Hidden Disney world secrets

Table of Contents

by Lisa
(Cincinnati)

Does the game still exist? I thought I read somewhere that they had lots of problems with it. If it does, do you recommend it? Or stick with the P & F at Epcot? Thanks Dad!

Photo by insidethemagic

Dad’s Up and Running Answer

Lisa,

is definitely up and running! It’s a great new attraction that allows guest to interact with the Magic Kingdom in a whole new way! It’s only problem is that it has been extremely popular, forcing the folks at Disney to come up with ways of helping move guests through the game as efficiently as possible.

In the past few years, Disney has introduced a number of interactive rides and experiences that really allow guests to become a part of the action, which have been received with open arms by guests. Toy Story Midway Mania is the most popular ride at Walt Disney World, and regularly has wait times exceeding an hour – even in off-season! is set to follow in the footsteps of other ultra-popular interactive attractions.

Fantasyland Portal

Photo by insidethemagic

Rides like Toy Story Midway Mania, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Cyber Space Mountain, The Sum of All Thrills, Virtual Jungle Cruise and more have paved the way to a new generation of Disney experiences. Now with the addition of interactive queues (Space Mountain, Soarin’, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, just to name a few) we’re seeing just how popular real-time interactive experiences have become in the parks.

Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure brought the interactive experience to a new level at Epcot, allowing for guests to interact with several pavilions over the course of playing multiple challenges to unlock special effects with the aid of a cell-phone-like device.

Now, with , guests can explore a whole park. Already, there have been extremely long waits to play, so during peak periods Disney has been known to lock the game play on “Easy” mode to ensure equal game play for all guests (higher difficulty levels of the game take longer to play). This is simply a way for Disney to increase capacity of the attraction, like adding a few extra cars to the track at Space Mountain.

And while Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure has been replaced by Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure, the attraction is much more than a re-skinned version of the original – new challenges and effects are in place throughout World Showcase, so be sure to check it out.

Dad’s Bottom Line

Lisa, is definitely worth experiencing if you can do so without the wait time jeopardizing your PLAN. It’s a totally different experience than Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure, so consider doing both if you can!

BORED kids at Disney? That’s not something that happens too often – unless you’re waiting in line for a ride.

But Disney has a secret game called the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World that will stop children from ever being fed up while they wait to ride their favourite rollercoaster.

2 You’ll have to be in the know to play the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World

And even better is that this secret game is completely free.

But you’ll have to be in the know to join in with the game – as many people at the parks won’t even know that it even exists.

The game transforms you into a wizard through a series of interactive missions.

You can take part in the interactive role-playing game by signing up at the Firehouse on Main Street, which is open from 9am until 9pm each day.

2 You get hold of the cards from the Firehouse on Main Street in the Magic KingdomCredit: Getty – Contributor

Players are then given a map and one pack of spell cards each day – which sends you on a series of missions around the park.

You’ll be sent to different locations in the park, where you’ll have to defeat several different foes.

One Reddit user says that the game appeals to adults as much as kids.

They said: “We definitely saw all adults playing. Only a handful of kids.

“Anytime we got asked to trade it was always like a dad with his kids trading cards lol.

“The kids we encountered didn’t care much, just the adults/parents of the kids.”

Another said: “It’s a pretty cool hidden gem in the parks – if for no other reason I like it because it reminds me that Disney still does stuff just for fun.”

And another player said: “GF and I did it on our last night at Magic Kingdom when it was rainy and lots of rides were closed.

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“We had a great time because it forced us to see different nooks and crannies, and we both wished we had done it sooner in the week to get more cards and play more.”

If you want to save even more money at Disney World then check out the Disney Dine package which can save you thousands on your holiday.

Sun Online Travel previously reported that there’s a secret soda zone where you can try unlimited lemonades from around the world when you’re on your downtime at Disney.

The Disney Park Secrets You Never Knew

There’s a reason so many families visit Disney parks every year. The fun, imagination, and chance to snap a picture of your child and his favorite Disney character are just a handful of reasons the conglomerate has drawn millions of visitors since its opening. After all, there’s magic around every corner at each Disney park. But did you know the happiest place on Earth has a few secrets of its own? Disney parks are oozing with little-known facts, and we’re here to give you the rundown on all things Disney.

1. Main Street’s cookie smell is fake

Smell cookies? Don’t be fooled. It’s all engineering at its finest. | iStock.com

A Main Street that smells like cookies? Yes, please. At Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, they’ve mastered a way to engineer just that. Turns out, the park artificially pumps the smell of freshly baked cookies onto Main Street. Done by way of the utilidors, or tunnels, other scents also have been engineered to match certain areas and attractions.

2. The network of underground tunnels

The tunnel system is likely home to exhausted employees. | iStock.com

You might have heard there’s an entire network of underground tunnels. And quite a bit goes on down there. According to Theme Park Tourist, these tunnels — the utilidors — house major computer and digital controls, golf cart-style electric vehicles, and “Kingdom Kutters,” the hair salon created solely for staff members to ensure they matched Disney’s clean-cut image.

So have you ever wondered how this underground network got its start? Legend has it Walt Disney once saw a character walking through the wrong section of the park — a section he didn’t belong in — and was infuriated at just how unauthentic the move was. Thus, the utilidors were born, so no staff member would ever be caught doing something that awful again.

3. The flags lining Main Street aren’t technically real

Don’t look at Magic Kingdom’s Main Street flags too closely. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Lining Main Street are the nation’s flags. But upon closer inspection, you’ll notice they’re not technically American. According to Travel + Leisure, it all has to do with traditional flag regulations. Because they’re supposed to be raised, lowered, and flown at half-staff, Disney Imagineers had to do some creative thinking in order to get around those rules. Their solution? Create flags that are missing a star or a stripe. Additionally, the publication notes the flagpoles are actually lightning rods, which serve to protect guests during storms.

4. The color of Mickey’s shorts is off-limits

Hard as you might try, you’ll never know the true color of Mickey’s shorts. | Mark Ashman/Disney via Getty Images

Although you can buy just about anything at Disney parks around the world — most of which is probably a huge waste of money — there’s one thing Disney plans on keeping a secret forever. When you think of Mickey Mouse, you probably think of those iconic red shorts of his. So it’s iconic that the exact hue of the color is proprietary and will never be made public. If you do choose to go nuts at one of the many souvenir shops, just know that’s the closest you’ll ever be to getting your hands on those famous shorts of his.

5. Animal Kingdom uses tricks to lure the animals

Lions might be easy to spot, thanks to a plush air conditioned rock at their disposal. | iStock.com/Byrdyak

If you plan a trip to Magic Kingdom, you expect to see some pretty incredible wildlife. And thanks to the staff, that’s exactly what you’ll get. Looking to spot some gorillas in action? Just sit back, relax, and be amazed, as staff shoot raisins out of cannons, Travel + Leisure says. Additionally, the elephants can be lured using their favorite treat: honey. And if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the lions, that’s easy enough. Turns out, the top rock they’re often spotted on is air conditioned, keeping them nice and content.

6. The least-crowded time to visit

Skip the crowds, but you might be in for some inclement weather. | iStock.com/gpointstudio

As you might have guessed, the winter months tend to be a bit slower at Disney parks. Considering Disney’s target audience, it makes perfect sense. After all, most families have to wait until the kids are out of school for the summer or some sort of holiday break. And according to DisneyFanatic.com, your best chance at dodging huge crowds is January. But then again, if it’s really peace and quiet you’re after, you probably shouldn’t be heading to a Disney park anyway.

7. Hollywood Studio’s Muppet attraction has a hidden key

Looking for a key? Under the mat is always a good spot to check. | iStock.com/danny4stockphoto

If you’ve ever been to the Muppet attraction’s ticket office, you might have noticed a “closed” sign. However, if you give it another look, you’ll see a sign that reads “Key Under the Mat.” So do just as the sign says, Roadtrippers suggests, and you’ll find an actual key under the mat. It’s certainly a wonderful MacGyver moment for any little ones you have in tow.

8. Disneyland uses cats to keep mice away

Critters are no match for Disneyland’s feral cats. | iStock.com

It might sound like just another pun, but it’s true. Disneyland is home to a whole host of feral cats — who have been spayed and neutered, of course — and the park doesn’t see them as a problem. Quite the opposite, these cats are actually a huge help. Turns out, they roam the park at night to help keep the mice away. But we’re pretty sure Mickey Mouse doesn’t have a problem with it. These cats even have their own website.

9. Strait of Gibraltar

Don’t rely on Epcot for your geography facts; the park’s walkways aren’t 100% accurate. | iStock.com/

Since its inception in 1982, Epcot has been celebrating international culture while delivering a world of nations to park visitors. But there’s at least one aspect that falls short. Between Epcot’s Morocco and France, you’ll notice the walkway is dark and cobbled, modeled after the Strait of Gibraltar. However, the park’s placement isn’t geographically accurate. In fact, the actual strait lies between Spain and Morocco. So just be careful with how much historical accuracy you’re planning on taking away from your Epcot experience.

10. The lack of bathrooms in Liberty Square is no accident

Liberty Square really keeps with the whole colonial theme. | iStock.com

Seriously though, no pun intended here. Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square gives visitors a glimpse back to the colonial days — more specifically, a time before indoor plumbing. So in keeping with Disney’s dedication to authenticity, if you will, there are no bathrooms in Liberty Square. Additionally, there’s a brown winding walkway that’s meant to replicate the pre-plumbing method, when folks dumped human waste in the streets. Walkways that look like sewers? Well, at least it’s historically accurate.

11. The best spot for a boozy Dole Whip

Every adult needs a cocktail at some point while exploring the parks. | iStock.com/nata_vkusidey

A beloved Disney World treat, the Dole Whip is a must-have for most Disney park enthusiasts. But the lines at snack counters can be over an hour long, which begs the question, “Is it really worth it?” Well, we’ll tell you what is definitely worth it: a boozed-up version, that’s what. According to Traveling Mom, you can score a Dole Whip with rum (yes, rum!), while also avoiding a huge wait time, at Tamu Tamu at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

12. Disney fanatics can join a VIP club

True Disney fanatics can join a members only club for $25,000. | David Roark/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images

People spend their money on some pretty weird things, and Club 33 is one of them. The super exclusive and expensive club lures Disney enthusiasts with the promise of five-star dining and a VIP experience. And all of it can be yours for a cool $25,000 — just to join. After that, members need to pay thousands more in dues every year.

13. There’s a basketball court inside Disneyland’s Matterhorn

Love to shoot hoops? Disney employees have the chance to do so. | iStock.com/Yobro10

The Matterhorn, which is one of Disneyland’s most famous rides, isn’t the only thing housed on, or in, the impressive mountain. A basketball court was constructed after the Matterhorn was built in 1959 as a perk for Disney employees. According to Mental Floss, the decision to turn the top third of the attraction, which had remained empty space, into a basketball court was voted upon by employees. However, there was only enough room for one hoop, as a regulation court wouldn’t fit inside the space.

14. Epcot was intended to be a residential community

Epcot could have been a residential community. | iStock.com/JimVallee

Did you know EPCOT is actually an acronym? That’s right, it stands for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow,” Business Insider says. The park that’s now home to an array of foreign countries was originally meant to be a model community for 20,000 residents. This idea included schools, monorail transportation, and absolutely no retirees, as it was supposed to keep working toward a vision of the future.

15. You might be sitting on human remains

Some people try to shatter ashes on their beloved’s favorite rides. | Mark Ashman/Disney Parks via Getty Images

We’re really not trying to creep you out here, but it’s true. Apparently, lots of folks bring their loved ones’ ashes to a Disney park in hopes of scattering them inside the most magical place on Earth. Sounds a bit strange to us, but there are super fans for just about everything, right? And Disney is no different.

Although lots of people ask to do so, Disney staff always turn down the request. However, it’s said people have been caught doing so anyway, which means the happiest place on Earth could be far more creepy than you thought.

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There are so many Walt Disney World secrets that Dad could never even begin to write about them all – secrets about park operations and history, secrets about attractions and shows, even secrets about “pixie dust” (those special little moments that guest might experience with cast members). Dad knows lots of these secrets, and is about to share some of them with you to help you make extra magical memories on your Perfect Vacation.

Walt Disney World is called “the most magical place on earth” and with good reason! All that magic comes from somewhere, and it starts with a long history of secrets. Some of these secrets are closely guarded, but many of them are hinted at or even shared by Disney as a special treat for Walt Disney World fans who are paying close attention.

Welcome to Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom is full of special Walt Disney World secrets. You can even take a tour and find out lots about the workings of the park – did you know that the Magic Kingdom is actually built on the second floor of a structure that holds not only the park but most of the “backstage” areas? Or that underneath the Magic Kingdom is a system of tunnels called the Utilidors? If that’s not enough, keep reading for Dad’s 3 favorite Walt Disney World Secrets in the Magic Kingdom.

Score Big

Some common tips and tricks to increase your points on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin are to shoot moving targets instead of still ones, and to aim for further away targets instead of those that are close-up. But some of the biggest points in the ride can be scored as you leave the first “room” – use the joystick to turn your ride vehicle around and shoot the back of the orange robots or of the saw – you can earn up to 100,000 points per hit!

The Opening Pitch

Everyday, just before Casey’s Corner opens up to serve delicious hot dogs for lunch to hundreds of park guests, one little guest has the chance to make the memory of a lifetime! As a crowd gathers outside the closed doors of Casey’s Corner, once child is selected to throw the “opening pitch” with a cast member, who then leads the crowd in a chorus of “Take me out to the ball game” before throwing Cracker Jack packages into the crowd!

Wake up Tink

If you’re an earlybird with a child who loves pixies, this secret’s for you! If you head straight back through Cinderella Castle at park opening and go directly to Tinkerbell’s Treasures (the shop to your left as you enter Fantasyland) you can ask a cast member if you can wake up Tink. If you’re the first one there, your child can participate in a special little ceremony that ends with lights, sounds, and a glimpse of Tinkerbell herself! (This is one of the coolest of the Walt Disney World secrets.)

Dad’s Magic Kingdom page

EPCOT

Epcot holds all sorts of secrets, from the mysteries of the global cultures featured in World Showcase to the fun facts of science you can learn about in Future World. Here are Dad’s top 3 Walt Disney World secrets in Epcot.

Secrets of Soarin’

Although these secrets are in plain sight of anyone who rides the Soarin’ attraction, with so much to look at so quickly you might miss these fun little touches: Captain Hook’s pirate ship in the San Francisco Bay, the golfer who hits the ball (with a hidden Mickey no less) is Michael Eisner himself, and the whole ride vehicle system was inspired by an Erector Set!

Submerging Spaceship Earth

Epcot’s icon, Spaceship Earth, is big – I mean REALLY big! It’s got to be the biggest building at Epcot – right? Think again – and the secret answer might surprise you. The aquarium in The Seas with Nemo and Friends pavilion is bigger than Spaceship Earth! In fact, it’s the largest salt water tank in the world, holding 5.7 million gallons of water, and Spaceship Earth could be fully submerged within it, with lots of room to spare.

Sustainable Snacking

In The Land pavilion, the Living with the Land attraction takes guests through a production greenhouse showcasing fruits and vegetables being grown on-site as Disney researches sustainable growing practices. But did you ever wonder what happens to the ripe produce? It’s served to guests throughout restaurants in Epcot!

Dad’s Epcot page

Disney Hollywood Studios

Disney Hollywood Studios is all about the making of movie magic, and you’re bound to find secrets of the film industry everywhere you turn. Here are Dad’s 3 favorite Walt Disney World secrets about the park itself.

Terrifying Tower of Terror

In the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror pre-show video, guests are told a legend about a group of guests who disappeared after lighting struck the hotel, supposedly sent to the 5th dimension. But while the attraction was being built, the tower actually was stuck by lightning (don’t worry, no one was sent to the Twilight Zone).

Rock ‘n Roll

It’s no secret that Dad’s favorite Walt Disney World attraction is Rock ‘n Rollercoaster starring Aerosmith– it’s a great thrill ride with 2 loops, a corkscrew turn, and a 0-60 launch in under 3 seconds. That’s a recipe for some serious G-forces. As guests enter the first inversion, they feel a 4-5 G-force – more than astronauts experience (typically 3 G’s).

Secrets from the Lagoon

Fantasmic is one if Walt Disney World’s signature nighttime spectacular performances. It’s got magic, Mickey, fire, water, dragons, prinesses, villains, fireworks, boats, and simply amazing images projected on enormous water screens. In fact, over a million gallons of water are pumped into the air for every show. But the front of the lagoon that makes up most of the Fantasmic stage is only 1.5 feet deep!

Dad’s Disney Hollywood Studios page

Animal Kingdom

Animal behavior is still a huge mystery to humans, and creating an amazing, interactive, incredibly details theme park – zoo hybrid representing animal habitats from around the world in the middle of Florida can’t have been easy. But all that hard work has made for some fascinating Animal Kingdom secrets, like these 3 Walt Disney World secrets from Dad.

Artificial Nature

Animal Kingdom’s centerpiece and icon, the Tree of Life, is not only built on top of an oil rig, but it is covered in hundreds of hand carved animals. And to top it all off (literally), each of the 103,000 artificial leaves on the tree were attached by hand.

Royal Treatment

The lions on the Kilimanjaro Safari have come a long way to be with guests at Walt Disney World– no, they’re not from Africa, but they are originally from Oregon! The change of climate and the intense Florida heat made the adjustment to their new home so difficult that Imagineers decided to air condition a portion of their safari habitat!

Red, White, and Yellow

As guests enter the loading area for DINOSAUR, you’ll notice a series of red, white, and yellow utility pipes running along the walls, with chemical compound formulas written on them to indicate their contents. This is a secret for the scientists out there, because those formulas are actually for ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard!

Dad’s Animal Kingdom page

WDW Resort Hotels

The magic of Walt Disney World doesn’t stop in the parks – it’s all around you, and hotels have their share of secrets too. Here are Dad’s top 3 picks of Walt Disney World secrets at the hotels.

Light the Fire

Each evening at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, you can see a one of the fire-dances from the Spirit of Aloha Polynesian Luau perform a torch lighting ceremony at the Great Ceremonial House – it’s quite an entertaining little show! But one of the best kept secrets at Walt Disney World is one of Dad’s favorites – watching Wishes from the beach at the Polynesian – it’s a perfect view and they even pipe in the music!

Movies Under Stars

Each night at most Walt Disney Resort Hotels, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a Disney movie under the stars! For animated features to live action classics to new Disney Channel movies, there’s always something to watch! This free program is usually offered near the resorts’ main pool and is a great way to spend a night “in” if the parks have you all tuckered out. The cast member who checks you in can also provide you with a schedule at check in.

Songs and S’mores

Dad’s Disney World Hotels page

Lots more secrets

Walt Disney World secrets (some are not so secret) are fun to track down and share. For more facts and secrets check out Dad’s other secrets page about the restaurants, water parks and more.

Dad’s other Walt Disney World Secrets page

Find them for yourself

The best way to find out about Walt Disney World secrets is to check them out for yourself. That’s right, do it in person. It’s easy, all you have to do is close your eyes and dream (oh, if it were that easy). OK, so maybe that didn’t work. Check with our friends at Destinations to Travel and before you know it…

Dad’s Destinations to Travel page

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Hidden Magic: Secret things to see and do at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida

One of my favourite things about visiting Walt Disney World Resort is that there are so many different layers and extras to look out for in addition to the big attractions. Every time you visit you’ll notice or discover something new that you didn’t realise was there before!

What with Disney FastPass+, advanced dining reservations and more experiences to fit in, it’s tempting to just rush from place to place. But if you take a little extra time to notice your surroundings, you might be able to spot some of these hidden Disney World secrets….

Secrets to spot in Magic Kingdom Park

Peter Pan’s Flight

If you look very carefully, you will see some building blocks: they spell out P PAN and DISNEY.

Main Street, U.S.A.

Make sure you read the signs on the windows; they are all tributes to people who have contributed to the park and The Walt Disney Company. My personal favourite is “If We Can Dream It – We Can Do It!” by Roy O. Disney – Dreamers & Doers Development Co.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

In between mouthfuls of The Grey Stuff (try it – it’s delicious!), look up at the ceiling. The cherubs that are painted there have all been given the faces of Disney Imagineers’ children.

Haunted Mansion

If you look at the board with the waiting times and it says there’s a 13-minute wait, then head right over – it means that there is no queue! This also applies at The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™* at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The Liberty Tree Tavern

There are 13 lanterns hung on this real oak tree. They represent the original 13 colonies of the USA.

Secrets to spot at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Muppet*Vision 3D

Can you see a door mat on the floor? Take a look underneath it …

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

Check out the licence plates on the ‘cars’. They include: 1QKLIMO, UGOGIRL, BUHBYE, 2FAST4U and H8TRFFC.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™*

There is SO much Hidden Magic on this attraction! Just one thing to look out for is the plaque on the wall behind the concierge desk; it seems that the hotel has won the AAA 13 Diamond Award??
Read more freaky facts about the Tower of Terror

Secrets to spot at EPCOT

UK Pavilion

Go to the back of the Toy Soldier shop and look for the coat rack in the library. It is addressed to Mr Banks, 17 Cherry Tree Lane, London. Sound familiar? Mr Banks is the father in Mary Poppins!

China Pavilion

Stand in the middle of the temple and say something. The building was designed to be acoustically perfect so you will hear your voice echoing right back at you.

Club Cool

Head over to the “Beverly” drink from Italy and pretend to take a big gulp. Then rave about how yummy it is and get everyone else to try some, then watch their faces. Let’s just say it’s an acquired taste!

Secrets to spot at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

The Entrance Sign

Ever noticed the unicorn on the sign? In the original plans there was meant to be a “Beastly Kingdom” featuring mythical creatures, but it never came to fruition except for this legacy on the sign.

Dinoland U.S.A.

Look for the sign Highway 498; this is a reference to the park’s opening date, April 1998.

Tusker House Restaurant

If you sit in the outside dining area, listen out for noises coming out of the kitchen like broken dishes. There are many secret places all over Walt Disney World Resort where you can hear snippets of conversations and the lives of the people who ‘live’ there.

Disney Cast Member Secrets

The Disney Cast Members (Disney’s name for their park staff) have some of their own secret codes which are fun to listen out for.

If you hear that there is a Code V on an attraction vehicle, best to avoid it; this means that someone has been sick! A 101 means that an attraction has broken down, and 102 means that it is back up and running again.

Do you know any other hidden Disney World secrets? Share them for us to look out for next time we’re at Walt Disney World Resort!

Hollywood Studios Secrets

Hollywood Studios is home to lots of secrets cleverly integrated into the park. Many are references to classic movies, some still popular, some now forgotten. They add an atmosphere to the park that most people miss out on. Here are a few of the best kept Hollywood Studios secrets.

Characterpalooza

One of the best kept Hollywood Studios secrets is Characterpalooza. This unofficial and unannounced character meet and greet only lasts 20-30 minutes. Its a free for all featuring many of the characters that take part in Fantasmic. There are no official lines, and the characters often mingle and play around with guests.

Characterpalooza takes place on San Francisco Street in the Streets of America backlot. The characters only come out on days when a Fantasmic show is scheduled, usually 4-5 hours before the official start.

Do Not Pull The Rope

Outside the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, you’ll find an archeological dig site with a sign warning you not to pull the rope. Go ahead and give it a few pulls.

Citizens of Hollywood

Also known as Streetmosphere, they are a group of a few dozen improv actors, playing the roles of Hollywood stars, aspiring actors, workers, directors, agents and police officers throughout Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards.

The shows are highly improvised and some involve just a character or two interacting with a family or a small group of guests. (The talent scouts are always recruiting.) While they do occasional skits in the middle of the street, they mostly blend into the scenery and crowds.

If you’ve hurriedly walked through Hollywood Studios on your way to the popular rides, you’ve probably walked right past one of them and never even knew it.

Muppet Vision

The waiting area outside this attraction is full of fun little jokes and secrets. You’ll notice a sign saying they’ll be back in 5 minutes, the key is under the mat. If you’re bold enough to look, you’ll find the key there.

There are lots of little jokes hidden throughout. A favorite: Look for a net hanging from the ceiling, full of blocks of Jello. It is ‘a net full of Jello.’ Say it fast, and you have Annette Funicello. Wocka Wocka Wocka, as Fozzie Bear would say.

Gertie the Dinosaur

This giant dinosaur, home of an ice cream stand, is a reference to a now little known movie.

Gertie the Dinosaur was the world’s first animated film. Walt Disney himself was inspired by the film’s life-like movements and, most importantly, the film’s ability to create empathy in the audience for an animated character. Without Gertie there might not have been a Mickey. Here on Echo Lake is a tribute to that film.

Why an ice cream stand though? One of the movie’s taglines was “Gertie – She’s a scream.” Get it?

Min and Bill’s Dockside Dinner

This quick service food stand sits across Echo Lake from Gertie. Its a tribute to the Min and Bill’s movies of the 30’s, a major money maker for MGM studios, the original partner of Disney during the building of Hollywood Studios, formerly Disney-MGM Studios.

Notice the nautical flags above the restaurant. The letters spell out “Dockside Diner”. There is also a sequence of numbers in the flags, “782562896354”, the meaning of which has never been deciphered.

Also look for the many classic movie references on the shipping crates to the side.

While you’re there look to the buildings nearby, you’ll see several references to Who Framed Roger
Rabbit.

Random Secrets

When walking through the line for Star Tours, listen for a robot paging “Egroeg Sacul“. Spell it backwards and you have George Lucas.

The Chinese Theater is a replica of the original in California. Its one of the few replica buildings in Disney Word built to exact scale.

Take time to check out all the characters that have put their foot and hand prints in the sidewalk outside the Chinese Theater.

The deep looking lagoon for Fantasmic is really only 18 inches deep.

On Rock ‘n Roller coaster, each train plays a different Aerosmith Song.

Singin’ in the Rain Umbrella

Hollywood Studios is full of tributes to classic movies. On the Great Movie Ride, you’ll pass the iconic scene from Singin’ in the Rain in which Gene Kelly swings from a lamp post.

If you’d like to recreate the experience, there is an umbrella hanging from a lamp post in the Streets of America section of the park. Its a great photo op. But what many guests miss is the soft, black rubber pad on the sidewalk underneath the umbrella. Step on it to make it actually rain.

Great Movie Ride Airplane

The Great Movie Ride takes you past the iconic airport-goodbye scene in Casablanca. On the ride, you’ll see Rick saying goodbye to Ilsa, next to the front half of a real airplane.

When building the attraction, the imagineers set out to acquire the same type of airplane used in the movie. By an incredible stroke of luck, there is a very good chance that they found the actual airplane used in the movie. While most of the famous scene was shot with a scale-model airplane in the background, the scene ends with footage of a real Lockheed Electra 12A taking off – very likely the same exact plane now seen on the Great Movie Ride.

If you’ve read this closely, you may have noticed they only display the front half of the real plane. What happened to the other half? You can spot it as part of the wreckage of a doomed expedition on the Jungle Cruise.

Tower of Terror

Did you ever think there was something about Tower of Terror that just didn’t look right? Maybe the pinkish hue or something about the architecture that just doesn’t fit? When building it, the imagineers knew it would be visible from parts of Epcot. To solve the problem, they designed it to blend into the Morocco pavilion.

If the sign for Tower of Terror says there is a 13 minute wait – there is no wait.

The details are too numerous to list here, but if you are a fan of the Twilight Zone, you’ll have no problem noticing the many references to popular episodes throughout the ride.

Vacation Planning Tip

Most people just expect to stay at a hotel during their trip to Disney World. But what most don’t know is there a lot of nearby luxury homes available to rent. If you are going to stay off property anyway, you can get a stand alone vacation home – often with a pool and laundry – for less than the cost of a hotel room. Its an especially good deal if you have a large family or are traveling with a group.

Retired Magic

While Disney World will always be a magical place, some of that magic just isn’t going to last. Below are some Hollywood Studios secrets that had to go away.

Yelling “Andy’s Coming” at Toy Story Characters

So at one point, for a short while, a yell of “Andy’s Coming” would send Toy Story Characters to the ground, just like in the Toy Story movies. They simply do not do this anymore. It got to the point where everyone was yelling it. Now the response is just: “Andy’s gone to college.”

Still, this myth is often passed around the internet. Countless people try it everyday. Every now and then you get a real gem of an “Andy’s Coming” fail:

Giant Hollywood Studios Hidden Mickey

When Hollywood Studios was first built, a giant Hidden Mickey was designed into the park’s central hub.

Over time how guests viewed the hub from the ground became more important than how it looked from the sky. There are still remnants of the original mickey mouse shape, but every year this ultimate hidden mickey seems to fade away a little bit more.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is home to some of Walt Disney World’s best rides and shows – and it’s also packed full of small details that are easily overlooked.

The park opened in 1989, one year ahead of rival Universal Studios Florida. It was accused of being light on rides, and worthy of only a half-day visit. But it has since been greatly expanded and is now firmly established as one of the most-visited theme parks in the world. The rides, shows and walkways of Disney’s Hollywood Studios are packed full of tiny, authentic details – far too many to list in a single article. But to get you started on your next visit, here’s a list of 32 hidden secrets at the park. Let us know of any we’ve missed!

32. Based on reality

Image © Disney

The Mickey’s of Hollywood store is a reference to the famous Frederick’s of Hollywood. Frederick’s of Hollywood is a well-known retailer of women’s lingerie. It was started by Frederick Mellinger (the inventor of the push-up bra) back in 1947, with its flagship store standing on Hollywood Boulevard (it recently moved to larger premises nearby).

31. The gas pump

The gas pump on the right as you enter the park is marked with the opening date of Disney-MGM Studios.

30. Taking “inspiration” from a rival

Image © Disney

As Disney established itself in Florida with the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971, Universal’s then-owner MCA was looking on enviously. In 1981, MCA purchased 423 acres of land in Orlando on which to build a Florida version of its famous studio tour. The plans called for a “front lot” walking tour, as well as a tram tour through the studio’s backlot. A major set-piece, the “Hollywood Canyon”, would see a tram rolling onto a bridge in view of the Hollywood Hills. A massive earthquake would then strike, causing a dam to crack and a wall of water to pour down towards the tram, which would escape into an oil field in time for riders to witness a semi-trailer truck explode after crashing into an oil tank. Disney’s CEO, Michael Eisner, was not about to let Universal invade its turf without a fight. The initial plans for Disney-MGM Studios, announced in 1985, bore a striking resemblance to those for Universal’s tour. The main attraction would be a tram tour past four working soundstages, an animation building, backlot sets and post-production facilities. One of the set pieces to be included in the tour would be “Catastrophe Canyon”, during which an earthquake would shake the tram, cause fires to ignite, lead to an oil tank explosion and trigger a flash flood. The similarities to Universal’s proposed Hollywood Canyon were undeniable. MCA was furious, but had no choice but to revise its plans for Universal Studios Florida. The tram tour – the signature element of Universal Studios Hollywood – was dropped altogether from the plans for the Florida attraction, in favor of a number of separate attractions.

29. Originals

Image © Disney

Take a look at the caricatures of Hollywood celebrities on the wall of the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant. The ones in black frames are copies of the caricatures from the Brown Derby restaurants in Hollywood, while the ones in gold frames are original creations.

28. Not so deep

Image © Disney

The front of the vast lagoon that hosts Fantasmic is, in fact, just 1.5 feet deep. The moat, though, does still hold 1.9 million gallons of water.

27. Split in half

The front half of an airplane can be seen in the Casablancasequence of the Great Movie Ride over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (contrary to rumors, this is not the same plane used in the movie itself – but it is a real Lockheed plane). On the Jungle Cruise over at the Magic Kingdom, look out for the back half of the plane.

26. Pharoah Mickey

Image: Loren Javier

As you enter the Indiana Jonesroom of the Great Movie Ride, look at the wall to your left. Just before you leave the area, you’ll see a Pharoah-style Mickey Mouse and “slave” Donald Duck.

25. Out-of-place tiles

In the Egyptian section of the Great Movie Ride, take a gander at the wall tiles. Most of them show typical hieroglyphs, but some are rather different – featring hidden Mickeys and even Star Warscharacters.

24. A date of significance

Image: Sam Howzit

The car in the gangster shoot-out scene of the Great Movie Ride features the license plate number “021-429”. This is the date of the infamous Valentine’s Day Massacre – February 14, 1929.

23. Alternate versions

Image: Loren Javier

The Great Movie Ride has two possible shows, known as “A” and “B”. When the park isn’t busy, only the “B” show will run and you’ll see a single vehicle sitting on the dock. If there are two vehicles on the dock and you happen to get into the front one, you’re in for a real treat. This is the much rarer “A” version of the ride. Even when this show is running, it typically only shows up in one or two of the five sets. If you really want to get onto this vehicle, you can always ask if an “A” is running. Cast Members will usually accommodate if they can. Passing through the first set of doors, you find yourself in a seedy alley. To the right is James Cagney from The Public Enemy. If you’re on a “B” vehicle, you’ll stop here to wait for a red light. A live gangster enters the scene and hijacks your vehicle, taking over for the next leg of the show. If you’re in an “A” vehicle, you’ll pass right through the gangster scene and stop on an old Western set with Clint Eastwood and John Wayne. This show is hijacked by a bandit and features pyrotechnics in the ensuing firefight.

22. The foo dogs

The building housing the Great Movie Ride is a replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. The statues standing outside are “lion dog” statues, also known as “foo dogs”. The one of the left is female, and the one on the right is male.

21. All in a name

A statue of a movie director sits at the end of Hollywood Boulevard, accompanied by a plaque dedicating the park. In 2008, a frame was placed around the plaque to reflect the park’s new name, Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But you can still the original name – Disney-MGM Studios – on the plaque itself.

Walt Disney World Secrets and Facts: Hollywood Studios Edition

There are quite a few Hollywood Studios facts that many Disney guests may not know. When you’re planning your solo Disney adventure, I want you to be prepared with some of the most intriguing hidden gems about this park.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened on May 1, 1989 and was the third park to open at Walt Disney World. That spectacular day has led to millions of wonderful memories all the way from the young to the old.

What you may not know is that while you think you can see all that Hollywood Studios has to offer, there are still many secrets you should search for on your next Walt Disney World vacation!

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO. Thank you!

Top 10 BEST Disney Hollywood Studios Secrets! | Disney-MGM Studios History

One of the cool thing about Hollywood Studios is that the attractions and shows are not too far apart, which makes it easy to navigate the park and find all the little hidden gems.

Hollywood Studios is divided into different sections:

  • Hollywood Boulevard
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • Animation Courtyard
  • Grand Avenue
  • Toy Story Land
  • Commissary Lane
  • Echo Lake
  • Soon-to-be Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Hollywood Studios Map

Hollywood Studios Map

24 Disney Hollywood Studios Facts and Secrets

1 – Steamboat Willy

At the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard, is a tip board with an oval plate in the pavement that states “established 1928.”

This is the year Mickey Mouse was first featured in a cartoon as Steamboat Willy.

2 – Culver City brought to Florida

The shops that you see inside Hollywood Studios are inspired by real places in Culver City, California.

3– AAA Diamond Rated Hotel in Hollywood Studios

13 Spooky Facts About The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – ParkFacts

Inside the lobby at the wall directly to the right of the concierge desk, you’ll see that the Hollywood Tower Hotel has been awarded a 13-Diamond rating from AAA (American Automobile Association).

The only catch is that AAA only has ratings that go up to 5 diamonds.

4 – Twilight Zone Library

Inside the library section of the Tower of Terror are references to a classic Twilight Zone episode called “A Passage for Trumpet.”

Just look for a trumpet sitting on the top of the page of sheet of music.

Top 10 BEST Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Secrets

5 – Hidden Mickey? (Original Mickey Mouse Plush)

When you watch the preshow of the Tower of Terror, you’ll see an original Mickey Mouse plush held by the child star as she and her group get ready to board the elevator.

6 – Double Check the Elevator Safety Certificates

Once you enter the elevator, find the safety inspection certificate signed by Mr. Cadwallader, stating that the elevator is in good working order.

Be sure to notice the certificate date of October 31, 1939, the day the Hollywood Tower Hotel opened.

One of my favorite Hollywood Studios facts!

7 – Look out for an Original Tower of Terror Bellhop

While you’re exploring Tower of Terror, if you see a bellhop with goal epaulets, then you’ve found an original Tower of Terror Cast Member.

Hollywood Tower of Terror Ride

8– Customize Your Rocking License Plate

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On Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, look at the custom license plates of the limos before they launch. You will see:

  • UGOBABE
  • 1QKLIMO
  • H8TRFFC
  • 2FAST4U

9 – A Famous Hollywood Landmark

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In the center of Hollywood Studios is a unique replication of the Chinese Theater. This theater is a famous Hollywood landmark called Grauman‘s Chinese Theater which opened in 1927.

More Hollywood Studios Facts

10 – Learn About Walt’s Early Years

Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream, Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, (HD)

In the attraction Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream, pay attention to the school desk from Walt’s school days. You will see his initials carved into his desk.

11 – Mr. Potato Head’s Carnival

Mr. Potato Head is the first Audio-Animatronic character that was able to remove and replace his own body parts. You can find him inside the queue line of the Toy Story Mania! attraction.

12 – Toy Story Mania! Barcodes

On Toy Story Mania pay attention to the barcode. The number on the bottom left of the barcode is 121506.

That number is the date the original Toy Story Midway Mania was officially announced to be one of Hollywood Studios newest attractions.

13 – Life of a Vulcan in Toy Story Land

Toy Story Mania! FULL RIDE & queue in Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World

When you shoot your final dart in the Woody’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Shootin’ Roundup section of Toy Story Mania!, you’ll see and Buzz Lightyear total your score. Pay close attention as he splits his fingers to say goodbye.

It’s the “live long and prosper” Vulcan sign.

14 – Hidden Key

Hidden Key in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

In Jim Henson’s Muppet Vision 3-D attraction, there is a ticket seller who has stepped away, but there’s a note indicating that a key is under the mat.

Check to see if you find a key there.

15 – A Unique Muppet Directory

Read the two bulletin boards on the left-hand wall once you pass through the turnstiles. You’ll see the Muppet*Vision 3-D Headquarters Directory with a fun list of hilarious names to read over.

One of the coolest Hollywood Studios facts!

16 — See the Muppet Version of Jim Henson

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Towards the left side of the preshow area, you’ll see a poster of a Muppet that has been created in the memory of the Muppet’s founder, Jim Henson.

17 – Listen Out for Your Page on Star Tours

On Star Tours listen to the many pages over the intercom. You will hear a page for Egroeg Sacul, which is George Lucas spelled backwards and the famous Tom Morrow.

18 – Out-of-the-World License Plate

While in the Star Tours queue, be sure to listen out for another intercom page asking the owner of a speeder whose license plate has the number THX 1138 to please remove it from the no-hover zone.

This is a tribute to the first movie made by George Lucas in 1971.

19 – Get the Perfect Endor Shot

The popular Imperial Speeder bike is a prop directly across from Star Tours. Here, you can get the best forest scene from the Endor planet shot, if you align yourself and your camera perfectly.

20 – Indiana Jones Hollywood Studios (A Real Indy Adventure)

‘The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular’ | Walt Disney World

As you watch Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, you should note that Indy has the ability to control the release of the spheres.

He does this by stepping on the square keypads. This lets him know exactly when they will spring.

Believe it or not, they are real.

One of the craziest Hollywood Studios facts I discovered!

21 – Crushed by a Boulder

The famous giant boulder crushing scene is always a fan favorite, but you can see the Cast Members roll the ball back into its starting position if you pay close attention after the stunt.

The giant boulder is made a 400 pounds of rubber.

22 – Look for Clever Indiana Jones Props

Explore the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost. Here you will find movie props such as a War World I tank and an army truck.

23 – Walt and Roy’s Humble Beginnings

Near Hollywood Boulevard on the building next to cosmetic dentistry, is a for rent sign on the top window. This is in reference to one of Walt and Roy’s first studios that they rented above their uncle’s garage.

It’s one of the sweetest Hollywood Studios facts.

24 – Lighting Capital of the World

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Fantasmic! is the most canceled Walt Disney World show. This is because the stage is made of metal with around 1,9000,000 gallons of water surrounding the stage.

Not the safest place to be in a Florida lighting storm.

What to Know Before You Go

Buzz and ThemeParkHipster

Is there a Hollywood Studios secret entrance?

Technically no.

However, there is a line in the morning near the turnstiles that reads “Play and Dine Reservations.”

No one is waiting in that line, but once 9 a.m. hits, the sign is removed making it available for everyone.

What rides are at Hollywood Studios?

These are my must do rides, attractions, and dining experiences at Hollywood Studios!

  • Beauty and the Beast, Sunset Boulevard
  • Dining with an Imagineer, American Food, Hollywood Brown Derby
  • Encounter Kylo Ren at Star Wars Launch Bay, Animation Courtyard
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!, Echo Lake
  • March of the First Order, Star Wars,
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Sunset Boulevard
  • Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular- Fireworks, Stage Show
  • Star Wars Land…. Coming Soon!
  • The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge, American Food, Hollywood Boulevard
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Sunset Boulevard
  • Toy Story Land
  • Tune-In Lounge, Lounge, American Food, Echo Lake
  • Voyage of The Little Mermaid, Animation Courtyard
  • Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream, Animation Courtyard

You can read the top 10 Hollywood Studios rides here!

What ride should I ride first at Hollywood Studios.

For now, you should knock out all the rides in Toy Story Land since it’s the most popular area at the moment.

Once Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens, then you’ll want to make that area a priority on your trip.

How much is a day pass at Hollywood Studios?

A one-day REGULAR season Hollywood Studios ticket starts at $109* (prices do fluctuate based on the season).

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Hollywood Studios has so many hidden gems ready for you to discover. On your next solo Disney trip, make it a fun game to discover each little secret.

If you’d like to read more Walt Disney World secrets, then purchase this amazing book The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom by Susan Veness.

Let me know which Hollywood Studios facts were your favorite in the comment section below!

Want more theme park tips? Check out the theme park tips page. If you’re thinking about going to Disney alone, then read the top 18 tips. Are you planning a Disney vacation soon? Read the Disney Vacation Planning Guide for your next dream trip!

Pin for Later!

Get more of your Disney questions answered below:
  • How to do Magic Kingdom as an Adult
  • Are Disney pools heated?
  • What are the best Animal Kingdom Secrets?
  • How to do Walt Disney World on a Budget?
  • What are the hidden Magic Kingdom Secrets I should know?
  • Is Epcot for Adults?
  • How to do Hollywood Studios Solo?
  • What is the Ultimate Walt Disney World Planning Guide?

Don’t forget to discover the new magical Disney adventure of Toy Story Land!

Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!

NikkyJ

Hidden Gems of Walt Disney World

The Walt Disney World Resort is full of iconic attractions, shows, character meet-and-greets, parades and more, but there is much more to the four parks and resorts than meets the eye. Let’s take a look at some of the hidden gems of the four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks.
Magic Kingdom: The Magic Kingdom is what most fans think of when you think of Disney, and rightfully so. Home to Cinderella Castle, the famous 3 o’clock parade and many classic rides, this park remains as the most-visited in the world year after year. Here are a few hidden gems you might not know about, however: 1) If you are riding the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, just as you are about to exit the ride and pull back into the unloading dock, to your right is a small house with audio-animatronic characters from the original Snow White attraction at the Magic Kingdom. 2) At the Haunted Mansion, ask a Cast Member to point out the wedding ring hidden in the pavement outside the attraction (from the haunted bride inside!). 3) Disney fans with a sweet tooth will tell you that the biggest hidden gem in this part of the park is the Dole Whip! This sweet treat that features pineapple frozen yogurt is a hit for the whole family and now has a new, larger location in Adventureland. 4) Main Street U.S.A. is a gem in and of itself, as it is themed after Walt Disney’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri. The best reason to get to the park early (besides being first in line for your favorite attraction) is that there is a small welcome show held daily to officially open the park (typically 15 minutes before the scheduled opening). Characters and dancers open the park in true Disney fashion, and you won’t want to miss it! Did you know that, once inside, you can get a haircut on Main Street too? Over on the left hand side just before the Emporium lies a real working barbershop that is open for trims! If you’re celebrating a birthday, first visit, anniversary or other special occasion, stop into City Hall and ask for a button to wear all day long, and be prepared to be singled out by Cast Members throughout your visit. Finally, head to the back of The Chapeau shop at the beginning of Main Street. Locate the vintage phone on the wall and pick it up to listen to the “party line,” a conversation between two women depicting small town America.
Epcot: Epcot is home to Future World and the World Showcase, and this is often viewed as the most “adult” park at Walt Disney World. While this park is chock full of things to discover (the World Showcase is a mile all the way around), here are a few hidden gems you might not know about: 1) The best place to beat the heat at Epcot is Club Cool, located right next to Fountain View (Starbucks). Here, you can taste sodas from all over the world – for free! 2) Inside the Seas with Nemo & Friends, check out the underwater viewing area. You can spot sharks, sting rays, sea turtles, dolphins and other wildlife – or even scuba dive inside if you are certified! 3) Inside Innoventions, check out Sum of All Thrills, an attraction that is hidden and most don’t know about. Here, you can design your own roller coaster and then ride it in a simulator – even going upside down! 4) There are many things to check out around the World Showcase. A favorite is the Voices of Liberty inside the American pavilion. These talented singers run through a rendition of classic patriotic songs as well as some of your Disney favorites. 5) Another unique stop inside the World Showcase is in France. L’Artisan des Glaces is home to hand-spun ice cream, sorbets and macaroon sandwiches, a must for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: This theme park brings the movies to life, and there are several hidden gems located throughout Disney’s Hollywood Studios. 1) Outside of the Indiana Jones Stunt show, there is a rope next to a well that says “Warning: Do Not Pull Rope” with the Not crossed out. Go ahead and give it a few tugs for some surprises! 2) The Chinese Theater, home to the Great Movie Ride, is an exact replica, size and all, of the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. 3) If you’re going to ride the Tower of Terror and see a wait time that says “13 minutes,” that means there is no wait at all! 4) Inside the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster holding room (where they play the video), check out the Hidden Mickey on the floor made out of the chords from the instruments. 5) On the Streets of America, there is a replica of the “Singing in the Rain” umbrella. It makes for a great photo opp – and you never know, it just might rain on you!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Disney’s Animal Kingdom is known for the Kilamanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest, but there are many more hidden gems to be found throughout this theme park. 1) You don’t have to venture far into Animal Kingdom to come upon a hidden gem! The Oasis, the area just past the turnstiles as you enter the park, is home to not only animals but hidden caverns, bridges and paths filled with stunning scenery. 2) Explore the paths around the Tree of Life (Discovery Island Trails), the park’s signature icon, to see the more than 300 animals that are carved into this tree’s trunk. 3) Just like Magic Kingdom has an early opening, so does this park! Arrive around 30 minutes early to have early entry into the park and watch as your favorites Disney characters open the park for the day. 4) If you are a fan of “The Lion King,” you absolutely can’t miss The Festival of the Lion King, an approximately 30-minute Broadway-esque show that runs through this classic Disney animated movie and features all of your favorite songs and crowd participation for kids (if you want your child to participate, sit close to the bottom of your section). 5) Take the time to go through the park’s walking trails, the Maharajah Jungle Trek and Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. You can thank us later!

10 Hidden Gems in Walt Disney World

Any Disney visitor will tell you that there are a LOT of attractions to be found in the parks. Most of the big-name attractions are big names for a reason, so they should definitely find their way onto your to-do list while you’re there, but it is often the lesser-known attractions that end up being the most surprising. To help you sift through the smorgasbord of Disney delights, here is a list of ten particularly enjoyable rides, shows, and attractions that you might otherwise have skipped!

1. O Canada!

This 360-Vision film can be found in Epcot’s Canada, and therefore has to compete with many of the more eye-catching countries like China or Germany. However, if you’ve got the free time in your schedule, you should definitely try to stop by. O Canada! is a visual masterpiece, like its counterpart in China, and with comedic actor Martin Short as its star, this film will not only put you in awe of Canada’s beauty (and variety), but also make you laugh along the way! It also offers you the chance to get some extra shade, which is essential during a sunny day in Florida.

Left 1 of 10 right

Have you noticed these 10 hidden gems of Disney World’s Magic Kingdom?

1. Visit Cinderella’s Fountain
Located behind the Castle is Cinderella’s Fountain, guests who bow down to this fountain will reveal the crown on her head, of course children are already at the perfect height. Also, a great stop to make a wish or refresh with a drink of water.

2. Ride Cinderella’s Horse
Prince Charming Regal Carousel in Magic Kingdom is a popular stop for many guests. Hidden among the 90 horses is Cinderella’s Horse, Major. Find this horse to ride by looking for the golden ribbon on the tail!

3. Magic Shots
Ask a photographer for Magic Shots. These are included with your photopass or available for individual purchase. Some notable Magic Shots available in Disney’s Magic Kingdom include holding various characters such as Lumiere, Tinkerbell, an iconic bunch of balloons and more. They add an extra touch of magic.

4. The Phone at Chapeau
The Chapeau located on Main Street has a wide selection of ears that guests may have monogramed on site. This shop has a secret, be sure to pick up the phone at the Chapeau.

5. Free Pixie Dust
Guests may walk into the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique located at Cinderella’s Castle for this treat. The Fairy Godmother in training will sprinkle anyone’s hair with wands of glitter. Guests may also stop by Castle Couture and ask a cast member for a dusting.

6. Tomorroland Speedway License
Many guests ride the Tomorrowland Speedway unaware of this tip – upon exiting your race, ask a Cast Member for a driver’s license.

7. Fronteirland Shootin’ Arcade
This old fashioned shooting arcade is a fun break from the sun. Step under the open but covered porch of this old west style building and test your skills at the Fronteirland Shootin’ Arcade at Magic Kingdom.

8. A Pirate’s Adventure – Treasures of the Seven Seas
Do you have a Pirate fan? They will love the missions seeking lost treasure, ultimately becoming an official member of Captain Jack’s crew. A Pirate’s Adventure – Treasure of the Seven Seas is a unique way to spend an afternoon at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

9. Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
A widely unknown game takes place at Disney’s Magic Kingdom that allows guests to defeat villains. Register as a “Guest Sorcerer” for the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Spell Card Game and find portals on the special map. Guests even get to keep the cards, making excellent souvenirs.

10. The Kiss Goodnight
Stay until closing at Disney’s Magic Kingdom for this gem. The Kiss Goodnight occurs every half hour after park closing and is a 2 minute beautiful way to say goodbye to guests.

Learn more tips and tricks for your next Walt Disney World vacation. Destination in Florida can also help you add tips and tricks to your next vacation.

Planning a Walt Disney World vacation? Feeling overwhelmed? I’ve put together a Walt Disney World course just for you! Learn how you can have a stress free, magical Disney vacation with the Walt Disney World Planning Digest.

Walt Disney’s life and creative works have always been subject to scrutiny and intrigue. Although he was far from a secretive man, fans and critics alike are drawn to the idea that there was more than meets the eye to a man whose core ideals were dedicated to creating wonder and bringing childhood imagination to life. Since Disney’s first theme park opened in California in 1955, more than 650 million guests have come flooding through the gates to enjoy the place “where dreams come true”. There are now six Disney theme parks around the world which all run like clockwork and entertain millions of guests each year. However, over the years countless urban legends and weird stories have been associated with Disneyland. Of course, many of the most popular rumours are false and seek to create a darker side to the most magical place on earth, but it was Walt Disney himself who helped cultivate a sense of mystery for his parks. Disneyland is full of tiny little details and hidden meanings which the vast majority of its guests are blissfully unaware of. Very few guests really know what’s going on behind the curtain or what they’re missing out on as they walk around the park.

10. The Hidden Mickeys

Perhaps the most popular ‘secret’ in Disneyland is the Hidden Mickeys. Mickey Mouse is an instantly recognisable character and he is arguably the most important creation of the Walt Disney Company. Mickey was the character which helped Walt Disney make his name (Disney received his first of his record-breaking 22 Academy awards for the creation of Mickey) and the playful mouse still plays a hugely important role to this day. The silhouette of Mickey’s head (or often just his ears) is used throughout Disney’s merchandise and branding, but it also plays its part as a hidden ‘easter egg’ for fans to find in various forms of Disney media. Hidden Mickeys and background appearances of the famous mouse can be found in countless Disney commercials, video games, movies and various other forms of Disney output. Hidden Mickeys have also been placed throughout all of the Disney theme parks. There is no definitive, official list of all the Hidden Mickeys, but fans have found at least 1000 of them in the park’s attractions, architecture, stores and décor. Often found hidden away in the background of a mural or in hard to reach places, the Hidden Mickeys are also sometimes formed by a collection of objects (like a pile of rocks) or found as a pattern in brickwork and flooring tiles.

9. The Haunted Mansion’s Mysteries

First opened in the California Disneyland in 1969, the Haunted Mansion is one of the park’s most popular and enduring rides. Over the years, the ride has suffered from its fair share of urban legends and rumours, but only a few of them are true. One of the most popular stories is that one of the five singing statue busts (The Phantom Five) is modelled after the likeness of Walt Disney and served as a commemoration to him after his death. Apparently, even some Disney cast members pass this off as a fact. However, the bust in question is actually the face of Thurl Ravenscroft, a famous voice actor who happened to bear a passing resemblance to Walt Disney. Another rumour is that a guest died of fright shortly after the ride was first opened. Although this is another false tale, in the early 70s there was an ‘incident’ when a guest pulled out a .22 handgun and apparently started shooting while on the ride. No one was injured but one bullet hit a huge sheet of glass in the ballroom and the pane proved to be too difficult and expensive to replace without removing the roof. To cover up the eyesore, they simply stuck a spider web over the bullet hole.


8. Amateur Filmmakers made a Horror Film in Disneyland without Permission

Disney has a reputation of being very protective of its licenses, trademarks and likenesses. The company doesn’t like to share its intellectual property, especially when it comes to its theme parks, so the fact that some amateur filmmakers managed to shoot an entire movie set in Disneyland is pretty impressive. Director Randy Moore knew that Disney wouldn’t give him permission to film his weird psychological horror “Escape from Tomorrow” in the park, so he took matters into his own hands. Adopting a guerrilla filmmaking style, the cast and crew dressed as tourists and entered the park in small groups. No lighting equipment could be used so the director had to chart the position of the sun in advance so each scene was well-lit, and they had to use small handheld cameras which wouldn’t attract attention. Surprisingly, park employees and operators didn’t get suspicious, even when the cast and crew had to keep riding the same rides over and over to get the takes right. Although it was a low budget effort and received a mixed reception from critics, the movie was an audacious accomplishment and one of the few times Disney was completely in the dark about exactly what was going on its own theme park.

7. Guests can Enjoy some Hidden Perks on Rides

Surprisingly, Disneyland offers a few perks to guests who know the right things to say. On the Disney Railroad, Walt Disney wanted guests to be able to enjoy a proper locomotive experience and find out how exactly the trains work. If guests ask for the “tender ride”, they can ride up front near the engineers operating the engines of the train. The engineers are more than happy to answer any questions about how locomotives operate and talk about the history of the trains, but guests who partake have to complete a full circle of the railroad because it is only possible to safely embark and disembark from the tender carriage when the locomotive is at Main Street. Guests can also ask to ride the ‘Lilly Belle’ carriage. The Lilly Belle is a grand, ornate carriage with velvet drapes, mahogany panelling and plush velvet chairs. The monorail and Mark Twain riverboat trips have also been known to let inquiring quests ride up front. Although these special rides are sometimes restricted and guests may not always be able to enjoy them (there’s usually a long queue, too), it’s always worth asking.

6. The Park uses Feral Cats to Curb the Rodent Problem

photo: Eddy Van 3000 / flickr

Disney goes to remarkable lengths to make sure that the theme park is kept in pristine condition. Guests are never far away from a trashcan, horticulturists and gardeners keep all the plantlife and grass at the right length and any scratches or chips made to the paintwork and décor get patched up as soon as possible. However, Disneyland’s workforce also has a secret weapon. An influx of feral cats accompanied the opening of Disneyland in 1955, but instead of chasing the animals away Disney put them to good use. The cats were very adept at catching rodents which targeted leftover food and trash left by guests. It may seem rather ironic given that the theme park was built on the popularity of a fictional cartoon mouse, but the cats proved to an effective solution to a persistent problem. To this day Disney still uses feral cats as rodent-catchers. They spay any cats they can catch before releasing them back into the park and any litters of kittens they find are put up for adoption.

5. There’s a Private Club with an Exclusive Guest List

photo: Mxreb0 / Wikicommons

Disneyland seems like the last place on earth which would have a secret ‘speakeasy’ on its grounds, but the park is actually home to one of the most exclusive clubs on the planet. Located at number 33 Royal Street in the New Orleans Square, Club 33 was built in 1967 and it was originally devised as a place for Walt Disney to entertain VIP guests and sponsors of the park, but he died several months before it opened it’s doors (it has been speculated that this is where the club really gets its name as there were 33 corporate sponsors of Disneyland between 1966 and 1967). Nowadays, the club operates on a strictly exclusive basis. Although members of the public can apply for membership, there is a decade-long waiting list. The lucky few who are chosen have to pay a one-time initiation fee of $10,000 (the price is $27,500 for corporate members) and annual fees of $3,500. The club is located across two levels and it contains a foyer, dining rooms, lounges and a balcony overlooking the park. All of the rooms are furnished with actual props from Disney movies as well as hand-drawn animation cels and even antiques owned by Walt Disney’s wife Lillian. Club 33 is also the only place in the entire park to serve alcohol.

4. Matterhorn Mountain has a Basketball Court

photo: HarshLight / Flickr

The landscape of Disneyland is full of huge, towering attractions and rides, but many areas are inaccessible to guests. While some areas of the park are specifically built to house the mechanics and machinery of its roller coasters, others are simply built as a way to spruce up the scenery. However, at least one of these structures is more secretive than it seems. Matterhorn Mountain is located near Tomorrowland and is home to the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride. This high-speed ride shoot guests down a steel track at high speeds as they pass in and out of the mountain. For some reason or another, the structure also houses a basketball half-court. Located at the top of the mountain above the roller coaster tracks, the mountain climbers who scale the Matterhorn for the entertainment of guests are the only ones who can access this mountain as there is no internal access. An urban legend circulated that Walt Disney ordered the court to be installed as a way to bypass zoning laws because it allowed him to claim that Matterhorn Mountain was a ‘sports arena’ which wasn’t eligible for height restrictions. However, this has been debunked as these height regulations did not exist until after the ride had been built (the Matterhorn isn’t as big as it seems anyway as it uses forced perspective to appear much grander than it actually is). Another rumour is that the court was actually built by the mountain climber staff as a way to pass the time between shifts during rainy days when they were unable to safely climb on the outside of the mountain. Whatever the reason for it’s construction, the basketball court is still enjoyed by staff to this day.

3. The Park has an Underground Tunnel System for Employees

It makes sense that Disney employees need a quick and convenient way to get around the miles and miles of park each day, but it’s hard to see how they manage to do so with bustling crowds of guests queueing up for rides and attractions at every turn . Disney’s answer to the potential problem was clever but very surprising in its execution. Disneyland is built above a huge underground network of corridors and paths which are strictly for employee use only. The network was actually built at ground level and the rest of the park erected above it, and it serves as a very necessary feature for the smooth running of the park. It also means that costume actors don’t have to worry about being swarmed by mobs of fans or straying into the wrong areas (Buzz Lightyear would look very out of place in the American Old West of Frontierland) when they’re trying to get to their shift on time.

2. Tomorrowland Grows it’s Own Fruits and Vegetables

Tomorrowland is one of the most ambitious and intriguing areas in Disneyland. The themed zone attempts to bring the sights and wonders of the future to present day, and many of the attractions are imaginative takes on what tomorrow may bring. Tomorrowland entered into its third generation in 1998 (the area needs to change every few decades to make sure it doesn’t get left behind in the past) and one of it’s new features was investing in ‘Agrifuture’. A food crisis seems all but inevitable in the future and sustainable farming and foods will become a necessity. Tomorrowland’s ‘Imagineers’ called attention to the issue by growing edible fruits and plants throughout the entire themed area. Lettuce patches, orange trees and strawberry bushels are just some of the many edible foods that are grown all over Tomorrowland. Although the sight of all these trees and plants is noticeably different from the pristine landscaping found throughout the rest of the park, this feature goes almost completely unnoticed by guests. Apart from a solitary ‘Agrifuture’ billboard near the railroad in Tomorrowland, this interesting detail isn’t advertised or ‘shown off ‘ by Disney at all.

1. Disneyland Tricks the Sensory of Guests

Disney really thought of everything when it came to enhancing the theme park experience. The sights and sounds of Disneyland are overwhelming and there are always little things (like the Hidden Mickeys) which are easy to overlook. Even if they go unnoticed, it shows just how much effort has been put into every tiny aspect of the park. However, this attention to detail doesn’t stop with the eyes and ears. One of the unsung heroes of the Disneyland experience is the ‘Smellitzer’ – a crafty device which wafts aromas around the park. Usually placed in strategic locations like outside the candy stores on Main Street U.S.A, the Smellitzer can ‘launch’ a scent into the air. It’s likely that guests will realise they are suddenly able to smell a very strong aroma of freshly baked cookies as they pass by the bakery in Main Street or fresh popcorn and peppermint sweets near the candy stores, and it’s all thanks to the Smellitzer. With so many people walking around the busiest areas of the park during the day, there’s no way these smells would be able to stand out without a little assistance. It makes sense that Disney would go to these lengths to make sure that their guests could get some gentle persuasion in indulging their sweet tooths (and depart with some of their cash) just as they pass by a candy store. Another interesting secret is that each different land in the park has a different type of flooring. Guests can literally feel the effect of moving into a different section of the park as they walk over smooth asphalt instead of cobblestones or bricked pavement. These different textures serve as subtle subliminal hints to guests that they are in a different area with new things to experience.