When Walt Disney’s dream came true and Disney opened its gates for the first time in 1955, Walt’s dream nearly turned into a nightmare. On that first day, rides broke down, supplies ran out, and it was so hot that newly laid tarmac pavements melted underfoot. Since then, Disneyland, along with the other Disney parks around the world, has become the most popular theme park ever. For a long time, Disneyland kept many things under wraps, so that the magic of it wouldn’t be tarnished. But, over the years, many of those secrets have leaked out. Here are ten of those fascinating facts about one of the happiest places on Earth.
1. Cats chase the mice at night
The only mouse that is really welcome at Disneyland is Mickey; the real ones are not wanted at all. To keep the rodent population under control, the park employs the services of a band of stray cats to patrol the area. The cats are neutered, so that the population doesn’t get out of control, and Disneyland introduces new kittens to the team every year.
2. The reason why there is a basketball court inside the Matterhorn
You’ve probably heard that there is a basketball court inside the Matterhorn at Disneyland, which the employees can use during their breaks. But, legend has it that there was a perfectly practical reason for building the court. Disney added the court at the time of building the park to get around local building regulations. The Matterhorn was designated as a sports arena to circumvent building height restrictions.
3. The buildings are not as big as they look
Space was tight when they first built Disneyland and building restrictions were strict too. To get around these restrictions and to make buildings look bigger than they really are, the designers used false perspectives. If you look closely at the buildings you might notice that top floors are built to a different scale from the ground floor. Sleeping Beauty’s castle is actually only 77 feet tall.
4. Why you never see Mickey Mouse walking to work?
It would rather ruin the illusion for the kids, if you saw Mickey Mouse with his head under his arm, taking a break, so the engineers at Disneyland built a labyrinth of tunnels under the park, so that staff can move around easily without being seen by the crowds. The tunnels are also used for delivering supplies to the various retail outlets in the park.
5. Disneyland does not pay for their Coca-Cola
Rumour has it that Disneyland don’t pay a single cent for the gallons of Coca-Cola that they sell, and nor do they have to pay for their popcorn. Orville Redenbacher, the supplier of the popcorn, and Coca-Cola, are more than happy to supply Disneyland for free, so that they can be seen to be exclusive suppliers at the Happiest Place on Earth.
6. The music plays on
The music that you hear on the rides and all around the park plays on a continuous loop, 24 hours a day. The management of Disneyland decided that it would be cheaper to let the music continue playing than it would be to go around the park switching it off and rebooting systems.
7. There are human ashes everywhere
You can, perhaps, understand that people would like to be buried at the Happiest Place on Earth, but even though Disney have banned the practice of scattering human ashes it the park, people still do it surreptitiously. The trend was started when a woman was spotted dropping something into the water at The Pirates of Caribbean ride. The ride had to be shut down while staff cleaned up the remains.
8. You can pay in any currency
It’s a little known fact that Disneyland will accept any currency in payment for goods and services. Although most people do pay in US dollars, if you ask a staff member, they will get on the telephone and get an exchange rate for you. It probably wouldn’t make you very popular with people waiting in line behind you though.
9. Even the smells in Disneyland are manufactured
To make the experience complete, Disneyland assaults your sense of smell, as well as your sense of sight and sound. If you walk down Main Street and you get a whiff of Vanilla, that’s because the scent is being pumped out of hidden vents along the street.
10. There is only one place in Disneyland where you can buy alcohol
The only place where you can enjoy an alcoholic drink in Disneyland is the exclusive Club 33. The club only has around five hundred members, Tom Hanks being is of them, and there is a waiting list of ten years to join. You will also have to pay a $25,000 initial joining fee, followed by an annual membership fee of $10,000, if you want to enjoy a tipple at Disneyland.