What sets Disneyland apart from other amusement parks is its storytelling; each attraction takes riders into a new world, with a plot, major characters, and lots of detail. And while most attractions have a pretty obvious premise, there are some with backstories so subtle, they often go unnoticed.
Here are some of Disneyland’s most subtle attraction stories. Once you know them, the rides become that much more exciting!
Goofy’s Sky School
This ride’s premise is pretty simple, but easy to miss if you don’t pay attention to the loading area. Goofy forged a bunch of certifications and licenses to run his own flight school. The truth is, Goofy has no experience and is not a pilot…thus the crazy, erratic, and sometimes rough ride through the sky.
The Bobsleds took on an added story layer during the 2015 refurbishment. Now, riders begin the ride by slowly ascending inside the mountain. As you reach the top, you see an angry shadow. You’ve disturbed the yeti! But before you see him, you spin around a corner to find a crushed Skyway car. Thus the new story layer: this creature thought he had thwarted intruders, and somehow they’ve managed to return. The rest of the harrowing journey through the mountain is a dramatic chase…can you escape the ice caves before you get caught?
Unlike the others on this list, this attraction’s story is only subtle if you ignore the tape in the projection room…which most riders do. Indiana Jones has been exploring an ancient Bengalese temple, with companion Sallah providing guided tours to raise money for the excavation. During one of Sallah’s tours, a few guests went missing, and Indiana Jones went deep into the temple to find them. Unfortunately, it’s been a week with no sign from Indy, so Sallah has decided to resume tours for only the bravest of travelers, in the hope of finding Indiana Jones along the way.
This is perhaps the most subtle story in the park, one that you’d only recognize if you knew what to look for. On Splash Mountain, riders follow Bre’er Rabbit as he seeks adventure. Along his journey, he has to outsmart and outrun Bre’er Fox and Bre’er Bear, which he manages to tangle up and stump a few times. Each drop inside the mountain is a mini-escape, but it isn’t long before Bre’er Fox and Bre’er Bear catch up to you again. Finally, Bre’er Rabbit finds himself cornered, with only one option: to jump from Chickapin Peak into the Briar Patch. Thus, riders swoop down the harrowing 50 foot drop and find themselves in a happy little neighborhood. In the end, it turns out the Briar Patch is Bre’er Rabbit’s home, and the celebration is to welcome him back.
The moral of the story: you can find adventure anywhere, even in your own back yard.