If you have been to Disney World more than two or three times in your life and you tell your co-workers and friends that you are going again, you get a few reactions. The one you want, but isn’t the most prevalent reaction, is when people are almost as excited as you are for the trip. Then there is the one that you hear most of the time, “You are going to Disney World again? Haven’t you already done it all?” To the later response I always laugh and start a long discussion with the person who doesn’t get why we love to go so much. I always tell the people that are skeptical that if you are going to Disney World just for the rides (attractions) you are missing at least 70% of what goes on there. Everything you see has a reason for being there. Disney Imagineering (the part of the Disney Company responsible for the creation of everything you see and do) has gone to great lengths to immerse you into the whole experience. This immersive experience begins the second you check into your resort. The next time you check in take a moment to really look at your surroundings. For example, at the Beach Club you have a Nantucket/Martha’s Vineyard theme along with a Disney touch. In the lobby there is a sense of elegance mixed with a beach vacation feel. Having lived on Nantucket I recognized many scenes of paintings that adorn the walls along with the nautical and beach themed decorations. These items are pretty obvious. The Disney touch is a little less obvious. When you check in, look for the hidden Mickeys around the lobby. When you enter your room, look around. Just like the lobby the nautical theme is still obvious but look closely at the bed, the curtains, and the soap. All of these things are laced with Disney characters and symbols.
At the parks, the attention to detail is tenfold. In the Magic Kingdom look around as you enter the gates and walk under the train station. Look at the movie posters of the upcoming attractions (rides). As you explore Main Street think about the time period you are transported into paying attention to the hitching posts, the buildings and the decorations. As I said earlier everything is done for a reason. For example look from town square (Main Street) to the castle. There is a slight incline as you walk toward the castle making Main Street seem longer than it is. Also, when you leave at the end of the day, you are going down the slight decline making the crowds flow a little quicker and the walk seem shorter. Look closer at the buildings next time, they are not as big as they seem. I could go on forever about Main Street, but you need to explore for yourself. Each land at the Magic Kingdom has its own special details, pay attention to attraction queues. At the Jungle Cruise a lot of packages are being shipped to different people that have been important to the Disney company and its history. I would be scolded by my wife if I didn’t mention the music and audio in the queue which is very amusing. The scenery in Liberty Square is an attraction unto its self, especially if you are a history dork like me. There are many historically accurate artifacts on display for the time period you are supposed to be in (look at the year above the Hall Of Presidents). Items can be found in windows, in front of the buildings or my favorite are the fire insurance marks above the doors (my grandmother had one at her house). These were used during colonial times to let the fire department know if your house was insured or not, which would in turn tell them to let the house burn or to put the fire out. I could go on forever about the details in the Magic Kingdom, but I want to hit a few details in each park.
It’s on to EPCOT. Let’s look at Future World first. In Future World the attractions are set up similar to the way our brain works. If you bear left after the entrance, which is Future World East this is the left side of the brain which controls logic, reasoning and numbers. The attractions in this area are Mission Space, Test Track and Ellen’s Energy Adventure. Future World West represents the right side of the brain which controls emotion, color and creativity. The attractions in Future World West are the Imagination Pavilion, The Land, and The Seas with Nemo and Friends. At Mission Space there is a large recreation of the moon in front of the attraction, on the moon are different colored “gems” which represent locations of moon landings and each color determines if it was a landing spot for people or probes. On the other side of Future World there are more hidden gems. While you are walking around Future World West see if you can locate a large circle on the ground. Within that circle are names and dates of important scientific discoveries. Inside the Imagination Pavilion read the names on the doors you pass and their jobs. I am not even going to attempt to discuss World Showcase in this article. That may be its own separate article.
Hollywood Studios has a ton of hidden secret and not so secret details with references from all types of different movies. It is Hollywood Studios after all. Muppet Vision 3D is a family favorite for us so I will give a few from there first. As in the Imagination Pavilion read the doors and signs as you walk into the attraction. Once inside take time to read what the crates contain (it’s worth a look, not to mention the preshow is one of the best at Disney World). In the Streets of America there are many references and familiar sights, you can even find an office for a funeral director if you are paying attention. For my younger daughter, there is one of these secret gems we must go to every time, it’s simple but she loves it. To the left of the Indiana Jones Stunt Show, there is a sign and a rope leading down a well. On the sign it states, “don’t pull the rope”, however, “don’t” is crossed out. In Disney terms this is telling you to pull the rope, if you do pull the rope listen carefully. The last one I will point out in the Studios is the Holly Vermont Realty Company. Why is this one important? This was a real office in Los Angeles where Walt and Roy rented a room and started the Walt Disney Company. If you want to find it, it is near a frozen drink stand known as Peevy’s Polar Pipeline (another movie reference, I will let you figure out the movie).
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is no different from the other three parks, it has its own secrets to find. The first is an easy one: The Tree of Life. Although you can see it from almost anywhere in the park, take a closer look and examine the animals carved into the tree. Although nobody likes waiting in lines if you happen to be in one at Kali River Rapids look at the detail in the queue, you won’t be disappointed, there are signs and various travel items throughout. We are also amazed that all of the cracks in the pavement were put there purposely to give the park an authentic look.
On a final note, listen to the music at Walt Disney World, it sets the mood and changes from area to area in the parks and each attraction has its own soundtrack. If you enjoy Disney theme park music, try listening to www.Mouseworldradio.com it has a wide range of Disney music and gives you that “in the park feel” when you can’t be there.
Sorry this article was so long winded, I could have gone on forever about this topic. I only scratched the surface. So the next time someone asks why you are going again just give some of these examples and tell them, you either get it or you don’t. To help you find some of these Disney secrets go on tours offered at parks or there is plenty of Disney Imagineering and history books available.
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