Tips, Secrets, & Trivia to Enhance Your Disneyland Vacation
There really is a small basketball court near the top of the Matterhorn; we’ve seen photos. We’re told it was created as a break area for the mountain climbers, to rest between trips up and down the mighty Matterhorn. It’s mostly used for storage nowadays. This attraction is unique to Disneyland; it does not appear at any of the other theme parks worldwide. It was the first tubular steel roller coaster.
- Speaking of Disney tips and trivia related to the Matterhorn, there is a stream that runs along portions of the Bobsled track, with waterfalls that end up in a pool at the bottom. The Bobsleds pass through this water, occasionally getting guests wet (but not nearly as wet as if you’re in the front of a log on Splash Mountain!). That water is not just for effect, but it serves to slow down the bobsleds as they approach the end of the ride. On a very hot day, they must make sure not too much water evaporates or the sleds don’t slow down enough and the ride shuts down temporarily. Not dangerous, but inconvenient.
- A longstanding misunderstanding about Indiana Jones is that there are three separate tracks taken at a fork in the road, in front of large doors. In fact, you always take the same track, but the doors move sideways throughout the day, giving the effect of taking multiple paths to your doom. The lighting changes from one door to the next. Also, towards the end of the ride the vehicle seems to be backing up; in fact the walls are moving forward instead. Finally, this ride was built on what used to be the Eeyore section of the old parking lot. They have left two Eeyore signs in the room where they show the movie prior to boarding the vehicles.
- The Fantasmic show is something you don’t want to miss, off New Orleans Square. They make very efficient use of local props and actors. The sailing ship Columbia appears as Captain Hook’s pirate ship. Performers in a previous scene acting in neon monkey suits are wearing pirate costumes underneath.There are around 50 performers and 50 backstage crew members. You can see some of this action if you watch from a small area close to the right side of the line entrance to the Mark Twain Riverboat (which is also used in the show to bring in Steamboat Willie and all the other characters in the finale). This is not a bad place to catch the show from the side, since it can get very crowded in front.
- What do the ghost busts at the Haunted Mansion share with Tony the Tiger of Sugar Frosted Flakes fame? Both utilize the unmistakable voice talents of the late great Thurl Ravenscroft. His is the deep lead vocal. You’ll also hear him on other rides throughout the park, including Pirates of the Caribbean.
- While riding in your Doom Buggie in the Haunted Mansion, watch for a spider in front of you when passing through the dining hall. Rumor has it a guest cracked the glass with an air-pistol. Rather than spend big bucks replacing the entire glass, they added a spider with web to hide the crack.
- Pirates of the Caribbean was the last ride Walt Disney worked on (Jack Sparrow was just a toddler). He died while it was being built. The question is whether this theme song is as catchy and crazy making as the electric parade soundtrack or the theme from Small World. Watch the first movie with Johnny Depp before you come to the park, and look for a few of the scenes from the attraction in the film (like the dog with the keys in front of the jail cell).
- Club 33 is the exclusive club created for a select membership; the restaurant is upstairs, through a door on a little street in New Orleans Square, but hardly noticeable unless you know it’s there. It’s the only place in the park that sells alcoholic beverages. You must be invited by a member, and the expected time you’ll be on the waiting list to join is like a thousand years. In fact, they may not be accepting new names on the list. The restaurant offers views of Fantasmic and includes some props from Disney movies. It is a fine dining establishment; your humble Guru has dined there twice.
- When you are standing in line for Peter Pan’s Flight, take a look up at the highest window next door at the Snow White ride. You’ll see the evil Queen open the curtains and look down briefly.
- The King Arthur Carousel uses real antique horses averaging 100 years in age. They are cleaned very carefully, with no chemicals.
- When standing in line for Star Tours, you hear an announcement for Mr. Egroeg Sacul. That’s George Lucas backwards. Listen for it.
- Autopia was one of the first attractions from the opening day in July, 1955. It is the only attraction to run on gasoline. With the price of gasoline so high, they plan to change it so guests ride bicycles around the track (not really).
- And here’s the last of our Disney tips: Main Street was designed to capture the feel of a Midwestern town. However there is some trickery, in that the tops of the buildings are slightly out of scale to make them look taller than they really are. Visual creativity has also been used to make the street look longer when you turn back in front of the castle; rumor has it this is to make guests want to stay in the park rather walking down the long street to leave.We’re not sure how effective this will be, but take a photograph from both ends of the street and see if it looks longer in the view looking back towards the train station.