38 Things You Might Not Know About Walt Disney World
1. When dining at the Be Our Guest restaurant, you can remember one of Lumiere’s lines and order “the gray stuff” for dessert – it really is delicious!
2. Opening times listed for the parks aren’t always exactly accurate – guests are often let through the gates as early as 15 minutes beforehand. All the more reason to get there early!
3. There are no lost children at Disney – instead, you’ll hear about lost parents. Calling a scared kid “lost” just makes them more afraid they’ll be in trouble, so Cast Members shift the “blame” to the parents.
See Related: One Day In: Disney World – The Magic Kingdom
4. Cinderella Castle is an impressive 180 feet tall – Walt wanted it big so any guests who got lost could easily find their way back to a central location. Thanks to a clever trick called “forced perspective,” it looks like it’s a whopping 300 feet!
5. The reverse is true in Epcot – the large building in the U.S. pavilion, the American Adventure, is actually five stories tall, butreverse forced perspective makes it look only three. If it were as short as it looks, you’d never be able to see it from across the lagoon. Want to check? Send the tallest member of your group to stand next to the doors – they’ll still be dwarfed in comparison.
6. Also in Epcot, when you’re standing in front of the Mexican pavilion, take a look at Morocco across the lagoon. There’s one building behind the others that appears to blend in seamlessly, but is actually the top of the Tower of Terror – in a completely different park! During its construction, Imagineers realized the Tower would be visible from Epcot, so they intentionally camouflaged it.
7. Walt originally intended for Epcot to be a functioning community, where new city planning concepts could be tried out. After his death, it became a park instead, but the plan lives on in its name, which stands for Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow.
See Related: Epcot for All Ages
8. Speaking of Walt, if you’ve seen Saving Mr. Banks, you know he wanted everyone working for him to go by their first names – that’s why all Cast Member name tags have just a first name on them – not even a last initial.
10. OK, you probably know about the tunnel network under Magic Kingdom, called the Utilidor system. What you might not know is that because you can’t dig underground in sea-level Florida, the tunnels are actually at ground level and the park itself is on the “second floor!”
11. It would take you 68 years to spend one night in each hotel room in Disney World.
12. That doesn’t count the hidden Cinderella Suite inside of Cinderella Castle – which you can’t book. You can only get it by winning a contest. (It was originally supposed to be an apartment for Walt.)
13. Ever noticed a lot of gum stuck around the parks? No? Oh yeah, that’s because they don’t sell it on property, in order to keep the parks clean. They’re crafty that way.
14. There are a lot of garbage cans at Disney – you can find them as frequently as every 30 steps. There are two stories about this. One is that Walt went to other parks and counted how long someone would hold on to garbage before just dropping it. Our preferred version is that he counted how many steps it took him to eat a hot dog and based it on that.
15. Any time you see a phone in the parks, pick it up and see what you hear – there are still a couple of functioning pay phones, but sometimes you can listen in on some interesting conversations!
16. Behind Cinderella Castle is a fountain with a statue of Cinderella. From adult height, she looks sad, but looking from the height of a child, she appears to be smiling and the crown on the wall behind her rests on top of her head.
17. Stick around Magic Kingdom for about 30 minutes after the park closes for a special “Kiss Goodnight” from the castle – don’t worry, you won’t be breaking any rules.
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18. In Epcot, some of the sidewalks twinkle at night – they’re easy to spot on the way out after the fireworks.
19. You can find Belle’s library in the French pavilion, along with a number of references to classic Disney stories.
20. If you feel like being a little mischievous, get someone in your party to sample the “Beverly” Coca-Cola flavor at Club Cool. All the flavors are free, so there won’t be any buyer’s remorse – though there could be some tasters’ regret!
21. The aquarium at Epcot’s Living Seas Pavilion is so large that Spaceship Earth could fit inside it with room to spare.
22. After you get your glasses for Muppet Vision at Hollywood Studios, look for the sign that someone is “out to lunch – the key is under the mat.” Look down and you will indeed see a mat with a key under it!
23. On Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, keep an ear on the music – if you start hearing “Love in an Elevator,” don’t be surprised if the words change to “Love in a Roller Coaster!”
24. On signs for Animal Kingdom, you can see a dragon among the animals on the bottom. It’s all that remains of early plans for a “Beastly Kingdom,” which would have represented mythical creatures.
25. The Yeti in Expedition Everest originally moved, but broke down early in the ride’s operation. It is now stationary, but strobe lights make it appear to move during the ride.
26. Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life has approximately 320 animals carved into it, but the Chimpanzee was almost left out, until a visit from Jane Goodall prompted designers to add one.
27. The highest possible score in Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is 999,999, which will qualify you as a “Galactic Hero.”
28. There are three places in the United States where you can find an official presidential seal – the Oval Office, the hall of the Liberty Bell, and Magic Kingdom’s Hall of Presidents. Walt Disney had to get special permission from Congress to put it there.
29. Disney bought a real plane to put in the Casablanca scene of the Great Movie Ride – only the first half is there, though! The rest of the plane is on the Jungle Cruise ride.
30. The lake that holds Fantasmic is only about a foot and a half deep.
31. No Cast Member will ever point out a direction with a single finger, as this is considered rude.
32. Disney World was evacuated in 30 minutes on Sept. 11, 2001, because of fears it could become a target. Dedicated Cast Members worked through the night to put up the Fourth of July decorations for the following day so the park could reopen with a feeling of solidarity and patriotism.
33. Don’t get too close to the camel outside Aladdin’s Magic Carpet ride, or you might get “spit” on! It seems random, but there’s a Cast Member nearby who takes the shots.
34. The Mission: SPACE ride at Epcot requires more computer power than the actual space shuttle – though notably less fuel.
36. Don’t feel like buying a PhotoPass? No worries – the park photographers will take pictures with your personal camera or phone.
37. If you’re ever in line for the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and see a sign warning you not to pull or open something – go ahead and do it.
38. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of Hidden Mickeys throughout the parks – you know it, we know it, everyone knows it. But they’ve never been confirmed to exist, and there’s no way of knowing exactly how many there are.
What’s your favorite Disney World secret? Let us know in the comments below!
By Meghan Brennan