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30 things you didn't know about Disneyland
By Alex Bracetti, August 11, 2015
30 secrets you didn't know about Disneyland
By Larry West
Disneyland has been such a dream destination and a treasured cultural icon to people worldwide for more than half a century that almost everyone thinks they know quite a lot about Walt Disney's original theme park. But there is more to the "Happiest Place on Earth" than meets the eye.
Here are 30 secrets, fun facts and bits of trivia about Disneyland Resort that may surprise you:
- Disneyland opened July 17, 1955, with 18 major attractions. Today, there are more than 60 adventures and attractions.
- When Disneyland opened, Anaheim, Calif., had five hotels and two motels with a total of 87 rooms, and there were 34 restaurants in the city. Today, Anaheim boasts approximately 150 hotels and motels with more than 18,000 rooms, and well over 450 restaurants.
- From groundbreaking to opening day, Disneyland was built in just 365 days.
- Well over 600 million guests have passed through the gates of Disneyland since opening day, including seven U.S. presidents and many other prominent 20th century dignitaries and celebrities.
- Having fun is hungry and thirsty work. Every year, guests at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park consume an estimated 3 million hamburgers, 2 million hot dogs, 6.5 million orders of french fries, 1.6 million servings of popcorn, 3.2 million servings of ice cream, 1.9 million gallons of soft drinks and 2.8 million churros.
- Disneyland Park does not sell chewing gum, because Walt Disney wanted to keep the park clean and prevent guests from being inconvenienced by stepping in a gooey mess.
- Disneyland creator Walt Disney, who pioneered animated filmmaking, was the voice of Mickey Mouse for two decades and won more Oscars (32) than anyone else in history, attended only one year of high school.
- When Disneyland was under construction, Walt Disney had a private apartment installed over the historic fire station on Main Street, U.S.A. so he could supervise. After the park was built, he and his family continued to use it frequently. Everyone in the park knew when Disney was there because he left a light burning in the window. Since Disney's death in 1966, the light has been left on to honor his memory and to show that his spirit will always be a part of Disneyland.
- A fireman's pole connected Disney's private apartment to the bottom floor of the firehouse. Walt Disney was usually eager to start his work day and often would slide down the pole. The hole at the top of the pole was sealed up after an enthusiastic guest climbed up the pole one day and introduced himself to the Disney family.
- Approximately 21,000 "cast members" work at the Disneyland Resort. Collectively, they contribute more than 500 arts, crafts, professions and other skills to the operation.
- Every Disneyland Cast Member wears a name tag, even the draft horses that pull the trolleys up and down Main Street, U.S.A.
- Some Disney cast members have gone on to international fame. From the age of 10 to 18, comedian Steve Martin worked at the park after school, on weekends, and during summer vacations. He started by selling guide books at the gate, and then moved on to selling souvenir spinning lassos in Frontierland. Martin later demonstrated and sold packaged magic tricks and joke novelties at the old Merlin's Magic Shop in Fantasyland, where he became an accomplished magician. He learned to juggle from Disneyland Court Jester, Christopher Fair, and modeled his trademark, "Well, excuuuuuse me," phrase on the exasperated outbursts of a woman he worked with at the park.
- The Disneyland Resort Operational Costume Division has a costume inventory of roughly 800,000 pieces and stocks 500,000 yards of material in 900 different fabrics. Approximately 150,000 individual pieces and 300,000 buttons are replaced each year.
- The Disneyland Resort issues, maintains and cleans costumes for more than 15,000 cast members, who exchange more than 20,000 garments for cleaning each week during the summer.
- In addition to dressing thousands of human cast members, Disneyland Resort also maintains costumes for more than 650 Audio-Animatronics® figures.
- The Disneyland Band has logged more than 3,500 marching miles and more than 90,000 performances since opening day in 1955 and draws from a repertoire of more than 400 musical numbers.
- Keeping Disneyland Park clean is no small task. Workers use 1,000 brooms, 500 dust pans and 3,000 mops a year to keep the park looking its best, and collect approximately 30 tons of trash during a busy day—about 12 million pounds annually. The streets of Disneyland are washed and steam-cleaned after closing each day.
- Not all of the refuse collected in the park goes to the landfill. Every year, Disneyland Park recycles approximately 4.1 million pounds of cardboard; 1.3 million pounds of green waste; 370,000 pounds of office paper; 361,260 pounds of glass bottles; 274,280 pounds of plastic bottles; and 17,240 pounds of aluminum cans.
- More than 5,000 gallons of paint are used each year to keep Disneyland looking fresh and better-than-new.
- Disneyland has 10 bodies of water, which hold nearly 20 million gallons of water.
- Disneyland uses more than 100,000 light bulbs, including 11,000 "rim lights" that outline the buildings on Main Street, U.S.A.
- The landscaping at the Disneyland Resort includes more than 800 species of plants from more than 40 nations—including roughly 17,000 trees and 100,000 shrubs—which makes it one of the most extensive and diverse botanical collections in the western United States.
- The trees at Disneyland Park range in size from one-foot dwarf spruce in Storybook Land to 80-foot high eucalyptus trees and towering evergreens along the Rivers of America.
- Each year, about 1 million colorful annuals are planted at Disneyland. The Mickey Mouse flower "portrait" at the Disneyland Main Entrance is replanted six times a year.
- Maintaining the acres of flowers and greenery at Disneyland requires a horticulture staff of 100. More than 60,000 drip emitters and sprinkler heads keep the grounds watered.
- More than 30 different languages are spoken by Disneyland Resort cast members, including Russian, Hindi and Portuguese.
- Sleeping Beauty Castle features a real working drawbridge, but it's only been lowered twice—on opening day in 1955, and to celebrate the newly remodeled Fantasyland in 1983.
- The King Arthur Carrousel has 68 horses. No two are alike and they all move.
- When the Disneyland Monorail debuted in 1959, it was the first daily monorail operating in the Western hemisphere.
- It cost $17 million to build Disneyland in 1955, more than $138 million in today's dollars, although the price of the real estate has probably increased considerably over the past 55 years.