DAY 1 - Walt Disney World, located near Orlando, Florida, offers a wide range of attractions for its guests to enjoy, including two water parks, the Downtown Disney Shopping area, golf courses and a selection of hotels and dining establishments. However, the main attractions at Walt Disney World are its four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, each offering its own adventure. There is a side to the Walt Disney World complex of theme parks and resorts that most visitors don't know about. What happens after dark? What lurks behind closed doors? What are these hidden Mickeys everyone talks about, and how do you find them? This week we will talk about the SECRETS of Walt Disney World that few people who visit know anything about.
Hidden Mickeys started out as inside jokes among the Walt Disney Imagineers. A Hidden Mickey is an image of Mickey Mouse concealed in the design of a Disney attraction (ride, resort, etc...). Imagineers had fun putting the images where they were seldom noticed, but were in plain sight --kinda like an inside joke! Originally, the Mickeys took the shape of a head and ears silhouette, , i.e. one large circle with two smaller circled on top in the appropriate place, but Hidden Mickeys can take on many forms. Today the hidden Mickeys have become a tradition --Disney fans are ever searching for Hidden Mickeys as they go through the parks.
DAY 2 - You may or may not know that there is a tunnel system that runs under Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Theme Park. The story goes that Walt Disney was dissatisfied with the setup of Disneyland in California where cast members from one themed area had to walk through another themed area in costume to get to work and would look out of place. He wanted to fix this when he built his Florida theme park. He envisioned a tunnel running under the park so a castmember in a Tomorrowland costume didn't have to walk through Fantasyland. Deliveries could be made through the tunnel keeping the inner workings behind the magic hidden from the guests. The tunnels are calle Utilidors! Most people who have heard of the tunnels think they are underground. Actually, they are at ground level. The land where Disney World sits was somewhat swampy --not the place for a huge underground world. The tunnel system was built at ground level and then the Magic Kingdom was built on top, so actually it is on the second floor!
- In Walt Disney World no trash can will ever be more than 30 steps away from you. It seems that Walt went to other parks when he was designing the park and counted how long a person would hold onto a piece of trash before dropping it on the ground. He came up with 30 steps. Believe it or not, small pipes shoot the trash through the utilidors under the Magic Kingdom at 60 mph --that's why you never see anyone emptying the trash!
DAY 3 - THE TREE OF LIFE: The Animal Kingdom is home to the Tree of Life which is the centerpiece of the park. This gigantic Baobab tree is like those seen in many parts of Africa; however the trunk of this Baobab tree is covered with carvings of animals --animals are part of every inch of the wood. HOWEVER, its not a real Baobab tree --but a creation of the Disney Imagineers. The tree contains over 7,000 branches, many with joints that allow them to sway in the wind. The branches are covered with over . And yes, it can withstand hurricane force winds. The core of the structure is actually an , turned upside down. It was just the right shape and strength needed to support the tree. Over 300 different animals are carved into the Tree of Life. The most famous is the likeness of an actual chimp named Greybeard, who was studied by Jane Goodall herself. Greybeard was the first chimpanzee to be observed by a scientist using tools in the wild, a major breakthrough in the understanding of animal intelligence. You’ll find the carving near the entrance to Tough to Be a Bug. Everyone visiting the park makes a point to have their photo made standing in front of the Tree of Life.
Click HERE to see a one minute time lapse of the construction of the tree! Scroll down to 2nd image...
The Wishes fireworks display at Magic Kingdom costs about $33,000 each night to put on. Disney is the largest “consumer” of fireworks in the world.
If you wanted to stay in all the guestrooms in all of the hotels and resorts currently open on Walt Disney World property (at a rate of one per night), it would take more than 68 years.
When Disney World opened, adult admission to the Magic Kingdom cost $3.50. Today it costs $100.
Epcot's Mission Space Attraction needs more computer power than NASA's real space shuttle.
Every year over 3 million flowering plants are planted at Walt Disney World while the horticulture staff maintains over 2 million shrubs, 13,000 roses and over 200 topiaries.
DAY 5: THE WORLD SHOWCASE - Would you like to travel to China? What about England or Mexico? World Showcase, Epcot's second theme area, is an ongoing World's Fair encircling a picturesque 40-acre lagoon. The cuisine, culture, history, and architecture of almost a dozen countries are permanently displayed in individual national pavilions spaced along a 1.2-mile promenade. Pavilions replicate familiar landmarks and present representative street scenes from the host countries.