Off-Limits Locations We Wish We Could Explore at Disney Parks

Off-Limits Cover Feature

If you are honest with yourself, then as a Disney fan, you can truthfully admit to having had the desire to explore some of those enticing, off-limits sections found throughout various Disney Park locations on more than one occasion. What secrets are hiding just out of reach of public scrutiny? Moreover, why do we yearn to enter into forbidden, highly prohibited places? It’s undoubtedly the mystery, intrigue, or exclusive knowledge we will come away with. But still, we must all ask ourselves if breaking the rules and actually venturing through Disney’s most secretive boundaries is even worth it. The Walt Disney Company greatly emphasizes the importance of adhering to all the established rules. And we really don’t want to rock the boat, now do we? Just the same, here are some of the most coveted off-limits locations we adamantly wish we could explore throughout Disney Parks.

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Attraction Sets and Scenery

Let’s start by reviewing Disney’s many integral attraction sets. You can’t deny that at least one time or another, you have been overcome with curiosity to explore what’s just beyond the public vantage point of your favorite ride or theater stage production. Perhaps you’ve longed to endow the 999 haunts in the Haunted Mansion with your own lively touch. And it may just wake the snoozers up a bit if you got into the act yourself at Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. Or perhaps you’ve had the urge to jump into the scenes as they unfold during your ride through Spaceship Earth. Fortunately, most of us can restrain ourselves enough from acting on such ambitions (most of the time), but just the same, you cannot deny that there is a very real yearning to explore such off-limits pursuits alive in all of us.

The desire to enter Disney’s forbidden territory also carries over throughout the different Parks and includes backdrops and thematic props, like dividing walls, floral displays, and more. I remember seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time out in the distance at the France Pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase. I specifically asked about how to get there, only to learn that it cannot be accessed. So, I made like Elsa and let it go. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has ever had such an idea, though, and I dare wonder if it has ever led to unauthorized trespassing from bolder Disney Guests in the past.

Spaceship Earth Scene

Credit: Disney

RELATED: VIDEO: Guest Jumps Out of EPCOT Ride Vehicle to Sit With Animatronic

On Top of the EPCOT Sphere

For those of us who are old enough to remember it, a Disney World commercial aired in the late 1980s/early 1990s for “EPCOT Center” ending with a zoom-out shot of Mickey Mouse standing on top of EPCOT’s iconic geosphere waving (link below). Whether it was this image that directly ignited popular public questioning on whether or not you may access the top of the EPCOT ball or not remains to be seen. Still, folks have certainly come to wonder about it time and again. Even younger generations who are entirely unfamiliar with this commercial have wondered what it would be like to stand on top of the EPCOT ball!

Mickey on EPCOT Ball Waving

Credit: Disney

Discovery Island

It may be tempting to rent a pontoon boat and head over to that abandoned, overgrown island floating out along the Seven Seas Lagoon. After all, it holds the remnants of what was once a thriving zoological park before the establishment of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park came about, leading to its eventual closure. But folks be warned that trespassing on the former Discovery Island is strictly prohibited by Disney. As much as you want to see it, coming anywhere near this area can permanently ban you from Disney World! And what Disney fan wants that? On a similar note, steer clear of the abandoned River Country Water Park as well.

Side by Bide Display of Abandoned Discovery Island and River Country

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Forbidden Waters 

Disney Resorts boast plenty of swimming pools onsite. Moreover, Guests can enjoy two wonderful water parks—Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. Yet there are still some folks who long to take a dip in various surrounding lakes and lagoons on Disney property. For both sanitary reasons and the threat of alligators in the area, unauthorized swimming in any of these locations is strictly forbidden. If you want to have a beach day at your Resort, forgo the coastal waters and head for the pools!

Take heed that swimming at Disney Springs is also prohibited. Likewise, there are penalties for anyone looking to cool down via one of the many surrounding fountains gracing any Disney World location. Just head to one of the misting stations or onsite splash areas if you have a need for a quick cool down.

Now Swimming Sign at Polynesian Shoreline and Donald Duck Clipart

Credit: Disney Fanatic

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For most Disney fans, the secret is out about the existence of an intricate network of interconnecting tunnels that run just beneath Magic Kingdom Park called Utilidors. On a much smaller scale, there are also Utilidors located below certain sections in EPCOT, largely concentrated around the Spaceship Earth surrounding area. While it is true that Guests embarking on the Keys to the Kingdom Tour can actually visit the Magic Kingdom’s forbidden Utilidor system, limits are in place for how far they can go. At best, you’re only ever seeing the tip of the iceberg of what Disney’s lesser-known underground operations have to offer. So, it’s understandable that the desire to delve deeper into such operations is alive and well in the hearts of many Disney fans.

Mickey and Minnie Backshot Walking Through Utilidors

Credit: Disney

RELATED: The Underground Secrets of the Magic Kingdom’s Utilidors

The Underground Subway Restaurant

Speaking of the literal Disney underground, did you know a Subway Restaurant is underneath Magic Kingdom Park? It can be found within the range of the Disney Cast Member exclusive Mouseketeria just below Pinocchio Village Haus in Fantasyland. Operating from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on most days, this Subway is understandably reserved for Cast Members only. But that makes the civilian desire to explore it on a personal level that much more alluring.

Hidden Subway Underground at Disney World

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Matterhorn Basketball Court

For this next one, we’re taking a detour over to Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, stopping at that iconic classic attraction, Matterhorn Bobsleds. Rumors have come about over the years that an actual basketball court is hidden within the attraction, located on its uppermost tier. As the legend goes, during the mountain’s construction, a city ordinance dictated that no edifice could be built so high unless it was a sports facility. Therefore, Walt Disney conveniently included a basketball court to make it all legal.

This is just a romantic myth, as no such ordinance existed then. But the bit about a basketball court (of sorts) being located within the Matterhorn is not at all fictional. More or less, it is a basketball hoop situated in an area that has largely served as a Cast Member break area and resting stop for hired “mountain scaler” performers. All the same, wouldn’t you like to stop by and shoot some hoops in Matterhorn?

Basketball Hoop Shooting Insider Matterhorn

Club 33

The various Club 33 locations that can be found throughout Disney Park locations the world over are only off-limits to those who are not members. But that’s what makes garnering access to such sites a coveted pursuit for the vast majority of us who aren’t members and have highly unlikely prospects of ever becoming members ourselves.

Over at Disneyland there is also the lesser-known 21 Royal Restaurant that most folks will never get to go to. That’s because it’s an experience reserved for just 12 Guests at a time and comes with a starting price set at the $15,000 marker.

Signage for Club 33

Credit: Inside the Magic

RELATED: All About Disney’s Various Club 33 Locations

Walt’s Apartment

Again, here is an experience that is not entirely off-limits in the traditional sense. In fact, it’s even included as part of the current Walt’s Main Street Story Tour at Disneyland. But still, wouldn’t it be nice to access this more esoteric apartment located just above the firehouse without your fellow tour group? How about the desire to spend a little private time, taking a seat and pretending you’re a special Guest visiting privately with Walt Disney himself?

Walt's Apartment Above Firehouse

Cinderella Castle Suite

Second to Walt’s Apartment in Disneyland is the highly coveted Cinderella Castle Suite gracing Magic Kingdom Park on the Walt Disney World Resort scene. As the name conveys, it is an actual suite hindered unassumingly within the walls of the one and only Cinderella Castle.

The space comprising of the Cinderella Castle Suite was initially intended to be a family apartment reserved for Walt Disney and his kin. But after his untimely death, the intended apartment was never finished, and the space was used for storage. That was until 2006 when the area was transformed into the esoteric Cinderella Castle Suite during the Year of a Million Dreams promo that allowed lucky individuals to stay here overnight.

The Cinderella Suite is now reserved for the most exclusive purposes. No price can buy a chance to lodge here; anyone permitted to do so must be invited by the Walt Disney Company specifically. And that makes us want it more!

Interior Shot of Cinderella Castle Suite

Credit: Disney

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There are so many other forbidden fruits to be found throughout various Disney locations worldwide. And while most of us must painfully obey the rules and forego our deepest desires to learn the juicy secrets within each off-limit location, we can all find solace and reassurance in knowing that having such limits in place keeps Disney Magic alive and going strong.

About Laura

Laura Catherine aka “LC” is a writer who resides in Maryland with her family and several pets. She visits Walt Disney World whenever she can. Additionally, she is a published author of three novels, a children’s book, and has a passion for gardening.