Behind the magic of Disney
Frolicking past the ticket scanner in their matching Minnie ear headbands, twins Hannah and Kaitlyn Schmidt hurry into Disneyland between their classes. They are such regulars, they not only know the park from the top of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle to the deep caverns of the Indiana Jones ride, they also know most of the hidden gems.
That’s right. Gems you may have only hear rumors about.
At the park, Chapman students who have Disneyland annual passports discover not only a world of magic, but many hidden secrets, as well.
Whether by word of mouth, YouTube videos, or pamphlets handed out at Disneyland itself, many confidential matters are leaked each and every day to visitors of the park. Frequent visitors to “the happiest place on Earth” not only dig up Disney’s deepest darkest secrets, but also find out about many hidden gems around the park.
Some Chapman students have never experienced the magic of Disneyland, while some take trips to the park between classes; either way, the tips revealed by Chapman’s wildest Disney fanatics would send anyone’s mind to infinity and beyond.
“I signed a contract of confidentiality,” said Disneyland cast member Carley Fletcher, “but although I can’t talk much about it, they spend a lot of time, thought and money into creating that magical environment.”
One of the furriest facts about the resort is that hundreds of feral cats reside there to help out not only the janitors, but also the exterminators who work there. Literally tons of trash is collected every day, most of which is food that attracts rodents. The cats come out mostly at night to scare off the mice, which is ironic since the mascot of Disneyland is, in fact, a mouse.
“Every time I go I try to spot them,” said Chapman sophomore graphic design major Caroline Cogliani.
Contrary to some belief, Disneyland doesn’t haul these cats in to help keep down the rodent population. Accoriding to numerous websites, a few cats first found a home in Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Rather than haul them off, Disneyland officials thought they could serve a late-night purpose. Though Disneyland officials declined to discuss it, the cat population kept growing, and is now spread throughout the park.
Cogliani also uncovered another secret Disney keeps (literally) underground: the tunnels the staff use to get around the park quickly without anyone wondering why a cowboy is walking through Tomorrowland. “People say that’s why you never see maintenance people or anything,” she said.
And then there is Club 33. Located in New Orleans Square. “It’s super expensive to be a part of, and has a bunch of perks,” Cogliani said.
Club 33 was originally created by Walt Disney himself in order to entertain Disneyland investors and VIPs when they would come to the park. After his death, the club opened up its individual memberships. Many famous people are members of the club, including Dakota Fanning, Katy Perry, Lindsay Lohan, Emma Stone and Adam Sandler.
Something smells funny about the secret sophomore psychology and IES major Caroline DeStefano revealed about Disneyland. According to DeStefano, “Disney pumps food smells into the air,” to give Main Street the smell of freshly baked goods, and other delicious treats. The different “worlds” also have different scents created by smellatizers, since scent is one of the strongest human senses.
Again, Disneyland declined to discuss this.
There’s more. Head to the Indiana Jones temple.
“All the symbols written in the temple of Indiana Jones can be decoded by a cast member,” said health sciences sophomore Hannah Schmidt. When Indiana Jones Adventure opened in 1995, AT&T, who is still a sponsor of the park, even created a decoder so that guests of the park could try to decrypt the message while they waited in line.
Another helpful hint about Disneyland:
“If you stare at the goat during the big drop on Thunder Mountain, it feels like you are going so much faster,” said sophomore kinesiology major Austin Ferguson. Junior music performance and music education major Olivia Gerns confirms this fact, saying that the illusion, “throws off your centripetal force.”
Although there were many secrets revealed by some of Chapman’s annual passport holders, most agreed that the best kept secret is kept by Disneyland’s cast members, otherwise known as the staff. Twins, Disneyland fanatics and sophomore health science majors Kaitlyn and Hannah Schmidt believe the magic of Disney is created by the secrets hidden from guests by the cast members and the ways their costumes work.
If none of those facts were surprising enough, the Pirates of the Caribbean ride used to feature real human skeletons (from UCLA medical labs), the gold on Sleeping Beauty’s castle is reportedly real — Disneyland won’t verify — and when the park opened, adult tickets were sold for just one dollar. Compared to the $100-plus today.