12 Incredible Disney Secrets

disney characters

Image via @ Jeff Wignal

  1. At the end of every day, when herds of worn out, nauseous, sunburned park visitors have all left the premises, the Disney crew releases the cats. And by that we mean actual, four-legged, furry, feral felines, not Simba or one of the Aristocats. Cats play a vital role in the maintenance of the park, released every night to control its mouse population – there’s only room for two mice in the park and those are Mickey and Minnie.
  2. More than 600 million guests have visited Disneyland since opening day and every year, these guests consume an estimated 3 million hamburgers, 2 million hot dogs, 6.5 million orders of french fries, 1.6 million servings of popcorn, 3.2 million servings of ice cream, 1.9 million gallons of soft drinks and 2.8 million churros.
  3. One of the cleverest Disney Secrets? Disneyland Park does not sell chewing gum because Walt Disney wanted to keep the park clean.
  4. Originally, Disney cast members and even guests of the park, where not allowed to have moustaches, the reason being that Disney wanted to maintain that clean, all American look. Today, guests can have whatever facial hair they like but as far as cast members are concerned, they’re still a no-go.
  5. Mickey Mouse symbols were hidden all over the park by Disney’s architects and engineers (or Imagineers). You can find Mickey on the dining table in the Haunted Mansion made out of a plate and saucers, among the treasures of Jack Sparrow on The Pirates of the Caribbean and hundreds of other locations.
  6. Up until 2001, Disney staff was not allowed to bring their own underwear when they were in character in case it bunched up and became visible under the costume. Instead, cast members were issued company jock straps, cycling shorts or tights, which they had to hand in at the end of every day to be washed with their costumes – pretty gross, huh? Of all the perks you can get pre-faced by the word “company,” “jock strap” really falls short – way below “company car” and “company credit card”, that’s for sure.
  7. Splash Mountain earned a reputation a few years ago for being the perfect place for drunken youths to flash the cameras. Becoming known as Flash Mountain, the situation got so bad that Disney were forced to create a position solely to search through the ride photos for rogue genitalia before displaying them on the video screens.
  8. Disneyland creator Walt Disney was the original voice of Mickey Mouse for two decades, winning more Oscars (32) than anyone else in history. And what’s more? He attended only one year of high school.
  9. The latest weird trend at Disney is for folks to have their ashes buried in the grounds of rides, the most popular of which is the Haunted Mansion. Security and custodial crews actually have to closely monitor surveillance and even walk the length of the track after-hours to look for suspicious piles of ash and bone fragments.
  10. When Disneyland was under construction, Walt Disney had a private apartment installed over the historic fire station on Main Street in order to supervise the builders. When complete, he and his family continued to use the apartment frequently, leaving a light burning in the window to symbolize his presence. Since Disney’s death in 1966, the light has been left on in honour of his memory.
  11. Gay Days is a week or so out of the year where the homosexual community comes together as a group at Disneyland Resort. To this date, Disney steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that Gay Days is a real thing despite tens of thousands of participants.
  12. Many a Disney cast member has gone on to international fame (most likely not those who were employed to look out for flashers on Splash Mountain or pick up ashes of guerrilla Disney burials). From the age of 10 to 18, comedian Steve Martin worked at the park, beginning by selling guide books at the gate, then selling souvenir spinning lassos in Frontierland, until his final position selling packaged magic tricks and joke novelties at the old Merlin’s Magic Shop in Fantasyland. There he became an accomplished magician, learnt to juggle from Disneyland Court Jester, Christopher Fair, and modelled his trademark, “Well, excuuuuuse me,” phrase on the exasperated outbursts of a woman he worked with at the park.

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