Disney World is definitely the Most Magical Place on Earth — at least we think so! While the parks already sprinkle pixie dust on your vacation regularly, they’ll even go the EXTRA mile with a few surprises!
Although you might be able to meet Mickey or watch the Festival of Fantasy parade on a normal basis, there are a few rare things that happen in Disney World that most people don’t get the chance to see…unless you know where (and when!) to look!
But, we’re giving YOU all the details, so you can keep an eye out for these uncommon sights the next time you’re in the parks!
No Strings Attached Pass (AKA a Pinocchio Pass)
You may have received a “Multiple Experiences” FastPass in Disney World if a ride you’re waiting for breaks down, but the “No Strings Attached” Pass, otherwise known as a Pinocchio Pass is like the HOLY GRAIL of passes. This golden ticket can get you anything from a free FastPass to a snack item and even some new merchandise!
Unfortunately, though, Pinocchio Passes are usually given out when something goes wrong during your trip (so don’t expect to be able to ask a Cast Member for one whenever you like!). If a Cast Member wants to add some extra magic to your day to try and fix a problem, you might be given one of these to rectify a problem. It’s a really wonderful way to brighten your day, especially since unexpected things happen on vacations all the time.
Rainy Day Cavalcades
Florida gets a LOT of rain, so there’s bound to be more than a few days when the weather gets in the way of outdoor entertainment in Disney World. While fireworks might be canceled altogether if the weather prevents them, there is actually a version of the parades meant for these kinds of circumstances! Although the parks will usually delay the parades first to see if the rain will subside, the “normal” parades may be canceled if the floats or costumes could be damaged.
They’ll send out a Rainy Day Cavalcade instead so you can still spot your favorite characters! Recently at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, we witnessed a cavalcade in the rain where the pirates carried mops! So, basically, it was the cutest thing ever!! And, we’ve seen Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party showcase a few characters in their holiday best, waving to guests on Main Street from a trolley.
It might not be the parade you were expecting, but it still is so much fun to watch!!
Speaking of rain, sometimes Disney has to make a few changes to their own schedules due to unforeseen circumstances. During one of the last Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party events we attended, it was VERY rainy — like raining cats and dogs, you guys. Even though we had a great time, it did affect the party’s entertainment, attractions, and characters.
When we were leaving, we received a “rain-check voucher” as a way of making up for the major changes the rain caused during the party. It basically stated that we would automatically receive a 1-day Disney Park ticket OR we could call Disney to have our ticket switched to another Magic Kingdom hard ticketed event in the future.
Pretty neat, right?? BUT, there wasn’t much of a notification about this! A lot of guests left the park without realizing that they received a “rain-check voucher.” So, you’ll want to ask at guest relations if your event gets rained out or check your My Disney Experience app to see if a voucher has turned up.
An Empty Disney World
With all the wonderful Cast and Crew Members, along with the crowds of guests visiting the parks, it’s pretty hard to imagine an empty Disney World. Although it’s rare, it DOES happen from time to time! Here are a few ways you can possible experience a (mostly) empty Disney park.
If you stick around after the fireworks to let the crowds thin out before leaving, you may get a chance to see the “Kiss Goodnight” show that the Magic Kingdom puts on. The castle puts on a brief light show with music and a sweet announcement that the park has closed for the day.
During this time, the park is usually mostly empty (so it’s perfect for those Nighttime Magic Shots in front of the castle without anyone around).
Sometimes when there is an Annual Passholder preview for a new land, there’s a limited amount of people that are allowed in that section of the park. When Pandora opened early for Passholder previews in 2017, we just WALKED ON to Flight of Passage without a huge line (unheard of nowadays!!).
The After-Hours events are also a GREAT way to take advantage of MUCH shorter lines, exclusive entertainment, and fewer people in the parks! There aren’t as many people who attend these hard-ticketed events so you can see and do more things than you’d typically be able to during the day. The downside to this though — these events do cost a pretty penny, so if you’re interested, see if your budget can fit an After-Hours event.
Plus, who wouldn’t want to party with ALL THE VILLAINS or go on a late-night waterslide trip at Typhoon Lagoon with glow sticks??
Hurricane in Disney World
Even though it’s smack dab in the middle of hurricane central, did you know that Disney World is actually deemed one of the safest places to be during a hurricane in Florida? If you happen to visit the parks during hurricane season, you might need to know that your vacation could change in some weird ways (it helps to have some pro-survival tips!).
While the parks might be a lot emptier before possibly closing as a safety precaution, hotels even have specific set-ups for hurricanes. The resorts plan activities to keep guests of all ages entertained as they’re kept inside during the hurricane, and they’ll even typically bring out some fan-favorite characters to meet with guests!
And, in case you wonder what happens to the Disney Skyliner during a storm, the gondolas are taken off the lines and stored (so no gondolas swinging in the wind!).
The parks can close in an abundance of caution, but they try to reopen as quickly as safely possible. Visiting during a hurricane may not seem ideal, but it can be a very unique experience.
Want to know some tips for planning a Disney World vacation during hurricane season? We’ve got everything you need to know here!
Don’t get us wrong, folks! We LOVE see classic characters like Mickey and Cinderella when we’re visiting Disney World. However, sometimes you can spot some SUPER RARE characters during your visit.
Every once in a while, an unadvertised event can happen in Disney’s Hollywood Studios called Character Palooza! This is hard to pin down and can change locations and times each day, so it really is all about being in the right place at the right time! During this awesome meet-and-greet, upwards of 10 characters, usually the characters on the steamboat at the end of Fantasmic, will gather in this one spot to briefly meet guests!
Sometimes a smaller version of Character Palooza will even pop up at the International Gateway over in Epcot with Mickey and Minnie or even princesses and villains, if you’re lucky.
The holidays may be a great time to visit Disney World in general, but they also bring out some AWESOME character costumes that are only seen during these events! We’re not just talking about Halloween and Christmas — you can also spot them during the 4th of July, Easter, and more!
Many of the characters will greet in the resorts or even special spots in the parks (like the American Adventure Pavilion for the 4th of July).
Unscheduled Character Appearances
Did you know that sometimes characters will even ride attractions inspired by their films?? It’s not super common to see it, but sometimes Alice or the Mad Hatter will hop on the Mad Tea Party, Cinderella or her stepsisters will wave to guests on Prince Charming Regal Carousel, and Aladdin or Jasmine will fly on the Magic Carpets.
These special character rides happen on SUPER rare occasions but if you happen to be in the right spot at the right time, you could make a REALLY unique memory!
Even though you might not see these things very often in Disney World, they make for some pretty special memories if you have! Keep your eyes peeled when you’re navigating Disney World — you never know what unique experiences you might walk right into!
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Have you seen any of these rare things in Disney World? Let us know in the comments below!