17 Things Only Disney Superfans Know
Whether you’re watching it snow in Florida or flying through space in California, a lot of magic happens at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort.
To make that magic happen, the park's engineers and designers have created hidden pockets, secret passageways, and other genius processes and productions. Take for example staff-only barber shops hidden in a tunnel underneath the park. Or an ultra-deluxe suite inside Cinderella’s Castle.
Impress your traveling companions on your next trip by reading up on the parks' most fascinating facts and behind-the-scenes details.
A Hidden Basketball Court
Disneyland employees can shoot hoops inside the Matterhorn ride. According to the Invisible Theme Park blog, there is a secret basketball court for staff tucked inside the otherwise empty upper third of the mountain that makes up the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland.
Castles in the Air
There's a suite inside of Cinderella's Castle and guests can spend the night like a royal. However, the suite can't be booked, not even for all the gold in the royal treasury. Instead the room is reserved primarily for promotional giveaways. Enter the sweepstakes and you might win a chance to sleep like a princess.
There are 392,040 square feet of tunnels underneath Orlando’s Magic Kingdom. Known as utilidors, the tunnels make it possible for staff members to move around the park, say from Frontierland to Tomorrowland, without confusing the guests. The tunnels are accessed via hidden staircases and not only allow costumed crew to wander between sections, but also let them access staff-only sections of the park. That includes the staff cafeteria (called the Mouseketeria, of course), the extensive costume collection, and a barbershop so crewmembers can maintain their "Disney Look." Some tour companies offer guided tours of the utilidors.
The Official Seal
It took an act of (the real) Congress to install the Presidential Seal in the carpeting inside the rotunda of Disney’s Hall of Presidents” attraction. There are only three such presidential seals in the world: one in the Oval Office, one in Philadelphia next to the Liberty Bell, and one in the “Hall of Presidents.”
Epcot is the home to one of the world’s largest saltwater tanks, holding 5.7 million gallons and home to over 4,000 animals and 60 different species, according to Theme Park Tourist. The Caribbean Coral Reef Aquarium was the largest manmade ocean in the U.S. until the Georgia Aquarium surpassed it in 2005.
Locking Doors—Just in Case
The restrooms in the Animal Kingdom all have locks on the doors. This is to make sure that guests have a safe place to hide if an animal escapes from its cage, according to E! Online.
The Dog Hotel
Disney has a pet hotel. Dogs are not permitted in Disney Parks (except for service animals and Pluto), so in 1958 Disneyland opened the Ken-L Land Pet Motel. The name has now changed to the Disneyland Kennel Club, but the services remain the same: pets get a cool place to hang out while their families enjoy the park.
The oldest ride at Disney World is the Lilly Belle locomotive on the Walt Disney World Railroad, built in 1915. Before becoming a beloved ride, the train cars transported sugar through the Yucatan Peninsula as part of the United Railways of Yucatan. The second oldest attraction is Cinderella's Golden Carousel, which features horses carved in 1917.
His Last Ride
The last attraction that Walt Disney himself worked on is the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. It opened three months after his death, on March 18, 1967.
Disney trucks in dirt to keep the Haunted Mansion covered in an appropriately creepy layer of dust and cobwebs.
A Gum-Free Main Street
None of Disney’s shops sell gum, so that none of the guests will tempted to spit it out onto the street or on the back of a bench. If you do see what look like wads of gum on Main Street, its actually sensors built into the road to help monitor the progress of parade floats.
The Secret Club
Disneyland has a secret club for VIPs. Walt Disney himself created Club 33 as a place to host visiting special guests in a high-end restaurant and speakeasy-style bar. The club is capped at 500 members and costs $25,000 for membership fees, plus $12,000 a year in dues for the privilege of eating and drinking far from Main Street USA.
Disney World has only been closed five times since opening in 1971. The first time was in 1999 during Hurricane Floyd, the second was on September 11, 2001 due to the terrorist attacks, and the third came during a power outage in 2002. The park also closed in 2016 and 2017 during Hurricanes Matthew and Irma.
A Mini Morocco
To make sure the Morocco Pavilion at Epcot felt true, the King of Morocco sent some of his own architects to oversee construction. He also sent 19 artists to Florida to help create the mosaics included in the pavilion.
Disney's Tobacco Shop
There used to be a tobacco shop on Disneyland’s Main Street, selling cigarettes, tobacco, and smoking paraphernalia from around the world. It closed in 1991, according to Yesterland.
Magic Kingdom’s colonial-era Liberty Square has no modern bathrooms it. Instead, guests have to wander off the main streets to the backs of the Liberty Tree Tavern or Columbia Harbor House to use the facilities. It's all supposed to maintain the illusion of going back in time.
The Walt Disney Company is the largest consumer of fireworks in the world and the second largest purchaser of explosive devices, right behind the U.S. Department of Defense.