Being magical park enthusiasts ourselves, we've studied every corner of Disneyland and Disney World to bring you a magical history lesson of park secrets that often go unnoticed by visitors. Grab some pixie dust and away we go!
The Lamp in Walt’s Apartment
Every evening, a soft light illuminates from a window above the Fire Department on Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland. This is in tribute to Walt Disney himself. Back in the day, Walt had an apartment above the Fire Department. When he was in, he would turn the light on to notify cast members. Since he passed, cast members keep the light on continuously. The glowing light signifies his everlasting presence, reminding us all that his spirit still watches over the park, ensuring the magic never dims.
Nestled in New Orleans Square in Disneyland, Club 33 stands as a hidden realm of exclusive magic. Not just any clubhouse, Originally designed as a space for entertaining investors and dignitaries, it’s now an exclusive club with a waitlist as elusive as a golden ticket. But if you ever get the chance to step inside, you'll be transported to an opulent world that Walt himself had a hand in creating. It is one of our life goals to try out Club 33 at least once in our lives! **hint hint, wink wink to members…**
The Heartwarming Tale Behind "It's a Small World" (Katy’s favorite ride!)
We've all hummed along to its catchy tune, but did you know the history behind this beloved attraction? Originally introduced at the 1964 New York World's Fair, "It's a Small World" was created to promote peace and unity. With dolls representing different cultures from around the world, the ride serves as a gentle reminder that in our vast universe, our world is but a tiny place where everyone should come together in harmony. Specifically, the Disneyland version brings back some special memories, with the outer facade as a must-do photo spot.
Tunnels Beneath The Magic: Disney World’s Hidden Network
While Cinderella's Castle and Spaceship Earth command the skyline, there's a hidden world below. The famed underground tunnels or "utilidors" of Disney World are not just mere passages. The idea came from Walt himself, as he realized he didn’t want cast members walking from one land to the other in costume, ruining the immersion for guests. These were then constructed to house operations out of guests' sight, ensuring the park remains unblemished by the hustle and bustle of daily operations. Think of them as the veins of the park, pumping life and ensuring seamless magic above ground. There’s even a Subway located inside to feed cast members!
The Petrified Gift at Frontierland
Walt Disney had a unique sense of humor, which came to light in a gift he gave his wife. Nestled in Frontierland at Disneyland, there's a genuine petrified tree from Colorado that's said to be over 55 million years old! Walt bought this ancient artifact and, in jest, gifted it to his wife, Lillian, as an "anniversary gift." Not knowing what to do with such a unique present, Lillian decided to donate it to Disneyland in 1957. Now, it stands as a testament to Walt's playful spirit.
The Liberty Tree’s Historical Roots
Over at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World, the Liberty Tree, found in Liberty Square, isn't just any ordinary tree. It's a live oak that weighs more than 35 tons and stands as one of the oldest living things in the park. Adorned with 13 lanterns, it symbolizes the original 13 colonies of the United States. It's a combination of fun and history, ensuring that amidst the enchantment, a touch of genuine American history finds its place.
The Cinderella Castle Suite
Both Disneyland and Disneyworld have exclusive ‘Dream Suites’, but the Disney World experience takes the magic to the next level! Located inside the castle itself, guests can experience waking directly in the park and bathing under a star studded interior. Staying in this suite is a once in a lifetime experience, with guests taking customized stationery home with them as a souvenir.
There’s always more to learn and discover about the parks than meets the eye, and each time we visit we always catch something new! What’s your favorite hidden secret??
Until we unveil more magical treasures,