Discovering The Magic Kingdom

The ultimate Disneyland book!


20 Disneyland Fun Facts You Don't Know

Posted by Joshua Shaffer on July 16, 2015 at 11:30 PM

I have seen lots of blogs written titled “Things You Didn’t Know About Disneyland” or something similar. People would post them on my wall or tag me in the posts so I could read through them. The problem is I knew them all already, or they were very common Fun Facts like “Walt’s apartment above the firehouse,” “the basketball court in the Matterhorn,” or “the only real skull on Pirates of the Caribbean.” There are thousands of Fun Facts out there that are about Disneyland, or just Disney in general. I got tired of reading the same ones over and over again. That prompted me to write this blog with 20 Fun Facts that I can almost guarantee you don’t know, or if you did know them, at least give you more information about them with accompanying photos. I scoured through my book, Discovering The Magic Kingdom, to find 20 of the most unique Fun Facts I could post. Enjoy!

If I can get 50 shares of this post, I will write another blog with 20 more unknown Fun Facts.

1. A Cast Member is under no circumstances allowed to take off the characters head. Even if they are feeling nauseous. The alert the Cast Member that is chaperoning them of a problem, they raise an arm in the air and cover one eye, then the Cast Member escorts them away.

2. Since the opening of the park in 1955, Walt thought the night-time fireworks show lacked something spectacular. The castle needed a TinkerBell. The first TinkerBell to take flight off the top of the Matterhorn was 70 year old Tiny Kline. Kline was a 4 foot 10 inch tall former circus aerialist for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Hungary. The first time TinkerBell flew was in 1961. It is rumored that TinkerBell makes $650 a night for her flight now. Kline retired in 1964 due to health reasons and passed on the "wand" to Mimi Zerbini, a 19 year old French circus acrobat who flew across the skies for only one summer. Then it went on to Judy Kaye who did it for over a decade, then to Gina Rock in 1983, who flew for 22 years. Watch Tiny Kline zipline across Times Square in 1932.

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3. There is a “Cast Member only” dining facility that is located in-between Main Street and Tomorrowland called "The Inn Between." It was also a sly reference to the animation term "in betweener," referring to an artist who fills in the drawings between the animator's key drawings. "The Inn Between" was the first employee cafeteria in Disneyland and the only one open for graveyard shift. It is located at the rear of the Red Wagon Inn.

4. Children’s Fairyland in Oakland California was one of Walt’s inspirations for Disneyland. He even went as far as to hire Fairylands first director, Dorothy Manes, to work for him in Disneyland. On one of Walt’s visits to the park he painted a picture of Mickey Mouse on one of the walls in the park.

5. Cast Members are required to use the “Disney Pont.” When someone normally points toward something they use their pointer finger. Some cultures consider this to be a rude gesture, so Disney requires all Cast Members to point with their pointer finger and middle finger at the same time, so they are two finger pointing. They can also use their whole hand for pointing.

6. Disneyland goes through 500 brooms every year to keep the park clean.

7. Doritos were invented in Disneyland. There was a restaurant in Frontierland called Casa De Frito, which is now Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante, and was sponsored by Frito-Lay and opened shortly after the park did in 1955. This was a sit down restaurant and was well known for its Frito Pie. At the end of the day the restaurant would t...hrow out old corn tortillas supplied by Alex Foods. A distributor for Alex Foods noticed this happening and suggested to the chef to turn the unwanted corn tortillas into corn chips. The chef did this and added seasonings to the final product to resemble the Mexican chilaquiles. Over time they became so popular that the restaurant began selling them in bags for 5¢ in 1964. The Frito Kid was the mascot and had a statue standing near the restaurant while people inserted their money into the “vending machine.” The Frito Kid had two locations from which you could purchase the chips. One was by the entrance to Casa De Frito and the second was at Aunt Jemima’s Pancake House near Pirates of the Caribbean.

Frito-Lay figured out that they could mass produce these phenomenal chips and wanted to make them available outside the park. Up until now Frito-Lay didn't have any corn based chips in their arsenal of products available elsewhere; their main seller was potato chips. In 1966, Frito-Lay made “Doritos” available Nationwide, making it the first national distributed corn chip. Not sure if this part is true, but when the original logo was made, it resembled the original Disneyland entrance sign.

8. When you hear, "What are you doing next?" "I’m going to Disneyland," you should know that the saying was started by the aviator pilots Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager. These two had just set the record for first non-stop flight around the world on December 23, 1986. The following January, Michael Eisner had them over for dinner with his wife Jane. Jane had said, "What are you doing next?" To which they responded with, “Well, we’re going to Disneyland.” Jane suggested to Michael that they use it for advertising. Which they did that year following Super Bowl XXI when they paid $75,000 to the quarterback for the Giants, Phil Simms, to respond with “I’m going to Disneyland,” after being asked what he was going to do now that he had won the Super Bowl. They did alternating takes with him saying “Disney World” and “Disneyland.”

9. The shortest lived attraction in Disneyland was the Mickey Mouse Club Circus. Disney brought the entire Gil Gray Circus show from the Midwest, including their elephants, camels, llamas, and ponies. The show also starred the kids, including Annette Funicello, from the Mickey Mouse Club. Debuting November 24, 1955, and ending January 8, 1956, makes it the shortest lived attraction only lasting 46 days before closing due to lack of interest. Guests skipped seeing the circus because they could see that anytime, the other Disney attractions they could not. After the Circus closed, Keller’s Jungle Killers took its place for another seven months before its closing and removal. The two $48,000 candy striped circus tents were located near where the Matterhorn is today. After the attraction was removed, the tents were sent over to Holidayland, the future site of New Orleans Square, to provide shade. The circus wagons that Disney rounded up and refurbished for this attraction were then sent to the Disney studio to be used in the film Toby Tyler (1960), and then later donated to the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin. One of the Imagineers on this project was Richard Irvine, who’s son married Kim Thomas (Leota Tombs’ daughter), who’s name was then changed to Kim Irvine, the current face of Madame Leota in the Haunted Mansion Holiday.

10. The Disneyland park announcer is Bill Rogers, and has been since 1991. The announcer for California Adventure is Camille Dixon. Both park announcers are actually married to eachother and live near the park. They have a recording studio in their home so they can make announcements straight from there and send them on over to Disney.

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11. Main Street once had a pharmacy. It was called the Upjohn Pharmacy, and was located where the New Century Jewelry shop is now. Visitors used to get free samples of vitamins handed out in little glass bottles. It too was designed to look like the turn of the century pharmacy with lots of detail down to the container of wiggling leeches on the counter. Throughout the decades this shop has gone through many names; Upjohn Pharmacy (1955-1970), Hurricane Lamp Shop (1972-1976), Disneyana (1976-1986), Century Watches and Clocks, aka New Century Timepieces, aka New Century Jewelry (1972-present).

12. When Indiana Jones Adventure first opened, the queue got so long it went out into Adventureland, through Frontierland and Fantasyland near the castle. The whole queue length for the attraction is almost a ½ mile long. When the park gets really crowded they have the queue work its way across the top of the Jungle Cruise line then back down and through the regular queue. (the map is a guesstimate of how it looked)

13. The actress who portrays Constance Hatchaway in the Haunted Mansion’s attic scene is Julia Lee (from Buffy The Vampire Slayer), but the voice is provided by actress Kathryn Cressida, the current voice of Wendy and Alice in the Disney parks.

14. Leota Toombs, whose face was used for Madame Leota in the Haunted Mansion, passed away in 1991. Her daughter Kim Irvine, who was also an Imagineer (who created the pet cemetery by the handicap entrance to The Haunted Mansion), had such a close resemblance to Leota that the Imagineers used her face for the new face of Madame Leota.

15. The costumes for the pirates were designed by Marc Davis’ wife, Alice Davis, who was a costume designer for Disney (inducted into the Disney Legends program in 2004). She also made all the outfits for the small world dolls.

16. Fowler’s Harbor, Fowler’s Inn and Fowler’s Cellar are areas dedicated to retired Navy officer Admiral Joe Fowler. He was a good friend of Walt’s and a key person behind the construction of Disneyland. Walt found him supervising the construction of housing tracts in San Francisco in the 1950’s and hired him to construct the Mark Twain Riverboat, the Sailing Ship Columbia, and the Submarines. Fowler went on to supervise the construction of Disneyland and Disney World and stayed on as an advisor after retirement. He was the general manager of Disneyland for the first 10 years of operation. The Magic Kingdom’s first riverboat was dedicated to him. After adding a second riverboat, the Admiral Joe Fowler was accidently damaged beyond repair and left the Richard F. Irvine to be the soul boat on the river. The Irvine was dedicated to the Imagineer Richard Irvine whose son was married to Kim Irvine, the daughter of Imagineer Leota Toombs.

17. If you have ever heard the phrase “The Pirate Trio,” you might think of the singing trio of pirates on Pirates of the Caribbean. Actually “The Pirate Trio” was a grouping of three female pirates who sang and played instruments in front of the old Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship and Restaurant in the summers of 1961-1963. It is said they might have been the inspiration behind Marc Davis’ design of the three singing pirates on Pirates of the Caribbean, who we now refer to as “the pirate trio.”

18. On it’s a small world, there is a doll dedicated to Mary Blair known as The Mary Blair Doll.” She was an Imagineer for Disneyland and designed it’s a small world for the World’s Fair in 1964. Mary was known for her extravagant designs with color and shapes. The doll that is dedicated to her is located on top of the Eifel Tower holding a balloon and wearing a yellow rain poncho to mimic Mary’s real life outlandish and wild attire. Mary was also the art director for several Disney films including Dumbo (1941), Saludos Amigos (1942), The Three Caballeros (1944), Song of the South (1946), Fun and Fancy Free (1947), So Dear to My Heart (1948), Cinderella (1950), Alice In Wonderland (1951), Peter Pan (1953), and Lady And The Tramp (1955).

19. When the park first opened there was mountain of dirt located where the Matterhorn is right now. It was the extra dirt from the excavation for Sleeping Beauty Castle. Its nick name was Holiday Hill and it had pathways and park benches. Walt intended it to be used as a picnic area. It was alone for a year until the Skyway to Fantasyland opened and Walt had the idea of building the Matterhorn.

20. As you exit your pirate ship on Peter Pan’s Flight, look up at the hook hanging on the wall holding a lantern. It was originally in the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship and Restaurant before it was torn down. It was sponsored by “Chicken of the Sea” until 1969, and then the name was changed to Captain Hook’s Galley. It was in Fantasyland from 1955 until 1982 when it was bulldozed and replaced with the relocated Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction.

NOTE: I don't own the majority of these photos. They were found through google images.


Categories: Discovering The Magic Kingdom, Fun Facts, Disney Trivia

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