Have you ever wondered what hidden magic is happening in Disney World??
Disney is known for the ability to create magical (and sometimes, seemingly impossible!) experiences for guests. And whether you’re watching the Happily Ever After fireworks, enjoying a delicious meal, or just taking in the atmosphere of the parks, it’s a safe bet that there’s some behind-the-scenes magic that made the experience possible. Here are the magical parts of Disney World you DON’T get to see!
Cinderella Castle Suite
For many guests, the chance to dine in the castle at Cinderella’s Royal Table is on their Disney bucket list. But did you know there’s another area of the castle that’s even HARDER to get into than the pricey princess meal??
Allow us to introduce you to the Cinderella Castle Suite! Yup, that’s right, there actually is a suite for guests to stay INSIDE the castle!
Long before the Castle was built, a suite was planned for the Disney family, but since Walt passed away before the park opened, and his brother, Roy Disney, passed away shortly after the Magic Kingdom opened its gates, it remained unfinished and was eventually turned into a multipurpose office space.
That is, until Disney World’s Year of a Million Dreams Celebration, which began in 2006. The space was transformed into a suite where up to six guests could stay. But, there’s a catch! The Cinderella Castle Suite isn’t “for sale” — guests can only stay here if they’re invited by Disney or win a contest!
Features of the suite include a foyer with 24-hour concierge, a “magic mirror” turned TV, an antique limestone fireplace, stained glass windows, and a Jacuzzi tub with a starry night sky overhead!
While only hand-picked guests can stay overnight in the Cinderella Castle Suite, there is another way to take a peek inside — but it doesn’t come cheap!
Disney’s customizable World of Dreams Tour allows guests to create their own itinerary, including a visit to the castle suite, if they choose. But first, you have to cover the cost — a whopping $12,000 for the day, PLUS the cost of park tickets and tax! Which means this tour really WILL be just a dream for most of us!
Utilidors Underneath Magic Kingdom
It seems there is a constant hustle and bustle on the streets of Magic Kingdom. But did you know there’s also a flurry of activity happening UNDERNEATH your feet? The utilidor system is a series of underground tunnels in Magic Kingdom.
Well, technically the tunnels are on the ground floor. When Magic Kingdom was being built, Disney used excavated land from The Seven Seas Lagoon (yep, that’s a man-made lake in front of Magic Kingdom!) to elevate the land on which the park was built. And on the original ground level, the tunnels were built with access to each of the “lands” in the park.
The utilidor tunnels serve several not-as-glamorous purposes that help Cast Members preserve the magic for guests in the parks! Among their many functions, the utilidors contain dressing rooms, prop storage space, trash removal systems, and Cast Member cafeterias.
Plus, these tunnels allow Cast Members to navigate the parks out of the sight of guests to keep the theming intact. That’s why you won’t see a Cast Member in a Tomorrowland costume walking down Main Street, U.S.A.!
Guests can get a peek inside the utilidors on backstage tours like the Keys to the Kingdom Tour. This tour is priced at $99 a person, so it’s much easier to build into your vacation budget than the previously mentioned World of Dreams Tour!
Okay, so “Disney jail” isn’t really a thing (unless you count the jail scene in Pirates of the Caribbean!), BUT Disney does have a solution for dealing with serious guest infractions. If a guest is caught violating a major policy like trespassing or selling counterfeit tickets, they’ll be taken to the park’s security office.
Depending on the seriousness of the infraction, Disney may call the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to further handle the guest. So, make sure you’re following all of the policies and procedures, or else you could be headed for a not-so-magical ride in the back of a sheriff’s car! 😉
While you might see some upkeep activity around Disney property during the day, the maintenance work really comes alive at night. If you were to walk the grounds of your hotel in the middle of the night (or the parks, if it were possible!) you would see all kinds of routine maintenance happening when guests are asleep!
Disney attempts to do as much maintenance as possible during the night because it’s safer with fewer guests around. They’re not stumbling around in the dark though — work lighting comes on all around the parks to allow workers to do what they need to do! Plus it allows them to preserve the magic and avoid interfering with operations!
Infrared Technology on Rides
Fair warning — just because you’re on a dark attraction like The Haunted Mansion, PeopleMover, or DINOSAUR doesn’t mean no one can see you! Disney uses infrared technology to keep an eye on dark rides. That way, they can make sure guests are staying in their seats and behaving properly!
So, don’t get any ideas about using the cover of darkness to break the rules! Just like Roz says in Monsters, Inc., “I’m watching you, Wazowski. Always watching.”
Did you know that there are occasionally 2AM showings of Fantasmic! and the Festival of Fantasy parade? They just happen without an audience!
Practice for entertainment like parades and stage shows happens at night when the parks are empty. That way, new Cast Members can train for their roles on the actual stage (or street!) where they’ll perform for guests!
And you might even catch a glimpse of fireworks in the middle of the night! If Disney is testing out fireworks for a new show, they’ll test them late at night to make sure everything is in top shape for their official debut!
As magical as Disney World is on the surface, there are even more fascinating things happening behind the scenes! These are some of the hidden parts of the park that even the most experienced Disney World vacationer probably hasn’t seen. Kudos to Disney for their ingenuity — and their ability to really set a stage!
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Have you seen any of these behind-the-scenes parts of Disney World? Let us know in the comments!