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8 Things You May Not Know About Walt Disney World Attractions

8) It takes a lot of cast members to create the magic

So many cast members work hard to ensure that attractions run safely and efficiently, while also putting on a great show for the guests. Numerous Imagineers work super hard researching all of the details for the attractions’ storylines while also making sure that the attraction’s design can deliver this experience to guests safely. Imagineers truly do push the limits of their imaginations to create the most immersive experience for guests. Most guests will never realize, or even hear about all of the cast members who make an attraction run properly. Even in the day to day running of an attraction, it’s difficult for guests to understand the scope of how many people it takes to make one attraction work properly.

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7) Not every attraction is a ride

Often times when we think about attractions, we automatically think about our favorite rides. Perhaps surprisingly, some of my favorite attractions are actually shows! While shows obviously differ from rides most simply in the nature of the experience, shows can sometimes take even more cast members than rides to make them run smoothly. In addition to the other cast members I’ve previously mentioned, shows also require performers, and backstage crew members, as well as an added safety element in the form of crowd control. Other experiences, such as the animal walking trails, and playgrounds (in the park) are also technically part of attractions.

6) There are more (or less) attractions cast members than you realize

Like the attractions themselves, we sometimes think of attractions cast members as the cast who work at rides. Not only can they also work at shows, playgrounds and walkthroughs, but cast members working at places like Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, and the Fastpass+ kiosks are also considered to be a part of the attractions cast. Conversely, there are cast members who appear to work in attractions, but are actually part of another role. One instance of this is in Dinoland USA, where you might have thought that the cast spieling and running the carnival games are part of attractions. They’re actually merchandise cast members, who must multitask during each shift by spieling to guests and running the games, while also selling the tickets to play the games and other various merchandise.

5) They can be important pieces of Disney history

Some Disney attractions serve to remind us of the company’s unique history and innovations in a variety of fields. The PeopleMover for instance, is an original concept that Walt Disney designed during the initial planning for Epcot as an experimental prototype community of tomorrow. Assuming Epcot really did become a planned city rather than a theme park, the PeopleMover would have been used to transport residents from the outer suburbs to the city center.

4) Acting is part of the job

Attractions often more so than other non-entertainment roles, really requires cast members to get into character for the guests. One prime example of this would be at the Haunted Mansion. While technically the primarily responsibility of them maids and butlers is to make sure that the guests have a safe and enjoyable experience on the ride, acting the part is also an aspect of their job. The Haunted Mansion wouldn’t be quite as fun if the cast members were smiling and cheerful like they are in the rest of the park.

3) Inspiration in other art forms

Most people already know that Disney movies often inspire Imagineers to create attractions, but did you know that it can also work the other way around? Take Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion for instance– both of these attractions inspired movies, and in the case of Pirates of the Caribbean the movies re-inspired the ride, with the addition of characters from the films in 2006. Attractions have started to inspire other art forms as well– both Journey into Imagination with Figment and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad have recently inspired series of comic books.

2) Safety is everything

Of course, safety is extremely important for all areas of the Walt Disney World Resort, however attractions make up one of the areas where guests typically are able to see the importance of safety firsthand, through the design of the attraction itself, and the cast members’ actions. There is a lot more involved with safety in attractions than simply making sure guests wear their seatbelts. At any attraction, perhaps with show being the only exception, cast members must monitor guests and make sure they remain seated. If a guest stands up an attraction like Pirates of the Caribbean or Kilimanjaro Safaris, the guest could fall out of the vehicle and become seriously injured. At Fantasmic, they must keep guests from climbing over the benches. And in 3D shows, they must ensure that guests do not walk around with the 3D glasses on.

1) It’s all in the details

The one thing that really sets Disney’s attractions apart from the competition is the level of detail that goes into designing each attraction. When you visit a Disney park, your experiences with the attractions are not memorable just because of how high or fast something is, but rather because you are placed right in the middle of some of your favorite stories.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a graduate of St. Anselm College, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in History. She completed two Disney College Programs, one at Dinoland U.S.A., in Animal Kingdom, and one at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios. She is the author of “Brittany Earns Her Ears,” a memoir about her experiences on the college program, and she currently resides in Massachusetts.