Disney Secrets: Exclusive Features of the 11 Disney Parks Around the World

Disney Secrets: Exclusive Features of the 11 Disney Parks Around the World

No two Disney parks are the same. In fact, some come with unique rides, hidden features and highly localised elements. Discover them all.

You may have heard of the exclusive Club 33, Disney’s invite-only private club that’s rumoured to have a $100,000 membership fee and 14-year waiting list, or the hidden basketball court inside the Matterhorn for cast members. However, it’s highly unlikely that us ordinary guests will be able to step anywhere close to those secret Disneyland quarters. 

Nonetheless, the 11 Disney theme parks around the world each has their individually exclusive features, all accessible to the average visitor. While not all of these are secrets per se, they’re definitely unique attractions and quirks that’ll add to the magic of your experience. Since they’re only found in that particular Disney park, be sure to check them off your to-do list when you’re there!

1. Disneyland Anaheim

disneyland around the world

Image credit: Andy

Located at the Disneyland Resort in California, the one and only original Disneyland has troves of treasures waiting in store for each guest. Including the likes of the Main Street Railroad to the King Arthur Carousel and the Mad Tea Party, the park has retained and preserved 14 attractions since its opening day on 17 July 1955. For the true Disney fans, these rides are brimming with history and stories from over sixty years of development, and thus an integral part of experiencing the nostalgic magic of Disneyland Anaheim.

One of the must-try but often overlooked unique experiences in this park is the Lilly Belle Presidential Train Car, the exclusive caboose that was once used for only VIPs and special guests of the park. This humble train car may seem like any normal, perhaps even boring, vintage ride, but it’s one of the most coveted attractions in the whole amusement park with tickets reserved and snapped up minutes after rope drop! Hop on board the Lilly Belle Presidential Train Car and view Disneyland in style! For those who have arrived before the park opens, you can even enquire with any cast member for a chance to ride the train car into the theme park.

disneyland around the world

Image credit: Brett Kiger

Another unique feature of Disneyland Anaheim is the Jungle Cruise boat ride. After conquering the treacherous ride, you can request a map of the entire route from the boat’s captain himself! Wouldn’t that make a sweet souvenir?

2. Disney California Adventure Park

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Built in the old Disneyland parking lot, California Adventure houses the first themed district at the park’s entrance. The Buena Vista Street is a step back into the past to 1920s Los Angeles. Other unique features include Paradise Pier, complete with coastal boardwalks and timeless amusement park rides, as well as A Bug’s Land, themed after the popular A Bug’s Life film.

Image credit: Ricky Brigante

If you find yourself at Buena Vista Street, don’t forget to pick up a message from Millie or Molly! These gracious messengers will be roaming the alley in search of hopeful individuals in need of encouraging notes, making sure you’ll never feel under the weather in Disneyland!

3. Magic Kingdom

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Located in the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Orlando, the Magic Kingdom is the most popular of the Disney parks, and also the most visited amusement park in the world.

Image credit: Peter Lee

The happiest place on Earth doesn’t just exude joy – it’s overflowing with countless secrets as well. One of the hidden easter eggs of the park lies in the classic Disney ride, the Haunted Mansion. Behind the ride’s entrance and queue, there’s a spooky pet cemetery with actual tombstones and inscriptions. You can even request a cast member for a tour of this eerie graveyard. This feature is only found in the Magic Kingdom, tucked away innocuously out of sight.

4. Epcot

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Epcot, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, is an amalgamation of dozens of countries centred in a single theme park. Disney only hires cast members from the respective countries featured in the park, promising guests an immersive experience! With dazzling shows at the World Showcase, and intriguing pavilions exhibiting the many nations and cultures, you can expect a whole new experience in Epcot as compared to the other Disney parks.

5. Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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Initially opened as an operating production studio, this utopian theme park is purposed to preserve the heyday of films and the golden age of Hollywood, showcasing the many facets of the industry. Disney’s Hollywood Studios gives you a once-in-a-lifetime unique experience behind the scenes of your favourite Disney films. The theme park is full of fun quirks, including countless of hidden Mickeys as well as hidden Disney characters that can only be found in the Hollywood Studios! As you explore the park’s grounds, keep an eye out for them!

One of the unique features of this theme park is the Rock N’ Roller Coaster, a high-speed thrill ride in the dark complete with loops and 360-degree spins. And the best part of the roller coaster is that it features the songs of Aerosmith during the pre-ride and the ride itself. This definitely has to be on your bucket list, whether you’re a fan of the American rock band or not!

6. Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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The zoological amusement park of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is teeming with all sorts of animals from all around the world. However, one of the key elements of the park harks back to the primitive times. One of the more sought-after sections, DinoLand USA features just about everything related to the extinct prehistoric creatures, including a gigantic mock palaeontological facility and dinosaur fossils.

7. Tokyo Disneyland

disneyland around the world

Image credit: Rob Young

Located in the bustling city of Japan is none other than Tokyo Disneyland! This particular theme park gives a uniquely Asian and local spin on the classic Disneyland experience that you’re familiar with. The most obvious example of this is its dining and food options! Some favourite park snacks include the Gyoza Sausage Bun, Cream Cheese Brownie, as well as Soy & Butter-flavoured Popcorn and Curry-flavoured Popcorn, all of which can only be found in Tokyo Disneyland.

8. Tokyo DisneySea

disneyland around the world

The two Tokyo Disney parks host rather similar attractions and shows. However, a clear difference would be the DisneySea-only exclusive Duffy and ShellieMay features. The ever popular sailor bears have their own stage shows and merchandise that gets swept off the counters by the locals!

Also Read: Disneyland vs. DisneySea: The Battle of Tokyo’s Disney Parks

9. Disneyland Paris

Image credit: Gilbert Sopakuwa

Ah, Paris. Explore Disney’s European side with the unique Discoveryland dedicated to iconic Europeans such as Leonardo da Vinci! Fitting of the region’s culture, Paris Disneyland is the ONLY Disneyland that serves alcohol in its premises so grab a glass of French wine with your Mickey pancakes.

To fully immerse you into the magic of Disney, there will only be one Mickey Mouse roaming the theme park at any point in time. You won’t be able to spot Mickey doppelgangers crossing each others’ paths!

Image credit: Loren Javier

Tucked snuggly in Main Street USA and accessible from within the Emporium Store, this classic 1900s barbershop is the real deal. You’ll be able to get an actual haircut at Dapper Dan’s Hair Cuts and perhaps, you might even catch the Barbershop Quartet while you’re at it!

10. Hong Kong Disneyland

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The smallest Disneyland of the lot is by no means any less meticulously constructed! Hong Kong’s traditional roots in superstition have seen even the entertainment giant of Disney adapting its park in accordance with good feng shui.

The most obvious example starts right at the theme park’s entrance – you’ll notice a sharp bend that might seem rather odd. However, it’s deliberately structured so that it directs good feng shui from the South China Sea into the park. The whole park is also decked out in red as it represents luck in the Chinese culture. Another superstition preserved has to do with watches. Hong Kong Disneyland won’t be the place to get a new one because gifting watches actually signifies attending a funeral!

Apart from keeping the country’s traditions, Hong Kong Disneyland’s Fantasy Gardens is another unique feature of the park unseen in other Disneylands around the world! The Gardens bring in various costumed characters to their very own pavilion for meet-and-greets. Don’t miss this great photo opportunity when you’re there!

Also read: 8 Secret Tips for Your Hong Kong Disneyland Visit

11. Shanghai Disneyland Park

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The newest edition to the mega Disney park franchise is none other than Shanghai Disneyland in East China! As you walk through the park gates, you’ll realise that the iconic castle is uncannily familiar, yet a closer inspection will reveal that it isn’t just about the same. While the other Disney parks’ castles belong to either Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella, the enormous palace in Shanghai is a tribute to ALL the Disney princesses! Adorned with mosaic murals and stained glass panels where no two sides are alike, the tallest Disney castle in the world is definitely a gorgeous sight to behold.

Before its opening just last year, the most highly-anticipated feature of Shanghai Disneyland Park was the exclusively pirate-themed land, Treasure Cove. It’s an eerily striking replica of Jack Sparrow’s world of sunken ships and buried treasure. Some must-visit stops include the thrilling Pirates of the Caribbean Battle for Sunken Treasure ride and outdoor paddling expedition Explorer Canoes!

Image credit: Jeremy Thompson

And who can forget the park’s ultimate attraction, TRON Lightcycle Power Run! This upgrade of the familiar Tomorrowland Space Mountain roller coaster replaces the usual carriages with futuristic bikes for one epic experience!

No matter which Disney park you visit, you’re guaranteed to have an amazing time in the Happiest Place on Earth!

About Authors

Stephanie Lauw
Stephanie Lauw

Stephanie is an English literature and film student who has succumbed to the occupational hazard of over-analysing her favourite TV shows. She enjoys theatre and music, and dabbles with both by writing bad plays and experimenting with her band. Her current dream is to island hop the filming locations of all the seasons of Survivor.

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Kevin Mak
Kevin Mak

Apart from catching overly-dramatic movies, quenching his voracious appetite and just lounging in his free time, Kevin finds François Rabelais' quote "I am going to seek a grand perhaps" resonating with him at times. It is this very desire that sees him travelling to foreign lands in search of new experiences, and food. In his adventures, the only thing that can temporarily impede his journey is his soft spot for pizza.

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