Gavin gave us permission to share an excerpt from Disneyland Secrets to help get you excited for this giveaway. Below are 20 of his (and our) favorite Disneyland secrets from his amazing book Disneyland Secrets. Enjoy!
#20 The flames in the Pirates of the Caribbean looked too real for the Anaheim Fire Department.
The flames in the Pirates of the Caribbean look so real that the Anaheim Fire Department was concerned they would not be able to tell the difference between the real and faux flames during an emergency. Even though they realized that it was all part of the show, a special system was put in place to shut off the burning town effect in the case of an actual fire.
#19 “Swisskapolka,” the theme song from the original Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse attraction, still plays on a phonograph in the upper room of the treehouse.
Many have joked that the theme of the treehouse was switched from Swiss Family Treehouse to Tarzan’s Treehouse because the song was way too catchy.
#18 The queue of Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters is lined with big battery boxes.
Many of these props are labeled Glendale, California, USA. The batteries pay tribute to the home of Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative team of people behind everything in the Disney parks.
#17 The original Disneyland Submarine Voyage was comprised of eight submarines.
Based on world rankings at the time, this made Walt Disney the commander of the eighth largest submarine fleet in the world.
#16 On the King Arthur Carrousel, one horse is more decorated than the others.
The white horse with the collar that reads “Honorary Ambassador” was dedicated to Julie Andrews for her Disney film work and for her stint as as the official Disneyland ambassador during the 50th Anniversary of the park. The horse is decorated with touches from her most popular film, Mary Poppins.
#15 A majority of the mining equipment throughout the queue and attraction of Big Thunder Mountain is authentic.
Imagineers searched swap meets, abandoned mines, and ghosts towns throughout Wyoming, Nevada, Colorado, and Minnesota to find enough authentic equipment.
#14 The final plans for the Jungle Cruise were made on the Disneyland construction site, by Imagineer Harper Goff.
He used a sandbox to sculpt the sand into the shapes of the jungle river. Once completed, the bulldozers replicated his sandy forms.
#13 Real logs were used to build the fort on Tom Sawyer’s Island.
To transport these full-sized tree logs to the island, they were floated across the river similar to the way that logs were transported in old-fashioned wood mills.
#12 Three trees along the backdrop of Toontown behind Minnie’s house form the letters WDI.
WDI stands for Walt Disney Imagineering. They are the team of designers who create everything that is included in the Disney theme parks around the world.
#11 Many backstage buildings around the resort are painted “no-see-um-green.”
Varying hues of green are used based on the surrounding paint. The goal of this “no-see-um-green” is to cause the object to fade into your color spectrum so that your eye will miss it completely. The best example can be found on the outdoor lift hill of Big Thunder Mountain, where you can easily see backstage by turning your head to the right. Most guests simply don’t see this backstage area as everything is covered in Disney’s special green-colored paint. Other examples include the door into the private Club 33, the show building for Indiana Jones, and the buildings lining the railroad tracks.
#10 The landmarks throughout the parks are called “weenies” as they draw people toward different areas.
According to Disney historian Jim Korkis, Walt Disney would often return home from long days of work at the Studio and in Disneyland and walk into the kitchen. He would grab two hot dogs or “wieners.” Using these he found that he could make the family dog, Lady, perform all sorts of tricks and lead her about. Perhaps he referenced this practice to an Imagineer working on Disneyland and the name stuck.
#9 All Cast Members, from top executives to street sweeper, go through a training program called Traditions before beginning work.
The program focuses on bringing new hires into the fold and teaching them about the culture and heritage of the Walt Disney Company while featuring the past, present, and future. The goal of the class is to remind every Cast Member that they each play an important role in providing quality and magic to the guests who visit the park. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Mickey Mouse presents each new hire with their official Disneyland name tag.
#8 One piece of land across from Disneyland increased in value from $10,000 to $100,000,000.
In 1954, just one year before Disneyland had opened, the Fujishige family purchased 56 acres of strawberry fields across from Disneyland park for $10,000. For years Disney pursued the property. When the Fujishige’s finally sold in 1998, 52.5 of the acres sold for $99.9 million dollars. The family still owns 3.5 acres.
#7 The ground when you first enter the park is red brick. Walt Disney wanted it to feel like you were walking in on a red carpet.
Each part of Disneyland was constructed with great thought for the guest experience. In addition to the red brick/red carpet device, the tunnels entering the park are meant to represent the curtains opening on the stage. Once you step through them, you have entered a new world.
#6 Under the Candy Palace & Candy Kitchen window on Main Street there’s a small vent. This vent shoots the fantastic candy smells into the streets.
The Smellitzer was named after the famous WWI shell launcher, the howitzer. Instead of launching deadly shells, it launches glorious aromas.
#5 The Partners statue, unveiled in the central hub in 1993, and which portrays Walt Disney holding hands with Mickey Mouse looking out toward the future, has several easily missed references to Walt.
On Walt’s tie there is a small insignia for the Smoke Tree Ranch in Palm Springs, CA. Disney had a house there and had the logo stitched into many of his ties. On Walt’s right hand there’s a Claddagh ring in honor of his Irish heritage. Both Walt and his wife, Lillian, purchased Claddagh rings during their 1948 trip to Ireland and wore them often.
#4 Nothing is better than the sounds of Main Street, U.S.A. when the park opens.
One of the most notable sounds is the clopping of the hooves of the horses. The horseshoes have a special polyurethane coating to give them better traction and to increase the clip-clop sound as they walk the streets.
#3 When Fantasyland initially opened, the star characters from the films Peter Pan, Snow White, and The Adventure’s of Ichabod and Mr. Toad made no appearance in their respective attractions.
The thought was that guests would play the part of the hero in a first-person experience. Almost no one understood this concept, and the characters were eventually added.
#2 Originally, the Tiki Room was designed as a restaurant. Only later was it turned into a show.
The Tiki Room is one of two attractions in Disneyland that has a dedicated restroom. Not only is it a cool secret, but also a great thing to know when there is a long line at the main Adventureland restroom just across the path.
#1 When the Jungle Cruise originally opened, live alligators were kept in pens near the queue to entertain guests.
The problem was that many guests believed these animals were fake, just like the animals on the ride, and threw popcorn at the animals to test their theory. Occasionally, the gators would get out of their cages and escape into the Jungle Cruise lagoon. Trainers would have to be called from the nearby Buena Park Gator Farm to retrieve the animals.
Now that you've read them all, how many of these 21 Disneyland Secrets did YOU know? We consider ourselves Disneyland experts, and even we learned a thing or two!
You can win your own copy of Disneyland Secrets next Monday, October 23, 2017 when you follow along with us on Facebook. We'll be sharing daily giveaways and learning even more Disneyland Secrets from October 22 - October 28, 2017. All winners will be contacted on November 1, 2017.
And if you don't win a copy, you can grab one here: Disneyland Secrets by Gavin Doyle.
Either way, if you're planning a trip to Disneyland anytime in the near or distant future, you'll want to get a copy. And of course, be sure to follow along with our Facebook page, Instagram account and our blog, Packed with Fun for over 40 giveaways.
If you are just too excited and want to book your trip right away, our Disneyland experts are ready to help! You can book any of our Disneyland packages online or give our agents a call at 855-GET-AWAY.