20 Tips and Secrets for Magic Kingdom

Disney Castle

There are tons of exciting secrets about the Magic Kingdom that many folks just don’t know about. Such fascinating facts offer valuable tips for unlocking even more magic during your park experience. From interesting points of reference to somewhat hidden experiences to behold, here are 20 tips and secrets for Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

20. Listen Up!

Listen closely as you enter the Magic Kingdom and you just might just overhear a fascinating secret or two. That’s because the park is full of carefully placed subtle sounds and plenty of possibilities for “eavesdropping.” Just keep your ears open as you climb the stairs to the Railroad Station on Main Street and you will hear an old-fashioned telegraph sending a Morse code version of Walt Disney’s grand opening speech for Disneyland back in 1955. Take a detour down the right side street on a quiet day and you just may overhear in-progress practice sessions for music, singing, and dance coming from the window marked “Music Lessons.” Then head to Chapeau Hat Shop where you’ll find an old-fashioned phone hanging on the wall. Most visitors think it is just décor, but those who pick up the receiver will overhear a nostalgic three-minute phone conversation between a mother and daughter. For a more futuristic phoning experience head to Tomorrowland’s Metrophone—a phone booth located under the Transit Authority load pad. Here you can make phone calls all around the galaxy!

19. Tony’s Town Square Tidbits

Still listening? The Goofy statue on the bench outside of Tony’s Town Square may have something to say about that, as he too has been known to talk on occasion (though it’s rare). In fact, Tony’s Town Square is an overall awesome place in general, full of endless nods to Disney’s Lady and the Tramp and so much to take notice of. On another note, Tony’s offers wonderful views of the parade routes down Main Street, and for a while now seasoned visitors have kept to the secret tradition of booking lunch reservations on the patio or by the window just in time for the grand attraction. More recently Disney started offering a special Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade Dining Package that includes a Lady and the Tramp-inspired lunch along with VIP viewing of the afternoon Festival of Fantasy Parade.

18. The Happiest Hair Cuts

A first haircut is a rite of passage for any child, and the best way to go about it is by visiting Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street. Here they specialize in first haircuts, making your young’un’s experience a most magical one complete with loads of entertaining surprises along the way. Your child will love the friendly, quaint barbershop experience along with stickers, bubbles, and of course a sprinkling of pixie dust. You can even get a special pair of first haircut commemorative mouse ears. Adults and older kids love coming here too—whether for cuts or special styles. In fact, many parents choose to have their children’s hairstyles done here as an alternative to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

17. Horsing Around

You’ve probably noticed all the horses at the Magic Kingdom, but have you ever wondered where they go when they aren’t working? The secret is they spend their downtime at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Walt Disney always loved horses and was an adamant rider who featured these majestic creatures in many of his movies and works. Horses have served vital roles in Disney World from the very start, pulling Cinderella’s carriage, marching in parades, and doing other tasks. The different kinds of horses you will find here range from Belgians, Appaloosas, Clydesdales, and many other gentle and friendly breeds.

16. Riding Cinderella’s Horse

Speaking of horses, you’ll find a grand total of 90 on the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel. But look closely and you’ll see one very special horse with a golden ribbon on its tail. It’s Major—the very horse Cinderella’s father gave to her when she was young. If you can, ride upon him for an even more memorable carrousel experience.

15. The Cinderella Drinking Fountain

If you’re still thirsty for Cinderella-themed facts, here’s another one. Located behind the Castle you will spy a stone fountain known as “La Fontaine de Cendrillon.” Inspired by Cinderella, it is a beautiful marvel indeed, complete with a bronze statue of the famed maiden and a decorative backdrop. But there’s more. When you lean over to get a drink from the fountain while looking up at the statue, you will see that the crown featured in the backdrop sits in perfect alignment on the statue’s head!

14. Liberty Square Geography

Liberty Square is loaded with endless tidbits and lesser-known trivia facts, but there is an awesome, often overlooked nod to American geography that goes virtually unnoticed to most park visitors. While the core of Liberty Square represents Colonial American life, observant visitors will notice gradual changes in scenery along the way to Liberty’s central location. For instance, if you enter into the Columbia House Restaurant from the Fantasyland location closest to Peter Pan’s Flight (set in London) there are subtle changes from what’s representative of English fashion to that of early American. Enter the same restaurant from the nearest reference point to It’s A Small World and it’s symbolic of leaving the old world behind and traveling across the Atlantic to the new one.

13. Liberty Square United States References

Liberty Square stands as a series of coordinate reference points to the United States. The East Coast is represented up to the point of Train Station behind Splash Mountain, where begins the references to the West Coast. The area surrounding the Liberty Tree, Liberty Bell, and Hall of Presidents is representative of old Pennsylvania, and the bridge and creek next to the hat shop have been deemed “Little Mississippi.” The river for the paddleboat and Tom Sawyer’s Island represent the Mississippi too. Even the Haunted Mansion, also known as “Gracey Manor,” is a nod to the Hudson River Valley. The Country Bear Jamboree’s Grizzly Hall is a salute to Colorado in the 1840s, and the diamond horseshoe at the gateway to the west is symbolic of the St. Louis Arch. Also note, the train stop in Frontierland is California.

12. Piloting the Liberty Bell

Perhaps you’ve taken a ride on the Riverboat in Liberty Square, but have you ever piloted it? Unbeknown to many guests, there are times when you are permitted do so. With the Captain’s permission, kids and adults alike are allowed exclusive entry into the Wheelhouse where they can take over the wheel and steer the Liberty Bell along its way. As a unique reward you will be presented with an official Riverboat Co-Pilot License as a keepsake.

Don’t let the thought of some novice steering the boat make you nervous. The riverboat is actually guided along a track beneath the water, following a designated course. The water is dyed so nobody sees this. The captain is really just a cast member who doesn’t actually steer the vessel. An engineer on the lower deck handles boat speeds, and movement comes from steam engine power.

11. Fast Flag Facts

You may think you see several American Flags flying about Main Street USA, but a closer look will reveal that none of them feature a full 50 star-count. Why so many fake American flags you might ask? Real flags are required to be retreated during inclement weather and illuminated in the nighttime, so displaying imitation flags is a way for them to remain displayed. However, the large flag at Town Square stands as a real flag and is retreated every day at 5 p.m. for a special ceremony that honors a specially selected veteran for that day.

10. Grave Matters

There are so many secret trivia facts and interesting points lurking within the walls of the Haunted Mansion—so many, it would be impossible to list them all. But the attraction’s exterior also features countless tidbits and secret nods to take notice of, particularly in the graveyard. For example, many of the names on the various tombstones pay homage to certain Imagineers. The letters are scrambled though. The Pet Cemetery includes plenty of witty references including a special headstone tribute for Mr. Toad, which was added in 2005 as a nod to the attraction that closed to be replaced by the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Another interesting thing to take notice of are the dead, neglected surrounding grounds. While Disney horticulturists do an immaculate job in maintaining flowers and plant life within the parks, the lawn outside the Haunted Mansion is deliberately made to look neglected and dingy—adding to the dreary effect.

9. The Haunted Mansion Hearse

Does the hearse outside the Haunted Mansion look familiar? It may if you’ve ever seen the 1965 movie Sons of Katie Elder. Believe it or not this is the actual buggy hearse featured in the very film starring John Wayne and Dean Martin (not a replica). Watch the movie closely and you see it within the first six, then again two minutes later outside the cemetery and again at 30 minutes and 56 seconds. Minor changes in details have been administered to reflect the theme of the Haunted Mansion, but look closely and you can clearly tell it is the same hearse. On a side note, there is now an “invisible” horse hitched to lead the hearse. If you follow the tracks from the hearse out to the area known as the Stable look up and see what’s there! You also just may hear a ghost horse whinny.

8. Getting the Drop on Pirates

If you’re a fan of the famed Pirates of the Caribbean attraction then you already know that there is a point in the ride where you encounter a thrilling drop. But did you know that this wasn’t a deliberate inclusion feature but rather a workaround in the park’s preexisting layout? Prior to the ride’s construction the Walt Disney Railroad Company was already in full operation. As the Pirates of the Caribbean housing was established directly outside the railroad loop, smooth sailing would have been difficult. Therefore, a slight drop was needed in order to pass beneath the tracks and continue onward with the ride and final departure.

7. Jungle Cruise Inspiration

Many people enjoy the popular Jungle Cruise ride for the witty fun and adventure. But did you know that the versatile scenes you encounter along the way were actually inspired by Walt Disney’s own True-Life Adventures series? A collaboration of 14 documentary films shot between 1948 and 1960 made up the series, eventually leading Disney to create an attraction based on it. Harper Goff, who worked on the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea feature film, helped Disney design the attraction, reflecting on actual scenes from the series while also mixing in inspiration from The African Queen. Though the Jungle Cruise ride was originally created in Disneyland, the attraction has been recreated for Disney World as well as other Disney Parks. Each experience is slightly different though. For example, the Disney World ride features an exclusive Cambodian temple sequence.

6. A Personalized Goodbye From It’s A Small World

It really is “a small world after all” when you go to a place and they already know your name. That’s one of the neatest new features at Disney World’s It’s A Small World attraction. The ride’s finale, which includes a multitude of signs with “goodbye” written in several different languages, now incorporates its riders into the farewell sequence with personalized goodbyes. Three large screens have been built in, displaying the names of the different people riding in the boats. How is this done? The data comes from a rider’s MagicBand, letting the computers know just who is taking a ride at that moment. Note, FastPass reservations are NOT required for this brand new activation to take effect. If you have a MagicBand, you have a place in the finale already included in your ride experience.

5. Early Morning Magic

A lesser-known offering at the Magic Kingdom is the new Disney Early Morning Magic package at Fantasyland. By paying regular admission and reserving this package you are permitted limited early park entry and first dibs on such attractions as the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan’s Flight, and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Additionally, you will be treated to an exclusive lavish breakfast offering at Pinocchio Village Haus.

4. Sweet Facts About Cinderella’s Suite

There are many fascinating facts and tidbits behind Cinderella’s Castle, including the fact that there is even a private “royal” suite tucked away, high above, within its walls. This suite was built with the original intention that Walt Disney and his family would stay here upon visiting the park. It is now used by VIPs and sometimes offered as an exclusive prize package for winners of various ongoing contests that take place at different times. The quarters are so private they can’t even be toured or booked by just anyone. This space remains a suite sweet secret in the Magic Kingdom.

3. Big Scores With Buzz Lightyear

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is a fun and interactive folly that weaves competition into your ride experience, as you spin around and fire lasers in a quest to ultimately defeat Emperor Zurg. Riders earn different point values based on what they shoot throughout the ride, with high score rankings posted at the end. But did you know there are secret tips to scoring big? For example, as you are leaving the first room, spin your ship back around and shoot at either the back of the orange robot’s arm or the buzz saw and earn 100,000 points each. In the second room be sure to aim for the top of the Volcano as well as the monster in the box. Remember to aim for the Zurg’s ship too, when you come to it. In the final room, fire away at the top left corner with the Mickey planet as well. Note, targets that are located higher or further away are worth more points as well as those that are spinning or harder to pinpoint.

Bonus Tip!

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2. Wise Ways to Watch Wishes

Wishes is a highly sought-out nightly fireworks display enjoyed by thousands of park visitors. There are many different vantage points for viewing this nighttime spectacular, including the Tomorrowland Terrace where you can book a special Fireworks Dessert Party that combines delectable desserts and fantastic fireworks. But what’s considered by many to be the very best viewing point for Wishes can found at California Grill. Located atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, California Grill offers stellar up close views of the fireworks. When the show begins, the restaurant even dims the lights and plays the same music in the park, letting diners experience one of the best-kept secret dining and Wishes watching experiences to be had.

1. Kiss From the Castle

Contrary to what most people think, the magic doesn’t end when the park officially closes daily operations. Even after the rides and other attractions cease for the night the shops on Main Street remain open for another hour. Once everyone is ushered to the Main Street section of the park, those still lingering about will be treated to a special “Goodnight Kiss” from the Castle. The Goodnight Kiss is a special two-minute sendoff where the castle lights begin to twinkle and the iconic “When You Wish Upon A Star” melody starts to play. Then a voiceover narration bids a very special goodnight to the last of the Magic Kingdom guests with heartfelt closing remarks. The Good Night Kiss begins 30 minutes after the park attractions close and may be repeated more than once for the remaining hour.

In addition to these there are literally thousands of other secrets and tips for the Magic Kingdom. It would be impossible to include every single fascinating tidbit here because the magic of Disney World is infinite. But that just makes pursuing the park an even more enjoyable quest. Just take note and stay observant as you discover your own secrets along the way.

BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!

About Laura

Laura Catherine aka “LC” is a writer who resides in Maryland with her family and several pets. She visits Walt Disney World whenever she can. Additionally, she is a published author of three novels, a children’s book, and has a passion for gardening.

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