Secrets of Disneyland

Is Disneyland overtaken with feral cats at night? Yes. Are there dead bodies in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion? Well, ashes anyway. Over at CNN, Mental Floss lists "8 Secrets about Disneyland." I was familiar with most of them, but it's still a nice, well-rounded collection of Disneyland fun facts. From Mental Floss:

 Wp-Content Uploads 2010 01 Cheshire-Cat Each night at Disneyland, after the sunburned families and exhausted cast members have made their way home, the park fills up again -- this time, with hundreds of feral cats. Park officials love the felines because they help control the mouse population. (After all, a park full of cartoon mice is more enticing than a park full of real ones.)

But these cats aren't a new addition to the Disney family. They first showed up at Disneyland shortly after it opened in 1955, and rather than spend time chasing them away, park officials decided to put the cats to work.

Today, there are plenty of benefits to being a Disney-employed mouser. When they're not prowling the grounds, these corporate fat cats spend their days lounging at one of the park's five permanent feeding stations. Of course, Disney also goes to great lengths to manage its feline population. Wranglers at the park work to spay and neuter adult cats, and any time kittens are found, they're put up for adoption.

"8 Secrets about Disneyland"


  1. “Wranglers at the park work to spay and neuter adult cats”

    I’m sure they mean that vets are doing this work, but I can’t help but picture a guy wandering the park at night with an oversized butterfly net and an evil-looking pair of pliers.

    1. Trap-neuter-return (TNR) is a proven method of controlling the feral cat population. Usually a non-profit has volunteers who set the humane traps, bring the cats to a animal clinic for neutering (special rates may apply), and then return them to their haunt, where they are fed on a regular basis. By keeping a neutered population, the population size stabilizes.

      The feral cats cannot be domesticated, but there’s hope for the kittens. Again, there are volunteers who take the kittens into their foster homes until a home can be found.

      To their credit, pet stores, pet food companies and private individuals donate to these non-profits since this is an effective, humane method. Plenty of informative videos on YouTube.

      1. “who set the humane traps”..

        Whew! I thought you said human traps.

        That would make Disney way more interesting. :)

      2. Yes, thank you, I fully understand what was meant. That’s why I chose to find humor in the description of those who are wrangling-up these cats neutering them on the spot. *whooosh*

      3. WRONG. TNR is the quickest way of destroying any local ecosystem you might have. Cats are efficient killers of any native species they can get their hands on. Its not long before every bird is gone.

        Feral species need to be captured and euthanized (that means killed). Unfortunately it’s not easy to get this past the kitty loving population but that’s too bad.

        And I guarantee you 100% that Disney has a massive budget for pest control services and that includes mice. Purdy little kitties are not going to hold down a population of mice in the food rich environment of an amusement park.

      4. Never domesticate? Hah!We had a cat we named Phantom because for a couple of months we were not sure we had him. He followed the other two thru the cat window and lived under the furnature. He wouldn’t even take tuna from me as he prferred to sneak out at night to steal the other cats dry food.

        Long story short- That cat came to love me so hard it hurt us both. It was over a year before my dad could feed him, but told him it was ok. He fussed at the vet when getting an abcess lanced, ’til I shushed and said it was fine, then hay lay perfectly still staring into my eyes.

        Feral cats take LOTS of patience, and seem socially retarded at first- I had to teach him how to play and not to be afraid of the door, but it was the most rewarding experience of my life.


  2. I like the uber-exclusive club for cocktails. Universal Studios, on the other hand, has a bar every 20 yards. My sister & I got blitzed last family vacation and passed out under a tree. Later, Shaggy in the Mystery Mobile accused us of looking like a couple of cartoon characters. I swear this is the truth. The bars won’t serve doubles though, you have to get two single shots and pour them in 1 cup yourself.

  3. I just thought of something disgusting about that club just now. Because it is so expensive, do you think you get like … a champagne room with Cinderella and Princess Jasmine doing private dances? I can only imagine…

  4. “Park officials love the felines…” This is enough to make me hot ‘n’ bothered to go back to Disneyland ASAP. A new game to play while walking across the park at Anaheim, cat spotting!
    “…lounging at one of the park’s five permanent feeding stations” – Pictures, please!

  5. just thought of something disgusting about that club just now. Because it is so expensive, do you think you get like … a champagne room with Cinderella and Princess Jasmine doing private dances? I can only imagine…

    No. Just an ocassional handy from Sneezy. Nothing to write home about. (Seriously. Let’s just keep this thing between ourselves.)

  6. Over in the Bug’s Life section of California Adventure, I have spotted cats in the bushes a couple of times during the day. This was prior to Cars-land construction, though.

  7. Unfortunately, according to a recent Mother Jones article, TNR does not actually help to control cat populations. “To put a dent in the total number of cats, at least 71 percent of them must be fixed, and they are notoriously hard to catch. Cash-strapped cities can’t afford to chase down, trap and sterilize every stray – a process that costs roughly $100 per kitty,” writes Kiera Butler.
    It’s an awful conundrum to have, choosing between euthanizing large numbers of feral cats at shelters–which has been shown to reduce overall populations–and dealing with the cruel effects of overpopulation on this beloved, but technically invasive species. Not to mention cats’ resoundingly study-supported decimation of bird species. There’s just no good solution.

    1. Shoot, that’s not even a secret. When my dad went there as a kid they wouldn’t even let you in if you were wearing blue jeans.

  8. I worked on Disneyland’s website redesign quite a few years ago, and was given a private tour with the park director. Above the firehouse near Main Street was an apartment where Walt sometimes stayed. I was told it is haunted and no one goes up there anymore. Whether apocryphal or true, I like the idea of Walt enjoying people still enjoying his park. He’d probably turn in his grave if he saw what Eisner did to his animated film department though, and the way Disney turned into a corporate monster.

    1. Above the firehouse near Main Street was an apartment where Walt sometimes stayed. I was told it is haunted and no one goes up there anymore.

      According to insiders I know that apartment has a reputation for being one of the spots where randy Disneyland employees sometimes sneak off to for a quickie. I wouldn’t be surprised if the “haunted” reputation was started by a maintenance crew tired of cleaning Walt’s historic bedspread (or who just wanted the place to themselves).

      1. You’d be right about that. Never one to experience it, (I’ve never opted to work an amusement park here in sunny So Cal) I can confirm from friends’ information that your story is true.

        (About Teller’s comment)
        Current dress code enforcement does not allow all kinds of things:–rules–forbidden-clothing-a237397
        So put away that black mesh shirt and utili-kilt unless it’s Bats Day!

  9. The use of cats at Disneyland for rodent control is interesting. I worked for Dell Computers for a time and had to go to corporate HQ in Austin occasionally. My Texan colleagues were quite impressed with the fact that Six Flags has a similar deal going on, only with rattlesnakes.

    After the park was built, the night staff noticed that hundreds of the nocturnal Texas Night Thrasher rattlers would prowl the park at night. Night Thrashers are one of the few species of rattlesnake that are exclusively active at night, pretty useless during the day.

    Rather than discourage this, they hired snake wranglers to manage the population and they save a heck of a lot on rodent control. It also has the bonus of keeping out intruders. Some of the surplus snakes are donated to churches, but the rest are just euthanized. Supposedly the med stations keep anti-venom close-by.

  10. Useless Haunted Mansion ‘Maker’ fact: There is a very large engine lathe and mill still residing just to the right after exiting the attic (when you spin backwards down the hill). It was used during construction of the facility but was too big to remove, so it fittingly resides as part of the graveyard.

  11. Here’s a link for Disney’s apartment –

    While I’m not a member, I have eaten at Club 33 during Bats Day (a Gothic Day at Disneyland, fun to fill the park with people in black! a few years ago.

    The description of it in the article is fairly poor. It’s actually a four-star restaurant, plus lounge. Here are some photos. The servers are all long-time Disney employees, and it’s a highly prized position, because tipping is expected (and high). It is the only place in the park itself where alcohol is served, but with the addition of Downtown Disney, there’s an adjoining location for people without $10,000 to catch a buzz on a much lower budget.

    If you’re eating at 33 during a visit to DL, you’re expected as as man to dress in at least business casual clothing, and women are expected to wear dresses – no pants allowed. (No one can wear shorts, open toed shoes, tank tops, or any of your other typical tourist attire.) The dress code is strictly enforced, and if you’re meeting someone there as their guest, you’re not allowed to even ride up the entrance elevator until shortly before your appointed reservation time. It’s clear that they take their security very seriously.

    Now on to those cats…

  12. About the cats, I will say this: In L.A. county we’ve got 2 million feral cats. I currently have a “crazy cat lady” neighbor in L.B. who thinks it’s a good idea in a port city to leave food out in an alley for unfixed kitties. (She owns seven cats after a rescue ended up being pregnant and she just couldn’t part with any of the litter.) At least the ones she owns are fixed, but outside, she’s just making more healthy, unfixed, breeding feral cats.

    Disney has done a lot of really nasty stuff as the empire that it is – but, the cats, not so much. California is overrun with feral felines, and at least most of the park cats do end up getting fixed. I’m pretty sure all they can do is control their existing, constantly shifting population.

  13. P.S. I’ve eaten at Club 33, and it’s not a lounge. It’s a four star restaurant with a lounge. They’re terrifically nice there, and it was one of the best places I’ve ever eaten.

  14. Sorry about the P.S. I was called away to a neighbor’s place, and tho’ the second posting was up, the first one still wasn’t. Wasn’t sure if the info about the club had posted correctly. My bad for being in a rush!

  15. The Warner Bros Studio in Burbank also has a sizable feral cat population, kept largely for the same rodent-control reason, some say. I don’t know if any effort is made to spay/neuter any of them, though. I used to park in Lot S on the eastern end of the lot right next to a feeding station. The damnable critters would leave nasty little feetprints all over my windshield.

    I’m told that the cats were protected by the studio brass; mess with ’em and you’d never work on the lot again. I suspect that story is apocryphal. A quick Google dug up this story from 22 years ago, when the Warner Ranch was overrun with wild pussies and the studio considered trapping the lot of ’em.

    The first movie I ever worked on was Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers, part of which was shot on the main Warner Bros lot back in Summer 1991. The monsters in that movie have kind of an allergy to cats (and the cats despise them, too), so toward the end of the movie there’s kind of a standoff between the monsters and a buttload of cats. We brought a whole bunch of cats onto the lot for the several days we were shooting those sequences, and I’m pretty sure some of the non-hero “extra” cats escaped and joined the feral population. Maybe those were the ones pooping next to my parking space 18 years later.

  16. The correct title should be “Secrets of Disney Theme Parks,” since at least one was about Walt Disney World in Orange/Osceola County, FL. You’d think with Disneyphile Cory Doctorow on staff, you would have caught that, even if both CNN and Mental Floss somehow missed it.

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