Walt Disney World Theme park Secrets
Magic Kingdom - EPCOT - Animal Kingdom - Disney Hollywood Studios
- General Magic Kingdom
- Most cast members arrive to the park in their own clothes before changing into their costumes. When going on breaks they use the tunnels under the park to travel between the lands so as to not ruin the effect of the lands.
- On the statue of Walt Disney and Mickey together in the Magic Kingdom, Walt has a Mickey ring on his right finger.
- Small pipes from the trash cans in the park shoot the trash through underground tunnels (utilidors, or utility corridors) underneath the park at 60 miles per hour.
- On the ‘Keys to the Kingdom’ tour, it is mentioned that in WDW no trash bin will ever be more than 30 steps away from you. It is said that Walt Disney visited other parks when he was designing the Disney parks and counted how long a person would hold onto a piece of trash before dropping it on the ground. He came up with 30 steps.
- Walt Disney designed the Magic Kingdom so that as guests walk from one land to another they are not able to see the other lands (even the pavement changes in each land to set a different scene).
- There are a few telephones dotted around the park, including one in Tomorrowland underneath the TTA and Astro Orbiter and one in the General Store down Main Street USA. Pick them up and listen to the interesting conversations on the other end.
- At any attraction if there are two lines and you cannot see the loading area from where you are standing, take the line to the left.
- In the Magic Kingdom parking lot, only six of the seven dwarfs from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs have lots named after them; Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, Happy, Dopey and Grumpy. There is no lot named after Doc. This is because the designers were afraid that guests might get the Boat Dock, and the parking lot ‘Doc’ confused with each other.
- Listen to the music and the narration while riding the railroad.
- The whole of Disneyland can be fit inside the Magic Kingdom parking lot and still have space left over to park 500 cars!
- At the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, the turnstiles to the right of the gates are usually MUCH more crowded than the ones to the left.
- The red walkways down Main Street USA were designed by Walt Disney to resemble a red carpet (as if he wanted to lay out the red carpet for guests).
- Before the Magic Kingdom opens each morning, the Walt Disney World train is centered perfectly in front of the train station – a good photo opportunity. This is the only time during the day that this happens.
- Whilst walking down Main Street USA, take a good look at the castle and notice how the ‘bricks’ get smaller as the castle gets taller. The Disney Imagineers called this technique “forced perspective”, to make the castle appear larger than it would if the ‘bricks’ were all the same size.
- If you stand behind the castle during Cinderella’s surprise celebration show, you will see Peter Pan and Hook run down from the castle onto the stage, using the area near Tink’s Treasures.
- On the walls inside the walk-through through the castle there are several mosaics. On one of these you can see the two stepsisters from Cinderella, Anastasia and Drusilla, one with a red face and the other with a green face.
- Make a wish in the well outside the castle.
- Find the circle of small character statues surrounding the Walt and Mickey statue in front of the castle.
- While at Cinderella’s Royal Table, stand in front of the throne and look up to the right, and see the mice from Cinderella, Gus and Jacques.
- On the side of the castle, sit on the stone ledge and listen to Stitch as he giggles and tells you to be quiet because he’s hiding.
- On Main Street USA, sit in the outer edge of The Plaza restaurant and look for a wire that goes from the castle to the restaurant’s rooftop. During the Wishes fireworks show Tinkerbell flies down from the castle on this wire.
- Stand in front of the Walt and Mickey statue as you walk down Main Street USA and see Walt and Mickey holding hands in front of the castle.
- Along these walls there are approximately one million mosaics that make up the scenes.
- Behind the castle there is a fountain with Cinderella. If you crouch down in front of the fountain the crown on the back wall appears to sit on Cinderella’s head. This was designed at a child’s eye level so that kids always see Cinderella as a princess.
- Ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and smell the honey in the air.
- If you go in the little house in the Winnie the Pooh playground and look up above the door lintel you will see a Nautilus submarine. It's an homage to the fact that the area was once the 20,000 leagues ride.
- Eat at the Pinocchio Village Haus and look out of the window that overlooks the It’s A Small World attraction loading area.
- Pinocchio Village Haus is made up of seven themed rooms, each individually named – Blue Fairy, Cleo, Figaro, Monstro, Stromboli, Jiminy Cricket, and Gepetto’s Workshop.
- Whilst you are in Sir Mickey’s Shop, up at where the roof meets the walls – you will see Willie the Giant from ‘Mickey and the Beanstalk’ peeking down into the shop.
- If you want to wake up Tinkerbell, head to Tink’s Treasures as soon as the park opens and ask a cast member. If you hear music in the store you know that Tinkerbell has already been woken up, but if the store is quiet you know that she is still sleeping.
- There are only two figures that represent the USA – a cowboy and an Eskimo.
- Whilst riding Peter Pan’s Flight, as you move through the nursery, look over by Nana, you will see building blocks spelling out ‘Disney’ and ‘P Pan’.
- While riding It’s A Small World, look out for the small hat with ‘Mexico’ written on it in the South America part of the ride. This is the only place throughout the whole attraction that a name of a country or region is written out anywhere.
- Whilst riding Snow White’s Scary Adventures, look out for the laundry hanging out to dry – one pair of shorts has Mickey polka dots!
- In Tink’s Treasures, look for an old dresser, bend down and look inside the drawer – you will see Tinkerbell!
- For families with small children, head to Fantasyland as soon as the park opens, it will be relatively quiet and you should be able to do all of the attractions and rides before it becomes crowded. Dumbo the Flying Elephant is a good one to do early as this is very popular and the queues become very long later in the day.
- On the Cinderella’s Carousel ride, there is only one horse with a gold ribbon tied around its tail – this is rumoured to be Cinderella’s favourite horse.
- Also in Tink’s Treasures, can you spot Tinkerbell flying around?
- A cast member stood just before the gift shop at the end of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin may pick you to find a Disney character hidden somewhere in the area from the gift shop entrance onwards – you get a free copy of your on-ride photograph and a free souvenir if you can find one!
- In the Space Mountain ride, one of the asteroids is actually a chocolate chip cookie!
- Pick up the telephone under the TTA and Astro Orbiter and listen to the interesting conversations on the other end.
- Look out for the talking trashcan named Push. He comes out from Mickey’s Star Traders every hour and roams around the land for 20 minutes or so. Walk up to him to interact with him or find a comfortable seat and watch him surprise unsuspecting guests!
- On the Carousel of Progress, look out for the hidden picture of Walt Disney. It is hidden in the upper left corner of the wall in the daughter’s room in the 1940’s.
- Get a view of inside Space Mountain while riding the TTA.
- The dog in the Carousel of Progress (as well as the one holding the keys in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Adventureland) is said to be Walt Disney’s dog.
- At the beginning of the Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin ride, turn your car around and shoot at the back of the orange robot’s arm or at the back of the Buzz saw for big points.
- On the Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin ride, as you enter the last room that you are able to shoot in, look forward and up to the top left of the room to see a blue planet with Mickey on it.
- The TTA attraction was originally named the ‘WEDway People Mover’ (from 1975 until 1994). The ‘WED’ part of the name was for WED Enterprises, the original name for what is now Walt Disney Imagineering (or ‘WDI’ for short). ‘WED’ is of course Walt Disney’s initials (Walter Elias Disney). The attraction has now been renamed to Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
- The metal ‘palm trees’ in Tomorrowland fold up at night and open up again during the day.
- On Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, you can score more points by holding down the button for the duration of the ride.
Main Street USA
- Take your time to enjoy the window displays down Main Street.
- Visit the Barber Shop for a real haircut!
- At the back of Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, look through the dark blue, three-paned window, you can see a silhouette of Lady and Tramp sharing their spaghetti meal.
- On a quieter day, turn down the first side street to your right on Main Street and look up at the windows which have signs on them saying ‘Music Lessons’ and you can sometimes hear a voice practising scales and somebody tap dancing. To hear these though it needs to be pretty quiet around you.
- Near Tony’s Town Square Restaurant there is a statue Goofy sitting on a bench (Unsure whether Goofy still talks when you sit by him or not).
- In the Main Street train station, you can find objects left behind by other guests’, such as Mary Poppins and other Disney characters.
- Look at the fire station on Main Street – it is called Station No.71. The Magic Kingdom park opened in 1971.
- Get a spot in front of Cinderella’s castle about half an hour after the park closes – you’ll get a ‘kiss goodnight’ from the castle.
- In front of Tony’s Town Square Restaurant you can see paw prints from Lady and the Tramp.
- Inside the General Store on Main Street, pick up the old-fashioned telephone and listen to the interesting conversations on the other end.
- The area near City Hall is a good place to find characters.
- It is said that the two skeletons playing chess in the queue for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride died playing because the game is at a stalemate (no-one will win the game).
- Several years ago, an Imagineer named George was killed when working on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Today, it is said that the ghost of George haunts the ride and that the cast members must say goodnight to him before they leave each night, otherwise there could be problems with the ride the next day.
- Each of the scenes in the Jungle Cruise attraction has been taken from the adventure film series that Walt Disney produced in the 1960’s.
- On the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, look up at the man sitting on the first bridge you go under, his face has been made to look like Sid Caesar. One of the designers loved Sid Caesar and designed the sitting man’s face to look this way.
- Watch out for the Tiki statues – they spit at you!
- The Golden Camel that is in front of The Magic Carpets of Aladdin is controlled by a hidden cast member nearby and sprays unsuspecting guests as they walk by.
- It is said that the dog in both the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and in the Carousel of Progress (in Tomorrowland) is Walt Disney’s dog.
- In the queue area for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, look out for the crate that says ‘Lytum & Hyde Explosives Company’.
- Walk to the exit of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride and look behind the fence (on the left hand side as you leave the attraction). Between two metal carts and behind a cactus there is a cut-out in the red coloured rock that looks like a side profile of Tinkerbell.
- Take note of the queue to Splash Mountain, there are some great touches here.
- In the queue for Splash Mountain, look out for the hanging bird houses and listen to the birds talking and arguing.
- Look out for the claw marks on the floor of the Country Bear Jamboree show.
- On Tom Sawyer’s Island, find six hidden paintbrushes.
- Look out for the little critter who appears upside down in the cave-like room just before the last drop on Splash Mountain. He says ‘Go FSU’. This was included by an Imagineer who studied at Florida State University.
- At the Frontierland Railroad Station, look out for a wooden leg named ‘Smith’ (This is in reference to a joke told in the Mary Poppins film: “I knew a man with a wooden leg named Smith”, “What was the name of his other leg?”)
- There is a bridge on the outside of Splash Mountain, in front of the big drop. Every third log boat that hits the bottom of the drop there is a water cannon that shoots up extra water and soaks the bystanders who happen to be there watching!
- In keeping with the time period theme there are no public restrooms in Liberty Square.
- There are six separate images in the ‘Ageing Portrait’ above the fireplace in the Haunted Mansion, in which the young man ages and withers away. This portrait is said to have been inspired by an Oscar Wilde novel, ‘The Picture of Dorian Grey’.
- Inside the Haunted Mansion ballroom scene there is an old woman sitting in a rocking chair. This animatronic is an exact copy of the grandmother seen in the Carousel of Progress in Tomorrowland.
- In the Lobby in the Haunted Mansion (as you walk to the ‘Doombuggy’ cars), there is a desk with a lamp and a dictionary that is turned to the word ‘Death’.
- If you walk by the Haunted Mansion at night, look up to the top story right above the front door, and you can see a light pass by it and some shadows that look like two people are walking by with a lantern.
- As you exit the Haunted Mansion look to your left, you will see a pet cemetery and in the top left corner there is a statue of Mr toad, this is the original statue from the old attraction 'Mr Toad's wild ride'
- The Liberty Tree is over 100 years old.
- The thirteen lanterns hanging in the Liberty Tree are meant to represent the original thirteen colonies.
- General and FutureWorld
- Look out for the ‘fireflies’ in the trees.
- See the dancing water fountain behind Spaceship Earth (watch the water flow backwards!).
- Watch the walkways twinkle around Spaceship Earth at night.
- The distance around the World Showcase is approximately 1.3 miles.
- Notice the paths around the World Showcase lagoon are red – this is to make the grass appear to be greener.
- Play in the ‘magic water fountain’ on the walkway between FutureWorld and the World Showcase.
- Look out for the talking trash can by the Electric Umbrella restaurant.
- Grab a free drink and cool down at ‘Club Cool’ (formerly ‘Ice Station Cool’) by sampling different ‘Coca-Cola’ soft drinks from around the world.
- Take photos of yourself and email them to friends and family at Innoventions West.
- Take a 10 second video clip of yourself and email to friends and family back home at Innoventions East.
- Drink from one of the talking drinking fountains. There are three currently known of: one outside the Mouse Gears shop (east side), another can be found near the ‘magic water fountain’ between FutureWorld and the World Showcase, and the third can be found behind Innoventions West near the restrooms (between Innoventions and Honey I Shrunk The Kids).
- Look out for the solar powered lawn mowers.
- Listen out for the music in the ‘bushes’ as you enter Epcot.
- While riding on Mission: Space, start flipping the switches and pressing the buttons and hear ‘Lt. Dan’ tell you not to touch them
- The aquarium at the Living Seas attraction is so big that Spaceship Earth will fit inside it with some room to spare!
- Test Track is the fastest ride in Walt Disney World, running at 65 miles per hour!
- The cars used in Test Track have three on-board computers that have more processing power than the space shuttle.
- Look out for the mail box in front of the farmhouse in The Land – it has ’82’ on it. Epcot opened in 1982.
Around The World Showcase
- Open the crates in the African Outpost and see what happens.
- Look out for the American Flag that was retrieved from the rubble after the events of 11th September 2001.
- Watch ‘Off Kilter’ in Canada – fantastic, definitely not to be missed!
- The trees in Canada are replaced when they grow to be too large.
- Buy a fan from one of the shops in China and the cast members will write your name in Chinese on it for free.
- Take a photo with a troll in the store in Norway.
- Be in Germany (the Clock Tower) on the hour and watch two Hummel figurines come out of the clock.
- Find the secret garden in the UK – go down the path that is on the French side of the Rose and Crown pub.
- Look out for the ‘Kidcot Fun Stop’ stands in each country around the Word Showcase. Here kids can get a free mask which they can spend time decorating at each stand in each country (all for free!).
- Stand exactly in the middle of the room at the temple in China and hear your voice echo – the room is acoustically perfect.
- During the Illuminations fireworks show, the temple in Morocco is not lit up as the monuments in the other countries are because it violates Morocco’s religious beliefs.
- As you enter Japan, the statue to the right was a gift from the governor of Japan for the Magic Kingdom, but it was moved to Epcot when Epcot opened.
- Find Belle’s library in France.
- In Italy, look out for the red buttons that say ‘press for a surprise’ – when you press these buttons water squirts out from different locations (look for where the water comes from then wait for an unsuspecting guest to walk by!)
- ‘The Rose and Crown’ was chosen for the name of the pub in the UK because cast members found that the two words ‘Rose’ and ‘Crown’ were the most commonly used in the names of pubs around all of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- You can look up your family name and its history in the UK. There is a book to find the name in and cast members will bring up the information on their computers. You can buy souvenirs such as mugs and t-shirts with your family name and crest on them.
- In Japan, look out for the woman who makes animals out of candy – she will sometimes give them out for free.
- All of the tiles and carvings in Morocco were hand-made.
- Don’t miss ‘The British Invasion’ (a Beatles tribute band) in the UK.
- The King of Morocco was so excited for Morocco to have been included in the World Showcase that he sent his own builders to construct the whole pavilion – it did not cost Disney anything.
- Grab a ‘yard of ale’ from the Rose and Crown pub in the UK.
- The roof on the Norway pavilion has grass on it – cast members climb up onto the roof and trim the grass with clippers (as they do not have goats).
- Grab a plate of traditional British Fish and Chips in the UK.
- General Animal Kingdom
- About 15 minutes before the scheduled opening time of the park every morning, you can go through the turnstiles to the area with the Tree of Life in it. There, characters will appear to welcome you to the park!
- Look out for ‘Divine’ near the entrance to the park – she is a lady wrapped in leaves and walking on stilts, cleverly hidden in the landscape until she moves.
- Look out for the moving, talking palm tree near the entrance to the park.
- After the security bag checks before the turnstiles into the park, head through the Rain forest Café, there is another turnstile into the park there, less crowded than at the main turnstiles.
- Notice the leaf prints and cracks in the walkways. These were made by the Imagineers using a mould. They took a large patch of mud, created a cast from it and reproduced it to make the walkways.
- Don’t miss ‘Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade’.
- There are 325 animals carved into the Tree of Life. These are meant to represent the ‘Circle of Life’.
- The Tree of Life is 145 feet in height.
- At the bridge between Camp Minnie-Mickey and Discovery Island look towards the water and you can see dinosaurs and a dragon waterfall.
Disney Hollywood Studios
- Discovery Island
- Inside the ‘It’s Tough To Be A Bug’ attraction, at the end listen out for when the announcement “Will all honorary bugs please remain seated so the beetles, maggots and cockroaches may exit safely” and look up to the ceiling. Notice the ‘swarm’ of lights heading towards the exit doors, and look to the left at the exit signs and see ‘fireflies’ lighting up the exit signs as they leave.
- When you exit the tree of life theatre after watching ‘It’s Tough To Be A Bug’ go left instead of right. this takes you through the tree of life gardens and has some good animal encounters... but everyone heads to their right and misses it... it is also a nice shortcut to Africa as it brings you out right at the bridge.
- Take your time walking around the Discovery Island Trails – not to be missed!
- Head into the Pizzafari restaurant (counter service) early to beat the lunch rush and take time to study and enjoy the intricately decorated rooms – there are six rooms: The Home Room, The Nocturnal Room, The Bug Room, The Upside-Down Room, The Camouflage Room, and the Four-Seasons Room (try to guess which room is which!).
- Look out for Mickey and Pluto fishing in the stream
- Look out for Daisy hiking with Donald’s three nephews, Hewey, Dewey and Lewey.
- On the walkway to Camp Minnie-Mickey, listen out for the two talking bushes, Herb and Flora, you can hear them talking to guests walking by and ‘people-watching’ with each other.
- Don’t miss The Festival Of The Lion King!
- Don’t ride the Kilimanjaro Safari just once – different animals appear at different times of the day so ride more than once to get different experiences.
- The pond that the flamingos are stood in is Mickey-shaped!
- If you see the lions sitting on a big rock and wonder why they are sitting out in the mid day sun it might be because the rock is artificially cooled!
Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- Look out for the hidden Mickey’s in the colourful mural at the entrance to the main building. They are all over.
- Don’t miss out on the Conservation Station – there is a lot to do here for families with children of all ages.
- Look out for the talking, moving trash can around the Conservation Station.
- In the Kali River Rapids queue, look out for the two live geckos that reside in Mr. Panika’s office.
- Take the time to look at the displays as you go through the queue at the Kali River Rapids ride.
- Approximately 1,800 tons of steel were used to build Expedition Everest!
- Behind the jeep in the Bone Yard there is a set of fossils in the wall – hit one, they’re musical!
- The highway sign in DinoLand is ‘Route 498’ – The park opened in April (4) 1998 (98).
- Notice the red, yellow and white pipes above the loading area on the Dinosaur ride – these are Ketchup, Mustard and Mayonnaise, and written on the pipes are their chemical formula's.
- As you enter DinoLand, go under the giant dinosaur and look to see if the dinosaur is male or female – the way the lights are presented will tell you which it is.
- General Hollywood Studios
- The Crossroads tower near the entrance to the park is a replica of the original one in Los Angeles, California – except that this one has a Mickey on the top of it! This Mickey Mouse statue also has another purpose – it acts as a lightning rod. Mickey’s right ear is made out of copper.
- When you head into Hollywood Studios first thing in the morning when the park opens, head straight to The Great Movie Ride and Star Tours to ride these with very little queue, as most of the other guests tend to head to the ‘bigger’ rides such as Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror first.
- The ‘Mickey’s of Hollywood’ store is a spoof a famous lingerie store called ‘Frederick’s of Hollywood’.
- The Sorcerer Mickey’s hat in the centre of the park weighs 150 tonnes and stand at 122 feet tall.
- Notice the hand prints set in the concrete in front of The Great Movie Ride – measure your own hand prints against those of some famous people!
- Notice the names stencilled on the second floor windows of some of the buildings.
- At the Brown Derby restaurant, notice the pictures in frames around the walls. The pictures in black frames are replicas of the originals that are on display at the original Hollywood Brown Derby, while the pictures in gold frames are the actual originals.
- Look out for the ‘Streetmosphere’ performers that appear at various intervals throughout the day on Hollywood Boulevard, they are not to be missed! Because the show is mostly unscripted and uses volunteers from the audience, it’s a unique show every time!
- When The Great Movie Ride was built, Disney Imagineers bought a real Lockheed plane and split it in half – the front half went to The Great Movie Ride, and the back half can be seen in the Magic Kingdom’s Jungle Cruise attraction.
- Look out for the licence plate number on the car in the gangster scene in The Great Move Ride – 021-429. This is the date of the Valentine’s Day Massacre (February 14th, 1929).
- Just as you exit Star Tours, go right across the walkway and you will see the Starcruiser backdrop – great for a photo opportunity!
- Near the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular show, there are some crates hidden in bushes that say ‘Don’t Open’ – Open them! Nearby here there is also a rope leading down to a well with a sign on it saying ‘Do not Pull’ – go ahead and pull the rope.
- In the Star Tours queue area, listen out for a robot paging a ‘Egroeg Sacul’ – This is ‘George Lucas’ spelled backwards!
Streets of America
- At the entrance turnstiles to Muppet Vision 3D there is a door with a sign on it saying ‘Closed – Key Under Mat’ – Look under the mat on the floor and you’ll find the key!
- In the Honey I Shrunk The Kids Movie Set Playground, find the dog’s nose near the hosepipe – put your hand inside the dog’s nose!
- Take your time to look around the Muppet Vision 3D waiting area, there are a lot of ‘inside jokes’ and visual humour to be seen. One example is if you look up at the ceiling you will see a net filled with what looks like jello – Annette Funicello (say it slowly – A net full of jello!)
- Don’t miss the Muppet's water fountain outside Muppet Vision 3D, and also the fire truck located at the exit of the attraction!
- Read the graffiti on the walls of the Muppet Vision 3D building.
- At the ‘Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show’, look out for a clothes line on one of the buildings – one of the items of clothing has Mickeys on it!
- Walking down the ‘New York’ street, you can hear gangsters inside the buildings.
- Look out for the iconic ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ umbrella attached to a lamp post – great for a photo opportunity! Hold onto the umbrella and stand on the black square underneath it for a surprise!
- Attend the second showing of Fantasmic – it is less busy than the first showing.
- On Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster notice the licence plates on the limos – 2FAST4U, UGOGIRL, 1QKLIMO, H8TRFFC, BUHBYE.
- During the preshow video in Tower of Terror, the little girl is holding a Mickey Mouse doll.
- On Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, each limo plays a different Aerosmith song during the ride.
- The maximum speed of Tower of Terror is said to be 39 miles per hour.
- Listen in the queue of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster to the PA announcements being made – these are the names of the Imagineers of the ride.
- On Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, if you’re in the limo playing the song ‘Love In An Elevator’ when the ride ends listen to the lyrics change to ‘Love In A Roller Coaster’.
- The lagoon in the Fantasmic theatre is only 1.5 ft deep!
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