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Disney in the Details: 20 Park Details that Will Blow Your Mind

 

10) The true story of the Liberty tree is uber-detailed.

The enormous tree at Liberty Square is the largest living thing at Magic Kingdom. When Magic Kingdom was being built, Imagineers decided that only a tree worthy of the title “Liberty Tree” would do. So they began to scour some of the land that Disney owned. The Southern Live Oak tree that now stands at Liberty Square was found on the east side of the Disney property—seven miles away from Liberty Square! When it was first discovered, the tree was about 60 feet tall and weighed over 35 tons. On June 11, 1970, the huge tree began its slow 7-mile journey to its forever home inside Disney’s Magic Kingdom. The tree wasn’t planted and installed until March 6, 1971—almost 7 months to the day before Magic Kingdom’s opening. The tree is now around 150 years old and shows no signs of dying or budging from its haloed place at the center of Liberty Square.

9) The Muppets should really rethink security.

The Muppets have long been known for slapstick comedy, silly antics and self-deprecating humor. And some of them should probably not be left alone for too long. Just inside the door of the Muppet*Vision 3D show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and to your immediate right, there is a ticket window with a sign that reads, “Back in 5 minutes, key is under the mat!” If you lift up the mat at your feet, you will see the key. I’ll never have any Muppet in charge of security at my home or my office—especially if they frequently throw security to the wind, as they have at this attraction.

 

8) The story behind Dinoland U.S.A. is chock full of details.

You’ve seen the names “Chester and Hester” around Dinoland, U.S.A. at Animal Kingdom, but do you know who they are? The story started in 1947, when there was nothing more in this area of Diggs County than an old fishing lodge, until fossils were found! They were authenticated by paleontologists who knew how valuable such a find was. So they purchased the old lodge and the land surrounding it. An elderly couple, simply known as Chester and Hester, owned a gas station nearby. They too began to notice an increased value in their area. They noticed that professors, students and nosy people were flocking to the area. They created a roadside amusement park and souvenir shop right there on Highway 498 to strike it rich themselves. This explains things you see at Dinoland U.S.A. like lawn chairs on the roof of Restaurantosaurus, among other evidences of antics and pranks (college students—sheesh!).

7) Villages inside Animal Kingdom are draped with details.

Disney Imagineers went wild with the details when they were building Animal Kingdom. That’s because there is so much history and culture to be celebrated in places inside Asia and Africa. Look up in the trees and see scarves draped on the boughs; these represent loved ones who’ve passed on. Prayer flags are attached to lines that are strung over thoroughfares and walkways in the park. Many of the prayer flags are of the “Lung ta” type, meaning they are square or rectangular in shape and are believed to promote peace, compassion, strength and wisdom. Mantras are written on the flags, and the belief is that when the prayer flags are blown by the wind, these gifts are spread around.

6) The lobby of the Hollywood Tower Hotel is the details capital of Disney World.

The story behind the Tower of Terror attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is full to the brim of details, and the Imagineers decided to give Guests a visual picture to back up the vivid storyline. The hotel lobby is part of the queue for the attraction, and as you scour over the lobby, you get the creepy feeling that this wasn’t merely a backstory conjured up by Disney Imagineers. Two pieces of luggage sit untouched near a grand sitting chair. Dead plants abound. The Guest Registrar is still opened to the page signed by the last guest to enter the hotel, and dominoes in play sit atop a dusty old table surrounded by four chairs. It’s all part of Imagineering’s attempt to make the imagined appear real. Or is the story actually true? The attention to detail will have you wondering.

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About Rebekah Tyndall Burkett

Rebekah grew up in Forney, Texas and lives just outside of Dallas. She’s been a Disney superfan since childhood, experiencing the magic at Walt Disney World for the first time at the age of 11. Journeys to Neverland are at least a yearly occurrence for her, her husband and her four children (the Fab Four). When they go to the parks, they stay in Florida for three weeks at a time. Rebekah loves exploring the history of the parks, the genius behind the Magic in the person of Walt Disney, and she is intrigued by all things Disney World and Disney Imagineering. When in the parks, Rebekah and her husband Scott make the most of their time by enjoying every minute with their Fab Four, by delving deeper into Walt’s vision for the parks and into the history behind the Walt Disney World Resort, and by photographing the many different types of architecture at Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and on the World Showcase at EPCOT. When she’s not in the parks, Rebekah is excitedly setting travel dates and planning her family’s next adventure to their happy place deep within the Sunshine State. On breaks from planning her next trip, Rebekah is a writer, journalist and children’s author, penning children’s books about kids with special needs that she affectionately calls “believement-achievement” stories. Her hobbies include creative writing, paper crafting and interviewing Imagineers. She is also an advocate for Autism Awareness and for children with developmental disabilities of all kinds.