Walt Disney World is home to some of the most iconic theme park attractions in the world. From It’s A Small World and Space Mountain to Spaceship Earth and the Haunted Mansion, most attractions are familiar to all guests. What makes the attractions in Disney so memorable and loved are amazing characters, stories, scenes, and effects. While some of the effects of the attractions are overt and can easily be seen and understood by guests, there are many moments that leave them wondering “how did they do that?” That little bit of mystery helps to make the attractions so interesting and keeps guests coming back time and time again. Sometimes finding out the secrets behind Disney attractions even adds an extra layer of appreciation for the experience. Here are seven amazing Disney attraction secrets!
7. Haunted Mansion’s Ghosts
Perhaps the most iconic attraction in Walt Disney World is the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square. Guests are treated to a tour of Gracey Manor complete with sneaky and comical ghosts and effects. The most memorable scene of the attraction is the grand ballroom where guests first get a glimpse of the grim grinning ghosts as they partake in a birthday party, duel, and deathly waltz. One of the biggest Disney attraction secrets is how the Imagineers pull of the ghostly ballroom scene. The effect is called Pepper’s Ghost and it involves using strategic lighting to create a ghostly reflection. Guests who are looking to see how the effect works themselves need only sit in their car at night, turn on the overhead light, and look at the reflection in the windshield!
6. Peter Pan’s Cars
Peter Pan’s Flight is one of the most classic Disney attractions and it takes guests to the skies high over London and Neverland with Peter and the Darling children. The flight over London is one of the most beloved Disney moments and guests who look down will notice tons of detail in the city including architecture on the buildings and traffic bustling along. What looks like many sets of headlights traveling throughout London are actually small dots of black light paint on continuously running bike chains. The small sets of dots run in a smooth motion which ends up looking exactly like cars driving around the city far below.
5. Pirate’s Strategic Drop
Pirates of the Caribbean offers guests the chance to feel like a pirate as they travel through eerie caves and eventually ransack a coastal town. One of the most thrilling moments of the attraction comes when the boat enters into a near pitch black cave and suddenly begins plummeting down a hill. While this drop might just feel like an entertaining aspect of the attraction, it actually serves a functional purpose. The drop was installed to move guests underneath the tracks of the nearby Walt Disney World Railroad, allowing for the boats to move onto the other side of the tracks and into the attraction’s show building.
4. Twilight Zone Props
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is one of the most intricately themed and detailed attractions in all of Walt Disney World. Guests enter into the lobby of the abandoned Hollywood Tower Hotel and are greeted with furniture, objects, and artwork that has clearly been left to decay over the years. While passing through the lobby, guests who are familiar with The Twilight Zone television show might recognize several props as being originals from episodes of the show. For example, guests can spot a pair of broken glasses from the episode “Time Enough At Last” indicating that the owner left in a big enough hurry as to break his glasses. All of these original props are subtly placed throughout the attraction, adding some secret history to The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
3. Magnetic Highway
The Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover takes guests on a scenic tour on the highway in the sky with glimpses into nearby attractions like Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and Space Mountain. The TTA moves so smoothly that most guests automatically assume that it runs on an electric track which isn’t true! The big secret of the TTA is that it runs only on the power of magnets! This type of linear induction system uses the magnets to seamlessly push and pull the cars of the attraction allowing for a smooth and environmentally clean experience!
2. Dinosaur’s Ancient Sign
A favorite attraction in Disney’s Animal Kingdom of many guests is Dinosaur which takes them back in time on a daring adventure complete with dinosaurs and meteors. A great secret detail in the loading area of the attraction that is overlooked by many guests pays homage to the history of the attraction. Near the loading platform is a series of letters and numbers spray painted on a wall that reads “SECTOR CTX-WDW-AK98.” While this may seem like a random string of letters and numbers, the CTX stands for the original title of the attraction Countdown to Extinction, the WDW stands for Walt Disney World, and the AK98 pays homage to the Animal Kingdom and its opening in 1998.
1. Muppet’s Key
Muppet Vision 3D is literally bursting with things to look at, from props and signs to sight gags and weird items. That kind of zany humor is the norm for the Muppets and a great example of a secret detail can be found just inside the entrance to the attraction. To the right of the hallway is an office with a sign indicating that the workers are on break and left the key under the mat. Sure enough, if guests lift up that mat they will actually find a hidden key!