Disneyland - 10 Fun Facts!
Disney Parks are known for hidden gems and amusing anecdotes. Here’s a list of 10 of my favourites for Disneyland:
10. Walt Disney himself used to live inside the park! Right on Main Street you’ll come across the Disneyland Fire Dept. building and you’ll notice a window just above the main door. Back when the parks were first built, Walt and his family built a private residence on the second floor which today is now a museum of sorts and is only open for private tours. When he was home, Walt used to put a candle in the window for everyone to see….today that candle remains lit (fake candle now, less of a fire hazard) all day long to pay homage to the man behind the mouse.
9. It’s a Small World was first unveiled at the 1964 World’s Fair before becoming a fixture at Disneyland. Created by Disney and his team in support of UNICEF, the ride was dismantled at the end of the fair and moved to its home in Anaheim.
8. The Haunted Mansion took over 6 years to complete and Walt never lived to see it finished. Although work started in 1962 with the exterior complete the following year, the construction came to a halt when Disney was asked for an installation at the World’s Fair. After his death in 1966, it was reimagined before its grand opening in 1969.
7. Speaking of New Orleans Square, there’s a private/hidden club there called Club 33. Don’t get your hopes up about getting in though because entry is exclusive to members and the initiation fee is a whopping $25,000 USD!
6. Again, speaking of both New Orleans Square and insanely pricey, there's also an apartment in New Orleans square that was supposed to be Walt's apartment. Unfortunately he died before it was finished, but it's now finished and now open for special dining events. With a hefty price tag of $15,000 USD for up to 12 people, dining at 21 Royal is truly an event. The award-winning chef will contact each guest ahead of the dinner and prepare a special 7 course menu paired with wines; you'll be treated to cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, and you'll also be able to enjoy the fireworks after the dinner from your private veranda overlooking New Orleans Square.
5. There’s a basketball court inside of the top of the Matterhorn. Used as a backstage area for mountain climbers, the top 3rd of the mountain was turned into a recreational area for costumed cast members who had scaled the mountain.
4. The castle in Disneyland is Sleeping Beauty’s castle. It's based off of Neuschwanstein castle in Bavaria.
3. Around 200 feral cats roam the parks. Great way to keep the mice away...let’s just hope they don’t get a whiff of Mickey and Minnie!
2. If you got to ride Pirates of the Caribbean back when it first opened and thought to yourself ‘wow, those bones look real,’ that’s because they were. They were real skeleton’s taken from UCLA’s medical centre.
Last, but certainly not least, number 1 on the list: opening day at Disneyland was a complete and utter disaster. July is the middle of summer in the northern hemisphere and California is known for its extreme heat, opening day on the 17th July 1955 proved a heat index of over 37 degrees! Although that in itself isn’t that bad, the worst parts were that there was a shortage of water and food, counterfeit tickets allowed in 28,154 people when only 15,000 were invited, and there was even a 7 mile back up on the motorway leading into Anaheim. Commonly known in the Disney universe as Black Sunday now, it just goes to show how a little perseverance can turn any bad day around!
Disneyland Resort in Anaheim now consists of two parks: Disneyland and California Adventure. What started as one man's dream has turned into a global empire with 6 Disney Park Resorts spread over 3 continents! Come see us before you head away on your next trip to visit with the Mouse.
“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world. “- Walt Disney