Disney World is a BIG place with a whole lot of detail.
There are lots of hidden secrets tucked into the four parks and die-hard Disney fans know a LOT of them. Maybe you’re the one who’s spouting about Hidden Mickeys and Imagineer touches, but we’ve got a few facts that even Disney World LOCALS might not know.
1. The screams you hear near Tower of Terror are recorded.
When you’re standing on Sunset Boulevard gazing up at The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, you probably hear your fair share of screams. Hey, that drop is no joke! Still, not ALL of the screams you hear are real. 😮
Sure, you might hear a few actual guests hollering for dear life, but Disney actually plays a recording of screams to make the Hollywood Tower Hotel more intimidating. Listen closely and you might notice they sound the same every once in a while!
2. The bathrooms in Liberty Tree Tavern and Columbia Harbour House are so far back they’re technically in other lands — keeping the no bathroom theme in Liberty Square.
Lots of folks know that Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom doesn’t feature any bathrooms. This is for historical accuracy since plumbing wasn’t a thing yet in the historical time period the area is based on. That brown streak in the pavement? That represents the river of waste known to flow through the streets!
But what you might NOT know is that the bathrooms in Liberty Tree Tavern and Columbia Harbour House are far enough back in the buildings that they’re technically in other lands. So there are REALLY no bathrooms in Liberty Square!
3. Imagineers might have glued pickled sausages down in Tower of Terror.
We’ve got another Tower of Terror fact for you! There just might be a real jar of pickled sausages tucked away amongst the theming. The story goes that while the Imagineers were working on the attraction, one brought the jar of pickled sausages to a pal as a prank gift.
Well, what happens when you leave your pickled sausages in an attraction overnight and the glue crew comes to glue everything down? That jar gets cemented in place for all time! Take a look to your left in the PhotoPass window and you just might spot the jar in question.
4. Joffrey’s donuts are actually from a local shop called Donut King.
Have you ever found yourself drooling at the case of donuts at a Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea kiosk or the location in Disney Springs? We don’t blame you. Well, we have a secret that is not only little-known for locals but it’s also VERY important info.
Those donuts actually come from a local bakery called Donut King! If you look carefully, you might even spot Donut King boxes near the Joffrey’s locations when these spots get some fresh items.
You can find locations in Minneola, Winter Park, and Leesburg. Yup, Joffrey’s donuts without ever stepping foot in Disney World!
5. Pirates of the Caribbean might be haunted by a mischievous ghost named George.
When you’re in Magic Kingdom, you probably head for Haunted Mansion when you’re looking for ghosts. Sure, those grim grinning ghosts are a scream and a half, but did you know there might be a REAL ghost in Magic Kingdom!
Pirates of the Caribbean is said to be haunted by a ghost named George. Apparently, if Cast Members don’t say “Good Morning,” and “Good Night,” to George, the attraction will have problems.
6. The cherubs in Be Our Guest have the faces of Imagineers and their children.
Have you ever looked up at the ceiling in the ballroom of Be Our Guest Restaurant? This iconic Magic Kingdom spot has some seriously gorgeous details, including a fresco on the ceiling that features lots of little cherubs.
Did you know that each cherub’s face is a depiction of an Imagineer when they were a baby or one of the Imagineers’ children? And if you look extra closely, you might even spot some adult Imagineer faces on baby bodies! What a fun (and kind-of whacky) homage!
7. Joe Rohde and others left their literal handprints on Flight of Passage.
Many a Disney fan has had a BLAST joining up with a Na’vi avatar and cruising along on a banshee through the Mo’ara Valley. Yup, we’re talking about Flight of Passage.
In the queue for this attraction, you’ll spot lots of human and Na’vi handprints but a few are especially notable. In the exit corridor, look for three handprints marked with initials. These are the handprints and initials of Imagineer Joe Rohde, James Cameron (film director/writer/co-producer), and Jon Landau (film co-producer).
8. Expedition Everest is one giant hidden Mickey.
There are Hidden Mickeys ALL OVER Disney World. Seriously, there are estimated to be over 1,000 Hidden Mickeys across the resort. Some of those Mickeys are bigger than others.
You’ve probably never spotted a HUGE Hidden Mickey in Disney’s Animal Kingdom because it’s actually the WHOLE MOUNTAIN at Expedition Everest!
9. The “Two Brothers” in American Adventure are based on two Imagineers.
EPCOT has some awesome shows, and some of the more impressive ones from a robotics front are at The American Adventure in The American Adventure Pavilion. Surely you’ve felt your jaw drop watching the Ben Franklin animatronic walk upstairs!
One secret you might not know is that the two brothers in the song “Two Brothers” are based on the likeness of two Imagineers — John Olson and Jeff Burke.
10. The hyenas and African dogs take turns on Kilimanjaro Safaris.
For most folks who ride Kilimanjaro Safaris in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, seeing the African Dogs in the Savannah is a delight. But, did you know this spot is also home to Hyenas?
Hyenas switch out with the African Dogs in the late afternoon each day — but only if they want to. So, you might spot hyenas if you ride Kilimanjaro Safaris towards the end of your day!
11. The differing colors of the pavement on Main Street are there for a reason.
When you’re walking down Main Street, U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom, you’ve probably got your eyes up to look at Cinderella Castle, the amazing theming, the different shops, characters, or performers like the Dapper Dans and Main Street Philharmonic.
But try looking DOWN next time. You’ll notice that the pavement has different colors.
Part of the reason for this (so some have said) is to help guide guests and basically alert them that there is a difference in height there (for the areas where there is a step or elevated sidewalk) so as to (hopefully) stop them from tripping to a certain extent.
12. Cast Members shoot raisins out of cannons for the gorillas in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
If you’ve spent some time in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you may have spotted Cast Members feeding animals or performing training and enrichment activities.
Did you know that one of the enrichment activities for the gorillas on Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail involves shooting raisins out of cannons for the gorillas to catch?
13. There’s a Cast Member-only barbershop and Subway under the Magic Kingdom.
Most Disney fans have heard about the tunnels that run under Magic Kingdom. In fact, if you’ve been on some behind-the-scenes tours, you might’ve even stepped foot in the famous Utilidors.
BUT, did you know that these tunnels also hold a Cast Member-only barbershop and a Subway sandwich store? You can even see the Subway on Google Maps!
14. The piano player in Haunted Mansion is silently playing “Grim Grinning Ghosts.”
This post would be a LOT longer if we detailed all the secrets of Haunted Mansion, but there is one that’s lesser-known and it has to do with a familiar musical tune.
You’ve probably found yourself singing along to the catchy “Grim Grinning Ghosts” song on the ride. Well, you’re not the only one who’s inspired by that melody! The ghostly piano player early in the ride is silently plodding out the notes for “Grim Grinning Ghosts!”
15. The flight you take on Soarin’, Flight 5505, is a reference to the ride’s Disney World opening date!
When we’re getting on Soarin’ Around the World (or its predecessor, Soarin’ Over California), we’re usually focused on our favorite parts of the ride: the smells, the sights, and our beloved Patrick Warburton pre-show.
We might not think too much about the flight number of our supposed vehicle. Well, the flight number, Flight 5505, is actually a reference to the attraction’s original Disney World opening date — May 5th, 2005.
16. Trash travels under Disney World through pipes at 60MPH.
People aren’t the only thing that travels below Magic Kingdom. The Utilidors are useful for getting supplies and Cast Members around Magic Kingdom, but there are other tubes entirely for trash.
In many parts of Disney World, trash is managed in a system that shoots waste through pipes at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. Woah! Talk about garbage management!
17. There was a whole Mickey FOREST near Disney World.
We’ve got another BIG hidden Mickey for you! Northwest of Disney World is a forest that’s planted in the shape of a perfect Mickey Mouse. It’s aptly called Mickey Mouse Forest.
In the early 1990s, hundreds of volunteers came together to help plant the trees. Pretty neat!
Based on some updated images (searched on Google Maps in 2022), it looks like many of the trees have been cleared away from the area.
18. EPCOT actually has its OWN tunnel under the park.
Alright, we’ve talked a little bit about Magic Kingdom’s Utilidors, but Disney World’s flagship park isn’t the only one with tunnels and activities just below the service.
EPCOT has a tunnel too! This one is just about 700 feet long, and is located partially under Spaceship Earth. It’s used for deliveries to the stores and construction in the front area of the park.
Wow, that’s a lot of secrets! Did you know them all? Stay tuned to DFB for more fun Disney World details.
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Which of these facts did you know? Tell us in the comments!