Surprising Facts You Didn’t Know About Disneyland
While sure, Disneyland is the little brother of Walt Disney World—there’s still plenty to explore in this California paradise. Ripe with attractions, rides and all of your favorite characters, even if it’s not quite as large, it still is filled with endless magic and opportunities to create once-in-a-lifetime memories. Though plenty of folks are familiar with all things Walt Disney World—even some mega Disney fans haven’t ventured to this Golden’s State destination. From its rich history and sunny weather to secrets hidden at cafes, shops and rides, a vacation to Disneyland is a must-add to your ever-growing travel bucket list. Here, a few facts that might surprise you and make your vacation that much more fun:
Its history is interesting.
Believe it or not, Disneyland opened before Disney World! In fact, the first guests were welcomed to California a full decade ahead of Florida in 1955. Then, the admission tickets were a whopping $1, with their on-site movie theater ticket costing a cool 45 cents. Those who worked for the park brought home an annual salary average $3,300—which wasn’t half bad for the time. To create this wonderland, Walt Disney shelled out $17 million, but when its first ride opened twenty years later—Space Mountain—it was more expensive to build than the actual park, at around $20 million. It’s estimated about 187 Disneylands could fit in Disney World, since it is only 160 acres of property. That makes it marvelous and mighty, especially since Walt deemed Frontierland his favorite of all lands within the Disney portfolio.
There’s a super-old tree.
It’s true that Disney has made history in so many ways—but when Disneyland was created, they didn’t realize they’d include a sliver of the world that’s been around for millions of years. Want to see what we’re talking about? Find your way to Frontierland where you’ll see the remains of a petrified tree that’s said to be 55 to 70 millions year old. Legend has it Walt purchased this tree that once stood at 200-feet from the Pike Forrestt Fossil Beds and had it sent to California. A year later, Walt’s wife Lillian said it was ‘too large for the mantle’ at home, so she donated it to Disneyland.
You don’t have to go on your actual birthday to celebrate.
There’s nothing quite like a birthday party at Disney—especially since they always upgrade to a new level of entertainment and celebration. But get this: to have your birthday at Disneyland, you don’t have to go on the actual date! Instead, make your way to Town Hall and let a Cast Member know you’re exploring the park to ring in another lap around the sun. You don’t have to prove your DOB—and you’ll be awarded a button to wear, prompting surprises at every turn.
You can order off a secret menu.
With dozens of eateries spread about Disneyland, you definitely won’t go hungry while you’re touring through the various lands. But if you’ve already been-there-done-that at nearly each of the cafes and restaurants, try your hand at ordering off of the many ‘secret menus’ that are rumored to be available. A few examples include the ice cream nachos at the Golden Horseshoe, the Vegetable Tower at Carthay Circle or the cherry milkshake at Carnation Cafe. How do you score one? Merely ask.
Try the ‘goat trick.’
If your favorite part of theme parks is the rides, thrill-seekers will enjoy the challenge of the ‘goat trick’ when they ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland. Thanks to G-forces and the condition of your inner ear, you can make yourself feel like you’re swirling if you follow a few rules. Wait in line so you can snag a seat in the back row of the last car. Then, look out for the goat after you get pulled up a hill for the second time. He’ll be holding a stick of dynamite in his mouth, so you can’t miss ‘em. Then, fix your eyes on him and turn your head to keep looking at him until the very last second—that’s it.
You can trade pins with cast members.
In addition to those Mickey or Minnie mouse ears you have to invest in once you enter the park, make sure you pick up a Disneyland pin, too. These give you the unique opportunity to trade as you venture through the park. Look for a Disneyland cast member that’s sporting a bunch of trading pins, and approach them for a swap. They usually sport limited-edition pins or ones that are difficult to source elsewhere, giving you the chance to own something unordinary. Just make sure to ask before you touch, because you know, manners.
Chat with someone back in time at Starbucks.
Yep, there’s a Starbucks at Disneyland on Main Street—it is Cali, after all. While you fill up on your java fix, search for the old fashioned telephones that are right when you walk inside. They might seem decorative, but there is more to them than you realize. Pick up the receiver and listen and you’ll hear all sort of town gossip, since in the olden days, many households shared the same line.
Celebs used to work here.
Considering Disneyland’s location, it is probably no big surprise that plenty of celebrities earned their pennies here before making it big. But what might shock you is just how many! To name a few: Kevin Costner performed in Main Street’s daily parade, Steve Martin was a guidebook salesman, Michelle Pfeiffer was Alice in Alice in Wonderland, and Taye Diggs performed on stage in both California and Japan.
Want to know more about Disneyland?
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