Walt Disney World is a massive vacation destination featuring four theme parks to explore, dozens of resorts to choose from, and endless dining options to enjoy. With so much happening that guests can see, there are still endless small details and hidden secrets that many guests might not notice. These details and secrets can focus on the history of the parks, operations of attractions, resourcefulness, and even practicality. Some of these secrets are hidden in plain sights and some are behind the scenes to ensure that guests have a perfect day in the parks, but they should all be appreciated. Here are eight Disney Park secrets revealed for guests to discover on their next Disney vacation.
8. Utilidors –
While enjoying a day in the Magic Kingdom, guests might not realize that they are actually on the second floor of the park! The Magic Kingdom is actually built so that the guests are technically upstairs while corridors titled Utilidors are located underground. These corridors serve many different functions including a way for Cast Members to get around without being seen by guests, costuming, break rooms, and various other behind the scenes functions. While guests are not allowed to enter these tunnels under usual circumstances, those who are curious can catch a glimpse on The Keys to the Kingdom Tour.
7. The Tree of Life’s Support –
While the Tree of Life might look like it has been growing in the middle of Disney’s Animal Kingdom for centuries, it is actually a man-made tree supported in a creative way. Since the tree is so enormous, Imagineers initially struggled with how to support the many tons of weight while safely encasing the theater for It’s Tough To Be A Bug in the roots. Eventually, an old oil rig was purchased an installed as the base of the tree to ensure safety and structure for the massive icon.
6. Pirate’s Drop –
While sailing along on Pirates of the Caribbean guests pass by everything from eerie caves to a burning seaside village. Along the way there is a small drop which takes guests down from the caves into the middle of a battle between a pirate ship and a coastal fort. While this drop might just seem like an entertaining element of the attraction, it actually serves a functional purpose by bringing guests underneath the Walt Disney World Railroad tracks and into the massive show building which houses most of the attraction.
5. Familiar Faces –
When audio-animatronics were first being developed and installed in Walt Disney World attractions, it proved to be more cost efficient to reuse molds for different attractions. Even though many characters share the same faces, they are costumed and made up in different styles so that they appear to be unique. One of the best examples of an attraction with reused audio-animatronic molds is Spaceship Earth which drew upon previously utilized faces from the Hall of Presidents. Look for William Taft as an Egyptian priest, James Buchanan as Gutenberg, John Adams as a monk, and Franklin Pierce as a scholar.
4. Fake Stone –
Cinderella Castle may look like a massive stone structure that took years of man power to build, however real stone would not have been practical in constructing a theme park in Central Florida. Cinderella Castle was actually constructed with steel and fiberglass made to withstand hurricanes that can be prevalent in the area. The outside of the Castle is so well done that it fools many guests into thinking that it is real stone!
3. Forced Perspective –
All throughout Walt Disney World the technique of forced perspective is utilized to make more efficient use of space and trick guests into thinking that structures are larger than they are. The best example of forced perspective is Main Street where the first floor of buildings are sized normally, but each following floor up becomes smaller and smaller making them look as though they are full size buildings when in fact they are much more compact.
2. Tiki’s Trick –
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room might look like it came straight out of the South Pacific with its authentic thatched roofs, but some guests might be surprised to find out that the thatching is actually fake! What appears to be thatch is actually metal making the attraction a giant lightening rod to protect guests nearby during storms.
1. Highway of Magnets –
One of the most underrated attractions in Tomorrowland is the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover which takes guests on a ride on the highway in the sky. Giving guests sneak peeks into attractions and moving at a jaunty pace, most guests will probably assume that the attraction is powered by electricity when it is not! The TTA is actually powered by linear induction motors which are massive magnets that push and pull the cars along the track using clean energy! If guests look closely at the track on their next ride they will be sure to spot the magnets scattered along the way.