Thursday, December 9, 2010

What You Miss Makes the Magic

Disneyland is an overwhelming place. Its dozens of attractions, plethora of eateries, and its many shows and parades, it's impossible to see and experience everything.

The intricacies of Sleeping Beauty's castle
On top of all that, Disneyland has many hidden gems put in place to add that extra spark of magic that makes the park such a unique place.

On my last trip, I tried to take as many pictures of the little things I noticed as I could. First off, on Main Street, Disney has some great window displays, depicting scenes and characters from their popular films. This not the least well known of things at Disneyland, but they're easily missed.

In Fantasyland, there's a myriad of little things here and there that, if in a hurry, are easy to look over. First off, a walk through Sleeping Beauty's castle makes for a great discovery. It functions as a kind of walk through dark ride, with different scenes from the movie portrayed with animation and art. It's a great experience, and hardly ever crowded.

In front of the castle you can visit Snow White and her seven dwarves. This makes as a good lesson in fixed perspective, as the marble statuettes are all the same size, but arranged in such a way that Snow White looks bigger than the dwarves. While you're there, make a wish at Ms. White's well.

Then, if you look above Snow White's Scary Adventures, the evil queen will open the shades and maliciously peer out every so often. To the right of that, you can see Rapunzel's hair flowing out of her tower. Or the beautiful clock hanging below the entrance of Sleeping Beauty's castle, or the suit of armor in the same area. Go through Fantasyland quickly, and you'll miss it.

In Adventureland, there are the hieroglyphics on the "Indiana Jones" que that Imagineers made up specifically for the ride. There's also the record player at the end of Tarzan's Treehouse that plays the old Swisskapolka song used for the original Swiss Family Robinson treehouse.

 Look at the rooftops in New Orleans Square, and you'll see sails, as if there were a harbor behind them. Open your ears at the train station, and you'll hear part of Walt's opening day speech in Morse code.

Another thing I recently noticed were the statuettes of the other classic Disney characters surrounding the classic Partners Statue. It's a great touch, and extremely fitting. The symbolism was not something that escaped me, reminding me of why I love Disney.

But, I did have five days to wander the parks, giving me the extra time needed to notice such fine details.  Even if you don't notice them, you do subconsciously, because it's those things that make the park exactly what Walt wanted it to be.

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