Photo: VIAVAL/Shutterstock

17 Things You Didn't Know About Disney Parks

Family Travel
by Albie Hartshill Feb 13, 2015

1. There are tunnels beneath Disney World to help the characters get around.

The tunnels – called the Magic Kingdom Utilidors were designed to keep the characters from having to cross through sections that may have been incongruent with their character. This came down from Walt Disney himself, who thought the illusion was shattered a bit in the original Disneyland when he saw characters from Frontierland walking through Tomorrowland.

2. The Tree of Life in the Animal Kingdom is made of an old oil rig.

While not the most environmentally friendly thing for a tree to be made out of, Disney’s engineers chose the structure because oil rigs are built to withstand hurricane-force winds, and hurricanes have been known to hit Florida.

3. There’s still proof that McDonald’s sponsored the “Dinosaurs” ride in the Animal Kingdom.

The proof is that, while waiting in line, you can see three long pipes with the chemical formulas for mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup written on them.

4. Even the smells at Disney parks are controlled by special machines.

Called “smellitzers,” these machines are designed to emit a smell that’s congruent with the area you’re hanging out in. So near the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is a smellitzer emitting salty sea air, while the Haunted Mansion smells of earth.

5. The original parking lots at the Magic Kingdom were named after six of the seven dwarves.

Doc was not included, as they believed his name would be confused with the docks. The lots no longer have the dwarf names attached to them.

6. If Mickey Mouse were a real mouse, he’d be in trouble in Disneyland.

Disney wanted his park to be as clean as humanly possible, and it can’t look clean with rats and mice running around. So at night, when the park is closed, spayed and neutered cats (who are fed during the day) are allowed to run around the park to get rid of any vermin that may have snuck in.

7. You can spot some anachronistic heiroglyphics in the Great Movie Ride.

The Indiana Jones section of the Great Movie Ride has an area with a bunch of heiroglyphics, which for the most part, are made to look authentic. But there are also heiroglyphics of C-3PO, R2-D2, Donald Duck, and Mickey Mouse in there as well.

8. The Jungle Cruise has come alive.

The Jungle Cruise’s landscape used to be meticulously tended to make it look like a jungle, but it has since become an independent ecosystem that requires no more than an annual pruning.

9. The “Rose & Crown” Pub in the United Kingdom pavilion at Epcot Center was named that for a reason.

The two most common words used in pub names in the U.K. are “rose” and “crown.”

10. There aren’t any shops in Disney parks that sell gum.

This is specifically to keep it from ending up on the ground or on any of the rides.

11. The Dumbo ride has gotten more humane.

The mouse that presides over the flying elephants used to hold a whip, presumably to make the elephants fly higher. That whip has since been replaced with a feather.

12. There’s a secret club in Disneyland with an 18-year waiting list.

Club 33, which sits in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square, is a secret club that serves as a speakeasy. The waiting list is estimated at 18-years long, and there’s supposedly a $10,000 initiation fee.

13. There are garbage cans everywhere in Disney parks.

Specifically, every 30 steps. Walt Disney himself is believed to have come up with this rule: he watched how long people would carry trash before littering at other parks, and he found it was 30 steps.

14. The concrete in the walkways was specially designed to make your photos look nicer.

Disney teamed up with Kodak to make the park as photogenic as possible, and they found that certain colors of concrete really made the park pop.

15. Toy Story characters used to drop lifeless to the ground whenever anyone shouted “Andy’s coming!”

This practice was found to be unsafe, so it was abandoned.

16. There is a secret basketball court in the top of the Matterhorn ride.

The court is for employees of the park.

17. The Cinderella castle isn’t as big as it looks.

The castle sits on a slight incline, which gives it a larger look thanks to the visual trick of forced perspective.

Discover Matador