Most Disney fans know that there are a LOT of secrets and easter eggs tucked around the Disney parks.
We’ve taken a look at some super cool Disney easter eggs in the past, and there are definitely some that even the BIGGEST Disney fans don’t know. We’ve seen Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge easter eggs and hidden secrets in the ground, but do YOU know ALL of these sneaky Disney World RIDE secrets? Check them out!
A Very Busy Grandma
If you’ve made the rounds in Magic Kingdom, you might have thought you had deja vu when seeing a particular old lady animatronic. Don’t worry — you’re not crazy. This grandma is used on two different rides.
You’ve probably spotted the grandma in a rocking chair in Carousel of Progress. But hop on Haunted Mansion and you’ll see her again!
When your Ghost Host is taking you through the iconic ballroom scene, take a look for a rocking chair. As the ghost fades in and out of existence, you might think she looks pretty familiar. That’s because the specter is created with the exact same animatronic. That’s one busy grandma!
The Legacy of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Next up, we’re headed to Fantasyland for a relatively new attraction. Under the Sea — Journey of the Little Mermaid opened in New Fantasyland in late 2012. Years ago though, the same spot held the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage attraction. And these two rides share more than just the “Under the Sea” part of their names.
These two attractions also share some of the same water! When 20,000 Leagues closed in 1994, Imagineers bottled up some of the water from the attraction and saved it. At the opening of Under the Sea, they poured the water into the new attraction. What a cool nod to its predecessor!
You can spot a few other testaments to the 20,000 Leagues ride elsewhere in the attraction as well. The most prominent perhaps is the distinctive Nautilus submarine shape carved into the rock in the queue line.
A Magical Snow White Reveal
The wait time for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Fantasyland is known to get pretty lengthy, so it’s a good thing that the queue (in non-pandemic times) has some fun interactive elements. One of these is a cool effect where guests spin some barrels full of gems and the seven dwarfs appear projected on the ceiling!
The Proprietor of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
LOTS of big secrets in Magic Kingdom! Let’s take a trip over to Frontierland to a different mountain-based attraction. Get ready for a secret on the WILDEST RIDE IN THE WILDERNESS! The easter egg on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a part of the relatively new theming in the queue and the story of the ride.
Big Thunder got an upgrade with a more interactive queue back in 2013 and that lent itself to an enhanced story. Featured in that story is the proprietor of Big Thunder Mining, Barnabus T. Bullion. You’ll see his portrait, seen above, in the queue, and that face MIGHT look familiar to fans of Disney Imagineering! Barney is actually based on Tony Baxter — the famous Imagineer who helped to design Big Thunder Mountain Railroad!
Two Skeletons Playing Chess
Alright, our last stop in Magic Kingdom is to Adventureland to set sail on Pirates of the Caribbean! Of course, there’s plenty to see on this attraction. Those scenes are HUGE and taking a look around in any one of them is sure to show you some hidden secrets. This next secret though can actually be found in the queue for the ride.
One of our favorite secrets in the queue is the two skeletons playing chess. As you navigate the line, you can peer down into an abandoned prison cell holding two now-deceased players. Their chess pieces are actually set in a stalemate to signify that they are stuck in the game for all of eternity.
A Familiar Whistle
But Magic Kingdom isn’t the only park with easter eggs on their rides. Next up, we’re headed to the newest attraction in Hollywood Studios with Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway! This new attraction has lots of Disney references inside.
Perhaps our favorite of the ridiculous amount of secrets isn’t one that you’ll see on the ride; it’s one you’ll hear! When you’re riding along on the train, make sure you listen for the whistle. This iconic sound is the exact same one used in the original “Steamboat Willie” short — the first-ever to feature Mickey Mouse!
R3X is Retired
Over at Star Tours — The Adventures Continue, you’ll find some callbacks to the old version of the ride. Though C-3PO is now your reluctant pilot on your voyage through the galaxy, it wasn’t always that way. Your guide used to be more suited to the job!
In the old version of Star Tours, a R3X droid (we call him Rex!) was your guide. This model of droid is now retired but you can actually still spot them in the queue for Star Tours in their out-of-commission retired state! Off ride, but still a fun fact: you can also spot the R3X droid in his new career as DJ R3X in Oga’s Cantina! Another fun thing lots of guests don’t know: R3X is voiced by Paul Reubens, otherwise know as Pee-Wee Herman to most children of the 80s!
Some Elderly Puffins
Popping over to EPCOT, we’re taking a look at another ride that pays tribute to its predecessor with a few easter eggs scattered in the attraction. You’ll want to make your way to Norway for a ride on Frozen Ever After for this next one. There are a few relics from the Maelstrom ride but don’t worry, you won’t need to keep an eye out for trolls.
First off, take a look at your ride vehicle! Since Frozen is set in Norway, Imagineers opted to use the same boats from the old ride as an homage to the history of the attraction and the Norwegian culture. The other relic? Look for the puffins towards the end of the ride! These little guys used to be featured alongside trolls and polar bears on the Maelstrom ride! You’ll see them to your right, just after the big drop.
If you find yourself in the queue to meet Anna and Elsa at the Royal Sommerhus after, be sure to keep an eye on the tapestries on the wall…they feature a few memorable trolls you used to encounter on the attraction!
Fireflies Exit First
And last but certainly not least, we are headed to It’s Tough to Be a Bug in the Tree of Life over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You didn’t think we were going to get through this whole list without stopping by Animal Kingdom, did you? It’s Tough to Be a Bug can be a scary attraction for some. Hey, don’t blame us! Have you SEEN that Hopper animatronic!?! Don’t even get us started on the…surprise in the end!
If you can make it through the whole show without your eyes being shut, get ready to take a look at the exit signs. Before the audience is dismissed, you’ll hear that the creepy crawlies are allowed to go first. If you’re not screaming or laughing at this point (sorry, no spoilers!) be sure to look at the exit signs! You’ll see fireflies flying past as they exit. How cool is that!?
So there you have it! Did YOU know all of these sneaky ride secrets? If not, now you do! We love spotting easter eggs and we hope you had fun on this undercover tour of the Disney World rides!
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What are your favorite Disney World ride secrets? Share them in the comments!