Disneyland is the self proclaimed "happiest place on earth", and for many of us it's been a big happy part of our childhood. (And adulthood let's be honest.) The park is incredibly unique in both its style and also its commitment to keeping the fantasy alive through strict means that Walt Disney set in place years ago.
Because of the immense love and commitment that has gone into the original design and maintenance of the park, pretty much every detail is meaningful in there. The park opened July 17, 1955 to some somewhat disastrous results, but it pulled it together and remains one of the most popular attractions on earth. Here are some crazy facts you probably never knew about Disneyland.
13 All The Plants In Tomorrowland Are Edible
The point of Tomorrowland is that the future is now, where you not only get to see other worldly wonders but "witness the pioneering of the human spirit." While this section of the park is obviously the most futuristic looking with all its orbs and shiny things, there's also a huge importance placed on nature. All of the plants in the area are meant to be edible and represent a sustainable future where we grow and farm our own food, in an "ecologically astute future, where humanity makes the most of its resources." We need knew Walt Disney was a visionary, but that's taking things to a whole new level.
12 Most Of Disneyland's Original Attractions Are Still Running Today
When Disneyland opened it only had 18 attractions running, and 14 of those attractions are still running today. The Monorail was one of those attractions, and at the time it was the only monorail in the entire Western Hemisphere. Other original attractions were the Disneyland Railroad, fire engine, Main Street Cinema, Jungle Cruise, Mark Twain Riverboat, Golden Horseshoe Saloon, Casey Jr. Circus Train, King Arthur Carousel, Mad Tea Party, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Peter Pan's Flight, Snow White's Scary Adventures, Storybook Land Canal Boats, and Autopia. On opening day it cost $3.50 to get into the park, today it's more like $100.
11 All The Water Is Dyed
Have you ever really seen any ride tracks at Disneyland? Nope. That's because most of the rides are either in an enclosed space or over water. On the rides that go over water the water is always dyed either blue or brown to hide the tracks and keep you as much in the fantasy world as possible. They also paint tons of stuff a color called "Go Away Green" to make certain things inconspicuous. They basically just paint all the fences and garbage cans and anything else they don't really want you looking at this apparently camouflage color of green and ta-da...you don't even notice them.
10 There Is A Basketball Court Inside The Matterhorn
Hey you have to hide the employee break rooms somewhere don't you? Apparently there is a basketball court right inside the Matterhorn mountain where employees go to shoot hoops on their break times or when the whether is too bad to climb the mountain to do maintenance. It's located about two thirds of the way up the mountain and is in a pretty cramped attic like area with the hoop attached to a staircase, so it's not as posh as it sounds. Some reports now claim that the basketball court is no longer open, but we can neither confirm nor deny that.
9 There's A Hidden Shout Out To George Lucas
When you're waiting in line for the Star Tours ride (which is based off of Star Wars of course), there's a moment where an overhead speaker pages Egroeg Sacul, which is George Lucas. When the ride opened in 1987 it was the first ride that wasn't based on a film owned by Disney, but many years later in 2012 Disney ended up buying Lucas Films in a $4.5 billion deal, so now the company owns the Star Wars Franchise. There is currently a new Star Wars section of the park in construction. Interestingly, George Lucas was there the day the park opened as an eleven year old kid. Sounds like it was meant to be.
8 Sleeping Beauty's Castle Has A Real Draw Bridge
The castle was actually designed after a real one , the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany which was home to the Bavarian monarch King Ludwig II. It's unclear when this would ever be used, but Sleeping Beauty's castle has a real working drawbridge that can be raised and lowered. (Imagine the fun you could have in the after hours.) There is also a time capsule buried in the castle that is set to be opened on July 17, 2035 when the park celebrates its 80th anniversary. The castle is only 77 feet, but was designed with a technique called forced perspective to make it seem taller than it is.
7 Disneyland Is Very Serious About Cleanliness
Disneyland does not sell gum or shelled peanuts on purpose because they make a huge mess. There is an extensive cleaning crew in place day and night, which is why you've probably never seen anything very dirty at all. They also paint over things incessantly to keep them looking fresh and new. If someone throws up in the park the cleaning crew uses "code V" to alert each other. There is a crew of 600 custodians, painters, gardeners, and decorators that work 365 days a year to keep things looking perfect.
6 In All The Years The Park Has Been Open, There Have Only Been Three Unexpected Closures
When the park first opened it was closed two slower days a week, but for years it's been open daily. There are three days in all those years that the park has had to make unexpected closures, which were for the day JFK was assassinated, the day of the big Northridge earthquake, and on 9/11. There have also been a few partial closures that didn't shut the park down completely such as in 1970 when some people tried to raid the park. According to LA Times it was a "Yippies' outburst."
5 There's An Apartment Inside The Fire Station
Towards the front of the Disney park there's a fire station, and if you look closely there's a lamp on in a window on the second story. That's because there's actually an apartment up there where Walt Disney would sometimes stay with his family when he wanted to keep an eye on things in the park. He often worked at a desk looking out from that front window. When he died, they decided to leave the lamp on to signify his spirit and presence in the park and it's never been shut off since. He was actually up there the day the park opened to watch his guests roll in, and the story goes that he cried tears of joy.
4 There's Only One Place To Buy Alcohol In Disneyland...And You Can't Get In
Disneyland has a no alcohol policy which is pretty unique these days. There is only one place in the park that actually sells alcohol, which is called Club 33 in New Orleans. Club 33 however is not open to the public, and charges a hefty fee to be a member. Corporate members will pay a $40,000 initiation fee plus yearly dues, and individual members will pay $27,000 in initiation fees plus annual dues which are about $12,000. There's also a waiting list to get in even if you have the money. In 2011 the waiting list was 14 years long. If you get on the list now maybe you'll have the money by the time your turn comes.
3 Disneyland Is Full Of Cats
You've probably never seen a cat running around Disneyland, but there are about 200 feral ones that call the park home. Most of them are nocturnal so they only come out at night. The park appreciates their presence because they handle any issues of excess rodents. (Don't tell Mickey.) There are food stations set up for the cats all over the park in hidden locations so they have access to food all the time, even when they aren't hunting. To control the population the cats have been sprayed and neutered and they get them medical treatment when it is necessary. They're truly considered to be a part of the family.
2 Real Human Bones Are Used In Pirates Of The Caribbean
When the Pirates of the Caribbean ride opened all of the bones used were real human bones, but these days only one of them is. The skull that's attached to the headboard in the part where the dead guy is surrounded by jewels? Real skull. No word on who it belonged to or how exactly you get permission to use real human bones at an amusement park. When the ride was first developed it was intended to be a walk through ride, but the idea progressed to riding in boats. It's been pretty much the same since its design besides adding in Johnny Depp as a character once the Pirates movies came out.
1 There Are Also Dead Bodies In The Haunted Mansion
Well sort of. Sometimes. Apparently a lot of people come to the Haunted Mansion to dump the ashes of their loved ones. When they get caught of course they are asked to refrain. People have also specifically asked if they could spread the ashes of their loved ones around the park and Disneyland always politely declines the offer. Spreading ashes at the park is totally illegal and when it is done, the cast members have to vacuum them up and dispose of them, so it's probably not the best way to honor the dead after all.