The history of the Disneyland Resort is an inspiring journey of Walt Disney's innovative ideas becoming a reality. Disneyland has become an iconic part of American history and Walt's legacy has been carried over into all the various Disney owned theme parks now covering the globe.
Taking a look back through history, there are some surprising and unique Disneyland facts to uncover. Let's take a magical journey through the Disneyland Resort and learn about some of the most surprising facts we could find.
1. Black Sunday
Disneyland's opening day was a bit of a disaster due to more than 13,000 guests showing up than expected. Rocket to the Moon, Peter Pan, and Dumbo the Flying Elephant were all closed. Tomorrowland wasn't quite finished yet and many of the restaurants/food stands ran out of food. The hot temperatures turned Main Street U.S.A.'s newly poured cement into tar leading to women's high heels getting stuck as they walked. All of this chaos led to cast member's giving opening day the nickname of Black Sunday.
2. Walt Did His Share of Line Waiting
Walt Disney loved spending time with his park guests so much that he would often spend time waiting in line with them in the park.
3. The Fastest Ride is No Roller Coaster
The fastest ride in the Disneyland theme park is none other than Splash Mountain which reaches a speed of 40 MPH as guests are plummeted into the briar patch below.
4. Leave the Human Ashes at Home
Both Haunted Mansion and the Pirates of the Caribbean are rumored to have both been temporarily shut down due to guests spreading human ashes on the rides. Because of the growing rumors and number of families asking to spread ashes in the parks: cremated remains were officially added to the banned list of items at Disneyland.
5. The Feral Cats of Disneyland
Disneyland is home to a large crew of feral cats that have been welcomed to stay due to their pest control instincts. If you're lucky, you may spot some at the feeding station over near the Hungry Bear Restaurant.
6. Sleeping Beauty's Functional Drawbridge
The Sleeping Beauty castle in Disneyland is the only Disney theme park castle with a working drawbridge. The drawbridge has only been lifted twice in Disney history: on opening day and after the remodeling of Fantasyland.
7. Time Capsules Galore
A time capsule was buried on July 17, 1995, which was the 40th anniversary of Disneyland, in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle. It is set to be opened on the 80th anniversary of Disneyland on July 17, 2035. Imagineers also followed this tradition in California Adventure and buried a time capsule in Buena Vista Plaza to be opened in 2037.
8. Edible Plants of the Future
All the plants in Tomorrowland are meant to be edible to double as a “potential farm, projecting an ecologically astute future, where humanity makes the most of its resources.”
9. The Matterhorn Basketball Court
10. No Mustaches Allowed until 2000
Cast members in Disneyland weren't allowed to grow mustaches until the year 2000 due to Walt's desire for his employees to always be clean shaven. Only neatly trimmed mustaches allowed, though! Unless, of course, your facial hair is a part of your character costume.
11. The Indiana Jones Props are Real
During the line for the Indiana Jones ride, make sure to take a moment to peek in Indiana's office as you walk past. The props in the office are real props from the Indiana Jones franchise.
12. Ooo La La: Disney's Brief Lingerie Store
Main Street U.S.A. was once home to a lingerie store and a tobacco shop. The tobacco shop lasted until 1991 but the lingerie store only made it six months before closing in 1956.
13. The Splash Mountain Flashers
In the late 1990s, a popular (much to Disney's dismay) trend started growing of ladies flashing the camera on Splash Mountain. This topless trend got so out of hand that Disney assigned a cast member to monitor the photos for obscenity before they were shown on the attraction photo TVs when you get off the ride. This nipped that trend in the bud.
14. Paging George Lucas
When you're waiting in line for Star Tours, make sure to listen closely for the announcements on the loudspeaker. The speaker will page Egroeg Sacul- which is George Lucas spelled backwards. Speaking of George, he was also there on the opening day of Disneyland at age 11.
15. Only Four Unscheduled Park Closures in Disneyland History
Disneyland has only has had four unscheduled park closures in its history. The national day of mourning after John F. Kennedy's assassination, the Northridge earthquake in 1994, and on 9/11. And the most recent closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak that left Disneyland and Walt Disney World closed for ‘indefinite' amounts of time.
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