A Walt Disney World vacation is a magical experience full of moments that will be remembered for a lifetime. Guests who enjoy a Disney vacation can explore four theme parks, two water parks, Disney Resorts, and Disney Springs and enjoy attractions, dining, shopping, and live entertainment. With so much to see and do on a Disney vacation, guests find themselves really trying to see it all and feeling as if they know a lot about Walt Disney World simply by seeing it. Many guests don’t slow down to recognize the incredible amount of detail that can be found in every area of Walt Disney World making it a truly immersive experience. Amongst the details and behind the scenes are plenty of hidden secrets and facts which go overlooked by guests. Some of these secrets are hidden in plain sight and some are out of the view of guests but still occur regardless to make each day in Walt Disney World as smooth and magical as possible. Here are eight of the best kept secrets at Walt Disney World.
8. Utilidors –
Many guests who are walking around the Magic Kingdom never realize that they are actually on the second floor of the park! When the Magic Kingdom was being constructed, Imagineers built a series of underground tunnels to keep Cast Member operations out of the view of guests. The Utilidors were named by combining utility and corridor and house services like costuming, Cast Member break rooms, maintenance, and garbage collection. Guests who walk around the Magic Kingdom might not realize that they are walking around on top of the Utilidors all day!
7. Yeti Down –
One of the most thrilling attractions in Walt Disney World can be found in the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Expedition Everest invites guests on a serene tea train tour which soon turns into a thrilling adventure when the train ends up deep inside the Forbidden Mountain. Guests come face to face with the fabled Yeti who ominously seems to be swooping down to snatch guests out of the train as they pass by. Many guests don’t realize that they Yeti they see today is in a state of disrepair. Originally the Yeti would swoop his arm down to try and scoop up guests, but the current version does not move nearly as much and features heavy strobe lights. After a malfunction with the Yeti, Imagineers realized that in order to repair him he would need to be removed from the mountain which would require taking part of it apart. Instead strobe lights were installed to create the illusion of movement to guests.
6. Hidden Mickeys –
Hidden throughout all of Walt Disney World are hundreds of Hidden Mickeys. Hidden Mickeys can be found virtually everywhere including décor, artwork, architecture, and props. They can be representations of Mickey or any other Disney character including Donald, Minnie, and Tinkerbell. Guests can spend an entire Walt Disney World vacation searching for Hidden Mickeys that they might have never known existed before looking.
5. Pirate’s Drop –
Pirates of the Caribbean in the Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland is a classic attraction which invites guests to take to the high seas and sail with pirates through eerie caves and a burning seaside village. At one point during the attraction, guests enter into a dark cave and plummet down a small drop into a battle below. While the drop might seem like an element strictly to thrill guests, it serves a functional purpose. Pirates of the Caribbean was originally not planned to be constructed in the Magic Kingdom since Imagineers thought guests would not be interested because they were already so close to the Caribbean. After many requests the attraction was built but needed to be constructed so that guests could pass underneath the preexisting tracks of the Walt Disney World Railroad to the show building. Thus, Imagineers built the drop into Pirates of the Caribbean to effectively move guests underneath the tracks and into the main show building.
4. Familiar Faces –
Guests who visit Epcot love enjoying Spaceship Earth which takes them from the beginning of time to modern day to celebrate the history of communication. Guests pass through a number of scenes throughout the attraction that depict important moments in history like man landing on the moon and the Renaissance. Each scene features multiple audio animatronics, and instead of creating dozens of new molds and figures for the attraction, Imagineers decided to reuse existing audio animatronics from the Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom. Guests who look closely while experiencing Spaceship Earth can spot James Buchanan as Gutenberg, Teddy Roosevelt as a Roman, William Taft as an Egyptian, and Franklin Pierce as a scholar.
3. It’s Magnetic! –
An underrated attraction in the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland invites guests to take a ride on a highway in the sky. The Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover whisks guests around the skies of Tomorrowland offering them sweeping views of the land and glimpses into nearby attractions like Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and Space Mountain. Guests can kick back and enjoy the breeze and a smooth ride on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover without ever realizing that the attraction is entirely powered by magnets! A linear induction system uses magnets to push and pull each attraction vehicle making for a smooth and efficient highway in the sky.
2. A Moroccan Tower –
Guests who are enjoying Epcot’s World Showcase can stand near the Odyssey and look across World Showcase Lagoon to enjoy the perfect view of the Morocco Pavilion’s skyline. One building in Morocco appears to be much further in the distance than the others but guests might not realize that it is actually located in another theme park! The building is The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and is one of the tallest attractions in Walt Disney World. When the attraction was being built, Imagineers realized that it could be seen from nearby Epcot and purposely designed it so that it would blend in in color and architectural style with the rest of the buildings in Morocco.
1. Ghostly Effects –
One of the most iconic attractions in all of Walt Disney World is the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square. The attraction invites guests into Gracey Manor where nine hundred and ninety nine happy haunts stir up some creepy and eerie effects. The most iconic scene of the Haunted Mansion is the ballroom where ghosts can be seen fading in and out of view and celebrating a birthday, dueling high above, and playing a ghostly organ. The effect is one of the most stunning in all of Walt Disney World and one of the simplest to pull off. Imagineers were inspired by scientist John Henry Pepper who created a technique called Pepper’s Ghost in which an eerie reflection is produce using proper lighting and angles. The ghosts in the Haunted Mansion’s ballroom are wonderful to watch and guests might not realize how simple th effect actually is!