It’s hard to know what to believe about Walt Disney World, as rumors abound – some with remarkable persistence! So which of the many myths and legends about the most magical place in the world are true, which are completely false, and which are close to the truth, but not quite right? Read on to find out!
1. Walt Lingers on in the Magic Kingdom
Probably one of the most common legends about Walt Disney World is that Walt himself never left. Some legends say that he was buried on site somewhere in the Magic Kingdom, while others insist Walt’s body was cryogenically frozen on site, so that he could be revived at some point in the future. While these might be tempting to believe, neither legend holds a grain of truth. But you can visit Walt’s grave – he was cremated and interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
2. There’s a Hidden City Underneath the Magic Kingdom
We’re happy to report that this myth is true (depending on your definition of “city”, of course)! There is a secret network of interconnected tunnels called Utilidors under the Magic Kingdom, with access points all across the park – although you’ll never see them. The Utilidors (short for “utility corridors”) were designed so that all of the behind the scenes stuff that has to happen in the park can do so without ruining the magic for guests. The Utilidors allow costumed cast members to quickly move from one spot in the park to another without having to walk through lands they don’t belong to. And they allow park operations like garbage removal and food deliveries to be made completely out of sight! You can visit the Utilidors by signing up for a backstage tour – trust us, it’s worth it!
3. There’s an Abandoned Theme Park in WDW
Surely this can’t be true – WDW wouldn’t let a theme park simply lie abandoned? Actually, this is absolutely true – in fact, not just one, but two abandoned Walt Disney World parks still exist. River Country, a former water park, closed in 2001 and lies abandoned near Fort Wilderness Resort, while Discovery Island in Bay Lake was abandoned in 1999. Trying to access either abandoned park is likely to get you banned from WDW for life, but you may catch a glimpse if you take the right water taxi!
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4. There’s a Secret Suite in Cinderella Castle That You Can Stay In
Yes, and no. Originally there were plans to build a private suite in Cinderella Castle for Walt Disney and his family, but sadly he died before construction even began on the castle, so it was eventually used as storage space. However, decades later, this unused space in Cinderella Castle was turned into a dream suite and used very, very rarely as a prize for contest winners. You can find pictures of the luxurious suite online, but you shouldn’t get your hopes up about staying there anytime soon!
5. Cinderella Castle Can Be Dismantled in Case of Hurricanes
While we’re on the subject of our favorite Magic Kingdom icon, another myth with staying power is that in case of a hurricane, the spires of Cinderella Castle can be dismantled and then reassembled. This one is completely false! The castle was designed to handle all that Florida can throw at it, including winds up to 90 miles an hour, but it most definitely cannot be taken apart – for any reason.
6. Cast Members Take Aim With the Spitting Camel
If you’ve ever visited Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom, you’ve probably noticed the huge golden camel that sprays unsuspecting guests with water. One of the most enduring Disney myths is that a cast member controls the camel, taking aim and shooting water directly at guests. In fact, the camel’s aim is completely mechanized, and no human beings are in charge, despite rumors to the contrary.
7. Walt is One of the Busts in Haunted Mansion
The mustache of one of the busts in Haunted Mansion brings to mind Walt Disney, which might be the origin of the myth that his face is featured in the attraction. Alas, this is just a myth – the face on the bust in question is actually that of Thurl Ravenscroft, who provided voices for a number of Disney rides, including Haunted Mansion, and is better known as the voice of Tony the Tiger.
8. Johnny Depp visits Pirates Ride as Captain Jack
Who wouldn’t love to see Johnny Depp in his most famous role, Captain Jack Sparrow, as part of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction? Alas, this does not and has not ever happened – in Florida, anyway! There was an instance of the actor delighting guests when he dropped by the Pirates ride in Disneyland, California – but this was a one-time incident, while promoting Dead Men Tell No Tales.
9. There’s a Dome Over WDW
As hard as it is to believe, some people think that Disney can control everything within the parks, and that there’s a dome overhead that prevents it from raining on guests. Anyone who has actually been to Walt Disney World and has experienced unpredictable Orlando weather will know that’s just not true! Which is why it’s always a great idea to bring a poncho.
10. WDW Never Closes
Not true! Even though Walt Disney World is open every single day of the year, it’s not open around the clock and closes every night (at different times depending on which park is offering Extra Magic Hours that evening). That being said, in a sense, Walt Disney World never really closes, because there are so many Disney parks world-wide that the sun truly never sets on the world of Disney!