Even though 16 million guests flock to visit the world-famous theme park each year, Disneyland vacations have a reputation for being dull.
There’s the teacups, the castle, It’s a Small World, and not much else to see, right? Wrong.
If you know where to look and what to say, you can visit a number of secret Disneyland attractions.
Luckily, we have the know-how you need:
Of course it’s hard to miss the small movie theater on the park’s Main Street, but most guests assume it’s only a sign on an empty building.
In fact, you can watch cartoons in the cool, air-conditioned building all day. And the theater is normally empty, so it’s a great place to relax and catch your breath.
It turns out Walt Disney had his own private place to rest inside the theme park: a hidden apartment above the Fire House on Main Street.
If you’re lucky, you can get a private tour of the restored apartment, which is usually closed to the public. But you can always see the light left on by the second floor window, in Disney’s honor.
While you’re in line for the park’s steamboat, the Mark Twain, ask a park cast member to see the ship’s second floor.
If you’re lucky, they’ll invite you up to the pilot room, where you can meet the captain, steer the boat, blow the whistle and ring the bell.
As you line up for the famous ride, you can see just a glimpse of the park’s spooky and silly pet cemetery. Ask a cast member for the tour and they will sometimes let you get a close look at the tombstones.
Some of the graves reference Disney movies, while others (like Lilac the Skunk) are just for fun.
There are a pair of special train-related locations to visit, but this is definitely the easiest to arrange.
Ask a cast member at the Disneyland Railroad if you can hitch a ride on the tender car. A tender car carries water and fuel, and the one on the park’s train is just behind the steam engine, with a special two-person jump seat right next to the conductor.
Unfortunately, if the cast members need to access the tender car’s storage (or don’t feel like letting you ride on it) they will say no.
After a few hours of listening to screaming children, standing in lines, and walking in the sun, parents need a break. There are lots of benches to sit on, but one quiet rest area takes the cake.
Around the back of the Silly Symphony Swings gazebo, there’s a shady, water-side deck with benches. The perfect place to rest your feet for a few minutes.
Just to the right of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, there’s a small attraction that most guests miss entirely.
On your way to the Matterhorn ride from the castle, there’s a pleasant waterfall with Snow White and the dwarfs on display. But the coolest feature is the wishing well. Lean in very close and you just might hear something…