Disneyland was born out of the dream one of Walt Disney as he sat on a bench watching his daughters play in a park. Originally, the park was intended to be an add-on to entertain visitors to the Walt Disney studios in Burbank, California, but Disney soon realised that the site next to the studios would not be big enough to accommodate all of his ideas so the park was moved to a site near to Anaheim in 1953. Construction on the site, the only one designed and built under Walt Disney’s own direct supervision, began in 1953 and the finished Disneyland was opened in July 1955.
Since it was opened, not entirely without hitches, Disneyland has become one of the best known and best loved visitor attractions in the world. It has undergone many expansions and renovations, since Walt Disney originally announced the site open, and now it can boast the largest, cumulative, visitor numbers of any tourist attraction in the world having played host to over 650 million guests.
And so, as the magic of Micky Mouse, Goofy, and friends still attracts over 16 million visitors a year, here are some secrets that you not have known about Walt Disney’s Kingdom of magic.
1. The Fade into the background green
When you enter the magical world of Walt Disney, your eyes are supposed to be only on the magic, not the mundane. Anything that is not especially attractive or that would detract from the magic in painted in a specially formulated green paint known as ‘Go Away Green’. If you look around the park then you will see that anything like garbage bins, staff entrance doors and fences are all painted in this shade of green, which is designed to blend into the surrounding background and just, go away.
|Club 33 - Disneyland|
2. The secret bar and club hidden in Disneyworld
There is no alcohol allowed at Disneyland, or so you thought. There is actually a secret club that serves alcohol to VIPs in the amusement park and it’s called Club 33. The club was designed, at Walt Disney’s request, to be a place that visiting dignitaries and sponsors could relax, enjoy a drink and eat some fine food. It is hidden behind an unassuming door in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square, but if you want to get in for a beer, there is a ten year waiting list for membership and annual fees of $3,500.
3. Facial hair is still not allowed
The management at Disneyland, try their best to retain the squeaky clean image of Disney at all times and the employees of the park are still not permitted to have beards. This has always been the case and, even though Walt Disney himself sported a moustache, it was he who dictated that no member of staff should have any facial hair at all. His aim was to make employees appear as far removed from the stereotypical, bearded carnival worker as possible. The rule was relaxed in the year 2000, and now, employees are permitted to have moustaches, but still no beards.
|Walt Disney - 1946.|
Source: By Boy Scouts of America
, via Wikimedia Commons
4. Walt Disney is everywhere in Disneyland
Memories of Walt Disney himself can still be found throughout Disneyland today. You may have noticed, for example, the telegraph at Disneyland’s New Orleans train station clicking away. The message that is being received is the speech that Walt gave on the opening day of Disneyland. You will also notice that a light is always lefts switched on in Walt Disney’s own apartment, which is located above the fire house on Main Street, as a constant reminder of Walt Disney’s constant presence in the theme park.
5. Behave, you are being watched!
We are all pretty used to being watched now by CCTV, wherever we go, but at Disneyland they take surveillance seriously. As well as watching you for health and safety reasons, there are special task forces in place who can swoop down on you at a moment’s notice if you are spotted misbehaving. They are looking; perfectly correctly, to stop any drug taking or dealing but they are also looking specifically for anyone flashing their boobs as they pass the cameras on the rides. This became such a problem in the past that every photo taken was monitored to stop the topless pictures from appearing on the TV screens at the end of the rides.
|Disneyland - 1956|
Source: By USC Regional Historical Photo Collection,
via Wikimedia Commons
6. Disneyland’s opening day was a disaster
The opening day of Disneyland was an unmitigated disaster. On the day, the temperature reached 101°F, melting the newly laid asphalt, traffic was so bad that many dignitaries arrived late, there was no water for the water fountains and food vendors ran out of food. By the end of the day, half the rides had broken down and Walt Disney and his team would later refer to the opening day as ‘Black Sunday’.
7. Disneyland has its own feral cat population
One team of Disney employees that you won't see during the day is the vast population of feral cats that live on the site. The first cats appeared at Disneyland fairly soon after the park was built, but rather than dissuade the cats, the park management decided to look after them, as they help to keep down the rodent population. The cats receive medical care and are controlled through neutering and they are also provided with their own enclosures where they can eat and sleep during the day.
|Haunted Mansion at DisneylandSource: By SolarSurfer (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons|
8. The haunted mansion could well be haunted
If you find yourself brushing the dust of yourself when you get off the Haunted Mansion ride, then here’s the reason why. On more than one occasion, people have decided to scatter the ashes of their loved ones in the Haunted Mansion. When it happens, the ride is shut down and a hazmat team sent in to clean up the remains.
9. The music plays on
Apparently, rumour has it that the music never stops playing at Disneyland, even when the rides have been closed for the day. The sound effects and music are said to continue playing throughout the night as it would be too much trouble to go around every ride switching it off and then switching it back on the morning.
Matterhorn - DisneylandSource: By HarshLight from San Jose, CA, USA,
via Wikimedia Commons
10. There is a basketball court inside the Matterhorn
When the Matterhorn Mountain was built to hold the Bobsled ride, a huge empty space was left inside the mountain. Rather than waste the space, Disneyland employees were asked to vote on the best use for it and they voted for a basketball court. Now the employees can enjoy some of their free time inside the mountain playing basketball or a game ping-pong in the hidden facility.