Walt Disney’s vision of a real-life fantasy world brought magical animation to life when it opened its gates back in 1955, and through the decades it has become a staple of American pop culture thanks to its collection of lovable characters, exciting rides, and theatrical presentation.
Disneyland may have provided us lifelong memories, but it’s also kept secrets hidden in the Disney Vault right next to several of its popular video releases. In honor of its 60th anniversary this year, here are 30 things you didn’t know about the “Happiest Place on Earth.”
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1. The plants in Tomorrowland are all edible
Yes, you can eat the plants in Tomorrowland, as the themed island is meant to double as a farm “where humanity makes the most of its resources.”
2. A pet cemetery is located behind the Haunted Mansion
Next time you step foot into the Haunted Mansion, take a walk behind it and you’ll stumble upon a pet cemetery where there’s even a gravestone for Mr. Toad.
3. It originally opened with only 18 attractions
And 14 of them are still around!
4. The Matterhorn has a basketball court
A half-court basketball structure can supposedly be found above the coaster ride, where employees go to shoot hoops during breaks. Rumor is it still sits at the top of the mountain.
5. Disneyland was built in just one year
Despite early financial troubles, the $17 million theme park opened its doors within the estimated time span of 365 days.
6. Steve Martin and Michelle Pfeiffer both worked there
The SNL legend was on staff selling guidebooks at the Main Street magic shop in the ‘50s, whereas Catwoman herself suited up as Alice from Alice in Wonderland during the ‘70s.
7. A secret apartment hides inside the theme park’s fire station
Urban legend has it that this was Walt Disney’s private apartment.
8. Over 200 feral cats live in the park
The felines are there to keep rodents away, though you’d be lucky to encounter one as the majority are said to be nocturnal creatures.
9. Walt Disney required all employees to be cleanly shaven
Theme park workers were allowed to grow mustaches in the 2000s.
10. Real human skeletons were used as props when Pirates of the Caribbean first opened
Adding a sense of realism to the attraction, Disneyland had real human remains on exhibit, on loan from UCLA, but only one human skull remains as of today.
11. Walt Disney waited in line with park guests out of sheer joy
His love of Disneyland was so deep that he used to accompany guests as they waited to ride their favorite attractions.
12. Park admission was only $3.50 when it first opened
Believe it or not, entering Disneyland in the ‘50s cost just a little over a MTA fare in 2015.
13. Walt Disney’s daughters were the inspiration behind Disneyland
A trip to L.A.’s Griffith Park and one ride around the merry-go-round inspired the visionary to create the iconic theme park.
14. It's only closed three times in its history
Those times included the national day of mourning for John F. Kennedy, the Northridge earthquake in 1994, and 9/11.
15. You’ll hear George Lucas cryptically paged when waiting in line for Star Tours
Pay attention next time you ride the Star Wars them park attraction—you will hear the overhead speaker call for Egroeg Sacul, which is George Lucas backwards.
16. Gum and shelled peanuts are prohibited from the park
They claim it’s to keep the grounds clean at all costs.
17. The term “Code V” is used when guests vomit
Now you know what to call out next time someone decides to hurl after taking a spin on the tea cups.
18. You can own a piece of Disneyland for $150
That’s the suggested asking price to walk away with a brick from the park.
19. The King Arthur Carousel is older than the actual theme park
Even though the property was bought in 1953, this attraction was built in 1922.
20. The Sleeping Beauty Castle is the only Disney park castle that has a real functioning drawbridge
It’s only been used twice: for opening day and the remodeling of Fantasyland.
21. Over 2.8 million churros are sold there every year
Suffice to say Disney fans have a thing for sugary fried-dough pastries.
22. Walt Disney made a deal with ABC to help fund the theme park
In order to help back the creation of Disneyland, Walt sparked a deal with the television network for a Disneyland series that would boost viewership and help promote the park.
23. Money restraints forced Disney to choose between bathrooms and drinking fountains
He went with restrooms, and after critics accused him of forcing guests to purchase soft drinks, he responded in boss fashion: “People can buy Pepsi-Cola, but they can’t pee in the street!"
24. The Indiana Jones Ride was originally conceived as a two-part experience
The creators had planned to develop a mini-land dubbed Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition—a giant complex that featured the Adventure ride and a mine cart roller coaster.
25. A time capsule was buried at the Sleeping Beauty Castle in 1995
No one knows exactly what’s inside, but we’ll find out when it is unearthed during the park’s 80th anniversary on July 17, 2035.
26. A flight restriction has been placed over the park
No aircrafts are allowed to fly within a three-mile radius of Disneyland.
27. Anyone can ride the wheelhouse on the Mark Twain Riverboat
Just ask one of the cast members working on the attraction to ride it.
28. Cast members can’t use one-finger gestures
To avoid offending certain cultures, everyone in suit is required to communicate with an open palm or two fingers to point.
29. The Main Street Opera House is the oldest building on Disneyland property
Originally, it served as the Park’s lumber mill and was converted into an opera house after 1961.
30. There is a secret club in the park where only special guests can enter
It’s called Club 33 and it’s where a select few can escape the massive crowds to drink fancy cocktails, eat five-star cuisine, and hang with celebrities such as rumored members Elton John and Tom Hanks.
Alex Bracetti is a contributor to Supercompressor, Complex, HOOP, Man of Many, and several other popular lifestyle outlets. Follow him on Twitter @AlexBracetti.