Disney Park Secrets

DISNEY PARK SECRETS

Disney parks are magical, wonderful places that can be enjoyed by the whole family but what are the Disney Park secrets behind the magic?

Disney Park secrets

Disney Park Secrets
The castle looks a lot smaller from this angle!

Forced Perspective – Disney castles are pretty tall buildings but aren’t actually as tall as they may seem when you look at them. They are created with a forced perspective, giving the illusion that the castle is even bigger than it is.

Disney Park Secrets
Food smells will make you crave the Disney favourites

That Disney smell – Ever noticed how the Disney parks smell good? Walt Disney decided to use Smellitzer machines across the park to produce the scent of baked goods through the vents all day, every day. Not only will it make you feel hungry so you buy food at the park but it also gives you a sense of nostalgia towards the park. 

I don’t know? – One of the many rules of a Disney cast members is that they are NOT allowed to say “I don’t know” when a customer asks them a question. So, if the cast member doesn’t know the answer, they will always seek the answer out from another employee. 

Disney Park Secrets
Tom Hanks demonstrating Walt Disney’s two-fingered point in Saving Mr. Banks

The two-finger point – Walt Disney considered pointing with one finger as rude, so all cast members will direct guests with the two-finger point. 

No chewing gum – To make the parks cleaner, chewing gum is not sold anywhere in Disney World and Disneyland. 

Disney Park Secrets

The American flags – Whilst in the USA Disney parks, you may notice there are American flags throughout the parks. However, look closely and they are missing either a stripe or a star. Why? If the flags were official flags, the parks would have to abide by the America flag regulations, which would mean raising, lowering and putting them at half-mast on certain occasions. 

Disney Park Secrets
Abandoned slides at the water park

The abandoned park – There are Disney parks across the globe but did you know that there is also an abandoned water park in Disney World? River Country first opened its doors in 1976 but closed up in 2001. A few people managed to sneak in and explore the abandoned park before it was demolished in 2019. 

Don’t drop your waste – Walt Disney hated the idea of trash being thrown on the floor around his park, that is why he spent time following guests to learn about their trash habits. After realising that guests hold onto their trash for around 30 feet before throwing it on the ground, Disney decided to place trash cans across the park, so you are always within 30 feet from a trash can. 

Disney Park Secrets

Main Street USA –  Main Street USA was designed by Walt Disney and was based on his childhood home of Marceline, Missouri. He loved this town so much, he wanted to bring some of his childhood to the parks. 

Disney Park Secrets

Never quiet – Ever wondered what the parks were like after closing? There maybe no more guests but the music keeps playing from the speakers around the park and in rides themselves. The rumour is that it is actually cheaper for Disneyland to keep the music on throughout the night, rather than turning them off and on again every single day. 

Disney Park Secrets

Boats that don’t float – You will find many boats in the Disney parks around the world, which seem to float on water. In fact, these boat’s do not actually float in the way a normal boat would but instead, move along tracks underneath the water that are concealed using dyed brown and green water. 

Constantly building – You may have noticed that Disney parks often have a ride being built or an area under renovation. Walt Disney wanted his theme parks to be constantly moving with the times meaning the parks are often changing and visitors come back time and time again. 

Disney Park Secrets
The door to Club 33 is painted No see ’em green

No see ‘em green – Disneyland invented a muted, grey-green colour to be used on backstage areas or places under construction. It is said that this colour detracts attention and is specifically designed to camouflage areas of that park that Imagineers don’t want you to notice. 

Wait times – Disney ride wait times are often inflated estimates to improve guest satisfaction; a 40 minute wait doesn’t feel so bad when you were expecting a 50 minute wait! The inflation increases as the parks get ready to close too.

Disneyland Park secrets

Edible plants in Disneyland? – Walt Disney wanted to create Tomorrowland based on what he envisioned the future to look like, which included a sustainable and self-sufficient community. This is shown through the edible plants found around the whole park!

Disneyland Park secrets

The Address – We all know that Disney like to include Easter eggs in their movies but have you ever looked at the address of the original Disneyland? At 1313 Disneyland Drive, the number 13 is your hint. The 13th letter of the alphabet is M, which means the address translates to MM Disneyland Drive or Mickey Mouse Disneyland Drive.

Disneyland Park secrets
Window dedications in Disneyland

Window Dedications – As you head down Main Street USA in Disneyland, you may notice something different about the windows. Walt dedicated these windows to people who had an impact on his life; appearing as a whimsical shop name. You will notice Elias Disney (Walt’s father) on one window as well as Walt himself on a Disneyland Casting Agency window. Window Dedications have been made more recently but there are three requirements someone must pass to have their window a reality. 

The Bench – You can see the actual bench that Walt Disney sat on when he first came up with the idea of creating a theme park; the bench is now dedicated to him and can be found in Disneyland itself. 

Disneyland Park secrets
The Lilly Belle Car

A secret car – Many people enjoy the Disneyland Railroad but did you know that there is a secret car that everyday guests will never get to see? Walt Disney designed the Lilly Belle Car, which is at the end of the train and made specifically for his wife, Lillian Disney. The cart is decorated in plush and expensive furniture and features photos of the Disney family. 

The Secret club – As you walk through New Orleans Square in Disneyland, you will probably notice a door with the number 33 on it. This isn’t a fake door leading to nowhere but in fact the door to a special secret club, designed for special guests and sponsors of the park. Walt’s private members Club 33 have their own unique take across the Disney World parks.

Disneyland Park secrets
Disney’s Telegraph Office

Disneyland’s Telegraph Office – Head to the telegraph office and find a telegraph inside that repeats Walt Disney’s Disneyland opening day 1955 speech in Morse Code:

“To all who come to this happy place; welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future.”

Disneyland Park secrets
Disney’s hidden apartment is the second floor of the Fire Dept.

Hidden Apartment – In the original Disneyland Park in California, look up at the window above the Disneyland Fire Dept sign on Main Street and you will see a light left on. This is the apartment that Walt Disney would stay in whilst working on the park. The light is kept on permanently in his memory but many believe this apartment is haunted by his ghost, with many saying they have seen the drapes moving. 

Secret Menu? – Even Disneyland has secret menu items. You can order a chilli Mac n’cheese bread bowl at the Coca-Cola refreshment corner on Main Street or off-the-menu Ice Cream Nachos at The Golden Horseshoe. 

Disneyland Park secrets
Would you like to play basketball inside the Matterhorn?

A hidden basketball court – This may sound unbelievable but in the backstage area of the Matterhorn Bobselds ride, there is a small area with a basketball hoop so that cast members can play quick games between shifts. 

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What I love about Disney is the history and storytelling. The little details that not everyone knows, but when you learn make things more magical. This horse is Jingles and can be found on the carousel in Disneyland. Jingles was Walts favorite horse, it is the one used in Saving Mr. Banks, and in honor of the 50th celebration it was dedicated to Juile Andrews with details from Mary Poppins added. In 2015 when we were visiting Disneyland we watched the carousel and saw a mother waving to her little girl riding jingles on her own. I told my husband to go share the story. The woman had no idea that Jingles was special and learning the story made her light up. That is why Disney goes the extra mile, for the smile and memory they make. This is one of thousands of things in the parks that just show that extra Disney detail. #academytravelaffiliate #disneylandjingles #marypoppins #disneyparkshistory

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Ride Jingles – As you take a ride on King Arthur’s Carousel, look out for Jingles. This was Walt’s favourite carousel horse and was actually presented to Julie Andrews to recognise her service as a Disney Parks ambassador whilst remembering her classic role in Mary Poppins. 

Disneyland Park secrets

Time Capsules – There are two time-capsules buried underneath Disneyland! You can find one buried in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle on the 40th birthday of the park in 1995, whilst the other is was buried in 2012 underneath the Buena Vista Plaza in California Adventure. 

Skulls and crossbones – When creating the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, the developers wanted the skeletons to look at real as possible. When they struggled to find fake skeletons, they used real ones from the UCLA Medical School. These have been replaced over the years by fake ones, with a rumour that only one real skull and crossbones is left. 

Disney Park Secrets

A working drawbridge – Did you know that Sleeping Beauty’s castle has a drawbridge that actually works. However, it has only ever been lowered twice – in 1955 on opening day and in 1983 when the new Fantasy land opened. 

Disney World Secrets

Family of the day – Did you know, every morning, Magic Kingdom holds a musical opening ceremony and invite a family to help open the Magic Kingdom. The family of the day gets to take a your of Main Street before it officially opens – arrive very early, be enthusiastic and wear matching Disney attire if you want a greater chance of being picked! 

Disneyland Park secrets

Neighbouring lands – Ever noticed how you can’t see neighbouring lands whilst you are in the Magic Kingdom? The park is designed so that you can never see a different themed land as to not ruin the illusion. 

Secret phone call – Inside the hat shop at the end of Main Street, you will find a retro-looking telephone. Pick up the receiver and you will overhear a conversation between a mother and daughter, arguing over the price of groceries. 

Cinderella Statue – In Fantasyland, you will see a statue of Cinderella. To adults, the character looks slightly sad, looking down at the animals. But, if you ben down to a child’s perspective, it appears that Cinderella is wearing a crown. 

Disneyland Park secrets

No restroom? – Heading into Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, you won’t find any bathrooms in the area. Disney’s Imagineers took authenticity very seriously and wanted to colonial land to be accurate; meaning no bathrooms, just as it was in the real 18th century America. This isn’t the only detail you may miss in this area, look down the centre of the road and you will notice a brown wavy path on the floor – this is said to represent how waste was disposed of during the colonial era. 

Kiss Goodnight – If you stay in the Magic Kingdom for around 15 minutes after the park officially closes, you will get a chance to watch the Kiss Goodnight Message, where Cinderella’s castle lights up for the last time of the evening as When you wish upon a star is played over the speakers.

Disneyland Park secrets

The secret tunnels – The Magic Kingdom theme park is actually on level 2, with a labyrinth of secret tunnels underneath the park itself; allowing Disney cast members and characters to walk freely across the park without spoiling the magic. That’s why you won’t see characters in each others lands! 

Hidden suite – There is a hidden suite in Cinderella’s Castle that is strictly invite-only. It is normally closed to the general public with a very few VIP guests being offered a chance to stay in this room. It was originally built for the use of Walt Disney and his family, featuring 17th century furniture and a timeless clock that always stays in its place at 11.59.

Be Our Guest – The Be Our Guest restaurant is a hard one to get reservations for but if you do manage to get inside, make sure you lookup. The mural of babies actually includes the babyfaces of the Imagineers!

Disneyland Park secrets
Colourful pathways!

Colourful floors – Ever noticed how the walkways in Magic Kingdom are bright and colourful? Disney and Kodak studied how colour could be used in the parks and found that coloured concrete led to more vibrant photographs; so not only would people have wonderful photographs and memories from their trip, but others would be enticed to visit the park when looking at these photos. 

Disneyland Park secrets
Grand Floridian Resort

Want to learn more about how Disney parks are created?

You can book lunch with an Imagineer at Disney’s Hollywood Brown Derby or Citrico’s at the Grand Floridian Resort – use this time to ask them whatever you want to know about the creative process and ideas behind the making of Disney World. 

Have an amazing time at Disneyland! Did you spot any hidden mickeys in the Disney parks? Have you learnt any more secrets? Let us know in the comments below!

Disney Park Secrets
Disney Park Secrets
Disney Park Secrets

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