8. Mr. Toad in the Pet Cemetery, Haunted Mansion, Magic Kingdom
As you exit the Haunted Mansion look up on the hill to your left, there is a pet cemetery there. At the very top of the hill is a tribute to Mr. Toad. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was an opening day attraction in Fantasyland that was a fun dark ride through scenes from Wind in the Willows.
Despite very vocal guest protests, the ride closed in September 1998 to make way for the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Imagineers have immortalized Mr. Toad in the pet cemetery as a nod to his fans.
7. The Windows on Main Street USA, Magic Kingdom
This is one of those obvious ones—everyone sees the windows on Main Street as long as they are looking up. Some guests may think the names and occupations on the windows are fictional, but they are actually tributes to Imagineers and other important figures in the Walt Disney Company.
You will notice that Walt himself is given the honor of the first window (on the train station overlooking the entrance) and the last (near the Plaza Restaurant on the end of Main Street). I love to read the names and the clever ways the tributes are paid. For instance, Frank Wells is paid tribute on his window with “Seven Summits Expeditions” as this former Walt Disney Company President had the goal of scaling the tallest summits on seven continents. The men who worked undercover in Florida buying up real estate for Disney are honored with “Pseudonym Real Estate Development Company” and the “M.T. Lott Co. Real Estate Investments.”
If you are interested in the people behind Main Street’s windows there is a book available, as well as detailed information for each window online (and even an App you can access in the parks). (Photo Credit Stacy Conradt)
6. The Path around the Tree of Life, Animal Kingdom
Over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it is hard not to be amazed by the intricate carvings of the animals in the trunk of the Tree of Life. They are all interwoven together so beautifully. But, did you know you can get a closer look? Many people do, and if you wait in line for “It’s Tough To Be A Bug” you will see some of the carvings up close.
However, there is a second path that is accessed on the left side of the Tree of Life as you enter the park. It is usually pretty peaceful even on a busy day, and it winds its way around the Tree of Life and past waterfalls giving you several up close vantage points of the base. Disney places the number of animals in the Tree of Life at “over 300.”
5. Hidden Mickeys
You don’t have to be a Disney fan for very long before you are introduced to the wonderful world of hidden Mickey’s. In fact, it can be addicting as you find yourself letting your eyes freely bounce around looking for the classic Mickey with three proportionate circles or perhaps a profile silhouette. This tradition started during the planning of then EPCOT Center.
Because EPCOT Center was planned to be a more adult park, which was to include the sale of alcohol, it was decided that no characters, including Mickey Mouse himself would make an appearance. Imagineers then began to place what we now know as hidden Mickeys throughout the park. Even though times have changed, hidden Mickeys are a staple.