This week I've whipped up something slightly different for you. Instead of serving up a comprehensive slice of the Disney universe, I have collected a few random, but interesting, morsels for you.

Enjoy this first volume from the Encyclopedia SAMLANDICA. Let us know if you like it and we'll bring you more volumes in the future.

The next time you exit The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, pause a moment just after the turnstiles and listen for one of my favorite little gags. It seems that the Haunted Mansion is the one who gets the last laugh.

Now I do not know who is responsible for this little gem, but next time you exit the attraction, listen for one of my favorite gags. Just beyond the turnstile at the top of the speedramp is a small speaker that was silent for many, many years. After Disneyland completed the refurbishments that came along with the Nightmare Before Christmas overlays, somebody found this speaker and reconnected it to the sound source. What they found was this very ominous deep laughter. The joke is that not only will a ghost follow you home, but the house is going to get the last laugh. Love it.

Want to truly amaze your friends with your psychic ability? The next time you are waiting for the Disneyland Railroad while at the New Orleans Square station, you will have your chance.

As you are standing on the platform, look toward the tunnel to your left. Beyond the former Frontierland train station (which is based upon the film So Dear To My Heart - but that is another story) is a signal.

Now most of the time the signal is in the up position forming a "U".

The trick is that at the moment the signal drops, you can proclaim with great confidence "The train is about to arrive!" Miraculously, the announcer man will bellow the familiar refrain that the train is about to arrive.

Your friends will be very impressed with your new found psychic powers . . . unless they also read SAMLAND of course.

The next time you find yourself inside of the Village Haus in Disneyland's Fantasyland, look up before you exit (through the main central door). Naturally, the exit sign would be centered over the arched doors right? Well, in this case, when the exit sign was being installed, a beam was in the way, so the sign had to be mounted off center. The Imagineers fixed this by placing an image of Figaro the cat pulling the sign over to the intended spot.

Disneyland's Village Haus EXIT sign is off center (Figaro to the rescue)

Of course, the Imagineers had a second chance to get it right. When the restaurant was built at Disneyland Paris, the sign was placed in the correct location . . . so Figaro is giving the thumbs up.

Le Exit

THE IN-BETWEENDisneyland: Inside Story is one very special in-between. Originally, the tree was an anniversary gift Walt's gave to his wife. Lillian thought it would look much better in the park instead of her garden in Holmby Hills.

Take a look at the top of the tree. Now take a look at the top of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad hoodoo. Something feel kind of familiar?

Disney would make the same sort of echo at Disney's Animal Kingdom with Expedition Everest.

One of my favorite things about Disney history is the amazing artwork that preceded the construction of the attractions.

If you were a visitor to Disneyland in 1959 and were smart enough to purchase Walt Disney's Guide to Disneyland, not only would you be able to relive your visit but you would have gotten a glimpse of some of the dreaming going on at WED Enterprises. Inside the booklet are drawings of The Haunted Mansion, Liberty Square, and Adventures in Science. But the real treat was the Special Insert.

Many Disney historians have referred to the summer of 1959 as the second grand opening of Disneyland. Walt was feeling the heat from Pacific Ocean Park (POP). The seaside amusement park opened in Santa Monica. It was a joint project between the CBS network and the Los Angeles Turf Club, managers of Santa Anita Race track. CBS turned Walt down when he was looking the first time but they saw a good thing going on in Anaheim and they wanted a piece of the action. In 1958, the POP outdrew Disneyland. Maybe it was the park's appearance on the Lawrence Welk show?


The Matterhorn was easily the most visible attraction and the tallest structure in Orange County at the time. The location for the Matterhorn was the site for Holiday Hill aka, Snow Mountain. It was the dirt pile left over from the moat in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Walt originally wanted to have bobsleds slide down ice chutes. Admiral Joe Fowler convinced Walt that this was not a good idea.

One of the main inspirations for the Matterhorn was the need to hide the Skyway tower. What better way to camouflage a huge steel structure then to build a mountain around it?



The landscape is what mattered and each transportation device gave guests a different perspective and enhanced the overall environment.

Walt would take this concept to another level in Tomorrowland with the addition of the Monorail. Riding high in the sky along the beamway were bright colored Monorail trains zooming by almost silently. Just below is an expanded Autopia miniature car freeway and small motorboats tooling around a waterway. Sadly the motorboat canals have been filled in for the most part and the Autopia freeway has completely been remodeled and now includes an off road section.



Well, that raps up the musings from this installment of the Encyclopedia SAMLANDICA. But as we put this book back on the shelf, we have lots more of our in depth articles to share with you in the weeks to come. We sincerely thank you for reading and hope you'll make SAMLAND Thursdays a regular part of your weekly routine.

We invite you to join Sam and MiceChat at the Huntington Gardens in July
  • David Sloane, Professor, USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development
  • Hassan Haghani, Community Development Director, City of Glendale
  • Vaughan Davies, Principal and Director of Urban Design, AECOM
  • Neal Payton, Principal, Torti Gallas and Partners

Cost is $40; for students with valid student ID, $20

Fee includes coffee and pastries, lunch, parking, and day pass to the Huntington

Seating is limited; please RSVP to:
Alice Lepis, Secretary (preferred) or at 818.769.4179 no later than
Tuesday, July 5, 2011