The Magic Kingdom was Disney World’s first park, opening in 1971. It was patterned after California’s Disneyland. The Disney Imagineers (imagination + engineer) go to great lengths to transport the guest into the magic. Most guests miss the details in their hurry to experience the attractions. Next time you’re in the Magic Kingdom, look around at the details. Here are 19 secrets about Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom for you to enjoy. Do you know any more?
1) Walt Disney’s Hometown – Main Street USA is patterned after Marceline, Missouri around the turn of the 20th century. Walt Disney’s family lived in Marceline during his grade-school years. It made a deep impression on him.
2) Fire Station 71 – When you first enter the Magic Kingdom, you’re in Town Square. In the left corner is the fire station. Fire Station 71 is a nod to the park’s opening in 1971.
3) Street Lamps– The street lamps evolve down Main Street. At the beginning of the park, they are gas and then progress to electric lamps as you move closer to the castle.
4) Disney’s “Hall of Fame” – The second story windows appear as ads, but they are really sort of a Disney “Hall of Fame”, with names of people who played a big part in the Disney company.
5) Secret Tunnels & Offices – When you stand in front of Cinderella Castle, you are now on a second story level. If you had x-ray vision, you’d find tunnels, offices, and facilities of the park located underneath your feet, where cast members move around the park.
6) Cinderella Castle – Cinderella Castle is 189 feet tall. To avoid having airplane beacons on the castle, Imagineers used forced perspective to make it appear larger than it is.
7) Scented Shows – During Mickey’s PhilharMagic show, the smells of jasmine and apple pie are piped in.
8) Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride – On the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, as the vehicle enters Owl’s house, you will see a picture of Mr. Toad handing over the deed to his house to Owl. On the floor to the left, another image of Winnie with Mole from ‘Wind in the Willows.’ These are nods to Pooh taking over the location of the former Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
9) Beast’s Castle – Be sure to check out the West Wing of the Beast’s Castle, where you’ll find a glass bell jar containing a red rose slowly shedding its petals – a constant reminder that the Beast needs to fall in love before all the petals fall off. See if you can spot the secret effect of the portrait of the prince over the fireplace: lightening will flash and he’ll morph from prince to beast.
10) No Restrooms – There are no restrooms in Liberty Square except for those located in the full-service restaurants. Why? Indoor toilets weren’t commonplace in colonial times. You will find restrooms nearby in Fantasyland and Frontierland.
11) Ghosts – The Haunted Mansion has 999 ghosts…you can become number 1,000! Be sure to bring your death certificate.
12) Splash Mountain – Shortly before the final drop, guests pass through a scene titled The Laughing Place where they can spy laughing frogs and other giggling animals. Above each log, a series of gophers drop down from the ceiling cheering out jovially. A lot of guests notice that the last gopher appears to be dressed and yells something different, but many don’t realize exactly what he is saying. The gopher yells out “FSU” for Florida State University where some of the Imagineers who worked on Splash Mountain went to school and he is also wearing the school’s colors.
13) Pirates – On Pirates of the Caribbean, the pirate sitting on the bridge above you after going through the auction scene is has real hair and dirt on his leg. He is one of the very few pirates who gets close to guests and Imagineers wanted to ensure he appeared realistic. He also has a gap between his toes. A red hanky used to be there, but guests kept trying to stand up and grab it, so it was removed.
14) The Jungle Cruise – The queue for the Jungle Cruise takes place in the office of the fictional Jungle Navigation Co. According to a sign in the queue, the company takes guests on riverboats which depart from the Adventureland Dock and take guests to the Zambezi River, Irrawaddy River, Schweitzer Falls and the Congo River. According to the backstory, the Adventureland Dock is itself located on the Amazon River. The company appears to be run by British colonialists.
15) Special View of Space Mountain – The only place you can see the inside of Space Mountain from the outside, is on The Tomorrowland Transit Authority (aka The Peoplemover), when Space Mountain is shut down for repair.
16)Special Lasers – According to Disney, the lasers on Buzz Lightyear, “are a Class II laser product certified by the Food and Drug Administration for this type of application, which includes exposure to Space Rangers of all ages. These lasers are very similar to those that you come into contact with on a daily basis, such as bar code scanners at your grocery store.”
17) Hidden Targets – To achieve a high score on the Buzz Lightyear Space Rangers Spin Ride, here are a couple of hidden targets. As you leave the first shooting area, there is a “Z” target on the ceiling above you, if you hit the target directly in the center with the laser, you get 100,000 points per hit. In the very last Buzz Lightyear room where you are still able to shoot, look forward at the top left corner, there’s a planet with Mickey on it. This same planet is also on the map of planets in the waiting area just as you enter. The planet is blue.
18) No Music – The area between the Indy Speedway and the Mad Tea Party is the only space in which music was not piped in.
19) Hidden Walt Disney – There is a picture of Walt Disney hidden in the Carousel of Progress. It is in the daughter’s room in the 1940s on the wall you are facing as you sit in front of the stage wall in the upper left corner.
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