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14 Hidden Things to Look for at Disneyland

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Disneyland is one of the happiest places on Earth—and with some charm and a little know-how, you can get a lot more out of your visit.

1. Captain the 'Mark Twain' Riverboat

Before boarding the Mark Twain riverboat, find one of the Disney cast members and ask them if you can visit the wheelhouse. They’ll lead you to the second floor, where you’ll see a door marked “Private.” Knock on the door and the captain will lead you to a secret ladder to the wheelhouse, where you can steer and pilot the riverboat. You’ll also get a chance to ring the Mark Twain’s bell and sound its whistle like a real riverboat captain! Once you finish, just ask for a certificate and sign the guestbook, which features all the people who also steered the riverboat in the past.

2. Edible Plants

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All of the plants in Tomorrowland are edible! Walt Disney envisioned a future that was self-sustaining and efficient. He believed that landscapes in the future would double as urban farms, so fruits and vegetables were planted throughout Tomorrowland.

3. Morse Code

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At the Disneyland Railroad Station in New Orleans Square, you'll hear Morse Code from the station's telegraph. The series of dots and dashes make up the first few sentences of Walt Disney's opening-day dedication speech at Disneyland on July 17, 1955: "To all who come to Disneyland, welcome. Here, age relives fond memories of the past, and here, youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future."

4. Indiana Jones

Hidden Mickeys

While waiting in line for the Indiana Jones Adventure, you’ll see a well with a sign attached that reads, “Caution. Do Not Pull Rope! Handling Fragile Artifacts.” Do the opposite. You’ll hear an excavator tell you not to pull the rope. If you pull it a number of times, you’ll hear different responses and eventually a loud crash.

You’ll also see a bamboo pole with a similar sign that reads, “Danger! Do Not Touch Pole.” If you touch or pull the pole, you’ll hear a loud crash, as if the ceiling were caving in around you.

5. The Tea Cups

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The Mad Tea Party ride in Fantasyland includes about 18 teacups with varying speeds. The orange teacup with diamonds and the purple one are the fastest spinners. The two teacups with hearts are the slowest.

6. The Haunted Mansion's Death Certificates and Pet Cemetery

Once you enter the Haunted Mansion, ask one of the Disney Cast Members for a Death Certificate before you enter the Doom Buggie ride. After you’re finished, the Cast Member will have the Death Certificates waiting for you as a souvenir. However, they don’t give them out to everyone who asks. It’s up to the Cast Member’s discretion. If you ask a Cast Member about the Haunted Mansion's pet cemetery, they’ll give you a personal tour.

7. Free Maps at the Jungle Cruise

Growing up Goofy

Similar to the Haunted Mansion’s Death Certificates, you can ask one of the Jungle Cruise’s Cast Members for a free map as a special souvenir. The maps feature the Jungle Cruise’s entire route.

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See Also...


17 Horrifying Vintage Pictures of Disneyland Characters

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8. Manhole Covers

davef3138, Flickr

At the middle of Mickey’s Toontown in Disneyland, there's a fountain with a number of musical instruments and Mickey Mouse in the center, holding an orchestra conductor’s baton. There are the same musical instruments imprinted on the manhole covers next to the fountain. If you jump on or touch the covers, you’ll hear the corresponding instrument play.

9. Hidden Mickeys

Finding Mickey

Throughout the entire park, Disney Imagineers have scattered thousands of “Hidden Mickeys” attached to numerous attractions, restaurants, and hotels. These Hidden Mickeys are the iconic mouse’s silhouette: One large circle for his head and two smaller circles to make up his ears.

10. Tender Seat

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Ask the conductor at Main Street Station if you could sit in the Disneyland Railroad's tender seat. If they agree, the next train that pulls into the station will have the seat ready for you. It's a small seat, but it's worth getting past security to the front of the line.

11. Disney Buttons

Not only do the Street Sweepers at Disneyland make sure the park is pristine and clean every day, they also spread joy to its guests. Some of the Street Sweepers carry around Disney buttons to give out to children and park guests. Street Sweepers can also be seen making Mickey and Minnie Mouse designs on the ground with their brooms.

Free Buttons for most occasions, including birthdays, family reunions, weddings, and anniversaries, are available at City Hall on Main Street.

12. Waking José

The show at the Enchanted Tiki Room starts with a Cast Member waking up José, the Audio-Animatronics talking Macaw parrot. If you ask the Cast Member nicely, they'll allow you to wake up José to start the show.

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See Also...


17 Disney Park Windows Worth a Closer Look

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13. Lilly Belle Train Car

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The Lilly Belle is the presidential car at the tail end of the Disneyland Train. It was named after Walt Disney's wife Lillian and is reserved for V.I.P.s and special guests. You can ride in the car too! If you arrive at the park before it opens, go to the Disneyland Railroad Station and wait for the official opening announcement. Ask one of the Cast Members about making a reservation for the Lilly Belle train car. With some luck, you'll get a chance to ride in style into the Main Street Station. Keep in mind that the Lilly Belle doesn't run all day and only makes a few trips.

14. Club 33

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Club 33 is a private club in New Orleans Square. It's a members-only club and is not open to the public. Members enjoy early access to the theme park, along with free valet parking at the Grand Californian Hotel and full access to the Lilly Belle car on the Disneyland Railroad. Club 33 is also the only place in Disneyland that sells alcohol. Club members pay $10,000 a year plus a $25,000 non-refundable initiation fee. There's also a 14-year waiting list to join.

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George Washington’s Incredible Hair Routine

America's Founding Fathers had some truly defining locks, but we tend to think of those well-coiffed white curls—with their black ribbon hair ties and perfectly-managed frizz—as being wigs. Not so in the case of the main man himself, George Washington.

As Robert Krulwich reported at National Geographic, a 2010 biography on our first president—Washington: A Life, by Ron Chernow—reveals that the man “never wore a wig.” In fact, his signature style was simply the result of an elaborately constructed coiffure that far surpasses most morning hair routines, and even some “fancy” hair routines.

The style Washington was sporting was actually a tough look for his day. In the late 18th century, such a hairdo would have been worn by military men.

While the hair itself was all real, the color was not. Washington’s true hue was a reddish brown color, which he powdered in a fashion that’s truly delightful to imagine. George would (likely) don a powdering robe, dip a puff made of silk strips into his powder of choice (there are a few options for what he might have used), bend his head over, and shake the puff out over his scalp in a big cloud.

To achieve the actual ‘do, Washington kept his hair long and would then pull it back into a tight braid or simply tie it at the back. This helped to showcase the forehead, which was very in vogue at the time. On occasion, he—or an attendant—would bunch the slack into a black silk bag at the nape of the neck, perhaps to help protect his clothing from the powder. Then he would fluff the hair on each side of his head to make “wings” and secure the look with pomade or good old natural oils.

To get a better sense of the play-by-play, check out the awesome illustrations by Wendy MacNaughton that accompany Krulwich’s post.

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"American Mall," Bloomberg
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Unwinnable Video Game Challenges You to Keep a Shopping Mall in Business
"American Mall," Bloomberg
"American Mall," Bloomberg

Shopping malls, once the cultural hub of every suburb in America, have become a punchline in the e-commerce era. There are plenty of malls around today, but they tend to be money pits, considering the hundreds of "dead malls" haunting the landscape. Just how hard is it to keep a mall afloat in the current economy? American Mall, a new video game from Bloomberg, attempts to give an answer.

After choosing which tycoon character you want as your stand-in, you're thrown into a mall—rendered in 1980s-style graphics—already struggling to stay in business. The building is filled with rats and garbage you have to clean up if you want to keep shoppers happy. Every few seconds you're contacted by another store owner begging you to lower their rent, and you must either take the loss or risk them packing up for good. When stores are vacated, it's your job to fill them, but it turns out there aren't too many businesses interested in setting up shop in a dying mall.

You can try gimmicks like food trucks and indoor playgrounds to keep customers interested, but in the end your mall will bleed too much money to support itself. You can try playing the bleak game for yourself here—maybe it will put some of the retail casualties of the last decade into perspective.

[h/t Co.Design]

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