After covering theme parks for 15 years, and being a lifelong fan, I thought I’d heard all the stories about how Disney theme park attractions work and came to be. But the new “Behind the Attraction” show on Disney+ reminded me there’s always more to learn.
If you’ve ever seen “The Toys That Made Us” or “The Movies That Made Us” on Netflix, you know what to expect with “Behind the Attraction.” The Nacelle Company produced those shows and also produced this one. They’re known to use parts of their many interviews to full humorous effect. You can read our full review here.
The show is also brought to you by executive producers Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, and Brian Volk-Weiss of Seven Bucks Productions, but Dwayne only appears in the Jungle Cruise episode.
Here are the top 10 most interesting facts I learned by watching “Behind the Attraction”, in no particular order. Even if you already know all of these facts, I’m sure you’ll learn something new on the show. Don’t miss it.
- George Lucas visited Disneyland the second day they were open in 1956. He thought Tomorrowland was less than it could be.
- It was George Lucas’ idea to have the Rebel Spy on the new version of Star Tours.
- The reason Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland isn’t taller is because they couldn’t afford to make it any bigger. (It’s 77 feet tall and Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World is 189 feet tall.)
- Robert Moses, the president of the 1964 World’s Fair, had many countries back out of their planned pavilions because he was charging them too much. So Walt Disney was brought in to fill those spaces.
- Actress Joan Crawford called Disney to ask them do a World’s Fair project for Pepsi, and was told no, until Walt heard about it.
- The original idea of The Tower of Terror was for it to be a real hotel, but they decided against it since the ride in the hotel would be so noisy.
- When they tested out the “falling” elevators for the Tower of Terror, just having them free-fall on their own didn’t provide enough thrill, so they designed them to be forced down at a higher speed.
- Disney Legend and horticulturist Bill Evans was tasked with creating the jungle part of the Jungle Cruise, as well as adding all the trees needed for Disneyland. In order to find enough, he went around town buying people’s trees, and collected ones that had been cut down to create some of California’s freeways.
- The 1933 World’s Fair had wax figures of the presidents, which people looked at while hearing voice recordings. Seeing that inspired Walt Disney to create The Hall of Presidents.
- Imagineer Daniel Joseph, a lifelong Haunted Mansion fan, worked on the Hatbox Ghost in his garage before he was placed back in Disneyland’s Mansion.
All 10 episodes were originally going to be released at the same time, but now they’ve decided to hold five of them for a later date. The ones you can watch now are Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, Star Tours, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Space Mountain. At a later date, they’ll release episodes about The Hall of Presidents; Trains, Trams, and Monorails; It’s a Small World; Disneyland Hotel; and The Castles.
I was able to screen nine of the 10 episodes. The only one I didn’t see was the Disneyland Hotel episode, so my top 10 doesn’t include that episode.
You can check out the trailer for “Behind the Attraction,” as well as the press conference and our interview with some of the Imagineers involved in the show below: