Dreaming of a trip to Disney World or Disneyland sometime in the future?
Then you may be interested in knowing about some of the parks biggest secrets, that most first time visitors never notice.
You see, the happiest place on earth houses a lot of secrets, from hidden things inside the park to ways to get extra discounts.
They say many visitors miss the hundreds of "Hidden Mickeys," mouse ears that are hidden in everything from doors and floors, to pictures on the wall, to power line towers outside the park.
You can spend one whole day of your trip looking for Hidden Mickeys.
Another secret: Cinderella's castle is really much smaller than it looks thanks to something called "forced perspective."
The bricks and windows on top are smaller than those below, making the castle appear taller. Main Street USA uses this same effect to make the buildings look taller, and the street look longer when you first walk into the park.
By the way, Universal Studios uses this effect on Harry Potter's Hogwart's Castle too, where the upper turrets are tiny, making them appear much higher than they really are.
Another secret concerns trash: There's a trash pail every 30 feet along the sidewalks, because surveys found that's how far people are willing to carry an empty cup.
Rumor is that Walt himself watched park goers to see how far they would carry trash before tossing it, and came up with 30 feet.
That trash is then whisked away in secret tunnels under the Magic Kingdom in Florida, so that you never see garbage trucks, delivery trucks, or characters out of costume. (Disneyland in California uses hidden walkways instead of tunnels).
Speaking of trash, you cannot buy chewing gum anywhere inside any Disney park. It is harder to find than a beer in the Magic Kingdom. The reason: gum ends up on sidewalks and under the seats of rides.
Something else you can't find: another "land" once you are in a land, such as Fantasy Land or Tomorrowland. The park is designed so that once you are in a themed section, you cannot see any other themes.
And while we are following sidewalks, be sure to look for the cursed engagement ring hidden in the sidewalk outside the Haunted Mansion. The interior rooms of the Haunted Mansion themselves could make up an entire book of secrets, because every painting inside has a story (and a lot of them have Hidden Mickeys).
Secret Savings Codes
But from the "doesn't that stink" file: paying too much for your room because you didn't know about secret promotion codes.
Find out you paid $30 or $50 a night more than the family in the next room, and you may say "doesn't that stink."
There is almost always a discount code available (though you may not be able to use them during peak periods like Spring Break or 4th of July week)
You simply enter them in the promotions box when pricing your rooms.
Many of these secrets are things that veteran Disney fans know. But if you have never been there, or just been once or twice, its great information to have so you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
Follow John on Twitter ( @JohnMatarese )