As a Disney fanatic, I find myself wandering the internet quite often looking for various facts about the wonderful world that is Disney. Searching for these random facts, is something I do to occupy my time when I am bored. In honor of the kickoff of Disneyland’s 60th Diamond Celebration, I decided to put together a list of 60 interesting facts and secrets about the park that started it all.
1. Walt Disney decided to build a theme park after taking his daughters to a merry-go-round at L.A.’s Griffith park, what a sweet inspiration!
2. There is a basketball court inside of the Matterhorn. I’ve always wanted to secretly sneak in there and shoot some hoops!
3. It cost $3.50 to get into Disneyland when it first opened. Wouldn’t we love to be able to pay that now?! Although, park guests still had to buy tickets for the rides, like you would do today at a fair or carnival. I’m glad the ticket system for the rides are a thing of the past.
4. All of the plants in Tomorrowland are edible. Maybe the imagineers envisioned this as a futuristic detail that we will have one day, this is definitely an odd one!
5. On opening day at Disneyland, the asphalt did not set in time! Apparently, the high heel shoes of the women that were visiting that day were sinking into the ground!
6. Doritos were invented at Disneyland. Cast members came up with this idea when they were trying to figure out what to do with leftover stale tortilla chips.
7. Walt’s Main Street firehouse apartment: Walt loved being at Disneyland and being able to watch everyone enjoy the parks. He had an apartment built for him and his family overlooking Main Street located in the fire station. When he was in the park, he would light a lantern to let everyone know he was there. However, now it is lit at all times to signify his constant presence.
8. Whenever the water rides are drained and cleaned, the coins thrown in the water are collected and donated to charity.
9. Keep Disneyland clean! Trash cans are strategically placed within 30 feet of you at all times. Walt had researchers do a study to see on average how many steps it took before a person would drop trash on the ground, apparently 30 ft. was the magic number.
10. Harold the Snowman: The abominable snowman inside the Matterhorn is named Harold!
11. Working drawbridge: Sleeping Beauty’s castle has a working drawbridge that has been lowered twice in its history. Once at opening day and again at the unveiling of the Fantasyland remodel in 1983.
12. There is a special railroad car on the Disneyland Railroad named after Walt’s wife, Lillian. It is the caboose car and it’s called Lily Belle Presidential Train Car. However, access to riding this car is limited to special events and mostly VIP guests.
13. The Hollywood Tower Hotel is the tallest building in Anaheim. It stands a whopping 183 feet tall.
14. Steve Martin used to work at the Magic Shop on Main Street before he made it big in Hollywood, wouldn’t that have been a site to see!
15. Main Street USA is mirrored after Walt’s boyhood hometown: Marceline, Missouri.
16. Disneyland’s address is 1313 Harbor Blvd., which is code for Mickey Mouse’s initials. Since “M” is the 13th letter of the alphabet, 1313 stands for “MM”.
17. Mainstreet USA and Tomorrowland are set in 1910 and 1986, both of the years in which Halley’s comet was visible to Earth.
18. Mickey Mouse’s birthday is November 18th, 1928.
19. Disneyland was built in a year.
20. The fastest teacups at the Mad Tea Party ride are the purple teacup or the orange with diamonds on it. For a slower route, choose the two teacups with hearts on them.
21. Originally, Walt envisioned Disneyland being built across from Walt Disney studios in Burbank, Ca.
22. Every year, 2.8 million churros are sold at Disneyland!
23. Feral cats live at Disneyland to keep rodents such as rats and mice under control. Ironic isn’t it?
24. Real human skeletons were used as props when Pirates of the Caribbean first opened. Imagineers felt the skeletal props were not realistic at the time, so they purchased real ones from UCLA Medical School. There is still a real skeleton head located on the headboard in one of the scenes.
25. Three babies have been born at Disneyland!
26. King Arthur’s Carousel is older than Disneyland. It was built in 1922 for Sunnyside Beach Park in Toronto.
27. The Matterhorn was the first tubular steel roller coaster in the world.
28. Pirates of the Caribbean was the last ride Walt supervised the construction of.
29. Splash Mountain was originally going to be called Zip-a-Dee River Run.
30. Walt originally wanted live animals in the Jungle Cruise ride! Looks like his vision came true in a big way at Animal Kingdom.
31. Disneyland has the 4th largest Navy in the world based on its ships.
32. The fastest you’ll ever go on Space Mountain is 35 mph. Fans that are installed throughout the ride make you feel like you are going faster than you really are.
33. “Smellitizers” are placed throughout the parks to enhance your experience. The machines spray smells into the air according to each land or ride you’re in. For example, on Main Street during Christmas, sweet smells of peppermint fill the air.
34. Cast members display their first name only on their name tags, due to the fact that Walt despised being called Mr. Disney.
35. You can drive the Mark Twain river boat if you are lucky enough! Ask a cast member before you board the vessel if you can visit the wheel house. From there if luck is on your side, they’ll lead you to the captain and you’ll be able to drive the boat!
36. 11-year-old George Lucas visited Disneyland with his family on opening day. I’m sure he never fathomed the ongoing relationship he’d have with Disney one day!
37. All costume characters cannot answer or acknowledge anything about the outside/real world.
38. There used to be “live mermaids” (actresses in mermaid fins) that swam in the area where Finding Nemo’s Submarine Voyage is located now. I would’ve loved that job!
39. Disneyland cost $16 million to build.
40. “It’s A Small World” represents 100 different regions from around the world.
41. King Arthur’s Carousel has 68 horses on board, each have their own name and no two are alike.
42. Disneyland’s monorail stretches 2.5 miles and takes 9 minutes to ride round trip.
43. An estimated 400 items are collected at Disneyland’s Lost and Found each day.
44. There is a “no sad kids rule” at the parks that all cast members must abide by. Whether it’s a dropped ice cream cone, popped balloon, lost toy, etc. Cast members are told to replace the items at no cost. After all, it is the happiest place on earth!
45. California Adventure was originally going to be called Westcot, the west coast version of Epcot. For budget reasons, this plan never went through.
46. Cast members are not allowed to point with one finger, it is considered rude in some cultures. Therefore, they either use the “two finger point” or guide with their whole hand.
47. The Matterhorn attraction is 1/100th of the size of the real Matterhorn in Switzerland.
48. California Screamin’ reaches a top speed of 55 mph, the fastest at Disneyland Resort.
49. Radio Spring Racers cost $200 million dollars to build, which is the most expensive ride out of any theme park! Even with inflation adjustments, that is a considerable amount more than the $16 million it took to build ALL of Disneyland in 1955.
50. There were 18 attractions on opening day at Disneyland. Today the resort has 92 attractions.
51. There is a fake pet cemetery at the Haunted Mansion.
52. You used to be able to fish on Tom Sawyer’s Island.
53. Disneyland spends $42,000 a night on fireworks.
54. Disneyland has a strict no fly zone, except for Tink and Dumbo of course!
55. It costs $25,000 to join the exclusive Club 33 located in New Orleans Square, and it’s around a 10 year wait to become a member!
56. Water attractions have brown and green water to hide the vehicle track system and filtration. They are always trying to preserve the magic!
57. Disneyland is older than 110 different countries.
58. The reason you get a stamp on your left hand when you park hop, is because Walt was left-handed.
59. Disneyland could fit into Magic Kingdom’s parking lot in Florida.
60. Finally, my favorite “fact” from Walt. “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”