Reddit | sonnyeclipsefanclub

16+ Fascinating Secrets Behind Disneyland's Most Beloved Rides

When I was a kid, there was no experience quite like visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Although the crowds and heat can certainly have their ways of putting a damper on the festivities, both of those issues were kept to a minimum by my parents' clever idea to book the trip in November.

But while the Florida park left me a wide world to explore, the same can certainly be said for Disneyland in California. As a kid, it probably doesn't make much of a difference which one you have the golden opportunity to experience.

As we grow up, however, it becomes much clearer that such a significantly vast experience couldn't possibly have come without some monumental efforts, planning, and revision work once those plans fail.

And while this may not be so obvious on the surface, the secrets behind the park's most famous attractions do a lot to show exactly what it takes to make a Magic Kingdom.

When people see the ghostly face of Madame Leota in the Haunted Mansion, they're actually seeing one of Disney's pioneering imagineers.

Reddit | pdxsean

According to official Disney blog D23, Madame Leota bares the face of Leota Toombs Thomas, who contributed designs to the Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion rides after working within Walt Disney's enterprises since 1940.

According to her, her face was used for mostly practical reasons, as she said, "my eyes were the right distance apart to fit the test model when the whole thing began."

On special occasions, a different version based on Leota's daughter is featured instead.

The motto on the coat of arms in front of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride lets you know what you're in for.

Reddit | Not_Steve

As the Orange County Register reported, the Latin inscription reads, "Toadi Acceleratio Semper Absurda," which translates to "speeding with Toad is always absurd."

Big Thunder Mountain pays some tribute to the ride that it replaced.

Reddit | AnubisEight

According to the Orange County Register, where it now stands was once the site of a ride called the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train.

Indeed, you may notice that you pass through a rainbow cavern as the ride begins. This was not only a nod to the original attraction, but also a practical consequence of leaving some of its features intact.

If you visited the Tiki Room in Walt Disney World between 1998 and 2011, you'd quickly notice some familiar faces.

YouTube | MartinsVidsDotNet

Between those years, the classic attraction was revamped into "Tiki Room: Under New Management" and updated to include Zazu from The Lion King_ and Iago from Aladdin. The revised version also featured an impressive animatronic of a fire goddess who has Iago burnt after he annoys her.

The revamp proved unpopular with fans and Zazu and Iago were removed after a small fire started in the attraction's attic in 2011.

I understand that I'm in the minority on this, but I actually really enjoyed this version of the Tiki Room and wish that the super cool goddess animatronic could have remained.

Those who dislike It's A Small World After All would likely have enjoyed its original concept even less.

Reddit | HyperActive1DUK

According to Chris Stodder's unofficial Disneyland Encyclopedia, the international dolls were originally supposed to sing the national anthems of their respective countries as guests passed by.

However, this simply resulted in a "disharmonious jumble," so the idea was quickly replaced by the song we know today.

By the time Space Mountain was actually built, it had been conceptualized and planned for 11 years.

Reddit | RollinJayZ

As the Orange County Register reported, the ride appeared on Disneyland souvenir maps all the way back in the 1960s despite the fact that it didn't open until 1977.

According to Mental Floss, the hold-up was the result of the Disney company having to wait until technology caught up with their ideas as modelling the data for just one curve would have taken hours back when the ride was envisioned.

"Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout" is designed to be ridden six times.

YouTube | Inside the Magic

According to California's tourism website, that's because the ride features six different ways that Rocket can break his fellow guardians out of the collector's fortress.

True to Guardians' style, each of the six scenarios has its own classic soundtrack.

One of the horses on King Arthur's Carousel is specially dedicated to Julie Andrews.

Reddit | RoyalElfroot

According to the Orange County Register, the horse chosen for this honor was none other than Walt Disney's favorite, Jingles.

This dedication happened after Andrews was chosen as Disneyland's Honorary Ambassador in 2008.

Pirates of the Caribbean was the last ride that Walt Disney lived to oversee.

Reddit | Code2King

Disney was famously attentive to the details of his parks and animations and was able to ensure one of the park's most famous rides met his standards before his death in 1966.

If you look closely while standing in line for "Star Tours — The Adventures Continue," you'll catch sight of the ride's original pilot.

Reddit | TheGnarleyGoat

As confirmed by D23, those who had the opportunity to ride the original version of the Star Wars-themed "Star Tours" will see a familiar face in the lovably incompetent droid pilot Captain Rex.

Although it may be hard to make out from this photo, he now features a sticker that labels him as "defective." Poor Rex.

Before Snow White's Scary Adventures had that name, parents hated it.

Reddit | sonnyeclipsefanclub

As the essay collection Disneyland and Culture makes clear, parental complaints about what was then simply named Snow White's Adventures in 1955 concerned the ride's haunting atmosphere and the jarring way that the evil witch would pop out close to the riders.

Other complaints centered around the fact that Snow White didn't actually appear in this ride, which was apparently because riders were supposed to see the scary scenes through her perspective.

To address these complaints, Disney rebranded the ride as Snow White's Scary Adventures in 1983 and swapped out the soft, colorful entrance for one more reflective of the ride's dark tone.

Walt Disney had originally wanted the Jungle Cruise to feature real animals to make the setting seem authentic.

Reddit | [deleted]

As The Chicago Tribune reported, however, his imagineers convinced him to abandon this idea because the animals would be too unpredictable and animatronics were used instead.

However, Disney's nephew Roy would later give the go-ahead to make his original vision come to life in the form of Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom.

While many have reported being annoyed by the song in It's A Small World After All, they likely love the songwriting team's other work dearly.

Reddit | aglassofwhineplease

The tune was written by Robert and Richard Sherman, who were not only recognized for composing the most film scores in cinema history, but who won an Academy Award for their score for Mary Poppins in 1965.

"Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout" has a figure of Mickey Mouse hidden in The Collector's office.

Reddit | pwnius22

Apparently, this is just one of the many "hidden Mickeys" strewn throughout Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Although many of these examples feature the iconic shape of Mickey's head hidden in the park's architecture, some are daring enough to feature him in all his glory.

There's a secret way to get the top score on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin.

Reddit | Harry_Skran

As tested by Click Orlando, it turns out that the biggest bonus targets are in the first room of the challenge as a "Z" target on the left hand of an orange robot on the left side of the room awards 100,000 points per hit.

After hitting that target, guests should swivel their turrets around so they're facing backwards and hit the target on a large red claw on the ceiling for another 100,000 points per hit.

Technically, Space Mountain cost more money to build than the entirety of Disneyland.

Reddit | michaelconfoy

According to Mental Floss, the park had cost $17 million to build by the time it opened its doors in 1955.

By the time Space Mountain came along, however, the ride and the complex that housed it would cost $18 million to construct.

Granted, the park would cost almost double the price tag of Space Mountain if you adjust for inflation, but it's still wild to think about.

Getting your picture taken as you go down Splash Mountain is a newer phenomenon than you might think.

Reddit | bitofbonsai

And as The LA Times reported, the signature feature may never have materialized had then-CEO Michael Eisner not liked how he looked in press photos of himself riding the attraction.

From there, he asked about the possibility of setting up a camera to capture all the guests who ride Splash Mountain and the rest is history.

You can decode the inscriptions on the walls as you line up for the Indiana Jones Adventure.

Reddit | robsterblook

As Theme Park Insider outlined, park employees used to hand out decoder cards to let guests figure out the secret messages written in a made-up language on the walls of the attraction, but that function is now possible through the Play Disney Parks app.

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