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Every time I visit Disneyland, I always come away with something new I never noticed about the Happiest Place on Earth. Here are some fun facts you can look for on your next trip! You can also use the free Hidden Mickey Scavenger Hunt printable while you’re there!
Disneyland is a magical place. No matter how old I get, I always end up feeling like a little kid again. It could be that some of my happiest memories were made there growing up, including precious memories I have with my grandparents. But whatever the reason, I don’t think anyone can ever be too old!
The great thing about Disneyland is that they work hard to continue making magic, adding new things while also preserving the nostalgia from the days when the park first opened. There is always something new to see, taste, and do while you’re there. On your next trip, see if you can find (or hear) some of these facts I’ve compiled and impress your family with your Disney knowledge! You can also use the printable scavenger hunt as an extra fun bonus!
And if you’re getting ready to book a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth, be sure to use my friends at Getaway Today. They are the Disney experts and can help you plan the perfect trip. You can also use their layaway plan and put just $175 down! I’ve done this before for our family trips and it is a such a help. You can check out my tips for using layaway and saving here. In fact, if you’re planning a trip for summer, you would have six months to save and you wouldn’t miss out on getting the best hotel deals and park ticket prices.
20 Fun Facts About Disneyland You Probably Didn’t Know
Here are some random facts to help you become a Disney expert and add some fun to your Disneyland vacation. And if you are planning or getting ready to plan a trip to the happiest place on Earth, be sure to call my friends are Get Away Today! They are the Disney experts and can help you create the perfect trip for you and your family. And did you know you can put your trip on layaway? It’s seriously the best thing! You can put $125 down after planning it all out and then you have until two weeks before you travel to finish paying it off. It makes it easier to save and gives you time to make your vacation the best it can be and get the best prices! If you use my code YOUREVERYDAYFAMILY, you get $10 off your package.
1. Sleeping Beauty Castle Magic
You can’t always believe what you see. Sleeping Beauty Castle is actually only 77 feet tall, though it looks bigger. This is an iconic building and the first big one you see when coming into the park! After you take your pictures and selfies in front of the castle, look up at the windows and bricks. The castle actually looks bigger because the windows and bricks get smaller the higher up they are. When you look at it from the ground, this little trick on the eyes makes the entire building look taller. See if you can tell the difference!
2. Look for the Light in Walt Disney’s Apartment
A lot of people already know about this one but it’s something I always look for when I walk into the park, especially at night. When Disneyland was being build, Disney had an apartment build for his family. It’s over the fire station on Main Street, U.S.A. Whenever he was there, he would leave a light burning. Since his death in 1966, they continue to leave a light burning in his memory.
3. Cast Members Have To Give You An Answer
This is something I never paid attention to in the past. Disney cast members are not allowed to tell a guest “I don’t know” in response to a question. They have to give you an answer! If they don’t have an answer, there are cast member phones set up around the park that they may use to call Disneyland operators for help with their response. See if you can stump a Disney cast member or come up with creative questions to see what kind of answers you may get (just remember to be polite and appropriate!).
4. Find the Cats
Did you know there are nearly 200 wild cats kept in the park? They live in both Disneyland and California Adventure. The cats are fed at five different stations around the park so they are taken care of too. Disney employs their feline friends to help control the mice population in the parks, minus Mickey and Minnie, of course. See if you can spot a kitty while you’re walking around!
5. Follow Your Nose
When you walk down Main Street, U.S.A., it’s hard to miss the smells wafting through the air coming from Candy Palace and Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor. They are delicious, though not all are natural! Some smells are pumped through the vents and include vanilla during most of the year and peppermint during the holidays. Yum!
6. It’s A Real Drawbridge!
The Sleeping Beauty Castle is more real than you might think. The drawbridge that guests cross and take pictures on is actually real. It can go up just like a real castle, leaving it protected by the “moat” around it. But it has only ever been raised and lowered twice. The first time was when the park opened in 1955. The second time was when Fantasyland was remodeled and reopened in 1983.
7. Faster, Faster, Faster!!
Have you ever ridden the Mad Tea Party ride and wondered if certain tea cups were faster than others? I remember the mad dash as a kid to jump into my favorite tea cup. I never cared if it could go faster, just how pretty it was, but my brother always insisted we get the fastest spinner. While adults may have chuckled at their kids insistence that they choose the quickest tea cup, the kids were always right! The orange diamond and lavender tea cups actually spin faster than the others. So now if you’d like to be even more dizzy or induce vomiting, grab one of them and hang on tight!
8. The Apple is Evil
I honestly remember being a little scared on Snow White’s Scary Adventures so I guess the name fit it well. But it still attracted plenty of guests in Fantasyland and ended up becoming a popular ride for kleptomaniacs! The Evil Queen’s apple in the ride was stolen so many times that they finally replaced it with a hologram of an apple. It’s probably a real disappointment now for anyone hoping to add a poisoned apple to their collection! You can also touch the apple on the bookstand while waiting in line and hear the Evil Queen laugh and thunder. Also, try counting the number of times the Evil Queen appears during the ride. She’s more popular than Snow White who only appears at the beginning! But that’s actually because the ride is told through the viewpoint of Snow White.
9. Yes, You Can Remove the Sword In the Stone
This is something I never knew about! After all of our visits there throughout my life, I had no idea that guests can actually remove the famous sword. It’s actually controlled by a cast member so I guess it’s up to them to decide who the lucky lord or lady would be! I have watched some videos on YouTube of kids taking it out-one included a little girl who tried it about five times before finally getting the honor. The sword doesn’t actually come out all the way but what a surprise for you kiddo if they are the chosen one!
10. Matterhorn Was A First
The Matterhorn was the first roller coaster in the world to use a steel, tube-shaped track. It was also built to be 147 feet while the actual Matterhorn mountain is 14,700 feet! I had always heard growing up that the ride had a basketball court in it but when riding the coaster, I could never understand how that could be true. But it is true! It’s the first roller coaster to have an actual basketball court inside, built to be used by the cast members on their breaks. However, the court was removed in 2000 when the tracks needed repairs.
11. It’s A Small World Has Familiar Faces
I can’t visit Disneyland without taking a ride on It’s A Small World. I always loved looking at all the little characters-it really made my imagination fly! Admittedly, my boys and husband aren’t huge fans but they indulge me. There are more than 300 dolls on the ride, including 30 familiar Disney characters added to their native lands. During our last ride when we visited Disneyland, the audio broke down and we spend most of the ride only hearing the mechanical parts moving! The music finally kicked on at the end. But you can also see Peter Pan flying around and some other characters.
12. Astro Orbiter and da Vinci
I love when science and technology create something fun! And the Astro Orbiters are a great combination of both. It has had a few different names over the years- Astro Jets, Rocket Jets, and Tomorrowland Jets. They finally settled on Astro Orbiters in 1998. The design was based on drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci!
13. He’s the Real Thing at Star Tours!
Star Tours has always been one of my favorite rides! The displays are so fun while you’re waiting in line which always made the long lines well worth it. The ride has a lot of hidden gems. The original R2D2 that accompanies C-3PO is the real R2D2 from the movies! Also, C-3PO originally had two gold legs. But fans let cast members know it was incorrect and they replaced one of his gold legs with a silver one. The ride has 50 possible different combinations so you can ride it over and over again with a unique adventure! Be sure to listen while waiting in line for the announcer to call for “Mr. Egroeg Sacul” which is George Lucas spelled backwards.
14. Dole Whip Anyone?
Ahh, the Dole Whip. It’s a favorite among so many Disneyland fans! When we went a couple of years ago, I told my family I would be right back and got in line for one at the Tiki Juice Bar in Adventureland. My husband thought I was crazy for waiting in the long line but I insisted! Turns out, my husband and boys had never had one before! I brought mine back to them, savoring every bite, only to have them devour it for me. We had to go back and buy another (this picture is of my son having his first bite). The Tiki Juice Bar is one of the few places in the world you can buy a Dole Whip and is so loved it’s inspired T-shirt designs and attempts at recreating it at home. But nothing beats enjoying one surrounded by the enchantment of Disneyland.
15. Edible Plants
Walt Disney imagined the future would be short on space for growing food. When opening Tomorrowland, he wanted to be sure all of the plants that grew there were edible too. If you look closely, you will find strawberries, lemons, oranges, pineapple, guava, papaya, peppers, and kale among others. But don’t get caught actually eating the plants!
16. Mirrored Ghosts
To get the look of floating ghosts in the ballroom, imagineers used an old magicians trick called Pepper’s Ghost. The actual audio-animatronics are dancing in the space above and below the ballroom. They are lit so their images can be reflected in a 30-foot-tall plane of glass in front of guests! I always thought they were projections; I had no idea they had actual physical animatronics. The above video was taken at Halloween (the best time of year to go in my opinion).
17. Fun Facts About Pirates
Did you know that the Pirates of the Caribbean was originally supposed to be a wax museum? Crazy, right? But after the popularity of “It’s A Small World”, Disney chose to create a ride out of it instead. Good move because more than 311 million people have ridden it since it opened in 1967. It was also the last ride that Walt Disney helped design before his death.
If your kids get nervous about the drops in the ride, you can tell them the truth about how far the drop is or keep it to yourself. The last time we went to Disneyland, our oldest had a meltdown in the line because he remembered the drop and it made him that nervous. Being the good parents we are, we made the drop sound like it was just a few feet. In reality, the first drop is 52 feet and the second one is 37! I actually had no idea it was that much because after Splash Mountain, it feels like nothing.
If you wonder how they get those cannons to look so real, it’s a fun trick using lights and air. It’s a combination of a flash of lights and a rush of air under the water that make the effect. Also, be sure to find Jack Sparrow! He shows up at least three times.
And if you worry about the line, don’t fear. This is a ride that moves pretty quick. It can handle 3,400 guests an hour!
18. Ambushed By Disco?
Growing up, the Jungle Cruise was one of my favorite rides. Maybe it was the combination of being able to sit after walking around for so long and the funny puns the boat drivers tell, but I loved it! There are a lot of details to pick up on while you are on the ride, including paying attention to everything your guide says. One of the fun things to listen for is when the natives attack. Be sure and listen for one of them to yell “I love Disco!”
19. The Aging Palm Tree
There is a special mark of history in the Disneyland park that most guests walk right under. It was there before Disneyland was even an idea, a part of the land that Disney purchased from the family that owned it. In Adventureland, a palm tree towers over the rides. It is over 110 years old, planted in 1896. When Disney was purchasing the land, he agreed not to cut it down as a part of the agreement. Now when you walk around Adventureland, see if you can spot this old timer.
20. Spot the Eeyore Signs
Indiana Jones was built on the original Eeyore parking lot portion of Disneyland. When they created the ride, the Imagineers left three of the Eeyore signs in the ride. There are three of them. Two of them are before the ride begins, in the movie room, and the other is on the ride. If you can find them, you’re a genius! I have only been able to find one, but maybe that’s because I’m too distracted with everything else the ride has to offer!
21. Look Backward, Not Forward On Your Adventure!
The Indiana Jones ride is one of the most popular rides in Disneyland. If you want to get on this ride, you definitely need to get on it first thing or grab a fast pass. It’s packed full of adventure and details, giving guests the opportunity to feel like they are right alongside Indy in the jungle! When you hop on the ride, know that you will likely never have the same ride twice. There are more than 160,000 possibilities based upon which treasure the goddess Mara chooses for you-gold, eternal youth, or knowledge of the future.
Also, during one part of the ride, the jeeps seem to be moving backward. But it’s actually the walls that are moving forward! Such a trick on the mind but you can tell if you turn around and watch the ride backward. It may be hard to remember because there is so much going on but it’s always interesting to see how they manage to create these rides!
22. The Witch Doctor Is In
If you have something bothering you, look no further than Dr. Nedley Lostmore. Or actually try and find his shrunken head. While walking around the Adventureland Bazaar (which is a fun place to shop!), you can find the witch doctor machine where his head his housed. Just tell him what’s bothering you and he will write you a prescription. No ailment is too hard for him!
23. Country Bear Tribute
The Country Bear Jamboree was always a favorite spot of ours growing up. We never passed up an opportunity to eat there and it has some of my favorite memories with my grandparents. I was sad when it closed in 2001 for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh but all good things must come to an end. And it’s still around in Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland. Because it was a beloved attraction, the imagineers chose to pay tribute to the jamboree by incorporating three of the Jamboree characters. When you are riding through the Heffalumps and Woozles area on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, look up and you will see them! Max (a buck), Buff (a buffalo), and Melvin (a moose) are all mounted to pay homage to yesteryear.
24. Toon Town Interactives
Toon Town is one of my favorite places in the park! It’s where you can find the homes of all your favorite characters-Micky, Minnie, Donald, Goofy-and where imagination really takes off! It’s a silly place with a lot of interactive things to do. Pick up the police telephone and you will hear people reporting some pretty ridiculous crimes! Put your kiddos in “jail”, open the mailbox at the post office, press the doorbell at the Toontown Glass Works, and press the plunger on the TNT detonator at the Fireworks Factory! They have cars to play in the gas station, a really great little play area for your tiny toddlers at Goofy’s house, and you can meet Mickey and friends inside their houses. They have a really fun little coaster (Gadget’s Go Coaster) that’s a fun ride for little guests!
25. Andy’s Coming?
My younger sister tuned me into this secret several years ago, though we have never used it. And it turns out, if you yell “Andy’s coming!” to any of the Toy Story characters, they don’t actually fall to the ground. This all started with a meme showing the characters on the ground with a guest. Since then, it’s been tried and tested. However, due to the safety of cast members, the Toy Story characters don’t fall to the ground or freeze. If you do say it, they either tell you that Andy has gone off to college or look around and shrug their shoulders. You can definitely still have fun with these characters! The Green Army Men actually have a fun sense of humor (the sergeant does talk but the other ones don’t) and will interact with you in fun ways!
Find the Hidden Mickeys
One of the fun things about Disneyland is the hidden Mickey’s spread around the park. Initially, they were a joke. The Imagineers would hide pictures of Mickey on the rides they designed and now it’s become a fun scavenger hunt for guests to enjoy!
Looking for the hidden Mickey’s around the park? Download the Mickey Mouse scavenger hunt printable to take on your trip.