The happiest place on earth isn’t as happy as it might seem. A theme park that originally started off with just 18 rides, Disneyland has now morphed into being one of the largest and most popular attractions of the world.
But carrying the titles of both being “The Happiest Place On Earth” and “The Most Magical Place On Earth” comes with a heavy price. The Walt Disney Company goes to great lengths to keep up the magical illusion that the theme park is one of the best places on earth to visit, both from the kids’ and parents’ perspective.
Rarely do you hear of any negative press in the news and even if you do, it isn’t for very long. As every visitor dutifully puts on their Mickey Mouse ear hat and gazes in wonder at the Sleeping Beauty castle, a lot happens behind the scenes that you would never have even dreamed of being possible.
With that being said, let’s dive into the 15 things happening at Disneyland that you need to know before booking your next trip.
15 Tickets Are Exchangeable For A Favor
Back in 2015, a Disneyland employee was jailed for trying to trade tickets to the park in exchange for ‘favors’. Although the now former employee thought he was corresponding with a 14-year-old, he was met by an undercover police officer instead. This story has a happy ending, but fact of the matter is that situations like these are sure to happen again.
When parents say “no” is usually when kids push back and rebel the most. Teenagers aren’t “kids”, but they’re considered children by many because they still lack the maturity and judgment to make the best decision.
There is a lot of hype surrounding the notion of “going to Disneyland”. As such, it can be easy for a pedophile to try and take advantage of a child’s innocence and good judgment by preying on their desire to go, especially if all their friends are going.
14 It’s The Prime Hook-Up Spot
Disneyland is marketed as the number one spot for kids, but in a Reddit IAmA, a former Disneyland security guard revealed a fact about the park that is sure to shock many parents:
"People have s*x there all the time. ALL THE TIME. On rides, in the parking structure. When they get caught they get escorted out . . . unless they are underage then we legally have to call parents. That one is fun.”
He also shared a specific incident that happened:
"There was the couple we saw on haunted Mansion. Girl was [doing an explicit act with] this guy. Asked to stop twice over the speaker and didn't. So when we pull them out of the exit I said, 'Hi folks, do you know why I am talking to you?' The girl goes 'We didn't do anything and you can't prove it.' The guy smiles and says 'Yeah we did.'"
13 The ‘Grass’ Might Be Something Else…
The most magical place on earth sure is magical for some people. When asked about the weirdest thing someone lost, that same security employee went on to add: “People lost pipes (crack and weed) a lot.”
That is actually quite the concerning revelation when you think about the sheer amount of kids that walk through the castle’s doors every single day.
Not too surprisingly, a dad actually found a bag of marijuana while at the park with his kids and posted a picture of it. With it, he also included his ticket and a copy of his receipt to prove that he had in fact found it at the park. Obviously, neither the ticket nor the receipt prove anything, but given the security officer’s revelation, I’m certainly inclined to believe that this could have happened.
12 Princesses Are Not Backing Down
Every day, we’re bombarded with this or that mom having gotten shamed for breastfeeding in public. It’s a real shame that it’s still happening but on the bright side, breastfeeding moms have nothing to fear from nursing at Disneyland.
Just mere moments after Mari Villaluna began breastfeeding her two-month-old at Disneyland, the pair was approached by Belle for a photo opportunity. Instead of unlatching and risking dealing with an unhappy baby or refusing the picture, the mama posed instead for the picture while her baby stayed latched. She later posted the picture on Instagram with the caption:
"When you're at Disneyland celebrating your baby's two-month B-day and a princess comes up to take a picture with your child and your infant is hungry, you feed your baby, smile for the picture, and enjoy your magical Disney moment while breastfeeding.”
11 Moms Are Cancelling Because Of...
Speaking of Disney princesses and movies, the recent remake of The Beauty and The Beast also has some people up in arms. Even before the movie’s official release date, Disney fans were already divided into two sides by the news that the re-make would feature “an exclusively gay moment”.
In a post on her blog that has since been removed, Brooke Poston stated that she would be cancelling the $6,000 Disneyland vacation that she had planned. She reasoned that: “Disney isn’t just aiming their efforts towards parent’s of Disney-aged children anymore. They are pointing a desperate finger at the innocence of our youth. Disney is targeting our youth like they’re aiming at big game on a corporate hunting trip. They are banking on corrupting the purity of a child’s mind for the 1%”.
A rather loaded statement and it’s clear that nothing will change this woman’s mind. It’s also clear that although we might hear of more such cancellations, we can still expect that it won’t stop Disney from continuing to go down the open-minded and inclusive path that they started on.
10 Men Are Allowed In Women’s Bathrooms
Another blogger, Kristen Quintrall, posted about a rather peculiar incident that happened at Disneyland. In her own words:
“I was at Disneyland with my son […] when I noticed a man walk into the restroom. My first thought was “Oh sh*t, he’s walked in the wrong restroom by mistake. lol” […] He was just standing off to the side looking smug…untouchable… doing absolutely nothing. He had to of noticed that every woman in the long line was staring at him. He didn’t care. He then did a lap around the restroom walking by all the stalls. You know, the stalls that have 1 inch gaps by all the doors hinges so you can most definitely see everyone with their pants around their ankles…..”
She also clarified: “There was a man in the bathroom. Not transgender. There was a man who felt entitled to be in the woman restroom, because he knew no one would say anything.”
She also added that everyone was too scared to say anything. There is a strong possibility that she wasn’t wrong in her assumption of the man, which brings up an interesting point. The general notion nowadays seems to be that it’s best not to speak up at the risk of stepping on the wrong toes, but where do we draw the line?
9 Beware That ‘They’ Aren’t On Full Display
From all the shaming on the sl*t shaming we have been hearing about, you would think that we would be well past judging women based on their looks. Apparently Disneyland isn’t and it didn’t only happen to one woman.
Maggie Kim, a blogger, described her awful experience getting shamed at Disneyland Paris for showing too much cleavage -- which by the way, isn’t even visible on the picture she shared! In her own words:
“She answered, “Bonjour,” then gestured to my top, indicating I should cover up, “You should watch out for that.” I was wearing a flowy kimono over one of my black bodysuits. […] Seconds later, it hit me. She wasn’t worried about me being injured. She wanted to make sure I didn’t injure someone’s sensibilities with my TITTIES.”
The same situation happened to Melissa Behnken in California, to which the outraged mama replied: “I guess women with large chests are expected to wear turtlenecks their whole lives.”
Concerning women getting slut shamed over their cleavages.
8 They Are Trying To Bring Weapons In
Terror attacks have been on the rise lately and even the self-proclaimed happiest place on earth isn’t immune to terror threats. Luckily, nothing has happened yet and the threats have been swiftly dealt with, but it’s not exactly reassuring to know that terrorists have made attempts to infiltrate Disneyland with guns.
Although police have since determined that the incident was unrelated to Islamic terrorism, the facts remain that a 28-year-old man tried to enter a Disneyland Paris hotel with two handguns and a Koran in his possession in 2016.
Don’t let this deter you from making your kids’ dreams of visiting the castle a reality as Disneyland takes the security of its visitors a top priority. Not only is there a police station underground, but security is top notch, metal detectors have been installed and there is even a ban on toy guns.
7 Weight Is A Problem
Shaming a woman for her appearance aside, fat shaming is another very real epidemic that surprisingly also happens at Disneyland and more times than you might think. Many to whom this has happened backed down, but multiple others took it as motivation to lose some weight.
As she found herself unable to strap a safety belt at the Cars Race Rally attraction at Disneyland, Rebecca Levey, was asked to exit the ride while everyone stared on. No amount of fat shaming is ever acceptable, so let’s just hope that the request to exit was done in a respectable way. Following the incident, Rebecca took her health into her own hands and lost half her body weight.
The same thing happened to Christina Jordan, who after being denied a ride at Disneyland, went on to lose over 130lbs and is now a weight loss coach.
6 The Parks Are Getting A PC Makeover
On top of heightened security, Disneyland has also been getting a major politically-correct make-over. The alterations to the world-renown theme park have divided fans into two categories though: those in complete agreement with the changes and the ones arguing that they were unnecessary. The uproar became particularly deafening after Disneyland announced the removal of the “wench auction” from its Pirates of the Caribbean rides. On the one hand, some fans argue that the scene is sexist and needs to go, but other fans have also made the argument that it’s an integral component of history as women really did used to be auctioned off to pirates.
It can be argued that Disneyland is going too far in its attempt to please everyone. But even those changes get announced all the time, sometimes they also get reversed. Handguns that had been removed from its Jungle Cruise ride in 2001 were actually re-introduced following intense fan backlash.
Concerning theme rides being changed. Controversial elements are being taken out.
5 Moms Are Being Defensive
Leaving the house with kids is hard enough but even worse is leaving and knowing that you are going to need to be defensive about every little thing. Whether you choose to breastfeed in public, have your baby wear disposable diapers or letting your almost three-year-old use a pacifier.
Speaking of that last one, a mom who took her adorable daughter to Disneyland actually felt the need to shut haters down before they could even think to shame her for anything. In an Instagram post that has since gone viral, Alex Heppner attributed her daughter’s continued use of a pacifier as being due to: “Disney is overwhelming for me as a grown a** woman, it’s incredibly overwhelming for some kids and pacifiers help calm senses. NO SHAME”.
She undoubtedly had receive many unwelcome stares while at the castle and it’s quite sad that she even felt the need to defend her way of raising her child.
4 Dads Are Stepping Up
Just as moms are putting on armor Wonder Woman style, dads are also suiting up, but in a completely different way. Is this dad dragging his daughter to the teacups or is he dressed up as a merman as per his little mermaid’s fretful request? Probably the latter, but as you can imagine, it didn’t stop the legion of Redditors from making up all kinds of hilarious scenarios.
Since it was originally posted to Reddit, another Reddit user actually shared his own Disneyland picture:
He shared that: “She wanted us to all go as princesses, so not to disappoint I went as the fattest and ugliest Cinderella you have ever seen. I had a blast.”
The last part is particularly telling, especially since you can obviously tell by both of their smiles that it’s a moment in time that they will truly never forget.
3 Accidents Are Your Fault
Speaking of shaming, everyone gets shamed for everything now. Even a mom whose son was tragically killed by an alligator at Disneyland has written a letter begging everyone to stop parent shaming.
In 2016, two-year-old Lane Graves was found dead at a Walt Disney hotel after being pulled into a lagoon. It is obviously a complete freak accident and yet the parents were heavily shamed in social media. The parents were heavily blamed for the accident due to the fact that they didn’t abide by the “no swimming” signs. Even another mom posted a picture of her own son standing in the exact spot where the little boy had been snatched an hour apart.
The unyielding accusations reached such an intense level that the grieving mother had to post a letter calling for an end to the shame. In particular writing: “How are accidents allowed to happen if we can’t blame someone? […] They can't, because this country and its population of perfect pitchfork carrying mothers and fathers sitting behind keyboards needs to accuse. They NEED TO BLAME, to disparage, to criticize in every damn way and at every damn corner, the parenting of another.”
2 It’s Not The Happiest Place On Earth
Parents even get shamed for showing their love towards their kids. Back in December 2016, Hilary Duff posted a happy picture of herself kissing her son at Disneyland with the caption: “Happiest happiest […] place on earth!”
The problem? The kiss was on the lips. Although we live in a world where countless parents kiss their children on the mouth, it didn’t stop the other half of the parents from shaming her persistently on the matter. In fact, nearly a year later, the shaming still hasn’t stopped!
Duff isn’t the first celeb to get shamed for kiss her kids on the lips and she likely won’t be the last. However, this incident is crucial to be aware of for anyone looking to walk through the castle’s doors. Should you let it affect you? Absolutely not.
1 Anti-Vaxxers Are Winning
The year 2015 didn’t come without its share of controversies for Disneyland as that is also the year that the popular park dealt with a measles outbreak that was traced back to two Disney theme parks. Scary stuff when you think about it, but what makes this news even worse is that it was mostly due to the fact that many who contracted measles as a result of going to Disneyland hadn’t been properly vaccinated.
There has been a lot of debate in recent years regarding vaccinations, which has resulted in many families citing religious and medical reasons to exempt their children from getting vaccinated. According to research though, even a small decrease in vaccinated children can increase the chance of another outbreak by 300%.
Sources: Cosmopolitan.com, LATimes.com, PopSugar.com, CDC.gov, Leslolos.com, DailyMail.co.uk, Reddit.com, Uproxx.com and Mirror.co.uk.