Disneyland® Resort’s Nostalgic Secrets Await

Disneyland® Resort’s Nostalgic Secrets Await

Step into the heart of Disneyland® Resort, where time stands still, and cherished memories are preserved. In today’s world marked by hurry and stress, the park’s magic prevails as a timeless sanctuary of childlike wonder and fun!  It’s a treasure trove of cherished memories, forgotten stories, and hidden treasures from the past.

Let’s lean into the nostalgia, magic, and wonder of Disneyland® Resort that continues to captivate generations! Whether you have fond childhood memories you’re ready to recreate, or you’re just looking forward to some old-fashioined fun, great food, and magic, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Disneyland® Resort! Here are some top-secret facts and local tips to help you make the most of your magical vacation!

A Look Back…

Did you know that Disneyland® Resort was the only park that Walt Disney directly supervised the construction of, from design to completion? It’s still one of the top visited Disney properties, with hundreds of millions of fans visiting since it opened in 1955.

  • The story goes that Walt Disney started dreaming of building a place like Disneyland® Park when he was watching his kids ride a merry-go-round! He was inspired to create a destination where children and adults could have fun together. He visited other amusement parks and carnivals throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s for inspiration.
  • As his designers started to sketch out what this park could be, it grew and grew! What started as a small park with a boat ride near his movie studio turned into a land purchase of 160 acres right here in Anaheim!
  • Disneyland® Resort held a soft open on Sunday, July 17, 1955, for special guests and the press. Thousands more showed up with counterfeit tickets or trying to sneak into the park! The opening day gala was broadcast live, and millions watched from home.
  • When it opened, Disneyland® Park was home to four themed sections: Frontierland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, and Fantasyland. Visitors paid an admission fee of $1 (ride tickets were extra), and ticket books for admission and attractions came soon after.
  • When visiting, head to the firehouse on Main Street, U.S.A., and look up. You’ll see an antique lamp still burning bright in Walt Disney’s apartment in memory of him!

Mysterious Mickey Mouse Facts


One of Walt’s most famous quotes was, “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing—that it was all started by a mouse.” Mickey Mouse is an icon, and synonymous with Disneyland® Resort, but did you know these fascinating facts?

  • “He popped out of my mind onto a drawing pad 20 years ago on a train ride from Manhattan to Hollywood at a time when the business fortunes of my brother Roy and myself were at the lowest ebb, and disaster seemed right around the corner,” Walt Disney wrote in his 1948 essay “What Mickey Means to Me.”
  • After drawing the mouse, Walt was going to name him Mortimer, but his wife felt like Mickey was a more upbeat name for him, and she convinced Walt to change it.
  • Steamboat Willie was Mickey’s first successful debut, premiering on November 18, 1928! Mickey’s birthday was moved quite a bit in those early years, but today, we celebrate Mickey’s birthday on the anniversary of the movie’s debut. Fun fact: Mickey met Minnie in Steamboat Willie, making November 18 her birthday, too!
  • While Mickey debuted in Steamboat Willie, his first full-length movie was Fantasia! With a two-hour and five-minute run time, it’s the longest of all Disney animated films.
  • Mickey Mouse had the honor of being the first animated character to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He earned his star for his role in animated short films, which was dedicated to him in 1978. Minnie joined him 40 years later, with her own star being dedicated to her in 2018.
  • When you enter Disneyland® Park, pay attention to the giant Mickey Mouse floral design near the train station. Stunning, right? It’s one of the most photographed spots in the park! Did you know that it’s replaced throughout the year to keep it looking fresh and festive? It’s revamped for major holidays like Halloween and Christmas and requires pretty major upkeep all year long.

Sleeping Beauty’s Secrets

Rumor has it that Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty was first modeled after the famous actress Audrey Hepburn. Animators refined her look as the storyboards came together to unveil the final Princess Aurora we all know and love. Here are a few more well-kept secrets about Sleeping Beauty:

  • The movie was released on January 29, 1959, and didn’t go over well at the box office. The film didn’t really start making money for the studio until it was re-released in theaters in the 70’s and 80’s.
  • The character Princess Aurora has fewer speaking parts in Sleeping Beauty than any Disney Princess has in their own films, probably because she slept through most of her own movie!
  • She may have been a quiet princess, but Sleeping Beauty was the first Disney Princess to wear her own royal crown!
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland® Resort was inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria and opened in 1955!  It is the oldest of all Disney castles and the only one that Walt Disney oversaw construction of to completion!
  • The drawbridge is fully functional but has only been lowered twice. The first time was when the park opened in 1955 and again when Fantasyland was rededicated in 1983.
  • You can explore inside the castle and hear the incredible tale through the film’s original artwork by Eyvind Earle, incredible special effects, and more!

Confidential Culinary Delights

The tasty treats at Disneyland® Resort are no secret. Some of the classics are still top sellers! Generations of fans have enjoyed Mickey Mouse-shaped ice cream bars and waffles, churros, and of course, Dole Whip! Here are a few not-so-famous Disney eats to check out on your next trip!

  •  Carnation Café on Main Street, U.S.A., still serves Chili! This was one of Walt’s favorite foods, and you can get yours topped with Cheese, Sour Cream, Chives, and a Corn Bread Garnish, just the way Walt Disney liked it!
    • Head over to Disney California Adventure® Park to see Carthay Circle Restaurant for lunch or dinner. This restaurant replicates the theater (Carthay Circle Theatre), where Disney’s first animated film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” premiered!
  • Have you ever wondered what would happen if you mixed a French Fry with a potato wedge? You’re in luck! Check out the Filmstrip Fries at Award Wieners in Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure® Park. Really hungry? Go for the Asada Fries!
  • Are you a secret-menu fan? We haven’t tried to order any of these, but we’ve heard mouth-watering reviews from guests about Galactic Burgers “Alien Style,” rainbow floats, secret burritos, and so much more!

Alice in Wonderland’s Secrets

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (pen name, Lewis Carroll) was a math teacher at Christ Church College in Oxford when he befriended his boss’s family. He often told stories to the three daughters, and after telling them of a girl named Alice’s adventures time and time again, he had to start writing them down! He gifted what we now know as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to the girls in 1864. Learn more about this beloved staple at Disneyland® Park!

  • Walt Disney had been a fan of Carrol’s books since he was a child, and making an animated movie based on this work was always in the back of his mind. Thankfully, those dreams became a reality in 1946, and the movie was released on July 26, 1951!
  • While Lewis Carroll’s Alice was based on his boss’s daughter, the blonde-haired little girl in the blue dress we’ve all come to know and love from Disney was modeled after child actress Kathryn Beaumont, after she appeared in another Disney movie, On An Island With You. Fun fact, Beaumont went on to voice Wendy Darling in Disney’s Peter Pan as well!
  • The Mad Tea Party ride at Disneyland® Resort was one of the original park attractions, and anyone who attended the park’s opening day (July 17, 1955) could have taken a spin! In fact, this attraction was so popular at Disneyland® Resort it has been recreated at Disney properties around the world!
  • Inspired by the Mad Hatter’s tea party, guests of all ages (and all heights!) can take a twirl in a teacup at Disneyland® Park.
  • Keep a lookout for Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the White Rabbit. They love to visit the Mad Tea Party ride and are often spotted skipping the line and taking a twirl!

Secret Disneyland® Resort Shopping Tips

  • Do you pay attention to things most people ignore? If you fall in love with some of the lights or fixtures in a shop at Disneyland® Resort, ask the cast member behind the register where they are from! Many will have the sourcing information to share to bring some magic home with you!
  • Don’t forget about your mobile checkout options when you’re shopping! Spend less time in line and more time making memories!
  • Stop by the Silhouette Studio, where a Disney artist will draw a totally unique portrait to commemorate your trip!

Hush-Hush Haunted Mansion Secrets

It’s hard to miss the Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square at Disneyland® Resort, but you won’t hear too many people discussing some of these behind-the-scenes secrets!

  • The Haunted Mansion debuted in 1969 and was not inspired by a movie (though we’re so excited about the 2023 release of “Haunted Mansion,” inspired by the classic ride!)
  • Walt liked the idea of a “ghost house” at Disneyland® Park, and he conceptualized a walk-through attraction that would feel like a house tour.
  • Two of the original designers of the attraction couldn’t see eye to eye on whether it should be scary or fun, which is why we get a great mix of both!
  • Construction of the Haunted Mansion’s exterior was completed in 1963 and was designed to look like it belonged in the French Quarter of New Orleans. After the outside was finished, work halted for a bit, and it wasn’t until after Walt died in 1966 that Imagineers got back to work. The attraction opened in 1969.
  • Listen carefully as you walk past the horseless hearse; some visitors can hear the ghostly sounds from an unseen horse!
  • The plants in the garden of deathly delights were carefully curated with muted colors; they are supposed to add to your feelings of danger and suspense as you enter!
  • There are 999 happy haunts calling the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland® Resort home and many have a backstory! Make sure to do some research before you go!

Not-So-Secret Plans for 2024 & Beyond

As Anaheim locals, we’ve always heard that Walt Disney once said, “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” Innovation is the name of the game at the park, and we’re excited to see all that’s in store! Here are a few of the rumored plans we’ve heard about.

  • Avengers Campus (which opened in Disney California Adventure® Park in June 2021) is growing! We hear there will be a new attraction where you’ll get the chance to battle villains (yes, even King Thanos!) alongside your favorite Avengers!
  • Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is coming in 2024! While we were sad to say goodbye to Splash Mountain, we’re very excited to see The Princess and the Frog come to life!
  • We hear there will be all-new mission scenarios added to the Star Tours attraction in early 2024, featuring Ahsoka Tano!

Book Your Memory-Making Trip Today!

Family going to Disneyland

At Disneyland® Resort, time seems to stand still in the best way possible. Whether you grew up coming to Disneyland® Park and have fond memories you want to share with the next generation, or you’ve never been and can’t wait to embrace the magic for the first time, we can’t wait to welcome you here.

Book your stay at Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel to immerse yourself in the enchantment and treat your family and friends to a magical memory-making adventure. We have a FREE daily Dream Machine Shuttle that takes you to and from Disneyland® Resort. You’re just a quick shuttle ride away from the experience of a lifetime. We’re a Disneyland® Park Good Neighbor Hotel, allowing you to stay close by the magic and enjoy your trip to the fullest.

Check out our current deals & packages for the best rates, and start planning your vacation today!