Disney World a maaaajor vacation destination. To deal with SO MANY people so successfully is no small feat, and they accomplish it seemingly effortlessly. A BIG way they handle a lot of things? By tricking you to do what they want — and you likely don’t even know that it’s happening!
From carefully hiding the things they don’t want you to see to putting other things right in front of your face (usually in an attempt to get you to spend more money), Disney is pretty sneaky. Today, we’re sharing the ways that you’re being fooled by Disney World!
Carefully Concealed Construction Projects
Even though Disney usually wants guests to get excited about upcoming rides and big projects (like the TRON coaster!), they carefully conceal other projects from guests’ view. Many times, you’ll see walls or buildings painted in colors colloquially referred to as “Bye Bye Blue” and “Go-Away Green.” The blue is made to blend in with the sky and the green is scientifically proven to be a color that people tend to ignore, so the trick works more often than you think. Next time you’re near EPCOT, see how easy (or NOT easy!) it is to spot the new Guardians of the Galaxy coaster building. It’s MASSIVE but painted so you hardly notice!
Also, we’ve seen Disney use many decorative scrims over the years, especially in areas like Main Street, U.S.A.. These scrims are painted to look like the buildings they’re concealing, and while it’s not the most discreet trick in the book, it makes the walls easier to forget about!
Sometimes Disney needs to make things look a lot bigger or smaller than they actually are, and that’s where forced perspective comes in. For instance, Cinderella Castle is smaller towards the top to make it look taller, and Main Street U.S.A.’s buildings are not only smaller as they go up to make them appear bigger as well, but they’re closer together on the castle end of the street to make the castle look farther away.
This happens is reverse too! The most notable example is the main building in the American Adventure pavilion in EPCOT. This show building is much taller than it appears. It’s supposed to be built like a colonial American building, which were only 2 or 3 stories tall, but the building needed to be big enough to house a theater, so they used careful architecture/design and forced perspective to make it look smaller. Next time you’re strolling around World Showcase, peek at the American Adventure and see if you can tell how much bigger this building actually is!
And if you’ve ever spotted the “Eiffel Tower” in EPCOT’s France Pavilion, then you may be surprised to know that it’s actually quite small. Forced perspective is used to make it look larger than it is. It’s an effective trick but also one that required bird deterrents be used regularly around the structure. If a bird landed on the tower it would throw off the scale of the illusion! Another successful example of scale tricking your eye is Beast’s Castle in Fantasyland. The castle appears far away but, in reality, it’s just a tiny facade!
Very Dedicated Theming
Disney wants to immerse you in the park, no matter where you’re at, so they often disguise things that you can see from other parts of the parks. (If you can see other parts of the park at all!) For instance, you can see Tower of Terror from EPCOT, but it is specifically colored to match the Morocco pavilion (the most common section in your line of sight from EPCOT) so that it doesn’t look out of place.
This is also why the tunnels (utilidors) were built under Magic Kingdom so that Cast Members in costumes from other lands don’t walk through the park and “throw off” the feel and atmosphere of the land that you’re in. Disney wants to keep the illusion alive!
Packages and Fine-Tuned Marketing
This one is less to do with looks and more to do with tricking you to spend more money! When planning your vacation, you may notice that Disney World bundles tickets and rooms together with other amenities to make you think that you’re getting the best deal. BUT, this may not always be the cheapest way to purchase your trip!
This is particularly true when discounts come out — it may be marketed as a 4-night, 5-day deal when you can actually book it with fewer nights and days. By using that “longer vacation” language, guests are often convinced to book more and spend more than they originally intended. Don’t forget to read the fine print on the marketing! This is a case where getting tricked by Disney might not be so enjoyable!
This is one of the more cliche (and well-known) ways that Disney tries to fool you, but it works! Rides end in gift shops so that you’ll spend more money. If you really enjoyed the ride, then maybe you’ll buy a souvenir to match.
This design is also forcing you to walk through more stores than you typically would on a visit to the parks. The more shops they can get you in, the more likely you are to spend money! Ever visited with a small child? You know the fear that strikes in the pit of your chest when exiting the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh or Pirates of the Caribbean. If you make it out without caving and buying something or at least a small kiddo beeeegggging for that souvenir, you’re doing better than many! Gift shops at exits are certainly effective!
Discounts for Longer Trips
Have you ever noticed that Disney tickets get cheaper per day the longer you visit? They start at more than $100 per day and decrease to around $50 per day the more days that you purchase.
Well, you guessed it, this is a way that Disney’s manipulating you! Even if you aren’t spending as much to buy each day of your ticket, that’s one more day that you’ll be in the Disney World parks — buying food, souvenirs, and extras. Not to mention likely more nights in a hotel room (do you hear dollar signs in your head too, or just us?). It’s very sneaky!
While buying an annual pass may save you money initially, you’ll likely be making more trips in the long run because you want to get your money’s worth. This means more visits to the park and more money spent!
Disney does the same thing with DVC, the Disney Vacation Club. In the end, you likely spend more money on the program than you would’ve spent otherwise. It’s convincing you to come more often!
Disney launches a LOT of limited-time offerings each year! Whether it’s merchandise with a limited release, a snack that you can only buy during the holiday season, or a hard-ticketed event that’s more exclusive, you’ll see this marketing trick used frequently.
Any time that you market something as a limited edition, time, or release, people are more tempted to buy it! FOMO is a real thing people…and Disney fans are suckers for it. (That includes us here at DFB!) You may not have wanted those limited new Minnie ears you spotted, but when you see them flying off the shelves, you might find yourself reaching for your wallet (been there!).
We bet you didn’t know that Disney World was tricking you in so many different ways. Here at DFB, we know we’re getting fooled, but we keep coming back again and again because we love it, and we imagine that all you other big Disney fans out there feel the same.
Stay tuned to DFB for the latest Disney news, as well as all the advice for planning the perfect trip!
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Which of these “tricks” surprised you the most? Have you ever noticed any of them?