“There is no magic in magic, it’s all in the details.” -Walt Disney
We all know that Walt Disney was a visionary. He put together a team of dreamers with overactive idealistic imaginations that were just waiting to be set free. He created a place where people could escape their daily worries and immerse themselves in a world of carefree fantasy! This Land would then go on to create a World in Florida!
The quote I posted above, I found today and realized just how true of a statement it was. When it comes to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, both create a magical, whimsical atmosphere that cannot be compared, but what is about Disney Parks that make the experience so unique? The answer is simple really, it’s the detail. When Walt created the idea of Imagineers and brought all of these creative minds together to collaborate on one big project, the ideas were limitless! All of the Disney Parks were made to have detail in every inch, every nook and cranny has something special about it.
After spending four months exploring the parks and really taking the time to take in all the detail at a slow pace, you’d be imagine how much you find! I decided to start this little blog series to point out some hidden details that certainly enhance the magic that people might not have even noticed before! Sometimes it’s the details we don’t even realize are coming into play enhance the experience the most! Since I noticed so many over the course of my program, I decided to split this series up by park! So each post will contain a different park or property within Disney World. I own none of the pictures within this post, I just wanted to show everyone what I’m talking about so they can find these places themselves! If I can remember enough details from my brief trip to Disneyland, I will also try to create a post about that as well!
Main Street USA
- Starting things off at the grand entrance of Magic Kingdom, lets imagine ourselves walking down Main Street USA. (Imagine me there in guest relations plaid like playing tour guide or something cool). So as you’re walking down Main Street taking in all the sights, smells, and excited faces; start taking a deeper look into things. Let’s say you’re right at the start of Main Street, if you’re facing the castle, take a quick detour to your right first and find the hat shop. Inside you will find more ear and Disney hats than your mind can imagine, but you will also see an old time phone on the wall. It’s not just decoration. Try picking it up and listen in on an old time conversation. Just make sure they don’t catch you eavesdropping on the other end of the line!
- Once you got your fill of gossip, head out of the accessories shop and start your journey down Main Street. As you’re strolling notice all the second floor windows on all the Main Street buildings. Notice the different company names, these names weren’t just made up! In fact, many of them are the last names or full names of Imagineers that helped create the beloved park we know today! This is actually the same for Main Street in Disneyland! They’re all unique and creative so take a closer look at each one!
- Now when you’re about halfway down Main Street, notice a quiet little side nook to your right. This is usually where the caricature stand is with a small outdoor seating area behind it. Head down towards the seating area. You’ll notice (if there is no large groups or loud people down the side street) that it gets pretty quiet, as if the sounds from Main Street crowds disappears a little. When you’re at the end of the nook, take a look up at the second floor windows in the area. Do you notice two open windows that have writing stating the building holds singing/voice lessons as well as tap/ballet lessons? Take a listen. If it’s quiet enough you’ll actually hear the voices of the lessons going on inside! Sounds like someone could use a little extra lessons!
- Now we’re at the castle. Pretty ain’t it? It’s even prettier at night. In fact, if you wait until closing you’ll experience a little extra magic not too many people know about. When the park closes for the night and guests are heading out, there is a brief castle ceremony known as “The Kiss Goodnight” where guests are given a grand farewell!
- Starting our exploration in the exotic jungles, let us first head over to the mystical Agrabah Bazaar. While walking around the outdoor market, I recommend paying very close attention to where you step. When you look down you’ll notice many small treasures imbedded in the ground. It might take some searching, but you might just happen upon a true diamond in the rough. Not many know this, but Magic Kingdom’s (maybe all of Disney World’s?) smallest Hidden Mickey can be found here! Here’s a hint: look for a silver earning. Have fun searching.
- This one’s a little bit shorter and thanks to Disney’s realistic magic might be hard toeven realize! But, did you know that the Jungle Cruise is actually self-sustaining? Allthe plants within the ride have become their own self-sustaining jungle! Talk about a place that could slowly expand for Niles and Niles. That was my lame attempt at a Jungle Skipper joke. At least I think I’m funny.
- Thanks to my pal McKenzie, I got a lot of fun inside information about both the Pirates side of Adventureland and various places throughout Frontierland. One tidbit I found especially interesting can be found inside Tortuga Tavern. Tortuga Tavern is usually only in operation during peek park times, but the seating area is always available for guests who want a break in the shade. Not only is this seating area popular for trading Kingdom Cards, but it also has a few historically accurate details. In the back of the seating area there is an outdoor section. In the back you will see a staircase that leads up to a door on the second floor of the building. Please do not walk up the stairs because that is considered a Cast Member only location, but take a look at the back wall along the stairs. You’ll notice tiny holes in the wall, any guess what they could be? If you guessed bullet holes then you’d be correct. The building is suppose to represent an old style Tavern. The upstairs area is suppose to be where ‘ladies of the night’ well call them, would take their customers. If the customers left without pay, well, you can see by the bullet holes just what their fate must have been.
- I’ve got a jar of… dirt? If you’re a fan of Pirates of the Caribbean then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Anyways my good pal McKenzie pointed out this hidden gem to me during her time working at Pecos Bill. During busy months when the park tends to be very full, a back room at Pecos is open to allow additional indoor seating for guests. Since this room is more towards the back of the restaurant, it technically crosses over into Adventureland territory. Since it is pretty close to the Pirates ride, a glass case in the room actually has real props from the movies including, you guessed it, the famed jar of dirt! If the room is ever open while you’re there, I highly recommend checking it out!
- Ever take the train around the Magic Kingdom? Sometimes I found myself riding it in loops solely for a relaxing ride to reenergize on my off days. For those who haven’t, I truly recommend trying it. The train is almost like a ride itself, especially because you get to see things you can’t see from walking through the park. The key part I am talking about is when you pass through the Frontierland portion of the train ride. Since Frontierland pertains to the ‘Wild West’ era of America, there is a big focus on the ideas of Tom Sawyer, Cowboys, and Native Americans. After stopping at the Frontierland station, the train conductor will tell guests that they are now passing Native American Territory. It is here that you will pass by a full Native American Camp and watch them live their daily life. This cannot be seen unless you are a passenger on the train and it is definitely a cool addition to your day!
- Personally one of my favorite attractions in the Magic Kingdom, the Haunted Mansion has been known to spook guests with its 999 Happy Haunts. Many avid park goers know that the Haunted Mansion holds many secrets and details that can’t be truly found unless heard about prior to entering the ride queue. Since I really want this post to be about secrets that aren’t commonly shared on the internet, I am going to try and tell some of the most fascinating secrets about the Haunted Mansion. For example, did you know that the ghostly horse in front of the mansion can sometimes be heard whinnying? If you stand next to it long enough it just might whinny for you too!
- This one is my personal favorite and still manages to creep me out every time! I tested this theory out with my friend one day and found it to be 100% true! Afterlistening to the stretching room spiel, stay behind while the crowd starts to file out into the next queue. If you are the last ones in the room and things start to quiet down make sure you listen closely. The gargoyles surrounding the room will actually start to talk to you. They will tell you to ‘Get Out!’ or giggle in a very eery manner. Trust me, they get the job done, after listening to them yell at you once will spook ya enough to run out!
- Did you know the Haunted Mansion in Disney World was considered to be converted to the same Nightmare for Christmas theme for the holidays just like in Disneyland? Tim Burton himself even did a walkthrough of the ride to decide how it should be properly decorated. Disney World decided to scrap the idea because they didn’t want to have to close the popular ride down in order to set up the holiday decor each year. Instead, in order to pay tribute to the idea, Imagineers skillfully hid Jack Skeletons throughout the ride. These can be extremely hard to see or find but I will give you a hint, one is on the cover of a book sitting on the floor next to the rocking chair in the library scene.
- Many already know of this secret but it’s another favorite of mine. When exiting the ride, make sure to pause and check out the animal graveyard residing next to theride exit. In the back corner you’ll see a figure of Mr. Toad. This grave was created to commemorate the Mr. Toad ride that was replaced with the Winnie the Pooh ride through. The same track was even used, the surroundings were simply changed.
- If you’re still feeling in touch with your spooky side after this hidden adventure, head into Momento Mori. Find the mirror on the wall and be sure not the ask who’s the fairest of them all. Instead, stare at it for every 15 minutes you might be visited by Momento Mori herself. This one certainly gives unsuspecting visitors a fright!
- Now lets head back over to the center of Liberty Square, shall we? Now, for those of you that know me, know I’m a huge history nerd, especially for Colonial American History! When it comes to Liberty Square, each house is styled from a different colonial era. Going from house to house, take a look at the house numbers. Put an 18 in front of each house number and that will tell you around what period each style house comes from!
- Notice the doll in one of the windows? When I was on a tour of Liberty Square I was taught this use to symbolize that there was a child in the house. They would put a doll in the window to let someone know there are children present in the house in case of a fire.
- Now for two secrets many already know, but why not share them anyways? First, the tree in the center of the square has 13 lanterns on it! These are to symbolize the 13 original colonies and each lantern has a specific design related to the state it stands for. The second common fact would be that there are no bathrooms in Liberty Square. Why is this you might ask? How about checking out that brown path in the middle of the walkway. Although you might have already guessed, this is to once again represent historical accuracy! A must nicer smelling version. Since bathrooms didn’t exist back then, they don’t exist within Liberty Square and that brown path in the center of town… well… we’l let your imagination go to work.
- Head on over to Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel and hop in line. Once it’s time to board, take a look for the horse with a golden bow on its tail. If I were you, I’d try to get that horse for your journey around the carousel, because it just so happens to be Cinderella’s favorite horse!
- If you feel like shopping, then go across the way over to Sir Mickey’s. This store has quite a few surprises up its sleeve! If you go in, make sure to keep your eyes towards the sky because you might see a Giant!
- After you’ve finished the ‘brief’ roller coaster, otherwise known as the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, you’ll be stalled on the tracks for a few minutes before being let off. While waiting you’ll see Snow White and the Dwarfs dancing around in the cottage to a humble little song. One thing I most certainly did not notice the first time around was the terrifying being hiding behind the front door. Be on the lookout for her and any poison apples that may come your way!
- If you’ve ever seen the Cinderella Fountain directly behind the castle, as an adult you might seem a little surprised. When staring at the fountain from a higher angle, it almost seems as if Cinderella is frowning. This is a trick of the eye! For adults she may seem unhappy, but for children who look up to the statue, they see her hidden smile and the mosaic crown perched upon her head!
- Are you feeling a little extra brave today? If you know any little knight, prince, princess, heroine, etc., that is feeling courageous, head on over to the sword in the stone! A special warrior is selected a few times throughout the day to pull the sword from the stone and prove themselves royalty!
- Staying in the park close to closing? If you plan on saying until park closing, I recommend staying near the castle! A half an hour prior to closing, the fairy godmother will light up the castle and give everyone a kiss goodnight! Did I already mention this? Whoops. Guess that’s just an EXTRA reminder that it basically is a polite way for the park to tell you to start making your way to the exit PLEASE.
- Inside the Be Our Guest Restaurant, during lunch guests are given the option of sitting in the grand ballroom, Belle’s gallery, or the infamous west wing. If you decide to chose the west wing, pay close attention to the painting of Prince Adam (the Beast in human form) on the wall. Whenever the lightning strikes or the thunder booms, you just might see his fate in the painting!
- If you feel like you’re in the need of a little extra luck, then find your way to Castle Couture! Inside look for a Cast Member who doesn’t seem to be too busy at the moment and tell them you could use a little extra pixie dust today! You heard me! They will then take out their fairy wand and pixie dust you! They will tell you that now all of your wishes will come true.
- Just like on Main Street, be on the look out for an idle phone booth. Pick up the phone and you just might hear a conversation of intergalactic proportions!
- Go to Cosmic Rays and listen to Sonny Eclipse! The extraterrestrial that is honestly the staple of Tomorrowland. He is a true gem to the Kingdom.
- If you need a break or just want to escape the heat for a little, then how about taking a relaxing ride on the People Mover? It’s personally one of my favorite rides in the park and you get an amazing view of the castle! If you’re lucky, Space Mountain can sometimes be toured with the lights on when it is under maintenance during a ride through! Besides those little tidbits, be sure to listen closely when it comes to intercom announcements while on the ride. Tomorrowland loves its play on words and you just might hear a few punny jokes yourself! For some reason they keep paying someone named Mr Tom Morrow?? 😉
- Want a customized Disney phone case? Whether your exiting Space Mountain or waiting for a friend to exit the ride, check out the store the ride exits into. The store has a very cool station where you can customize your own phone case and even put your name on it! They have a TON of backdrops to choose from and even have characters that are hard to find on merchandise elsewhere!
- One of my personal favorite Hidden Mickeys can be found inside the Carousel of Progress! Since the Carousel of Progress is single handedly the BEST RIDE in the entire park (don’t even try to hate on it or else you will certainly not have a great big beautiful tomorrow), it is only fitting to hold an adorable Hidden Mickey. In the last scene where the family is found celebrating Christmas in the future, take a close look above the fireplace. You’ll notice that one of the Nutcrackers is actually a Nutcracker Mickey! Too cute!
And there ya have it folks! A couple of my personal favorite hidden secrets of the Magic Kingdom that I don’t believe many really know about! If you have any personal favorites please comment them below and look out for future tips/secrets from other Disney locations!