As someone who grew up in Southern California, I am no stranger to Disneyland.
My mother still enjoys telling the story of how I freaked out as a 4 year old when I saw the giant squid on the submarine ride.
I can recall “the happiest place on earth” becoming the most boring place on earth when 3 am rolled around at Grad Night.
I can recall as a youth pastor having to bail some rambunctous kids out of the Disneyland Jail for running amok in the “Mighty Microscope” ride.
I always thought that after all those times both good, bad and indifferent, if there was anything to know about Disneyland, I knew it.
Shoot, I even knew things about Disneyland that weren’t true.
Like the one about Walt Disney’s head being stored in a special freezer under Tomorrow Land, awaiting reanimation when the technology came available!
Imagine my surprise when I read an article today that showed me just how little I really knew about the Magic Kingdom!
Among the 50 Things You Didn’t Know About Disneyland –
High inside the hollow Matterhorn is a basketball court. It’s part of an employee break room. Los Angeles Lakers’ center Vlade Divac has been up there to shoot hoops.
The spooky voice that narrates the Haunted Mansion ride is that of the Pillsbury Doughboy. An actor named Paul Frees, who was to Disney what Mel Blanc was to Warner Brothers, supplied the voices for both, as well as many of the pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean and most of the characters in “Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln” (except Abe himself). He was also the voice of John Lennon in the old Beatles cartoons and Boris Badenov in the Rocky & Bullwinkle Show.
As a teenager, actor and comedian Steve Martin worked in Merlin’s Magic Shop in Fantasyland.
When it opened in 1967, Pirates of the Caribbean used real human skeletons as props. In an upcoming book, imagineer Jason Surrell writes, “Because the original imagineering team felt that the faux skeletons of the period were just too unconvincing, the grotto sequence originally featured real human remains obtained from the UCLA Medical Center. The skeletons were later returned to their countries of origin and given a proper burial.”
Walt Disney kept a 600-square-foot studio apartment above the firehouse on Main Street. It’s maintained as a shrine to the park’s founder and kept just as he left it, with Victorian antiques, red velvet carpeting and a device for making grilled cheese sandwiches. Outsiders are rarely allowed inside. A light shines from the window at all times as a symbol of Disney’s eternal presence.
In New Orleans Square, near the Pirates of the Caribbean exit, a door marked “33” leads to an ultra-secret, ultra-exclusive private club. Club 33 is the only place in the park that serves alcohol (including a Chardonnay specially bottled for the club by Fess “Davy Crockett” Parker). Its 480 members pay an initiation fee of from $8,000 to $27,000, and yearly dues of $4,000 to $15,000. The current waiting list for membership is said to be seven years long.
Interesting stuff, isn’t it?
And as I read the list of things I didn’t know about Walt Disney’s “Magic Kingdom”, it got me to thinking – how much don’t we know about another kingdom.
The kingdom of God.
Here is a brief list of things you might not have known about our eternal destination.
There will be animals in God’s kingdom. Isaiah 11:6-9 tells us the entire balance of nature is going to returned to Eden like conditions when Jesus reigns in His 1,000 year rule upon the Earth. In fact, when Jesus returns He will do so riding a white horse (Revelation 19:11-14).
The focal point of God’s eternal kingdom, New Jerusalem is a city that is 1,400 miles long, wide and high. (Revelation 21:15-17) Henry Morris, guessing that there will have been 100 billion people in the human race, and that 20% of them will be saved, calculates that each person would have a “block” with about 75 acres on each face to “call their own.”
We will enjoy food in God’s kingdom! (Revelation 22:1-3) In fact, we will be invited to attend a welcome home party where we will be served by no less a person than Jesus Himself! (Luke 12:37)
As interesting as a place like Disneyland can be, it can’t hold a candle to the place God has in mind for us.
Walt Disney wanted to design a place where people could go, enjoy themselves and have something to look back upon and smile.
What a wonderful thing to know that Jesus has designed a place where we will go, enjoy ourselves and know that with God the best is yet to come!
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1-3)
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