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Walt Disney's Apartment Is Hidden In Disneyland: Little Known Secrets About The Most Magical Place On Earth

When Walt Disney pitched the idea for a theme park, he intended to create an immersive experience that would outdo any of his films. Today, these parks are one of his most successful accomplishments. And, like a lot of traditional films these days, the parks are packed with fascinating trivia, history and references.

So follow the second star on the right, straight on till morning and come down the Disney Parks rabbit hole.

Let's get down to business.



1.


While Disney can take responsibility for launching the careers of many recent superstars (Ryan Gosling, Britney Spears, and Miley Cyrus to name a few), a number of celebrities got their start working at Disneyland including Steve Martin, who sold guidebooks and worked in the Magic shop for a summer, and Michelle Pfieffer who played Alice in the parades.

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2.

Ever thought that the traditional Disneyland was a bit too tame? Apparently some people behind the development of the parks thought the same when they drafted up plans for a villain-focused park.

Dubbed 'The Dark Kingdom', the park would feature areas dedicated to The Lion King's Scar and Sleeping Beauty's Maleficent. Personally, I think it would be super cool.

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3.

Speaking of things hidden in Disney Rides, there are entire online communities dedicated to discovering 'Hidden Mickeys' throughout the parks. There are apparently tributes to the prolific mouse strewn amongst the rides in the form of the iconic silhouette.

These can range from suspiciously placed rocks in inconspicuous places, to photos of bears wearing mouse ears, to arial views of the whole park.

If you're headed to one of the parks and looking for an extra thing to do while waiting in lines, hunting for these is always a fun way to pass the time.

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4.


Another secret hiding within the walls of Disney Parks is the existence of the exclusive Club 33. This set of private clubs may be well known now, but the origin of it is still unconfirmed. Some reports say that it's named after the address in New Orleans Square, but others claim it's named after the 33 corporate sponsors that helped build the original park.

The club has a 14-year waiting list for applications, with an initiation fee of $50,000 as well as $15,000 annual fees. Yikes!

5.


The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh ride in the Magic Kingdom was commissioned to replace a similar ride based around Mr. Toad 1990, during a rise in the stuffed bear's popularity.

On the ride, you can find a photo of Mr. Toad handing over the deed to Owl from the 100 Acre Woods.

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6.

Only 14 of the original attractions are still on the Disneyland grounds, including the Jungle Cruise, The Mad Tea Party and the Main Street Cinema.

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7.

Every day at 5:00pm, Disney World's Magic Kingdom has a flag lowering ceremony at the base of Main Street and every day they pick a Military Veteran to help observe this tradition. The selection process is unclear as of now, but it appears the guest is selected at random early on in the day.

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8.

If you've ever ridden the nightmare-fueled It's a Small World ride at any of the Disney locations, you might have noticed the amount of coins at the bottom of the water-based ride.

Although a common rumor is that this money goes to help children's charities, it's unfortunately not true. Removing the coins from the ride would involve shutting it down for extended periods of time so it hardly ever happens. However, when the ride undergoes severe maintenance the coins are taken and melted down into scrap metal.

On a lighter note, there are many places throughout the park where coins are dredged and donated to charities, such as Snow White's Wishing Well and the Discovery River in Animal Kingdom.

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9.

The Norway Pavilion in Florida's EPCOT park is home to the unique scent Laila, which is sprayed there throughout the day to mimic the smell of fresh mountain air.

The perfume was created especially for the pavilion to help authenticate the little corner of EPCOT and hopefully to remind Norwegian visitors of home.

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10.


One of the more obscure things that sets Disney World apart from other theme parks is their unique garbage disposal system named AVAC. This system is a series of pneumatic tubes that send garbage to a spot in the park where garbage is sorted and disposed of.

In the original press release for the park, the team expressed hope that the system would catch on and spread to communities across the country. So far though, the only other place that's picked up this unique system is Roosevelt Island.

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11.

Thousands of items go missing every day in the park. Everything from Sunglasses to Hats and even Glass Eyes. It's estimated in Walt Disney World alone that staff members collect 6000 cell phones, 3500 Digital Cameras and 18,000 hats every year.

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12.

Since 1971, the iconic monorail at Walt Disney World has travelled roughly the distance to the moon and back 30 times.

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13.

The quintessential Spaceship Earth that acts as the centrepiece of EPCOT weighs about 16million pounds, which is about 3 times heavier than an actual spaceship at launch.

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14.

On the topic of EPCOT's giant sphere, did you know that water never actually drips off the gigantic structure following a rainstorm?

The 16 million pound golfball is designed so that water is funnelled into the structure and funnelled away.

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15.

With the amount of buses operating in Florida's Walt Disney World, the park has a larger fleet of vehicles than the Los Angeles Department of Transport.

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16.

While you might already think that Disneyland is a unique place, you might be surprised to learn that it has it's own Ecosystem. The Jungle Cruise attraction's canopy is so dense and has been there for so many years that the surrounding area has created an atmosphere for ground plants that would be impossible any other place in California.

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17.

The typical Tubular-Steel rollercoasters you can find at pretty much any amusement park nowadays actually originated at Disneyland. The first Rollercoaster of this type was the Matterhorn Bobsled way back in 1959.

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18.

Another important landmark was the Disneyland Monorail, which was the first of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

We really should have more of those across the country...

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19.

DisneyLand guests apparently consume 350,000 apples a year, which may sound like a lot, but compared to the 3.8 million churros the guests eat the number seems a tad... quaint.

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20.

The parking lots at Magic Kingdom help extend the magic beyond the park gates by applying Disney character names to the spaces themselves. Lots are named after heroes or villains like Rapunzel or Scar but this wasn't always the case.

However, they weren't numbered like traditional parking lots, they were named after Snow White's 7 dwarves. Or 6 rather, they neglected Doc because it might confuse people headed to the Ferry Docks.

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21.

The apartment over the Fire House on Main Street in Disneyland used to belong to Walt Disney himself. A light remains on in there always to remind park goers of his presence.

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22.


In 1984, for Donald Duck's 50th Birthday, Walt Disney World hatched 50 Peking Ducks in front of the Donald Duck mascot so they would imprint on him as their mother and follow him around the park.

After the parade, the ducks were divided into pairs and sent to zoos all around the country.

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23.

There was an old saying that existed when the British ruled a majority of the world: "The sun never sets on the British Empire."

This saying may no longer apply to the English rule, but it definitely applies to the empire built by Disney. With Theme Parks on opposite American Coasts, Europe and Asia, the sun literally never sets on the Disney Empire.

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24.

The original Pirates of The Caribbean, one of the most iconic rides at the Disney parks has it's own very interesting history. In fact, it was the last ride personally supervised by Walt Disney himself. He died 3 months before it opened.

Apparently though, the iconic skeletons in the ride were originally made of actual human remains that were slowly replaced as fake skeleton technology improved. Some employees insist that there are still some actual skulls and human bones strewn amongst the ride.

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Along the way, we met (and loved) several other inhabitants of the big city, such as Titus Andromedon, our favorite performer/Times Square costume character; Lillian Kaushtupper, the eccentric landlord of Kimmy and Titus's apartment; and of course Jacqueline Voorhees, the completely out of touch rich socialite from whom Kimmy gets her first job.

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Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Hulu

The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood's searing novel, was written at the height of the Reagan administration and satirized political, social, and religious trends of the 1980s. It's also a hit television series on Hulu that returns on June 5.

While we still have a long way to go before we can find out what's next for June/Offred in the Republic of Gilead, we can, at the very least, regale you with some cool facts about one of the most enduring stories of the last three decades.

The Trailer for Season 3 Plays Off a Slogan from the Reagan Era

Perhaps the best thing that came out of the Super Bowl––aside from the memes haggling Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, that is––was the trailer for the third season of the Hulu series.

The trailer lampoons former President Ronald Regan's 1984 "Morning in America" political campaign television commercial.

"It's morning again in America," you hear over a soundtrack and images that resound with boundless optimism. Things turn dark from there. Soon the camera freezes on Elisabeth Moss's face: "Wake up, America," she says.

Margaret Atwood's Follow-Up Will Be Released Later This Year

Margaret Atwood will release a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale titled The Testaments in September 2019. The Testaments is unconnected to Hulu's adaptation and will feature the testimonials of three female narrators from Gilead.

This literary device keeps with the metafictional epilogue that follows Offred's story in the original novel. The novel ends much in the way Season 1 ends: with Offred entering the van at Nick's insistence. The epilogue explains how the events of the novel were recorded onto cassette tapes after the beginning of what scholars have come to describe as "The Gilead Period." An interview with a noted academic implies that a more equitable society, one with full rights for women and freedom of religion restored, emerged following the collapse of the Republic of Gilead.

Serena Joy Waterford Is Likely Based On A Noted Conservative Activist

As the series goes on, we learn more about Serena Joy Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski) and her beginnings.

Serena was a conservative activist who, along with her husband Fred, spearheaded the Puritan movement that ultimately gave rise to Gilead. Inspired by women whom she perceives to have "abandoned" their families in the name of female autonomy, Serena Joy delivers impassioned speeches at venues around the nation calling for policies that would place women back in the home. She even wrote a bestselling book, A Woman's Place, that served as the vessel for much of her conservative dogma and inspired many of the Commander's Wives who become her friends and neighbors.

Serena was likely based on conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, who established herself over many years as one of the fiercest antifeminist and anti-abortion advocates in the United States. Schlafly was also a vociferous opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment, which she considered an attack against traditional gender roles.

The 1990 Film Adaptation Had a Messy Production

A film version of The Handmaid's Tale was released in 1990. It starred Natasha Richardson as Offred, Faye Dunaway as Serena Joy, Robert Duvall as Commander Waterford, Aidan Quinn as Nick, Victoria Tennant as Aunt Lydia, and Elizabeth McGovern as Moira.

The film was not well received and had a messy production. Director Volker Schlöndorff replaced original director Karel Reisz amid internal bickering over a screenplay by Harold Pinter. Schlöndorff asked for rewrites, and Pinter, who was reluctant to do them, directed him to author Margaret Atwood, who was one of several who ended up making changes to Pinter's screenplay.

Pinter told his biographer years later [as quoted in Harold Printer, p. 304] that:

It became … a hotchpotch. The whole thing fell between several shoots. I worked with Karel Reisz on it for about a year. There are big public scenes in the story and Karel wanted to do them with thousands of people. The film company wouldn't sanction that so he withdrew. At which point Volker Schlondorff came into it as director. He wanted to work with me on the script, but I said I was absolutely exhausted. I more or less said, 'Do what you like. There's the script. Why not go back to the original author if you want to fiddle about?' He did go to the original author. And then the actors came into it. I left my name on the film because there was enough there to warrant it—just about. But it's not mine'.

Star Natasha Richardson reportedly felt "cast adrift" when much of Offred's interior monologue was sacrificed as a result of cuts made to the screenplay.

The Film and TV Series Aren't The Only Adaptations of This Seminal Work

There are several different adaptations of Atwood's seminal work, including, but not limited to:

  • an audiobook read by Homeland actress Claire Danes that won the 2013 Audie Award for Fiction
  • a concept album by Canadian band Lakes of Canada
  • a radio adaptation produced in 2000 for BBC Radio 4
  • an operatic adaptation that premiered in 2000 and was the opening production of the 2004–2005 season of the Canadian Opera Company.

Elisabeth Moss, the Star of the Hulu Series, is a Scientologist

Between The West Wing, Mad Men, Top of the Lake, and The Handmaid's Tale, Elisabeth Moss has a reputation for starring in critically acclaimed television shows.

Much has been made, however, of her casting as Offred. Moss was born into the Scientologist belief system, which the German government has classified as an "anti-constitutional sect," the French government has classified as a cult, and the American government has allowed individuals to practice freely though not without considerable contention. Moss also identifies as a feminist.

Asked by a fan about the parallels between Gilead and Scientology (namely the belief that "outside forces" are inherently "evil") Moss responded:

"That's actually not true at all about Scientology. Religious freedom and tolerance and understanding the truth and equal rights for every race, religion and creed are extremely important to me. The most important things to me probably. And so Gilead and THT hit me on a very personal level."

An Episode During Season 2 Highlighted President Donald Trump's Border Crisis

Last summer, President Donald Trump and his administration created a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border when he and Jeff Sessions, his former attorney general, announced their "zero tolerance" family separations policy. The president blamed Democrats for the policy, imploring them to "start thinking about the people devastated by Crime coming from illegal immigration."

As images and stories of children ripped away from their parents at the border began to circulate, the Season 2 episode "The Last Ceremony" showed just how timely the show really is: After Offred is raped by the Waterfords, Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) allows June/Offred (Elisabeth Moss) to visit her daughter, Hannah, in an undisclosed location. June is given 10 minutes with her daughter before a guard forcibly separates them again.

The episode, written well before the crisis was initiated, premiered just as Homeland Security admitted that more than 2,300 children had been separated from their parents.

Another Episode During Season 2 Appeared to Predict Canada-U.S. Relations

The fallout between the United States and Canada during the G7 summit appeared to have reached its peak once President Donald Trump refused to sign a joint statement with America's allies and threatened to escalate a trade war between America's neighbors. He also referred to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as "weak."

The Season 2 episode "Smart Power"––in which Canadian diplomats ban Gilead's representatives from the country and choose to stand with the women imprisoned in the totalitarian nation in a nod to the #MeToo movement––was written and premiered before the G7 blowup, but is no less prophetic.

In Season 2, Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" Becomes an Ode to Female Resilience

"This Woman's Work," a ballad written by singer Kate Bush that is also one of the tracks on her 1989 album The Sensual World, serves as an ode to female power and resistance in the horrifying Season 2 opener, where June and the other handmaids realize they're about to be executed. The women are forced to summon strength at a moment of debilitating weakness. As the camera pans over the bleak environs of Fenway Stadium, Bush starts to sing:

Pray God you can cope
I'll stand outside
This woman's work
This woman's world
Ooooh it's hard on a man
Now his part is over
Now starts the craft of the FatherI
know you've got a little life in you left
I know you've got a lot of strength left
I know you've got a little life in you yet
I know you've got a lot of strength left
I should be crying but I just can't let it show
I should be hoping but I can't stop thinking
All the things we should've said that I never said
All the things we should have done that we never did
All the things we should have given but I didn't
Oh darling make it go
Make it go away
















"It was shattering and perfect," said Bruce Miller, who created the Hulu Handmaid's Tale adaptation. "One of the things I really like about the song is that on its face, there's a bit of very interesting lyrical play. It's nice that that's going on while you're watching."

"The Handmaid's Tale" Was the First Streamed Series to Win the Best Drama Series Emmy

Hulu beat out Netflix and Amazon to become the first streaming service to win an Emmy for Best Drama. Unfortunately, because the third season doesn't premiere until June 5, it's ineligible for the 2019 Emmys. Guess we'll see the show back onstage in 2020!

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