At first glance, it’s easy to see why the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is known as the most magical place on earth. Guests are immersed in the stories and settings and rarely give a second thought to the level of detail that goes into designing the park. Disney Imagineers consistently design the attractions with a number of hidden details or tributes in the finishing touches. While there are a large number of details hidden within the park, we have put together a list of stunning facts about the Magic Kingdom for you to enjoy.
8. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
As one of the most popular attractions in the park, Big Thunder Mountain has a number of hidden details throughout the queue and on the ride. Disney Imagineering Legend Tony Baxter makes a few appearances in the queue, including his name on a patent for a Big Thunder engine, as well as in the portrait of Barnabus T. Bullion, whose likeness looks incredibly similar to Tony. As the original ride designer, Tony also paid tribute to the ride that Big Thunder Mountain replaced in Disneyland in the form of the bobcat on top of a cactus, a stand-off between a roadrunner and a snake as well as the dinosaur skeleton that guests rumble through.
7. Jungle Cruise
While Walt Disney originally wanted the Jungle Cruise to feature live animals, it was quickly deemed too impractical and animatronic animals were used instead. The water below is quite shallow with most areas being about 4 feet deep. In order to mask that fact, the water is dyed a darker color to prevent guests seeing under the surface, which includes the trench that the boats are guided along.
6. Mr. Toad
After it’s closure in 1998, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was replaced by the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. In order to pay tribute to its predecessor, inside the attraction, there is a picture of Mr. Toad handing over the deed to Owl. Mr. Toad can also be seen as a statue in the pet cemetery outside of the Haunted Mansion.
5. Under The Sea – Journey Of The Little Mermaid
While this attraction exists at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, the naming of each is different. At Walt Disney World, the name “Under The Sea” is a reference to an attraction that used to exist in the same area. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea used to take guests on an underwater submarine voyage aboard a ship called the Nautilus. There is even an outline of the Nautilus carved into the rock in the queue for Journey Of The Little Mermaid.
4. Carousel of Progress
As another of Walt’s original visions, the Carousel of Progress gives guests a look at a family throughout different seasons and eras. Hidden in certain scenes are nods to the original sponsor of the attraction, General Electric, in the form of appliances displaying the GE name even after the partnership ended. Another hidden item is a Sorcerer Mickey hat next to the exercise machine in the 1940s set. The audio-animatronic used for the grandmother also has a twin, which can be seen in the Haunted Mansion as the ghost in the rocking chair at the ballroom scene.
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3. Space Mountain
In the queue of Space Mountain, there is a list of Active Earth Stations which is a reference to the other locations of Space Mountain around the world. Tokyo and Paris are listed while Space Station 77 refers to the opening of Space Mountain in Disneyland in 1977. The Walt Disney World version launches out of Starport Seven-Five (a reference to its opening in 1975). When FedEx took over sponsorship of the ride in the 90’s, the dioramas seen as guests exit the ride were designed to represent the fact that FedEx would deliver to all corners of the galaxy.
2. Main Street U.S.A.
All along Main Street U.S.A., the buildings have signage on the doors and windows that reference a number of different individuals who had great impacts on the development or implementation of Walt Disney World. The names include General Joe Potter, who oversaw the building of the Magic Kingdom, Earl Vilmer, who renovated the locomotives on the Walt Disney World Railroad and many more. Above the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, there is a window honoring Walt Disney himself, while Roy O. Disney and Roy E. Disney also have windows along Main Street. Main Street is also home to a plaque featuring the names of the fake companies used to buy the property for Walt Disney World.
1. Haunted Mansion
The queue for the Haunted mansion is full of references to Imagineers and Disney performers. The tombstones honor the Imagineers who helped build the ride including Xavier Atencio, who wrote the lyrics for the song, Marc Davis who helped in the creative designing process, as well as Yale Gracey and Wathel Rogers who created the illusions and mechanical effects. The name Ravenscroft can be seen on the interactive organ in reference to Thurl Ravenscroft whose voice can be heard leading the song Grim Grinning Ghosts in the attraction and his face on one of the singing busts in the graveyard scene. The books that just won’t stay on the bookshelf in the queue are labeled with symbols that form a cryptogram, when the code is broken, the phrase reads “Welcome home, you foolish mortals / This mansion is your mystic portal / Where eerie sights and spooky sounds / Fill these happy haunting grounds”.