Vacation Secrets: The Hidden Details at Disneyland
I like to notice details. The little bits that most people overlook captivate me. I admire fine woodwork, run my hands across delicate patterns, and squint up at architectural elements. I didn’t realize it was a “thing” until friends mentioned never seeing what I did. That’s when I understood that I had a quirky hobby. A couple of months ago, we took our children to Disneyland and I discovered the ultimate place to geek out on details.
Walt Disney must have been a detail fanatic like me. I learned that Disneyland was the only park whose construction he oversaw completely. Everywhere I looked were little elements of surprise. It didn’t really matter if I was on Main Street looking at shops or wandering through Adventureland, Frontierland, or one of the many other lands. I found details under my feet and way up high.
I discovered that just standing still in the throngs of people and looking up drew a crowd around me. It cracked me up to see a bunch of strangers looking up, trying to figure out what I was gazing at so intently.
I noticed all the various weathervanes that are prominently displayed on many of the park rooflines. I saw roof shingles, each with enough edge detailing to rival the architecture of the Victorian era. The many textures, colors, and materials are mind boggling for an amusement park. No element has been overlooked. I see why Disneyland attracts over 15 million visitors a year, more than any other amusement park in the world.
I expected to find details in Fantasyland. After all, that’s where all the critters and magic from my childhood story books are. And I was used to seeing details in the original 1950s rides. The sets inside those are beautifully done. But when wandering outside the rides, I continued to find little elements of surprise tucked here and there.
I noticed that the smallest children were often taking in the details too. In fact, one of the ways to find the coolest elements of the park is to watch toddlers’ faces. They always find the good stuff. I often spotted little ones hanging on their parents shoulders, heads craned back, staring at some hidden detail. Disney has done an excellent job of providing decoration, no matter where your eye might fall.
With its modern twist, I didn’t expect to see much in Tomorrowland, where the sleek and metallic surfaces are polished with a futuristic gleam. Yet despite all the paring down, details still popped up. Fortunately, we visited the park at time when it wasn’t as busy, so I was able to walk freely without elbowing people. This allowed me to pause and look in unexpected places.
The Astro Orbiter is the eye-catching ride that sets a modernistic tone at the entrance to Tomorrowland. Around it, I found many cool space-age details. I even found interesting planet lighting at my feet and on the ceilings. Even the tiles had space! And one entire exterior wall is textured in a space-age style.
The monorail has always been a crowd pleaser. I just recently learned that they replace the monorail train every ten years or so since they’re lightweight and wear down quickly. I love watching it zing around the park. If you ask the conductor, you can sit in the front car. My kids loved being in the glass nose of the monorail with the track rushing up at them.
Pointing out a few of these details to my kids made spotting them into a game. Soon, my littlest ones were pointing out particulars that no one else noticed. Our next Disney-related trip will be to Disneyworld. I’ve never been and I’m sure my children will happily accompany me. I’ll be looking into every nook and cranny there for hidden details and magical designs.
Professionally edited by Molly Fisk.