Here are some amazing hidden secrets of Disney Land and World. In the Mark Twain riverboat, ask nicely if you can pilot the boat and you will be directed to the wheelhouse where you will be allowed to “steer” the boat (It’s actually on a track), blow the whistle, and afterwards be given a special certificate. At the Main Street train station as soon as the park opens ask for a reservation to ride in the Lilly Belle train car. This train car is named after Walt’s wife, who helped design it. It is lavishly decorated. You can also ask to ride in the tender. My daughter and I did this, and we found the conductors to be quite friendly and talkative. One asked me if I had any questions, and I asked him to tell me a Disneyland secret most people don’t know. He told me that the big T-rex in the Primordial World periodically winks. He told us that the tarp that makes the mural background for the Grand Canyon Diorama is one continuous piece of fabric over 300 ft long (no seams). He also confirmed the story that the park is full of cats, and they sometimes play chicken with the train. The seat on the tender is very small. My daughter and I barely fit on it together, and we had to balance ourselves with our feet on the coupling – not for the faint of heart! Walt Disney had an apartment above the Main Street fire house which he used with his family regularly. After his death, the light in the window which used to signal his presence in the park was, and still is, left on at all times. The major exception is when his immediate family is present in the park as a sign of respect for their loss. The apartment has been kept unchanged and in the same state it was when it was in use by Walt and his family. There are several other private apartments in Disneyland as well, and a famously “secret” restaraunt, Club 33.
- If you stand by the stump of petrified wood by the Rivers of America and look toward New Orleans Square, you’ll see a ship’s mast rising over the buildings of the square, subtly adding to the theming of New Orleans Square
- While Walt Disney World has an extensive network of underground tunnels, most of Disneyland does not; but there are tunnels below New Orleans Square, including (at least when I was there) a cafeteria for cast members
- In the queue for the Indiana Jones attraction, there is rope descending from the ceiling into a covered well; if you pull this rope, a voice ascends from the well crying for help
- When riding the train around Disneyland, as you leave the Toon Town Station (i.e. as you pass It’s a Small World), turnaround and look behind you; shortly after passing It’s a Small World, you will cross a road and get a glimpse backstage, including a glimpse of the “round house” where the trains and monorails are stored and maintained
- To the right of the castle is Snow White’s wishing well, and next to the well is a small waterfall and some statuary. The statues of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves were donated to Walt anonymously. Snow White is disproportionately smaller than she should be, so Imagineers positioned the statues and designed the waterfall to use forced perspective, creating the illusion that the waterfall is taller than it actually is
- Listen carefully at the New Orleans Square train station, and you’ll hear the dot-dash-dot of a telegraph; the telegraph is relaying in Morse code the opening lines of Disney’s speech at opening day of Disneyland