15 Disney World Secrets You've Never Heard Before

From little-known facts about your favorite attractions to underground tunnels and more, here are 15 fascinating Disney World secrets.

Crowds pack and fill Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World
Photo: Joseph Prezioso/Getty Images

With four theme parks, dozens of hotels, and 50 years of magical history, Disney World is bound to have a secret or two hidden inside its walls. We've gathered a list of 15 Disney legends, mysteries, and fun facts — perfect to share with your travel buddies while you're waiting in line for your favorite ride.

Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned Disney expert, here are 15 fascinating Disney World secrets sure to surprise you.

1. There are secret tunnels under Magic Kingdom.

The existence of the utilidors — a system of tunnels underneath Magic Kingdom — is perhaps the best-known Disney World secret. The tunnels are key to keeping this park running — and the magic alive. Ever wondered how you've never spotted a cast member in an Adventureland costume over in Fantasyland? Cast members can take the tunnels to their assigned area, so everyone stays in theme when they're in front of guests.

2. Disney creatively reuses old ride elements.

Recognize an animatronic? Disney strategically reuses audio-animatronic figures and even vehicles from extinct rides to create exciting new experiences for guests. Disneyland's America Sings characters got a new life in Splash Mountain, and Frozen Ever After replaced Norway's Maelstrom attraction in Epcot, but kept its ride vehicles and similar ride track. Coming soon, Disney will reimagine Splash Mountain with a "Princess and the Frog" theme, and we can't wait to see how it compares to the original.

3. Liberty Square is more historically accurate than you might have guessed.

Even with its replica Liberty Bell and Liberty Tree, Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square is much more authentic than you may have realized. Because there were no modernized bathrooms in the colonial days, it's said that there technically aren't any within this land either. Been to the ones in Liberty Tree Tavern or Columbia Harbor House? Well, those are supposedly so far back in the restaurant that they're technically in other lands, keeping it truly authentic to the time period.

4. Imagineers included their kids (and themselves) in Be Our Guest decor.

Be Our Guest is one of Walt Disney World's toughest restaurant reservations, but if you're lucky enough to end up inside, don't miss the artwork throughout the ballroom. The snow outside the ornate windows was created from original movie animation cels, and the lifelike cherubs lining the ceiling mural bear the faces of children of the Imagineers working on the project — as well as the Imagineers' baby faces themselves!

5. Many of Main Street's flags aren't technically American flags.

Magic Kingdom's Main Street is lined with our nation's flags — only they're not technically American. Because regulations require traditional flags be raised, lowered, and flown at half-mast, each is missing a star or a stripe In order to be left up permanently. They serve double duty, too, as the flagpoles are actually lightning rods in disguise protecting guests below from inclement weather.

6. There are more Imagineer secrets at the Tower of Terror.

Supposedly, the Imagineers working on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror liked to play pranks on each other, many of which involved a certain jar of pickled sausages. They hid and surprised one another with the jar, until an Imagineer mistakenly left it behind one night, which just so happened to be when every prop was being glued down. The jar still sits behind the photo pickup area today as an insider nod to Disney's geniuses having fun while on the job.

7. This Animal Kingdom ride has a sister attraction at Disneyland.

The turbulent prehistoric thriller Dinosaur at Disney's Animal Kingdom and Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland aren't just similar — they feature the same ride track. And, if you think Animal Kingdom's turbulent trip backwards through time is scary now, just know that Dinosaur in its original form, Countdown to Extinction, was so terrifying that its original soundtrack, motion, and interaction had to be toned down.

8.The sidewalks have special meanings.

Disney pays incredible attention to detail, right down to the sidewalk you step on. On Main Street, the differing colors supposedly help to subconsciously guide guests and keep them from tripping at night, and at Liberty Square, well, the brown wavy path down the center of the road is said to represent how colonial-era residents would dispose of their waste back in the day. (Kind of ruins the craving for fried fish, doesn't it?)

9. Main Street's second level pays homage to Disney employees.

Main Street, U.S.A. may be an idealized homage to the small towns of Walt Disney's Missouri birthplace, but its second level hides references to the company's most valued employees. Each window inscription is actually a distinctive honor, personalized to an integral "cast member" who made a noteworthy contribution to the park. Look up and you'll see cheeky dedications to folks like Buddy Baker, who composed the music for many Disney films and theme park attractions; Roy O. Disney, who ensured Magic Kingdom opened after his brother Walt's passing; and artists like Yale Gracey and Claude Coats for their theatrics and tricks put on display in rides like Haunted Mansion.

10. Even the trash is magical at Magic Kingdom.

Given that it's the "Most Magical Place On Earth", it only makes sense that Magic Kingdom's garbage is magical as well. The theme park uses an AVAC pneumatic tube system, which sucks garbage through vacuum tubes in various spots throughout the park to a central location just beyond Fronteirland's Splash Mountain. Invented in Sweden, the tube system never really took off in the states, but is still utilized in the Disney theme park to this day.

11. And trash cans are very strategically placed.

Speaking of trash, did you know that there are trash cans positioned every 30 feet in Disney parks? These ubiquitous bins help keep the park tidy, but they've also developed a bit of a following. You'll notice uniquely themed trash cans throughout the parks, and you can even purchase trash can merchandise from Disney.

12. Haunted Mansion has almost as many secrets as ghosts.

The hallowed history of Disney's Haunted Mansion has yielded many interesting factoids, but there are plenty more within the cobweb-covered manse, so long as you pay close attention. If it's quiet enough, you can hear gargoyles whispering for you to leave the "stretching room." Conversely, the ghastly piano player at the beginning of the journey is playing the attraction's iconic "Grim Grinning Ghosts," even if you can't audibly hear the music. Don't get too distracted by the many spirits within the dining room scene and miss the Hidden Mickey made from plates on the dinner table — or the homage to Donald Duck by way of the ride's creepily decorated armchair midway through. It doesn't stop there; take a peek at the graveyard just outside the ride's exit and you'll see a gravestone dedicated to Mr. Toad — a nod to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, which was removed to make way for a Winnie The Pooh ride two decades ago.

13. Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge has tons of Easter eggs for fans in the know.

Though Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios is a new land themed more to the recent films, it still has some serious connections to the classics. Droids wheels modeled after a "A New Hope"-era R2-D2 were dragged through the walkways for authenticity, and select merchandise was even created by digitally scanning props and costumes in the Lucasfilm archives and replicating them for purchase. All the things you'd expect to be for sale are — lightsabers, droids, stuffed Yodas — but a few hidden favorites are intended for only the biggest of Star Wars fans.

14. There's a super-exclusive suite in Cinderella Castle.

Most Disney fans are aware there's a secret room hidden inside Cinderella Castle, but given that you can't book a night or even beg your way in, only a lucky few are allowed to see what's inside the fabled Cinderella Castle Suite. Located through a nondescript door within the castle is a lobby lined with tapestries, where guests board an elevator to be whisked up to the suite. Its foyer, which features a glass slipper and crown on display, cels from the original animated film on the walls, and a tiled floor mosaic of the princess' gilded carriage on the floor, sets the scene for a true bedroom tucked within Walt Disney World's stunning tower. The mystical room is breathtaking — the view, although somewhat obscured, is unparalleled — but it's the details that are never discussed, including marble columns with Cinderella's mice etched into the top and an antique desk that's hundreds of years old that surprise and wow. There's even a royal "bath chamber" with a starry sky over the tub, proving it's truly fit for royalty.

15. A members-only club has private locations in all four theme parks.

Walt Disney World has its own private members club — and the locations are hiding in plain sight. It's called Club 33, and it's a spinoff of Disneyland's hallowed version, only here each theme park has its own unique take. Epcot's is located above the American Adventure, Magic Kingdom's is to the right of the Adventureland entrance, Disney's Hollywood Studios operates one on the second floor of the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant, and a fourth called Harambe House can be found at Disney's Animal Kingdom; all four offer a theme honoring a different aspect of Walt Disney's life and travels. You can get nary a peek inside without a member, but know the spaces are impeccably decorated with plenty of nods to the man who started it all.

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