Walt Disney World is a massive vacation destination that accommodates thousands of guests each day. With four theme parks, two water parks, dozens of resorts, and Disney Springs, there are endless experiences to enjoy and things to see. With so much going happening each day in Disney, it is no surprise that there are several secrets hidden throughout the parks for guests to stumble upon. Some are completely hidden and aide in the day to day operation of the parks, some are necessities to keep certain attractions operating, and some are hidden in plain sight for guests to enjoy. No matter what the secret is, it helps to keep Walt Disney World such an interesting and flawlessly operating vacation destination! Here are the best kept secrets of Walt Disney World.
10. Pirate’s Drop –
Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland is one of the most popular attractions in the Magic Kingdom and it takes guests on a thrilling adventure through a seaside village where pirates are ransacking away. Before reaching the village, guests pass through some ominous caves filled with skeletons of pirates past. At the end of the caves, guests enter into a dark tunnel where they find themselves suddenly dropping down a hill into the middle of a raging battle. While this drop might seem like a device to add extra adventure to the attraction, it actually serves a functional purpose. Pirates of the Caribbean was constructed after the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971 with the Walt Disney World Railroad operating on a loop around the exterior of the park. Since Pirates’ show building is located outside of the railroad’s tracks, guests need to experience that drop to move underneath the tracks and reach the show building!
9. The Utilidors –
Guests who are exploring the Magic Kingdom might not realize that they are on the second floor! When the Magic Kingdom was being constructed, Disney decided to build underground corridors which served many different functional purposes. The Utilidors (which combine utility and corridors) house garbage collection, costuming, Cast Members services, and also serve as a way for Cast Members to travel throughout the park without being seen by guests. The unique Utilidors are off limits to guests, but can be seen by those who pay extra for the Keys to the Kingdom Tour which briefly allows guests a glimpse of the area underneath Main Street.
8. Familiar Faces –
When Spaceship Earth in Epcot was being constructed, Imagineers needed to create dozens of Audio Animatronics to portray everything from Romans to Renaissance painters. Since so many figures were needed, Imagineers decided to recycle ones that had already been created for other Walt Disney World attractions like the Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom. Guests who experience Spaceship Earth should be on the lookout for familiar faces like William Taft as an Egyptian, James Buchanan as Gutenberg, Dwight Eisenhower as a musician, and Teddy Roosevelt as a Roman.
7. Black Light Cars –
Peter Pan’s Flight in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland takes guests on a magical trip through the skies of London and Neverland with Peter, the Darling children, and the Lost Boys. Guests love the scene where their pirate ship soars over London and they are offered beautiful views of Big Ben, Parliament, and the whole city’s skyline. One of the amazing details in the city are the small dots of car’s headlights speeding by on the major roads. While the headlights look completely real, they are actually small dots of black light paint which continuously circle on bike chains!
6. TTA’s Magnets –
The Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover in the Magic Kingdom takes guests on a relaxing journey on the highway in the sky and offers them glimpses into nearby attractions like Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and Space Mountain. The TTA offers guests such a smooth and enjoyable ride that most assume that it runs on electricity, but that is not the case! The TTA actually runs on a linear induction system which utilizes only the power of magnets to push and pull the vehicles along, making it a clean running attraction.
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5. Cinderella’s Construction –
The focal point of the Magic Kingdom is Cinderella Castle which soars high into the sky with blue turrets and gold accents. The Castle itself looks as though it was constructed using heavy stones, but many guests are surprised to learn that not one stone was used in the building of the structure! Cinderella Castle was actually constructed using fiberglass and concrete, making it sturdy enough to withstand hurricane winds and weather. Imagneers did such an amazing job constructing Cinderella Castle that guests would never know that there are no stones.
4. Pepper’s Ghost –
The Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square is a fan favorite attraction which takes guests into Gracey Manor where they find themselves face to face with nine hundred and ninety nine happy haunts. Master Gracey was named in honor of Imagineer Yale Gracey who designed many of the special effects which bring the attraction to life. The most memorable effect of the attraction comes with the ballroom scene where ghosts can be seen waltzing, celebrating a birthday, and even dueling from portraits high above. Gracey created the effect in the attraction by utilizing an old magician’s trick called Pepper’s Ghost which uses lights, glass, and reflections to create ghostly images.
3. Mr. Toad’s Tombstone –
After experiencing the Haunted Mansion, guests emerge blinking in the daylight on a path back to the heart of Liberty Square. While walking along that path, many guests don’t notice a fenced in pet cemetery on the left hand side. Featuring several tombstones and statues, the pet cemetery also pays tribute to a character no longer seen in the Magic Kingdom. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride used to exist in the space where The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh now resides, and Mr. Toad can still be seen in a morbid way via his own tombstone in the back left hand corner of the pet cemetery.
2. Gopher Fan –
Splash Mountain is one of the most thrilling attractions in the Magic Kingdom as it takes guests on an adventure following Br’er Rabbit which culminates with a drop straight down into the Briar Patch. Along the way, guests move through a scene titled the Laughing Place full of playing turtles and other giggly animals. Midway through the scene, several gophers pop down from the ceiling above cheering out, and the final gopher appears wearing some interesting clothing and yelling out something specific. The final gopher yells out “FSU” for Florida State University where several Imagineers attended classes, and he is wearing orange which is the school’s color.
1. Toy Story Mania’s Bonus Points –
In Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Land is a popular place! Guests can shrink down to the size of a toy and compete in 3D midway games hosted by Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the toys. While each game might seem straightforward, there are hidden combinations and targets in each round which unlock extra points and targets for guests. The hidden Easter Eggs are how guests are able to score countless points and set the high score each day, and they can be tricky so it might take several rides to unlock them! A great Easter Egg to start with can be found during the Alien round where a special event will occur if guests are able to hit each green alien in the rocket ship in succession without any of them popping back up first. Guests will love revisiting Toy Story Mania over and over to try and unlock this bonus!