|Posted by Joshua Shaffer on September 7, 2015 at 7:30 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 the blog with 20 Fun Facts that I could almost guarantee you didn't know. I asked my fans to get at least 50 shares of the post for me to make another one, and they did, so here it is.
20 MORE Disneyland Fun Facts You Don't Know
1. On The Jungle Cruise, there is a shield in front of one of the native’s tee pees with the “Lion King Musical” logo on it.
2. While waiting in the queue for the Matterhorn Bobsleds, there is a red and white coat of arms with a key on it is for Obwalden (a state or canton in Switzerland). It is on the post as you wait in the right side queue has a small Mickey head in the middle of it. This one appears to be the only coat of arms with a Mickey on it, it could be because Obwalden is special in that it is the geological center of Switzerland, thereby making it special. Obwalden is such a small state; there are the same amount of people living there that work in the whole Disneyland Resort.
3. Captain Hook’s left hand is a hook. On Peter Pan's Flight the two figures on the attraction have him with his right hand as a hook.
4. The parrot sitting next to the giant map in the Pirates Of The Caribbean queue makes the same whistle sound as the re-entry turnstiles to the park and the bluebird from the “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” song in Song of the South.
5. TinkerBell flies from the top of the Matterhorn during fireworks shows. TinkerBell is not wearing just a wig, she is wearing a helmet that looks like a wig from far away. Both male and female aerialists have been known to play her during the show. At the end of the zip line, on a platform behind Village Haus restaurant, there are Cast Members holding mattresses for her to fly into. It’s the best way to slow her down. There was a short period of time in 1966 when they had Mary Poppins fly across, and more recently Dumbo flying as well. In Disney World Tink wears a full face mask to look more like the animated pixie.
(I was unable to locate any photos of Mary Poppins because cameras weren’t readily available as they are today)
6. Disney is proud of its recycling program. There are Cast Members hired just to sort through the garbage and recyclables to separate the bottles and cans to collect a total of 22 tons a DAY. The recycling program at the park was suggested by a Cast Member in 1988, and the proceeds from the recycling is donated to Canine Companions For Independence. Because of this program, there are been more than 35 assistance dogs assigned to human companions with disabilities.
• There are over 650 recycling containers around the resort.
• They recycle enough aluminum each year to make a soda can about 1,000 times taller than the Matterhorn.
• More glass is recycled each year than the weight of eight steam trains.
• And enough paper each year to create a trail from Disneyland Resort to Walt Disney World Resort and back, twice!
• The Paper napkins and plastic merchandise bags used by guests are made from 100% recycled content.
• More than 600,000 plastic cards, from hotel room keys to Main Entrance passes, get collected for recycling each.
• Disneyland Resort partners with Clean the World to donate more than 1,000 pounds of partially used soaps and bottled amenities per month from its hotels, which are sanitized and recycled into hygiene products for people around the globe.
Check out this video... http://www.viddler.com/v/2f35204d
7. From 1957-1966, there was an attraction called Midget Autopia. It had really small cars for small drivers. It was originally located near where it’s a small world is now. When the Midget Autopia was removed it was donated to a park in Walt’s hometown of Marceline in Missouri. But because it was too costly to upkeep they were forced to remove it. One of the green Midget cars was donated to the Walt Disney museum in that town. The cars ran there for eleven years before it got too costly to maintain. On the left side of the track, shortly after you take off from the loading zone, there is a bronzed statue of a Midget Autopia car to pay homage to the past attraction. It was one of the working vehicles from Marceline’s Midget Autopia after it closed.
8. The Tomorrowland Boats attraction was the second shortest lived attraction in Disneyland, not counting California Adventure, from July 30, 1955, to August 1956. It was a man-made lake for children to captain their own motor boats. Disney had too many problems with the boats overheating and smoking so they remade the engine area covering it better so they wouldn't smoke so much, but then this caused them to overheat faster. Disney also resorted to having a Cast Member be the skipper of each boat and steer the boats around at reasonable speeds. On January 15, 1956, the Tomorrowland Boats were re-named The Phantom Boats. It was just too costly for Disney to maintain with the needed 17 Cast Members to steer all the boats, and the public lost interest due to not being able to steer themselves. Disney eventually closed it down in August 1956. Part of the area was later used for the Submarine Voyage and another part was used for The Motor Boat Cruise, which was also later made into Boat Cruise To Gummi Glen.
9. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters: In the final scene (when they take your photo), there is a cartoon moon and sun up toward the ceiling behind a backdrop above the tunnel you jast entered the room through. They are leftover from the previous attraction that was housed in there, Circle-Vision 360 (now located in the China section of Epcot) and Circarama.
10. Star Tours The Adventures Continue: The voice actress that portrays Aly San San, the android stewardess in the pre-boarding video, is none other than Alyson Janney. She is known for her rolls in 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999), American Beauty (1999), Nurse Betty (2000), Finding Nemo (2003), The West Wing (1999-2006) and dozens more. The most common place to recognize her, is in your car. She is the spokeswoman for Kaiser Permanente and can be heard on the radio frequently in their commercials.
11. Jungle Cruise: Robert Mattey was an engineer who was responsible for creating many animatronic creatures and props for many movies. His career was kicked into high gear after Walt Disney hired him to design the animatronic squid in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He later went on to make the singing bird that sat on Mary Poppins finger, which was the reasoning behind Walt’s concept for the Tiki Room. Robert also created some of the animals for the Jungle Cruise in Disneyland. In 1968, he gave character to Herbie’s face in the Love Bug. Steven Spielberg hired him to create the robotic shark of Jaws, which was nicknamed “Bruce,” after Steven’s lawyer. Bruce, the Great White in Finding Nemo, was named after the animatronic shark. The shark kept breaking down constantly because Robert was trying to do delve into technology that didn't really exist yet. For Jaws 2, Robert came out of retirement to make the shark once again.
His complete filmography:
•Jaws 2 (1978)
•Eaten Alive (1977)
•Scandalous John (1971)
•The Barefoot Executive (1971)
•The Wild Country (1970)
•The Boatniks (1970)
•The Love Bug (1968)
•Never a Dull Moment (1968)
•The Lost Continent (1968)
•Blackbeard's Ghost (1968)
•The Gnome-Mobile (1967)
•Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. (1966)
•The Monkey's Uncle (1965)
•Mary Poppins (1964)
•Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (1963)
•Son of Flubber (1963)
•Babes in Toyland (1961)
•The AbsentMinded Professor (1961)
•20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
•The High and the Mighty (1954)
•Korea Patrol (1951)
12. Indiana Jones Adventure: John Rhys-Davies is the narrator of the short safety film that you watch in the queue. He is the actor who portrayed “Sallah” in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). He has been in over 180 films and television series episodes. You might also remember him as the battle axe wielding dwarf “Gimli” from the Lord of the Rings trilogy or as Professor Maximilian Arturo from the television series Sliders.
Even though John Rhys-Davies is the Sallah you see in the safety video, he isn't the one who voices Sallah. The voice of Sallah was done by voice actor Bob Joles. He also does the voices of Gimli in several Lord of the Rings video games.
13. One of the few remaining original trees that existed before Disneyland is located between the Indian Jones Adventure exit and the entrance to the Indiana Jones Adventure Fast Pass distribution stations. It is a giant Canary Date Palm tree. It is called The Dominguez Palm by Cast Members in reference to the farm owners before the park was built. The tree was planted in 1896. Part of the agreement when purchasing the land was for Disney to leave the tree as it was originally a wedding gift to the Dominguez family. It was located in another part of the property and relocated to its current spot.
14. Pirates of the Caribbean & Haunted Mansion: Xavier Atencio was born September 4, 1919, in Walsenburg, Colorado. He became was an animator for Disney from 1938 until he became an Imagineer in 1965. He was responsible for writing all the dialogue for all the characters in the Haunted Mansion and in Pirates of the Caribbean. He also wrote the lyrics for the ever so popular songs "Grimm Grinning Ghosts" and "Yo Ho A Pirate’s Life For Me." On top of that, he did some memorable voice work on those two attractions including the Jolly Roger talking skull before the first drop on Pirates, and the skeleton attempting to escape its coffin in Haunted Mansion.
He also wrote the script for the past attraction Adventure Thru Inner Space. He did voice work on the original Submarine Voyage including "Bridge: Aye, aye, all ahead one third. Stand by the mooring lines." He also wrote the lyrics to Buddy Baker's catchy music for the retired Walt Disney World attraction If You Had Wings.
He retired in 1984 and was named a Disney Legend in 1996. He is 93 years old and still alive today. You might even see him at a D23 Expo.
15. Pirates of the Caribbean: When you first enter the Pirates building, while waiting in the queue, you will see cartoon looking paintings of pirates on the walls. All those pirates existed in history. Marc Davis studied real pirates for inspiration behind this attraction, which was originally supposed to be a walk through attraction before they settled on using boats to move large crowds through it.
• Sir Francis Verney (1584 - 1615) - Sir Francis Verney came from a wealthy background. After being foced to marry his step-sister in an arranged marriage to save the family wealth at the age of 14, he went away to Trinity College in Oxford England. He was knighted in London at the age of 19. He left his inheritance, wife, and estate behind to get into piracy. One of the ride boats is named after him. He died at the age of 31.
Famed actor Errol Flynn portrayed him in the movie The Sea Hawk in 1940. Errol was most notable as Robin Hood in 1938. (Flynn Rider from Tangled was named after him)
16. On King Arthur Carrousel the “lead” horse is named Jingles. The ride operator used this horse as a marker to count how many times the carousel went around. Jingles is the only horse covered in bells. In 2005, he was painted completely gold for the 50th anniversary celebration. In 2008, he was repainted and dedicated to Julie Andrews for her 50 years of dedication to Disney.
17. There is a “cast member” inside the ticket booth of Main Street Cinema named Tilly. Her name tag says that she is from Marceline Missouri. It is fitting considering that Main Street USA was inspired by said town (Walt’s hometown).
18. The ring that Walt Disney wears on his right ring finger on the “Partners” statue is called a Claddagh ring. It is an Irish ring first made popular in the village of Claddagh (near Galway) in the 17th century. It represents love, loyalty and friendship (the hands represent friendship, the heart represents love and the crown represents loyalty). Walt was known for wearing one which is why 45 year veteran Blaine Gibson (sculptor, painter, artist and immagineer) designed the statue with him wearing it. Blaine was attributed with sculpting many of the characters that were made into animatronics or bronze statues. He sculpted the 3D models for characters on Pirates of the Caribbean, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, the Haunted Mansion, and Enchanted Tiki Room. Blaine retired in 1983 and was named a Disney legend in 1993, that same year he designed the “Partners” statue. I am unsure as to why Blaine designed the ring with the heart facing outward as that symbolizes “single and may be looking for love”.
The other meanings are:
- On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist, the wearer is in a relationship.
- On the left hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips, the wearer is engaged.
- On the left hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist, the wearer is married.
19. When the Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction opened on June 14, 1959, it was the first “E-ticket” ride ever.
20. Disneyland once had an airport. It was connected to the Los Angeles International Airport. Los Angeles Airways would bring in visitors or VIPs via helicopter. The original location of the heliport was just outside Tomorrowland over the east wall near Highway 5 and Harbor Blvd. The heliport was operational before Disneyland opened in 1955 until it was moved two years later to make way for the realigned Disneyland Railroad tracks. It was then moved 140 yards south by where the tram pick up/drop off area is now. After three years at that location, it was moved 1,000 yards west to the other side of the resort which is now the Disneyland Hotel parking lot. The heliport functioned in its three locations for a total of 15 years before closing down after the Los Angeles Airways lost funding for it due to the cost not being feasible. There were also two major accidents that occurred in that time. The first accident was on May 22, 1968, when 23 people died after the helicopter crashed due to the rotar blades coming off. The second accident was on August 14, 1968, when the chopper went down from a fatigue fracture on the blade spindle killing 21 passengers, including the 13-year old grandson of Clarence Belinn, the founder & president of Los Angeles Airways.