We saved up and finally could afford to get a pair of Annual Passports this year for Disneyland here in California. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a very long time, and at last we were able to do so.
As I usually do, once we take the plunge on something I tend to go nuts reading up on the background. The Riverside County Public Library has been extremely helpful in this quest, having quite a few books on Disneyland’s history. I have several items still on “hold” at the library which have yet to arrive – I’m “next” on some of them, others I’m a little further down the list – but so far the ones I’ve read (or watched on video) have been great!
One notable title is “Mouse Tales,” and a sequel “More Mouse Tales,” both by David Koenig. If you have the chance to read these, by all means do so. Even if you’re not a Disneyphile (is that a word?) you’ll laugh yourself silly at all the tales of stupid-guest-stunts and cast-member pranks that have happened at the park over the past 56 years. Some pranks include:
- A “Mission to Mars” cast member once put on a lab smock and sat in Mission Control, pretending to be one of the Audio-Animatronics characters.
- Another sneaked into the “America Sings” attraction and put party hats on some of the characters on New Year’s Eve.
- Some of the “Jungle Cruise” ride operators called a supervisor to take care of a “problem” out on the river, then hid in the bushes waiting for him. When he showed up in a little boat, they jumped out of the weeds and turned him into an instant snowman with fire extinguishers.
And so on… I don’t want to give away all the funnies, though, so get the books from your local library or order them.
Other tales include some recollections from the cast members who perform as characters, such as Mickey Mouse, daily at the park. Those are well worth reading – next time you visit any of the Disney parks, be sure to give a heartfelt “thank you” to all of them for putting up with all the abuse they have to put up with by unruly kids (and even adults) in the course of their day. (Goofy was even stabbed once!)
Right now I’m watching a DVD set called, “Your Host, Walt Disney.” It contains about six hours of programming from the old “Disneyland” TV show from 1956 to 1965. Next up will be a VHS tape about Walt Disney himself.
I’ve also been learning about the “Hidden Mickeys” to be found in the resort. These are little touches that Imagineers and cast members have put into the design of park attractions. Some are very subtle. For example, I don’t know if it’s there now but in the past you’d hear a chime at the front gate when your ticket was taken and you passed through the turnstiles – the grille for the speaker in the turnstile is shaped like Mickey Mouse. Others are a little more obvious, like three barrels hanging from a rope in the waiting line for one of the rides are arranged so that when seen end-on they make a Mickey shape. If you click on the link above, you’ll go to hiddenmickeys.org, a site dedicated to the hunt for Hidden Mickeys. There are also several books on the subject, so if you click here you’ll see a list of such titles at Amazon.com. You can also visit your local library’s website to search for the subject, where you’ll likely find several titles.
Another not-so-widely-known item is that the “Splash Mountain” ride has come to be known in insider circles as “Flash Mountain.” As riders come down the final slide on the ride, which takes you down a waterfall of some 50 feet at a 45-degree angle right into the water at the bottom, a hidden camera snaps a picture of everyone in your log. Some uninhibited female riders have taken to yanking their tops up to “flash” themselves at the camera. (Naturally, whenever something like that is caught by the camera, the ride operators will delete the picture so that it doesn’t show up on the monitors in the exit area of the ride, so if anyone reading this decides they’d like to try it and get a copy of the photo, forget it.)
Anyway, the point is, there’s a rich collection of Disneyland tales out there. If you’re interested, by all means check your local library or the sources I’ve provided here. Even if Disney lore doesn’t really attract your attention, you might still want to check out the “Mouse Tales” books, just for the hilarious stories there.
See you at Disneyland!
PS: If you’re reading this and are planning a visit to Disneyland in the near future, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know your plans. We might be able to meet up in the park over a burger and swap stories.