01/13/2014 10:33 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST

A Whole New World: 7 Disneyland Secrets That Will Transform Your Trip


Whether you’re young, or just young-at-heart, the magic of Disneyland appeals to the child in all of us. But each of us gets something different from the experience -- some have an adventurous side that longs for the thrill of the scariest ride, some have a girly side that wants nothing more than to meet the dazzling princesses of the park, some have an indulgent side that loves the wide array of food and shopping options throughout the park. But no matter how many times you’ve been to the Happiest Place On Earth, we’re willing to bet that there are a few hidden secrets and undercover gems that you didn’t notice. We’ve got a few surprising facts about Disneyland that may astonish you and tap into a new Disney side on your next trip to the park.

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The case of the hidden Mickeys

The iconic round-eared shape of Mickey Mouse’s face is easy to spot at Disneyland, but you might be surprised to discover that you’re only noticing a handful of the Mickeys throughout the park. Hidden Mickeys are cleverly disguised everywhere; from traffic signs to decorations to fire alarms, Mickeys can be found anywhere and everywhere -- so tap into your curious side and keep your eyes peeled. In fact, there are so many Mickeys hidden in the intricate details of the park that nobody knows exactly how many exist.

Trading Disney pins

Let your social side reign and become part of the pin collecting tradition at Disneyland. Cast members throughout the parks carry a collection of fun and vibrant pins on them, so don’t be afraid to walk up to one and ask if you can swap them for one in your personal collection. Find your favourite pins and take them home for a cool souvenir.

Enjoy fine dining

Theme parks are synonymous with junk food, but visitors to Disneyland can indulge their exclusive side by visiting one of the many fine restaurants in the park. Blue Bayou, Napa Rose, Steakhouse 55 and Wine Country Trattoria all offer the chance to sit down and enjoy a fine meal. A word of caution: Some restaurants -- Blue Bayou especially -- are so popular that you may need a reservation so plan ahead.

Take a trip through time

Give in to your nostalgic side by visiting Main Street USA, which was modelled after the year 1910. What’s that in the air? The scent of vanilla is pumped into Main Street to remind you of freshly-baked goods. Afterwards, head over to Tomorrowland, which was designed to look like the year 1986. Not coincidentally, these two years were the same years that the elusive Halley’s Comet made an appearance in our solar system; that’s a little factoid that’s sure to please your nerdy side.

Rock the boat

Channel your inner captain side by asking to become take the steering wheel of the Mark Twain Riverboat. You can take the boat on a short cruise, beep the horn to your heart’s delight and earn a certificate in recognition of a job well done at the end.

Ride the spinny teacup

Let your playful side loose by nabbing the purple teacup on the Mad Hatter’s teacup ride; rumour has it that it’s the spinniest of them all. But to be safe, you might want to wait until after your lunch settles to test this out.

Pay your respects

After a day full of fun memories, be sure to pay homage to Disney’s founding father, Walt Disney, and express your thankful side by visiting two sites that commemorate his work in creating the Disney empire. The Griffin Park Bench on Main Street is the actual bench that Mr. Disney was sitting on when he came up with the idea for the amusement park while watching his young daughters play. Not far from that spot is the Main Street Fire House, where the Disney family kept an apartment on the second floor. To this day, the light in the apartment has never gone out to ensure that Mr. Disney’s presence is always felt in the park.