cast members.” These cast members see the whole park as their own personal stage.

Being an actor is not an easy job. You have to memorize lines and simultaneously embody the character you’re playing. Part of their responsibility is to give each guest the impression that they’re strolling through a theatrical production rather than simply walking at a theme park.

Pointing Isn’t Allowed

If there’s one thing the managers at Disney always remind their employees about, it is never to point with one finger. Since the park is visited by people from all over the world, each with diverse cultures and beliefs, pointing with one finger may come across as rude.

Instead of using one finger, Walt recommended that his employees use either two fingers or their entire hand instead. This gesture is called “The Disney Point,” which Walt coined himself. Apparently, he was often seen demonstrating the motion—the rumors say it had been a habit, as he was a smoker.

The Book Of Witchcraft

To make each of the rides as immersive and authentic as possible, Walt Disney didn’t just put props as decorations. He went out of his way to get only the best piece to fit the concept. One example is the book of witchcraft, which dates back to the 14th century.

The book was placed on the Haunted Mansion ride to make the place eerier. However, before they knew it, the book was far creepier than they had anticipated. It is alleged that the book would fall over by itself. As a result, they decided to replace it with a facsimile. 

The Ghost Of Space Mountain

Many people like to share conspiracy theories about ghosts roaming around different Disney parks. But with all of those stories, there’s one that’s continuously told over and over. People have noticed something creepy since Space Mountain opened to the public.

At some point, rumors spread that one of the workers, Mr. Wedway, reportedly passed away during the ongoing construction of the ride. The scary thing is that many guests have reported seeing a man riding next to them out of the blue. 

Living In A Utopia

Most Disney theme parks around the world have that signature fairytale-like castle somewhere within. However, why is Epcot different from the other Disneylands? Apart from the usual colorful and storybook-style architecture, which became the theme park’s trademark, Epcot is more on the futuristic side.

This is because Walt Disney had something totally different in mind when conceptualizing Epcot— or the “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.” Walt wanted a utopia to come to life with a community with over 20,000 people living in it. Unfortunately, before his idea was put to work, Walt suddenly passed away. 

Abandoned Areas

Unknown to most, there’s an abandoned area in the middle of Walt Disney World. It is surprising to know that Disney let the area be neglected entirely. River Country, which opened in 1976, was once one of the earliest themed water parks ever built and one of Walt Disney World’s first significant attractions.

However, no one knows the real reason for its sudden closure in 2001, but many people have their theories. Since then, this part of the park has been largely abandoned. Many assume River Country was simply surpassed by the other waterparks. 

Costumes Are Not To Be Removed

Adding to the strict Disney employee ruleset is the costume rule: employees wearing costumes aren’t allowed to take them off in front of guests. While adults are aware that the Disney characters roaming around the park are just regular people, children are conditioned to believe these characters came straight out of their TV or storybook.

While it is fun playing the role of a Disney princess, employees sometimes have a hard time wearing these giant costumes all day. Adding on to that struggle is the challenge of getting backstage in hot weather before being able to take them off. No wonder many of them fall sick due to the hot weather conditions and lack of oxygen inside the suits.  

Staying In Character

How amazing it must be for a child to see their favorite Disney character right before their eyes. All of the cast members work hard to portray their characters well. However, it doesn’t mean that it is just all for show. One time, Tarzan actually was able to save the day.

A young boy ended up in the water at Tom Sawyer Island while a parade passed over Magic Kingdom. As if on cue from his float, Tarzan heard the boy’s mother and jumped off in the middle of the procession in an attempt to rescue the child. He even stayed in character and told the mother, “Keep boy safe—Tarzan very brave.”

Main Street Was Inspired By Walt’s Hometown

Apart from his magical hands as a cartoonist, Walt Disney was also gifted in designing. Main Street is one of the most well-known areas in the park and was designed by Walt using his own two hands. It is said that Main Street was heavily inspired by Marceline, Missouri, to allow Walt to relive the memories of his hometown.

Each and every one of the storefronts and windows represents one aspect of Walt’s childhood. Walt wanted horse-drawn carriages as the finishing touches on the area, so he got them. He even wanted the sound of the horseshoes to be loud enough for people to hear from a far distance.

Bright-Colored Pathways

It’s a well-known fact that all of the Disney theme parks were meticulously planned and designed. Apart from the paints used to distract visitors, even the walkways were painted with specifically selected colors. Painted usually with vibrant hues, it serves as a signal for visitors to know that they’ve entered a different area.

However, the other reason the paths are painted in bright colors is because of a study done by Kodak and Disney. They learned that bright-colored photos look nice to people better than dull ones. Thus, they used bright colors around the area to help improve people’s moods.

The Iconic Bench

Some may come across this and think of it as just another bench. Well, it is. However, this bench was one of the reasons why Disneyland was brought to life. This was Walt Disney’s “thinking chair” where all of his ideas came together.

It’s amazing how Walt Disney was able to conceptualize the entire theme park by himself on this very bench. His original plan was to build the area in Griffith Park. But then, he thought that it was too small. So he looked for the perfect location, so Disneyland was born. This bench can still be found in the theme park today.

Strategically Placed Trash Bins

Walt Disney was a perfectionist. He devoted many hours to exploring ways to make his ideal theme park even as perfect as it could be. Since they’re a necessary component of any public space, even trash cans were part of the plan.

Walt needed to ensure that the area was well-maintained and clean. So, he decided to watch the guests while throwing away their trash. He specifically counted the steps it would take to reach a bin. That’s why at Disneyland, all trash cans are placed within a few steps away. 

Filled With Real Skeletons

Having put in all the hard work and effort to create this ride, Walt was looking forward to its opening. They even got real skeletons from the UCLA Medical School to make it appear as convincing as possible to their guests. However, three months before the Pirates of the Caribbean ride was officially opened, Walt passed away.

After reaching out to the medical school, Disney was “lucky enough” to get some spare ones to decorate the ride. For years, the ride was surrounded by real-life skeletons until they decided to replace them with replicas—at least that’s the official story. 

High Levels Of Security

Disney theme parks employ at least 300 security guards to maintain order around the area. With at least 440,000 visitors going in and out of the theme park, maintaining their safety and well-being is their highest priority. There will always be troublemakers—it can’t be helped.

It is said that Anaheim’s Disneyland has more security than in the city. But they aren’t just simply there to maintain order. Along with other things, the security team assists with crowd management and looking for missing kids.

The Lights and Sounds Are Never Turned Off

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be in the park when they close down for the night? Does the theme park instantly transform into a quiet and dark place with all the lights turned off? Not at all. As it turns out, some rides continue to operate even if no one else is there to ride them.

According to some, it is more cost-efficient for Disneyland to keep everything running instead of turning everything off and on the next day. While there are no more visitors around, the staff, security guards, and cleaners have an easier time doing their jobs while it’s quiet. 

Window Dedications

There are many hidden secrets to discover around Disney parks. Even the windows are significant, especially those found on Main Street. The street has many different features that make it even more appealing. One of those is the names on the windows.

As it turns out, the people who influenced Walt Disney’s life were the inspiration for both the businesses’ names and the windows’ names. Apart from Walt himself, his father, Elias Disney, also has a window dedicated to him.

Test Brick Wall

It’s hard to find anything that isn’t meticulously planned and put on Main Street since everything is flawless and polished. Given that Walt Disney had all the money to spend on making it as perfect as possible, he went all in, even on the bricks they used.

If you’ve walked along Main Street and passed by this brick wall with the water fountain, you might think it looks out of place. Known as the “Test Brick Wall,” it served as the wall where they tried out several bricks to see which one fit and looked best. 

Code For Mickey Mouse

Disney movies are known to have hidden secret clues and easter eggs. These are small details that most of us see right in front of our eyes but are entirely unaware of their importance, just like this simple secret detail on their address.

Disneyland’s address is 1313 Disneyland Drive. Let’s take a closer look at the number 13. The 13th letter of the alphabet is “M.” Now, if we convert 1313 to letters, it gives us “MM,” which actually stands for Mickey Mouse.

Extreme Weather Conditions are Inevitable

Since Disney World is located in Florida, Inclement weather is to be expected. Due to frequent rains and strong winds, rides are often shut off for a while to ensure everyone’s safety. While the rides are only stopped for a short period, hurricanes can inflict far more harm to the park and its guests.

During unforeseeable circumstances, Disney employees must ensure their guests’ safety and inform them to vacate the area as soon as possible. However, there are times when it’s far more dangerous to leave. The last time this happened, the staff had to do impromptu shows to keep the guests entertained. 

How Does The Mark Twain Riverboat Operate?

Amongst Disneyland’s top attractions are the Mark Twain Riverboat and the Liberty Belle. To celebrate Walt and Lillian Disney’s 30th wedding anniversary, the Mark Twain Riverboat set sail for the first time four days before Disneyland officially opened.

The attraction allows visitors to go on board a steamboat and have a better view of Tom Sawyer Island. However, instead of floating on water, the boat actually follows a track hidden in the river. The river is only 18 inches deep with drops of brown and green dye to make it appear authentic. 

Disneyland Continues To Develop

Going to theme parks that you are not yet familiar with is always exciting. Guests can visit the park several times and can eventually experience every ride and attraction. For this reason, many theme parks can get quite dull after multiple visits.

But Disneyland is unlike other theme parks. They always try to come up and offer something new. You can always go back, and the experience will always be different each time. Walt Disney aimed to keep its theme parks up to date with the latest attractions and movies by ensuring that they were constantly innovating.

Only One Disneyland was Planned Initially

Walt Disney was astounded to see his ideas being brought to life when the gates of Disneyland opened. However, that was also when he realized one was not enough. He had more than enough money to spend, so why not, right?

Unfortunately, he never saw his dream of multiple Disneylands as he passed away at 65. However, people didn’t want to see his ideas go to waste. They decided to push through with his plans and turn his dreams into reality. Now, there are a total of 12 Disney parks around the world. 

A secret basketball court in Matterhorn

The Matterhorn, which can be seen practically anywhere in the park, is one of the most iconic attractions in Disneyland. It features the Matterhorn Bobsleds, where visitors can enjoy an alpine-themed roller coaster. However, rumors say that the attraction also houses a secret basketball court.

@disneyland_mermaid

This is actually true! On the upper part of the Matterhorn is a small basketball court that mountain climbers and cast members previously used. They would use the space as a rest area during gloomy weather to prepare for performances.

Edible Plants in Tomorrowland

To make the people feel as though they were living in another dimension, Walt Disney had ambitious plans to make Disneyland as futuristic as it could be to show the world what is possible. Walt envisioned sustainable, self-sufficient societies that, in the future, would be the norm.

With this in mind, he designed his park to double as a farm and have edible plants across the area. Most of the plants, such as cabbage and herbs, are found in Tomorrowland. Sadly, his brilliant idea didn’t get the attention it deserves. 

The Address Numbers Found in Liberty Square

If you go around Liberty Square, you’ll notice how the numbers in each of the homes and buildings are made up of two digits. These might just be random numbers, but when you add 18 before those two digits, those numbers actually correspond to the year the buildings were initially built.

However, it doesn’t just end there. The brown walkway is actually meant to replicate the sewage that flowed down Colonial America’s streets. Due to the lack of a sewage system back then, people would simply dump their trash out the windows into the dirt roads.