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You have probably heard a few "interesting facts" about Disneyland over the years. Perhaps you've heard that Walt kept an apartment on Main Street? Or that there is a secret, members-only club in New Orleans Square? It's all true... but these are only two of the interesting facts we point out in our book, 101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland. And those are only two of the best-known examples. Many of our stories deal with much more obscure, yet equally interesting, histories of Disneyland! In fact, we took the majority of our material straight from interviews with the Imagineers who helped to build, maintain, and revitalize Disneyland. It's a certainty that you haven't heard all these stories before!
The book was created to be accessible for every level of Disney fan. Newcomers to Disneyana will be bowled over by the volume of detail, the rich layers of self-reference, and the abundance of insider tributes. Readers accustomed to such stories about Disneyland will find a useful resources that not only catalogs such occurrences in one spot, but goes far beyond the usual, and brings a wealth of new stories and anecdotes to the table.
In fact, each of the 101 "interesting facts" comes with an explanation as well as an embellishment that goes in related, but different, directions. These embellishments are practically interesting new facts all by themselves, so what you get is closer to 202 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland.
Here are some two sequential samples from the book:
#23: One branch on Tarzan's Treehouse is from the Swiss Family Treehouse, the attraction's former theme.
One branch and its synthetic leaves were not removed when the rest of the tree was stripped and re-created. It can be found under the final room in the attraction, although it is only visible from below. The phrase “Mind Thy Head,?which had been painted on a branch to warn of low clearance, is recreated as a second homage in the revamped tree, but in a different location. As a final tribute, the “Swisskapolka?music that used to play at an organ in the tree can now be heard from a gramophone at the base of the tree. Nearby is a tea set inspired by Mrs. Potts and Chip from Beauty and the Beast.
FURTHERMORE: The figures of characters in Tarzan's Treehouse are giant maquettes. Maquettes are small character models useful when creating animated movies. Such small maquettes from the Tarzan movie were digitally scanned in 3-D and then re-created in large scale using a lathe and foamcore. Thus, the poses on the figures were predetermined and sets had to be designed to fit the characters rather than vice-versa. On installation, designers saw that Tarzan's face wasn't very visible, and the idea to use a mirror was born, so that Guests would be able to see Tarzan's face if they turned around when leaving that room.
#24: The sails visible along the roofline of New Orleans Square were installed to cover giant searchlights.
In 1994, Disneyland began “The Lights Fantastic,?a network of gigantic searchlights positioned at various points around the Park, where the colored beams could synchronize in a nighttime display. Each searchlight was 7,000 watts and fully automated, with twenty-one total in the park: five atop Pirates of the Caribbean, five at Mission to Mars, five more behind Toontown, and three on each side of Fantasyland. An Herb Ryman conceptual painting of New Orleans Square, created to provide tone before more specific designs were drawn, includes just such a scene of sails peeking over the roofline, and this view inspired designers to capture Ryman's original concept when covering up the Lights Fantastic.
FURTHERMORE: Spotlights are part of New Orleans Square's past in another respect as well. When Pirates of the Caribbean was first conceived as a walk-through attraction, most of story would have unfolded on one large set. Various parts of the set would be lit by spotlights as a sole Audio-Animatronics pirate narrated a story. Walt returned from the 1964-1965 World's Fair with an understanding for moving large amounts of Guests, and knew he'd have to abandon the walk-through concept for key attractions like the Pirates one.
The book retails for $14.95. We no longer offer direct sales via this website, but you may order the book from certain bookstores in person, or from Amazon.com.
It is our fervent hope that our readers have as much fun reading 101 Things as we did while writing it. Walt's Disneyland is a legacy well worth preserving, and it is a treat to be able to pass along knowledge this fundamental to its continued success.